On Mondays, Kristen Swensson of Cheap, Healthy, Good swings by these parts to share a healthy, delicious, and budget-conscious recipe with us. Today, a recipe perfect for pumpkin season.
On occasion, to make a low-calorie recipe palatable, it becomes necessary to increase the calories. It can't be helped. Food needs flavor, see, and all too often, homemade diet goods lack that key element.
Case in point: the original incarnation of these pumpkin muffins. The recipe, lifted from a website called Half My Size, clocked in at a glorious 128 calories and 1 gram of fat per serving. Sadly, you could tell. A half-cocked smattering of pralines gave each muffin some oomph, but couldn't compensate for the ... well, for the nothing. There wasn't really a whole lot going on.
Still, with a few alterations, I thought the dish could be saved. So, I doubled the spice, increased the brown sugar by a few tablespoons, and switched out the praline topping for a straight-up streusel. It added about 40 calories and 1 gram of fat per muffin, but the difference in taste was massive. Warm, moist, sweet, and a little chewy, they had quite suddenly become acceptable breakfast muffins - something I would serve to guests, or even my sister (a.k.a. The Pickiest Person Alive). If and when I make them again, I'll probably add a cup of chopped apples to the batter, just to mess around with the texture.
Just one note if you'd like to try 'em yourself: oat bran is the second listed ingredient. I tend not to have any hanging around the house, but a little research showed that mulching some rolled oats in a food processor creates a suitable stand-in. (2/3 cup rolled oats makes 1/2 cups oat bran substitute). It worked beautifully, so fear not.
- Yield:12 muffins
- For the muffins:
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup oat bran
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2/3 cup mashed pumpkin
- 1 cup skim milk
- 2 egg whites
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- For the topping:
- 8 pecan halves, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Combine the flour, oat bran, brown sugar, and baking powder; stir to mix well. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until the dry ingredients are just moistened.
In a small separate bowl, combine the pecan halves, butter, and remaining brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Mash with fork until crumbly.
Grease muffin tin or line with 12 paper liners. Fill each liner 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle topping evenly on muffins. Bake for 17 to 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature.