Call me crazy, but for about two weeks now, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about muffins.
I know. I’m sure there are more productive ways to use your brain power, but for some reasons, muffins just wouldn’t quit.
It all started when I received a Women’s Health Daily email newsletter that touted six healthy muffin recipes after the jump. Muffins – healthy? Maybe I have a hard time wrapping my head around this because whenever I think about muffins, I picture those giant blueberry crumb muffins that always fix me with their minxy, seductive stares from within the Starbucks pastry case, just beyond the sign that reads 400 calories and infinity grams of fat. Getting the occasional free Starbucks muffin was one of the greatest perks of the month I spent working there, and forever more will they be the decadent standard to which all other muffins must live up to.
So you see, this whole healthy muffin madness didn’t make all that much sense to me. I didn’t really buy that these Women’s Health muffins could taste like anything more than glorified packing peanuts, and so I went about my life and forgot all about them.
But then, whilst perusing some springtime menus on Epicurious, I once again came face to face with a healthy muffin recipe. Twice in one week? This time, I stopped dead in my tracks. Epicurious, in my mind, is a fairly reliable source. It’s recipes come from well-regarded food magazines, where professional recipe developers spend painstaking hours perfecting their recipes until they are just right and nearly impossible for any home cook to mess up (at least, that’s how my fantasy goes). And when Epicurious told me that a delicious ginger-pumpkin muffin could be all mine for just 200 calories, and 41 other readers had corroborated this via their own review, well, it was on.
This is probably a good time to mention that I don’t actually own a muffin tin.
For those who are shocked, appalled, and disappointed, let me reassure you this is a solvable problem. Sure, muffins are great. Phenomenal, even. As everyone who’s ever seen a Seinfeld episode or eaten a muffin can vouch, muffin tops are quite frankly one of the best damn members of the carb family.
But, you know, bread isn’t too bad either.
What I do own (read: Cara owns) is a loaf pan. A 9″ x 5″ tin that gets the job done. So when I saw this recipe and immediately fell head over heels for it, there was no need to turn back. I plowed full steam ahead into the wonderful world of “un-muffins”!
In essence, it’s the difference between going out on a date with a boy in a three-piece suit, or one in jeans and a button down. As we all know, looks aren’t everything, and at the end of the night it’s all going to come down to enjoyment and personality.
Joy + personality = Pumpkin Ginger “Un-Muffins.” Let’s do this.
Pumpkin-Ginger “Un-Muffins” – makes 16 muffins or one 5″ x 9″ loaf
- 5 1/2 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 tablespoon of grated or minced ginger
- 2 tablespoons brandy
- 1 cup sifted unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup sifted whole wheat flour
- 1 tablespoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie or cake spice
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons canned pumpkin
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons skim milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 large egg
- 3/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons (packed) golden brown sugar
- 1/2 cup light golden honey
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
Start by preheating your oven (set to 325°F for a loaf, and 375°F for muffins). If you’re opting to make muffins, god bless you, and line sixteen 1/3-cup muffin cups with paper liners. Then mix 2 1/2 tablespoons crystallized ginger, raisins, grated ginger and brandy in small bowl.
Combine your dry ingredients by sifting the whole wheat and AP flour, ground ginger, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt into medium bowl. In another small bowl, whisk pumpkin puree, milk and vanilla together. In a much larger bowl (this will be used to combine everything) beat egg whites and egg until foamy using an electic mixer. To the beaten eggs, add 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar; beat until light and frothy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the honey and oil until well combined.
Then add in the dry ingredients and pumpkin mixture, alternating back and forth between each type in 3 additions each. Mix until smooth, and then stir in the raisin-brandy mixture.
If making muffins, divide batter among prepared muffin cups. If not, grease your 9″ x 5″ loaf pan with butter or cooking spray, and pour batter in. Mix 3 tablespoons crystallized ginger and 1 tablespoon brown sugar in small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over the muffins or loaf.
Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean; for muffins, about 25 minutes; for a loaf, about 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool on rack. Then stuff your face.
And the best part? 1 muffin (or a 1/16th-sized slice of the loaf, which is a 4″ x 2.5″ x 1.25″ slice) is only 195 calories, 4 grams of fat, and 2 grams of fiber. While that was enough to satisfy me, I got this rave review from my roommate, Cara:
“I had one of your slices of muffin bread for breakfast. Sooooo good… It was definitely really hearty and lasted in my belly for a while!”
S0 there ya have it – a non-empty calorie, actually filling and nutritious muffin (bread)! Great as part of a perfectly balanced breakfast, or to replace your daily on-the-go granola bar. Take that, Starbucks!