Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Fruit Explosion Muffins

Being the good Canuck that I am, I've had my share of trips to Tim Hortons. If you don't know Tims, it's the Canadian answer to Dunkin Donuts or Krispy Kreme, but better. For one, their coffee beats out both of those US chains' (though in my opinion Second Cup here in Ontario is still far above them all) - and given our generally cooler climate we need our coffee year round! The other thing Timmies built their name on is their baked goods, especially their doughnuts, but their muffins were something special too. Now the chain is not so "always fresh" with their baking, but if you ask anyone in my family if they'd like something with their coffee or tea chances are you'll get a response in the affirmative.

For the longest time the Fruit Explosion muffin was the hit item with my family. It even beat out chocolate chip for me, which was a huge deal and even though it totally wasn't a nutritious Godsend, the fact that it had "fruit" in the name made it feel like a healthy choice! When I started to care about the food I was eating and what it was doing to my body, I just couldn't justify the regular intake of my beloved muffins, especially since the "fruit" is suspect (the blueberries in most blueberry bagels are actually either dried and rehydrated in apple juice or dyed, flavoured dried apple bits) and the pie-filling "explosion" is not overly fruitful. Couple that with essentially vanilla cake batter and the results are delicious dessert, but not breakfast or a coffee-break snack.

When I became aware that my Grandma wasn't eating regular or balanced meals after my grandfather passed, I knew that simply telling her to eat wasn't going to do the trick. Not having her driver's license, she couldn't go to the grocery store or even to get take out on her own, and she just wasn't in the mood to cook for one. Rather than recommend a meal replacement shake or protein powder for her instead, I wanted to bring back her joy of eating, and eventually, cooking, by giving her a familiar flavour combination secretly packed with the nutrients she needed.

First, I used real, unsweetened IQF blueberries and raspberries in Grandma's Fruit Explosions, and added tofu, applesauce, whey protein, and buttermilk powder. The dry mixture got a hefty dose of whole wheat pastry flour and oat bran, and a touch of sweet flavour was added with caramel flavoured stevia and a touch of nutmeg. A home-dried apple ring half crowned each jumbo muffin and, once cooled, I filled them with my vegan strawberry curd (again, any of my sweet "Toast Toppers" will work!). The batch was definitely well recieved and enjoyed, and while it's still not a dietitian's dream recipe, it's homemade and honest, not to mention even Grandma can pronounce the ingredient list!

I scaled the whole recipe by weight so that I could always stay consistent in my results, especially since I know I'll be making these again soon. If you don't have a scale, I'm sorry! You can use this conversion calculator, but really - pick up a $5 - $10 scale if you bake at all. It will change how you approach the craft!

Fruit Explosion Muffins
Makes 6 jumbo muffins
6 oz flour
6 oz whole wheat pastry flour
1 oz oat bran
1 oz whey isolate protein powder (optional, included in NI)
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 packet caramel flavoured stevia (optional)
2 tbsp buttermilk powder
pinch sea salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
3 tbsp applesauce
1 tbsp vanilla
75 grams silken tofu, pureed
3/4 cup water
2/3 cup fresh (or frozen, unthawed) blueberries
2/3 cup fresh (or frozen, unthawed) raspberries
3 dried apple rings, cut in half and soaked in hot water
3 tbsp vegan strawberry curd or 100% fruit strawberry jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 375F and grease 6 jumbo muffin cups.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flours, oat bran, whey powder (if using), baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, buttermilk powder and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together the sugars, oil, applesauce, vanilla, tofu and water. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until blended. Fold in the berries.
  4. Portion into the muffin cups and top each with a dried apple ring half.
  5. Bake for 10 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake 12 minutes longer.
  6. Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then unmould onto a wire rack and cool completely.
  7. Using a piping bag fitted with a Bismarck (doughnut filling) tip, fill each muffin with about 1/2 tbsp of curd.
  8. Muffins can be frozen filled or unfilled.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 463.7
Total Fat: 12.1 g
Cholesterol: 1.7 mg
Sodium: 40.7 mg
Total Carbs: 79.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 6.3 g
Protein: 13.7 g

1 comment :

Miranda @ Mangoes and Chutney said...

Anything with tons of fruit gets my vote for nutrition!