Yesterday, in an effort to entertain my son, I decided we would make blueberry muffins. We do this fairly often because not only does he love to help bake, he loves to eat muffins. He would eat muffins all day if we would let him (and sometimes it is tempting given his picky eating habits). Since I make muffins so often, and my husband tends to be a muffin-critic not liking anything remotely floury or dry, I have tried a bunch of variations on a couple of recipes and come up with a great muffin. My sister likes to joke that when I make muffins I throw in just about everything. I mainly stick to three grains: wheat germ, flax meal and old fashioned oats (I refuse to buy quick oats, they just seem too processed to me and they have no crunch). I have learned that when I substitute in ALL whole wheat flour, it tends to make baked goods very dense and not so tasty. I've found that adding textured grains to a mixture of wheat and white flour adds texture and some fiber without making the muffins taste anything remotely close to cardboard. I should also note that I do not like bran and never use it. I bought some awhile ago and I personally think it tastes like sawdust and destroys anything it is added to. The cool thing about flax meal, for example, is that it has great flavor, an interesting but fine texture and has lots of Omega 3s which most of us could use more of. I throw oatmeal into most baked breakfast foods including pancakes and waffles. I love it and I find just plain white flour waffles or pancakes (or muffins for that matter) to be a little pasty and sometimes dry. When you substitute meals or grains, they can actually take the place of flour as long as there is a mostly-flour ratio. So, experiment away!
Since this is my own recipe, I am going to share it.
Blueberry Muffins (Danielle-Style)
3/4 c sugar
1/4 c butter (melted)
1/2 c milk
2 tea lemon juice
1/2 c cream cheese (softened)
2 tea vanilla
2 tea baking powder
1/4 tea salt
1/8 c flax meal
1/8 c wheat germ
1/4 c oatmeal
3/4 c wheat flour
3/4 c white flour
2 c blueberries (if frozen, rinse and thaw first)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Mix sugar, butter and eggs. Add vanilla and lemon juice. Whisk in cream cheese until thoroughly combined. Mix all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl. Add half of dry ingredients to wet ingredients, then add half of milk, mix until just combined, then repeat. Add blueberries.
Spoon equal amounts into muffin cups, sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired.
Bake for 18 minutes or until set and toothpick comes out clean.
Makes 12 large muffins or 18 smaller ones.
(Note: I actually ended up under-cooking the muffins in the picture. They should be a little bit more golden-brown coming out of the oven.)