Fruity Oat and Bran Muffins

I think about food a lot. And because of that, I will randomly say something when someone makes an innocuous comment. In a coffee shop, years ago, I was talking about the muffins. The person who worked there wished that the low fat muffins were softer. I open my mouth saying, “Yeah, I can do better.” So I proceeded to go home and create a near zero fat muffin, that’s also moist and delicious.
A lot of recipes simply straight swap oil or butter with applesauce. For moisture it’s ok, but not perfect. The sugar component of applesauce can make things a little more crumbly than it should be. Sugar has properties that can be harnessed, but there’s usually enough sugar in the recipe itself.
How does one add moisture without altering the sugar balance too much?
It’s gonna sound weird…
Roasted Eggplant Purée.
Ok, ok. It’s not so weird. My thought process was, zucchini makes muffins awesome, but it’s usually added by grating a bunch of it. I love zucchini muffins, but sometimes you just want the muffin to look like a regular muffin, not with little green threads throughout. So I turned to zucchini’s cousin the eggplant, roasted it into a smooth purée and texturally it goes in exactly like applesauce. I like both applesauce and roasted eggplant purée. They both add moisture in different ways. Applesauce adds an immediate moisture, while the moisture from the roasted eggplant keeps a lingering moisture.
I tend to try to keep some roasted eggplant purée in my fridge a lot. It makes putting together a recipe like this very easy.

For the Roasted Eggplant Purée:

300g/12 oz eggplant

For the Flax Eggs:

1-1/4 cups water
1 Tbsp flax seeds

For the Fruity Oat and Bran Muffin:

1-2/3 cups flour, sifted volume (I used a blend of red fife wheat and spelt flour)
3/4 cup large flake rolled oats
3/4 cup wheat bran
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2/3 cup applesauce
1/2 cup Roasted Eggplant Purée
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 Tbsp cold pressed camelina oil
2/3 cup Flax Eggs
1 cup dried fruit (it can be just raisins, but I used dried cherries and dried strawberries)

Preheat oven to 190C/375F. Line a regular muffin pan with paper muffin liners.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, oats, bran, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and dried fruit. In a medium bowl, whisk together the applesauce, Roasted Eggplant Purée, maple syrup, oil and Flax Eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir gently until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Do not overmix or the batter will become tough. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan.
Bake for 15-17 minutes or until you poke it with a skewer and the skewer is clean, not wet from the interior batter. Allow to cool in the pan for at least ten minutes after taking out of the oven. Makes 12 muffins.


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