Monday, January 28, 2008

ARF / 5-A-Day: NOT George Brown Bran Muffins!

Well, Week 3 at George Brown brought us two projects: Bran Muffins and Tea Biscuits. We definitely had a good time with these two recipes, especially a few choice comments over the appearance of the muffin batter when we used piping bags to dispense it into the muffin cups! I guess a note to the faculty of the college though would be that bran muffins don't really go over well with the students in the class as far as the eating of them... most groups were debating over who didn't have to take home more of the muffins! The only minor glitch in our class was when we came to making the tea biscuits. Somehow through the mixing process my partner and I neglected to add the leavening agents, resulting in flat, pale and rock-hard hockey pucks. We binned them after a taste test proved them kind of gross, even though my dad later suggested that I should have donated them to the Toronto Maple Leafs for practice. Actually, come to think of it, I should have given the muffins away to the Food Bank, which would have been a batter use of the ingredients. Where are all the homeless people in Toronto when you need them? (Note: I do NOT wish the plight of homelessness on anyone!)

So what about these decadent-looking, clearly nut and bran filled muffins is so ominous anyway? Well, they had better look better than Cindy Crawford, considering what went in them! Each one of these regular-sized muffins is not exactly a blessing to those on a health-kick, even though they contain the ever-sought-after fibre that the TV commercials for cereal laud about. Check out the breakdown for these bad boys:

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 322.3
Total Fat: 16.6 g
Saturated Fat: 1.9 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 10.6 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 3.2 g
Cholesterol: 23.8 mg
Sodium: 51.1 mg
Potassium: 207.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate: 41.0 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.0 g
Sugars: 1.2 g
Protein: 5.3 g

Unfortunately, I can't tell you what exactly goes in them (darn those copyright laws) but I can tell you that there is a significant amount of oil in them, and not realllllly all that much bran. Silly marketing execs, making us think bran muffins are healthy! (Of course, if you saunter over here, you'll find my actually decent-for-you cranberry blueberry bran muffins!)

OK, so enough about the bad stuff. I do have a pretty (and tasty) "mini" recipe for Sweetnick's ARF / 5-A-Day roundup that was baked as well, and though it is intended for two to share, your thighs won't kill you if you have to down it all at once! This is a colourful, fibre-filled miniature loaf that includes all the good stuff: veggies, maple syrup, oats, apple cider vinegar and ginger! Delicious and variable, you can throw in anything that you have lying around with the grated veggies, I'm sure - mashed banana, grated apple, orange zest, or berries!

Rainbow Maple-Ginger Mini Loaf
Serves 2
1/3 cup whole wheat flour
3 tbsp oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 small zucchini, shredded
1/4 large carrot, shredded
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp maple syrup
3 tbsp low-fat sour cream
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F. Grease a mini-loaf pan.
  2. Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Whisk together wet ingredients, including grated vegetables and ginger.
  4. Fold into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix.
  5. Bake 25 minutes, turn out immediately and cool on wire rack.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 187.3
Total Fat: 3.3 g
Cholesterol: 8.8 mg
Sodium: 55.3 mg
Total Carbs: 37.5 g
Dietary Fiber: 2.8 g
Protein: 3.8 g

By the way, if you want any pointers on the components of baking, and how to make them healthier and more nutritious (not necessarily lower-fat), check out my seminar notes, which I've posted here. Happy baking!