How do begin your mornings? With a hot latte and The New York Times? A bowl of honey nut Cheerios with sliced banana? By hitting the snooze button?

I usually start the day racing around my kitchen banging together a tasty (and hopefully nutritious) lunch. Then I pop some bread in the toaster, slather it with peanut butter (not while in the toaster – that would just be silly), and run out the door with a mug of milk in one hand and my toast in the other. This is usually when I freak out and run back inside, thinking I’ve left my hair straightener on.

We all have our morning breakfast traditions. However, I have recently come to the conclusion that these traditions can quickly turn into ruts from which it is very hard to climb out of no matter how sick and tired we are of, say, peanut butter toast and a mug of milk. Don’t get me wrong…I love me some PB toast, just not every day for 3 months.

Are you feeling the same way readers? Do you need to add some spice to your breakfast table/car dashboard? Yes?

Then lets bake a few muffins!

Muffins, I have learned, are an excellent breakfast choice not only because the flavor options are virtually limitless but because you can make a ton, freeze them, and take them out one at a time to defrost overnight for your breakfast enjoyment.

The muffin is also easy to mold toward your “I’m going to eat healthy this year gosh darn it” goals. For example, does your recipe call for oil? Just substitute apple sauce. It saves calories and gives you a boost of fruit. Want to fill up fast? Add oat bran for fiber. It will keep you fuller longer and help stave off mid-morning snack cravings. Feel the need for a little multi-grain goodness? Use whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose in any recipe. Whole grains give you energy, are heart healthy and supply you with an extra dose of antioxidants.

My sudden muffin craving led me to the internet, where I discovered two wonderful varieties: mango coconut and whole wheat sour cream apple. I tweaked the recipes just a bit to cater toward a) what I had on hand, and b) my own taste preferences.

The mango coconut recipe (originally a cake) comes to us from Stella at Witchy Kitchen. This is a delightful early spring dish and also a great excuse to snag one of those imported mangoes from the grocery store! We just happened to have one laying around in the fruit basket here at home. How convenient! It’s also easy to make muffins with. Just pop the batter into a muffin tray and bake for 20 minutes at 35o.

The end-result muffin is delicately sweet with pops of fresh, juicy mango throughout. Throw the recommended ground ginger in for a spicy kick – it brings this muffin to a whole different level and provides some heat!

The whole wheat sour cream apple variety I found at Pinch My Salt. I performed a little substitution with this one – cranberries for the dates and applesauce for the oil. The result was an incredibly moist muffin, which I think is an essential characteristic for anything involving the word “bran.”

 As a result of the recent muffin explosion in my kitchen, I now possess a full supply of breakfast goodies, which should last me at least through next week so long as certain someones I co-habitate with don’t eat them first! I’m already getting excited for the next few batches…cinnamon papaya? lemon blueberry? cardamom? Oh the possibilities!

What’s your favorite muffin flavor?

~Britt

Mango coconut muffins
Adapted from Witchy Kitchen

You will need:
1 1/4 cups of all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1/2 mango (cut into dime size cubes or chunks)
3/4 cup milk (soy milk works well also)
1/3 cup applesauce
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
flaked coconut for topping

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees & grease a 12 cup muffin tray.

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and ginger. Mix thoroughly and create a well in the center. Place the milk, applesauce, mango, and vanilla in the well and mix gently till homogeneous.

Pour into prepared baking pan and top with coconut.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean.

Yield ~ 11 muffins (I’m sure you can get 12 out of this – my batter dividing skills aren’t quite up to par…)


Whole wheat apple cranberry bran muffins
Adapted from Pinch My Salt

You will need:
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup oat bran
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup sour cream, at room temp.
1/3 cup applesauce
2 eggs
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 granny smith apple (or your favorite type of baking apple), peeled and diced
1/2 cup dried cranberries
cinnamon and sugar mixture (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together sour cream, oil, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in apples and cranberries.

Divide batter between the twelve muffin cups (a regular-sized ice cream scoop works well). Sprinkle tops of muffins with a mixture of cinnamon and sugar if desired.

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Yield ~ 12 muffins

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