Thursday, December 11, 2014

Whole-Grain Blueberry Orange Muffins


I've been making muffins for a looong time now, and through my many experiments with flavors from plum poppyseed to pumpkin banana, blueberry muffins remain the gold standard in my mind's eye of All That Is Muffin. This may be because they were the only kind of muffin I recall my mom making when I was growing up, and I have memories of unabashedly devouring the batter from the mixing bowl like a piranha stripping a cow carcass. Since then, I've run the gamut of blueberry muffin recipes (and their batter, if we're being honest). You've got your cake-like blueberry muffins, with white flour, a mountain of sugar, and streusel for days. Then there are the blueberry health bombs that that are so dense you could knock someone senseless with one. And somewhere in between are the blueberry muffins I usually make, which are healthy and adequately tasty, but nothing I've put on the blog because they're a wee bit boring. 

So my blueberry muffin world was rather rocked when I tried this recipe from Real Simple. These have got to be the most unique blueberry muffin recipe I've ever tried. I'll tell you why. No, it's not the fact that blueberry combined with orange is slightly unusual. There's......shhhh.....a secret ingredient. Well, at least I thought it was unexpected enough and blends seamlessly enough into the texture of the muffin that heck, sure, let's call it a secret ingredient. Pecans! Not pecans loaded with sugar as a crumb topping, but pecans ground in the food processor along with whole wheat flour and oats for a robust (but not crunchy) texture that makes you go, "What's so deliciously different about these?" Add to that the bright sweetness of orange flavor combined with the more mellow sweetness of blueberries and you have a very intriguing mix. My kids devoured them for breakfast, then asked if they could have them packed in their lunches, then asked if they could have them for snack when they got home. And if I weren't saving them for my kids, I probably would have eaten them three times in one day, too. 

So if you find yourself jaded in a world of dime-a-dozen blueberry muffin recipes, perhaps these can broaden your breakfast horizons like they did mine.


Whole Wheat Blueberry Orange Muffins
(Slightly adapted from Real Simple)

Ingredients:

1 1/4 c. white whole wheat flour
1 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 c. pecans
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. plain yogurt
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 Tbsp. grated orange zest
1/4 c. orange juice
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 c. blueberries, frozen or fresh

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a food processor, process the flour, oats, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until finely ground.

3. In a large bowl, combine yogurt, brown sugar, butter, orange zest, orange juice, egg, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries. The batter will appear dry, but don't worry, the finished product won't be!

4. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Bake 23-25 minutes. 


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