Do you know the muffin, man?
July 16, 2016 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Looking for a for-reals healthy muffin recipe. Does such a thing exist? So, without stevia, sugar, syrup, honey, white flour... (I just don't care for stevia.) Maybe involving apples, blueberries, banana, carrot, etc. I'll take any baked goods recos that you'd consider low carb! Thanks!

I haven't had much or, really, any luck in my search and I'm jonesing for a muffin. Vegan is fine! My dream muffin is vegan, but at this point we're prioritizing lower GI.
posted by little_dog_laughing to Food & Drink (14 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
We've been having good luck with the recipe on the back of the bag of Bob's Red Mill Almond Flour (or Almond Meal?) bag for Almond-Egg-Banana muffins.
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:39 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

My low carb seeking, artificial sweetener avoidant partner has recently started eating FlapJacked Mighty Muffins for breakfast (they come in a microwaveable container, single serve). He loves muffins and likes these a decent amount. They have 22G carbs = 5G dietary fiber + 10G sugars and 20G protein per thing; added sugar is minimal but exists in some of them for things like chocolate chips. They are NOT vegan, they contain dairy ingredients. They are expensive as hell though, I wish I could find a recipe to make the equivalent.
posted by foxfirefey at 5:47 PM on July 16, 2016

Best answer: Maybe try these cereal "bars" you make in muffin tins?
posted by gudrun at 7:54 PM on July 16, 2016 [2 favorites]

I made these What Katie Ate muffins but added extra applesauce, halved the sugar, and added more raisins. I also used frozen mixed berries mostly because I didn't have enough fresh strawberries. They came out great. Next batch, I'm swapping the flour for more wholegrain flour, but the almonds and almond meal mix really help for protein. You could replace the sugar almost entirely if you used applesauce and very sweet fruits, but you're basically swapping fructose for sucrose then. Brown sugar or molasses has an intense flavor for a much lower use, so you could try swapping out the half cup of sugar to just a few spoonfuls of brown sugar and then less as you tweak it with different fruit and more applesauce. The butter could be replaced with coconut oil or olive oil but the flavor will change more drastically.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:02 PM on July 16, 2016

I make these relatively? healthy breakfast cookies, but they're sort of part muffin part cookie:

1.5 cups of flour (I use half white/half whole wheat, but I've made them with all whole wheat and they're good that way too)
1.5 cups rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons flax seed

1/4 cup (half stick) of butter (I've substituted coconut oil for the butter, and it works just as well)
1/4 white sugar
1/4 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon almond butter (or any nut butter)
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 cup chocolate chips (you could substitute raisins, dried cranberries, or similar. I bet fresh blueberries would work too)

Melt the butter. Add the butter to the sugar, add the egg, then almond butter, then yogurt. Combine the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add it to the wet ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips (or whatever).

I roll them into a small bowl (you can scoop out with a tablespoon to get a rough idea of the size), and put them on a cookie tray. Cook at 325 fahrenheit for roughly 10-12 minutes. They can get a little tough if overcooked, so I tend to err on the side of less well done.

This is a super forgiving and easy recipe, so feel free to make substitutions. I sort of improvised this based off of a somewhat similar recipe. The original recipe used banana instead of yogurt, so you could go with banana if you wanted to make this more vegan-y. I upped the sugar a bit too, so you could probably just drop most or all of the white sugar and go with 1/4 cup brown sugar.

These don't spread the way other cookies do, so that's why they kind of seem like a mix between cookies and muffins. They stay good out of the fridge/freezer for at least a week, so they're great if you want to keep them around for awhile. This recipe makes maybe 12 cookies, maybe more depending on the size of each cookie, so I usually make a double recipe. They're a nice morning pick me up, or a healthy later in the day snack.
posted by litera scripta manet at 9:29 PM on July 16, 2016

Best answer: I don't put any sugar in my banana bread, ever. I use the joy of cooking recipe, but honestly any banana bread recipe will work (JOC just has eggs in there too, which is lovely, though vegan banana muffins are very delicious also since bananas often replace eggs). To counter the net loss of dry material, you can replace 1/2 of the expected sugar weight with ground coconut and the other 1/2 with raisins.

Instead of butter, slightly less coconut oil than the recipe calls for is perfectly wonderful and helps boost sweetness.

I'm gluten free, so I make my banana muffins with Bob's Red Mill gluten free flour blend, but you can just use rice flour or any combination you like...just don't forget to add a tiny smidge of guar or xantham gum if your flour blend doesn't have tapioca flour in it.

Basically any quickbread recipe can be used in muffin tins, you'll just want to watch them more carefully. Technically muffins should have more liquid than cooking in a loaf pan calls for, but I very rarely remember to include that and it's always fine.
posted by zinful at 9:54 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Here is my modified version of the TQI Abascal muffin (look it up). I've been eating one every morning along with a piece of fruit and it happily holds me until lunch. It has no flour or sugar, only sweetened with the banana.

2 c. almond meal (also called almond flour)
½ tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2-3 tsp of cinnamon
Grated nutmeg - optional
1 tsp. ground cardamom – optional
Other spices that you like too (cloves,

4 eggs, separated, whites beaten until fluffy-meringue-y, yolks beaten until creamy
1 c. ripe banana, mashed
1 c. cooked squash, pumpkin or sweet potato
1 tbls. grated orange peel (important!)
1 Tblsp. olive oil (I forget to use and it doesn’t make a difference)
1 tsp. vanilla or almond or orange or even mapeline!

½ - ¾ c. chopped walnuts
¾ c. frozen blueberries

• Preheat oven to 400F
• Place muffin papers in muffin tin (I make 12 from one recipe)
• Combine almond meal, salt and baking powder in one bowl. (have used half almond and half cashew flour and it’s good)
• Add 2-3 tsp of cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, etc. to dry ingredients and mix. Don’t skimp!
• In a separate bowl, beat eggs until creamy. (Note: I have been separating the eggs, beating the whites to fluffy white meringue, beating the yolks until creamy and then mixing the two together. My pastry chef neighbor told me to do this and it seems to make a lighter muffin.)
• Process banana, squash, vanilla and oil in food processor or immersion blender. I’ve been using immersion blender, less to clean
• Mix these wet ingredients with the eggs using immersion blender. Add grated orange peel
• Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix together. Use a spoon here, not an immersion blender.
• Stir in any optional ingredients, except for blueberries.
• Fill muffin tins halfway up, add some blueberries (frozen or partially defrosted work fine), then use the rest of the batter to top each one off. I do this so that the blueberries retain their shape and color instead of getting mixed into the batter.
• Sprinkle plain cinnamon on top if you’re crazy for cinnamon like me
• Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tester comes out clean.

I have not tried this variation but you might. I might try them too.
1 red or yellow onion, minced
4 celery sticks, minced
2 carrots grated
4 sundried tomatoes, minced
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. olive oil

Saute onion, celery, carrot, and sundried tomatoes in olive oil.
Follow the recipe for the other muffins but replace the banana with the sautéed vegetables and probably skip the cinnamon, walnuts, blueberries, etc.
Apparently good with avocado or guacamole. Or cheese……………..
posted by lois1950 at 6:02 AM on July 17, 2016 [16 favorites]

Oops, I lied about the recipe I mentioned! They have a recipe for almond-egg-banana *pancakes*, which is very good.

The "muffins" we make are more like... breakfast pucks... we do them one at a time for quick breakfast.

1/3 cup almond flour
1 egg
pinch salt
pinch other flavorings (optional): cinnamon, vanilla, sweetener of choice

butter a ramekin and put in the dry ingredients then the egg
mix to a uniform consistency
microwave 35-45 sec
posted by LobsterMitten at 9:35 AM on July 17, 2016 [2 favorites]

I make muffins frequently using Mark Bitman's recipe. I don't eat dairy, so I use cider, oj, or water and vinegar for liquid and baking powder activation. I usually add an extra egg, separate out the yolk, and whip the whites for the same reason. I use whole wheat flour and bran, so I add 1 tsp. extra baking powder. I add variations of canned pumpkin, applesauce, banana, blueberries, chopped apricots, walnuts, almonds, dried cranberries, coconut. The recipe is just a guide, meant to be flexible. To reduce carbs, you can substitute some nut flour.
posted by theora55 at 11:23 AM on July 17, 2016

A simple recipe for cake like things.

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/3-1/2 cup (whatever sugar you like.)
1 tsp baking powder
(if you want chocolate you can put in 3 Tbsp of coacoa)
I like cinnamon, cardamon (not too much), ginger (not too much) in stuff like this.

Now mix the dry ingredients well, and add 1/4 cup olive oil, or more if the drys don't pill up or appear wetted.

Then make a well and add one egg, then keep handy either soy milk, or an acidic juice, or some yogurt, or buttermilk, or milk, but enough to make the batter drip from the big spoon you put it into muffin cups with.

Here is the beauty of this, you can add:

Orange juice concentrate for liquid and coconut, or pecans, or walnuts or whatever crumbly dry extra you want to give a certain character to this muffin.

You can add cranberry juice to wet and cranberries and almond slices.

You can add coffee and chocolate chips.

The basic recipe is a lattice to hold together whatever you want to make, in terms of flavor mixes leaning to what you like.

Bake at 350 degrees F until they rise and a knife comes out clean.
posted by Oyéah at 12:23 PM on July 17, 2016

I am a huge fan of Blue Sky Muffins and they may be something you can work with! Smitten Kitchen has a recipe for these fruit-filled wonders. Very low white sugar, and you could probably sub-out the white sugar for more brown or try coconut sugar mashed with a little applesauce or banana to ensure a good moisture ratio.

You can also sub-out the white flour - I've used gluten-free flours (with the adjustments for weight) and healthier flours with this as well. Just be aware of ratios.

There are some great suggestions from commenters on the recipe about making this vegan with success. (Soymilk + apple cider vinegar + flax egg) - I am not vegan, so I have always made this with the dairy additions.

What you get is a healthy-ish low-sugar muffin that has a ton of fruit.

Blue Sky Muffins c/o Smitten Kitchen

Just a note and a baking suggestion as someone who is a baker and worked in a bakery for many years making all sorts of muffins and other things - Taking sugar completely out of a baked good may affect its texture - so if you want to really remove all sugar (including brown or sugar substitutes) from a muffin, you may end up with a much more dense/dry final product. Replace sugar with equal parts of applesauce or mashed banana to reduce the dry/dense issue and increase the fruit. In the fall/winter, mashed pumpkin (or other sweet squash) is great too.

Best of luck in your muffin making endeavors!
posted by carmenghia at 4:21 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm not sure of the etiquette about reminding of the original request, but please keep in mind the OP asked for no sugar or white flour. Thanks.
posted by Frenchy67 at 5:09 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Muffins are very forgiving of substitutions. Don't be scared to experiment! This recipe should be made in a food processor. It calls for Agave syrup and maple syrup, but should be fine without the added syrup because of the orange and dates.
posted by Gor-ella at 7:25 AM on July 18, 2016

Response by poster: A month on, I'm back to say thank you I have enjoyed me some muffins! I've not gotten to gudrun's cereal bars, but they're next. I've made the sweet potato/almond flour muffins from lois1950 and the first batch came out really good! Bakers, I have much respect for you, it's not an easy gig. zinful's tip about not adding sugar to banana breads, and then adapting the recipe for muffin tins, was brilliant. I gave that a go and burnt a half dozen muffins, ate them anyway, and they were good. I will definitely keep trying til I get it right. The other recipes, people, nearly all have added sugar which is not a bad thing, but just wasn't what I was looking for **gives Frenchy67 the wink/nod** Who knows, though, I might give 'em a try. I appreciate everyone taking the time to hit me up with awesome recipes and ideas. Happy baking y'all!
posted by little_dog_laughing at 6:59 AM on August 20, 2016 [1 favorite]

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