in recent months, i have come across more and more recipes (online and in print) that veer towards the “healthy” side - less fat and sugar, more wholemeal flour, more fruits thrown in (along with the occassional zuccini) - that seemed to hold the key to all those issues of excess empty calories that we occassionally battle with – here you get what you want with some good stuff as well. but whenever i read these recipes, i always wondered if a cake or muffin that has less of all the tasty stuff can actually satisfy. a cake that you can eat and not feel guilty? really?
the best way to find out? i had to make some.
recently, i picked up some blueberries from the store, and planned to make muffins with them - only this time round, i decided i would make a healthy version. i had read somewhere that citrus flavours complement blueberries well, and picked oranges as be my choice of flavouring. i drew inspiration from blogs and books and penned down a recipe - with no-sugar-added orange juice, half-measure whole wheat flour, brown sugar and sunflower oil. i threw in the ingredients, mixed up the batter and baked the muffins. when i took them out of the oven, i beamed with delight – with streaks of purple and fat blueberries peeping out from within, these muffins were a joy to behold :)
but when i took a bite, i felt a wee bit cheated – the muffins were wonderfully soft, but my tongue clamoured for more sweetness and the smooth texture of white flour. my mind refused to accept that this was a muffin. undaunted, i passed on the muffins to friends – and i received both sighs of delight and looks of disappointment. those who loved the muffins were thrilled with the taste and even more happy that this was something which fitted in with their aim to eat more wholesome foods. one of them even said she was thinking of having them for breakfast. and there were some who felt disappoined. to them - probably like me - a healthy muffin was an oxymoron. enough said.
i am going to bare my foodie soul here: for someone who revels in the pleasure of food and eating, this was one time when i felt stumped – try as i might, i just couldn’t bring myself to fall in love with the healthy muffin. but i am not going to write it off either – there are many things i refused to eat in the past, but turned around and grew to love them in recent years. so, who knows? i may just come back some time down the road, and revel in the wonder of healthier options. until then, this is for all you folks who have already learnt to appreciate the taste of wholesome goodness – enjoy :)
1 cup fresh Blueberries
1/4 cup yoghurt
1 cup Orange juice
1/2 cup Sunflower/Canola oil
1/4 cup Water (*if needed)
1 cup All purpose flour
1 cup Whole wheat flour (also known as atta)
1 cup Raw/brown sugar
1-1/2 tsp Baking soda
1/2 tsp Salt
2 tbsp Orange zest
1 tsp Orange extract (optional)
Making the Orange Blueberry Muffins:
Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Wash the blueberries and then dry them on a clean tea towel or kitchen towels. Sift the all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt and keep aside. Blend the yoghurt, oil, orange juice. zest and extract (if using). Add in the sugar to this mixture and blend well. Mix in the flour in batches, making sure there are no lumps in the batter. If the batter looks very thick, add in the water and stir well. Throw in the blueberries and mix them in, taking care not to squash them. Pour the batter into a prepared muffin tin (either use paper liners or grease the muffin cups lightly) until it is about two-thirds full. (*I got away with filling it up to near the top, so don’t worry if the cups look a bit full). Bake for about 10 – 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Once its done and ready, take the muffins out from the tin and cool. Store in an airtight container. (You can keep them in the fridge as well, but keeping them in the fridge for too long could cause them to have a dryer texture.)