High in fiber? Check!
Low in sugar? Check!
Still worth baking and eating? Check and double check!!
If you love eating desserts but are concerned about your sugar intake, you are going to find Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang, the subject of today's post, and creator of these terrific but low sugar blueberry bran muffins, indescribably sweet! Pun intended!!
If you've been following the blog for a while you may know that I have a thing for Joanne and her Flour cookbooks and bakery of the same name. I've featured her Oatmeal Maple Pecan Scones, Old-fashioned Pineapple Upside Down Cake, Sweet, Salty, Seedy Granola, Homemade Oreos, and Morning Power Muffins and there are many of her other sweet and decadent things I've made that I haven't even posted yet, like her amazing banana bread and Chunky Lola cookies--sorry!. This new cookbook of hers takes a different and slightly more sensible (at least on a daily basis) approach--in it Joanne recreates many of her favorite desserts using less sugar and substituting natural sugar sources like fruit, honey and maple syrup for refined products like cane sugar and corn syrup without sacrificing flavor or texture. There are recipes for chocolate mousse, all different sorts of pies, sticky toffee pudding, brownies, cookies, cakes--even her amazing banana bread (that's still amazing despite the cut-down sugar). Now, mind you, it's not a diet book--she uses plenty of butter and cream but you see how great the traditional desserts we eat can be with much of the sugar cut or replaced. Take for example, these blueberry muffins (and I really wish all of you could take one right now--they're so good!) that are made with only 1/3 cup of sugar for the entire batch! The rest of the sweetness comes from the insane amount of berries each muffin is packed with. Do they taste healthy? Absolutely, but in the best way possible. They let you start the day with a yummy treat without feeling like you've completely blown all those good healthy intentions. I don't know about you, but whenever I eat a sugary breakfast, I might as well kiss any further self-restraint for the rest of the day goodbye!
One thing I especially love are the oversized crunchy tops of these muffins which you achieve by filling the muffin cups almost to overflowing!
The muffins are hearty and wholesome tasting with blueberries in every bite! They disappeared quickly from my kitchen and I felt good about serving them for breakfast because not only are they low in sugar and filled with fruit, but they're pretty high in fiber too! Now, if somebody plays their cards right, they might just wake up to a fresh batch of these on Father's Day morning!! Have a great weekend everyone, get familiar with all things Joanne Chang (I promise you that you won't regret it) and Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!
Baking with Less Sugar's Blueberry Bran Muffins-Famous Fridays
Makes 12 muffins
Prep Time: 15 minutes; Bake Time: 35-45 minutes
1 3/4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup wheat bran (Bob's Red Mill is what I used)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup (I stick) unsalted butter, melted but cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature
3/4 cup créme fraiche, room temperature (you can use sour cream too, but it's better with the créme fraiche)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (you can use frozen too but don't defrost and again these are better with fresh berries)
1. Make sure the rack is in the center of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners or butter and flour the molds. Set aside.
2. Into a large bowl, stir together the flour, wheat bran, cinnamon, baking powder and soda and salt. In a separate medium-sized bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, melted and cooled butter, milk, créme fraiche and vanilla together well. Pour the mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together carefully, using a rubber spatula, just until you can't see any traces of the flour mixture. You don't want to over mix. Gently fold in the blueberries.
3. Fill the muffin cups to almost overflowing and smooth the tops. Don't worry if it seems too much--it's the right amount. Bake for 35-45 minutes until the muffins look golden brown and the tops spring back when you press them in the center. You can also use a toothpick to test these out, making sure it comes out clean.
4. Let the muffins cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes and then remove them from the pan to finish cooling on the rack entirely. Serve that day or store at room temperature in an airtight container for 2-3 days. Or freeze them, individually and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap for up to a week. Do not defrost--heat them frozen in a 300ºF oven for about 10 minutes. You can also make the muffin batter the night before and store it well covered in the refrigerator overnight to bake first thing in the morning.
Note: Recipe adapted from Baking with Less Sugar by Joanne Chang.