The nicest thing about January isn't the perpetual runny nose. It's not the black ice or the Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's not even when the kitchen sink leaks, the plumber takes a look, says, "It's not leaking for me," and prances away to find a beer. Nope. The nicest thing about January is the baking.
I'm not a baker by nature, but winter makes me crave cornbread, brownies, and scones. I want to scarf pound cake and popovers until I burst. And when it's cold outside, there's nothing greater than curling up to An Affair to Remember (or it's remake, A Blaffair to Rememblack) while munching on a nice, warm muffin. If that muffin has only 172 calories and 4.6 grams of fat, it's all the better.
This recipe, for Raspberry-Filled Cinnamon Muffins, is adapted from an old Jenny Craig cookbook called No Diet Required. I received it as a gift in college, and it's yielded enough decent meals over the years to avoid the stoop sale bin. (For you non-New Yorkers, a stoop sale is like a yard sale, except there's a much better chance of being peed on.)
I had to tinker with the muffins' ingredients a bit, but think I nailed the ratios by Batch #3. Warm and perfectly moist, they're light enough for a guiltless breakfast, but sweet enough to sate a serious sugar jones. Plus, the jam is a nice surprise for those who aren't expecting it. I used raspberry preserves, but I'm sure almost any flavor will substitute well.
Now, it's back to baking. Without it, January is just another month when my sink leaks.
Adapted from Jenny Craig's No Diet Required.
Read more: Mother's Day Brunch Ideas
- Yield:12 muffins
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- Cooking spray
- 6 tablespoons raspberry preserves
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl, make a well in center of mixture. Combine egg, buttermilk, and margarine. Add to flour mixture, stirring until just moistened.
Spoon about 1 1/2 tablespoons batter into each of 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray, making sure batter is spread evenly along the bottom of each cup. Spoon 1/2 tablespoon preserves into center of the batter (in a ball; do not spread over batter), and top with remaining batter, making sure jam isn't visible.
Combine 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon, stir well. Sprinkle over muffins. Bake at 400°F for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from pans immediately and let cool on a wire rack.