How to Make Healthy Muffins that Actually Taste Good

clean eating. whole grain, real food, kid friendly, gluten-free, make-ahead, homemade

Healthy muffins that taste good you say?  Yes. I mean the kind you can feel good about feeding your kids for breakfast or snack (and sometimes lunch or dinner). These ones are basically a full meal packed into one tiny, durable package.

Better yet, they meet my criteria for great make-ahead AND freezer-friendly meals. Check it out:

  • The dry mix can be made ahead and stored in big batches
  • The muffins can be made ahead and will keep up to 5 days on the counter
  • AND any extras store great in the freezer for up to 6 months

Want to know more about make-ahead and freezer friendly food? Check it out here.

Want to know about this magical muffin recipe? Continue below.

The Story Behind the Muffin Mix

I am not a baker. Mostly because I have an inability to measure accurately and follow recipes. If you’ve ever baked you know that these happen to be the two most important first steps to baking something delicious. So when I discovered Michael Ruhlman and his book Ratio I was floored by the concept that instead of having a strict recipe to follow I could just take his ratio guidelines and compose and flavor things the way I liked.

Without going into all of the details, the basic concept is this: Most food can be distilled to basic ratios (even simpler than recipes) and in this book Ruhlman shares “the simple codes behind the craft of everyday cooking”.  He goes on to explain:

Ratios is one of the greatest cooking lessons there is. Again, technique is a fundamental part of the equation, but ratios open up worlds. They turn once complicated procedures, like cake making or bread baking, into simple pleasures. They allow you to close the book and cook as you with. They free you.

Blah blah blah. I share all of this because I want you to understand that what I share here is a template – my creation, based on Ruhlman’s ratio – for muffins that are wholesome, nutritious, and delicious. Most importantly it is just that; a template that you can use to create muffins of different flavors and varieties for you and your family.

clean eating. whole grain, real food, kid friendly, gluten-free, make-ahead, homemade

Make Your Own Healthy Muffin Mix

In case you’re interested (and still following along) Ruhlman’s recommended ratio for muffins is:

2 parts flour : 2 parts liquid : 1 part egg : 1 part butter (all measured by weight)

I took this and ran with it knowing that I wanted a recipe that was:

  • 100% whole grain
  • Allergen-friendly
  • Sweetened with natural sugars
  • Flexible to suit different tastes

 

healthy muffin mix in jar

 

Ready? Here’s the recipe for the dry mix:

Healthy, Whole Grain Muffin Mix

Ingredients

  • 2 cups oat flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp coconut sugar, date sugar, or Sucanat
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup alternative milk (almond, coconut), milk, or water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup applesauce OR 1/3 cup + 2 Tbsp canned pumpkin OR 1 stick butter, melted OR 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • Up to 1 cup mix-ins (see below for suggestions)

Instructions

  1. Mix together well to combine. Store in a large jar or mix with wet ingredients and bake right away!
  2. When you're ready to make the muffins:
  3. Preheat oven to 350° F
  4. Combine the milk, eggs, and fat (or fat replacement like applesauce or pumpkin) and whisk together until well combined. Stir in the dry ingredients. Add mix-ins and give it a quick stir.
  5. Spoon into muffin tins or a loaf pan. These will take about 20 min for mini muffins, 30 min for regular muffins, and 50 minutes for a loaf. Stick a knife or toothpick in to check that they're baked all the way through before removing.
http://cookingwithafullplate.com/make-healthy-muffins-taste-good/

Some notes on the ingredients:

  • Oat Flour: I love this as an easy to work with gluten-free option. Buy gluten-free oats and blend in a blender or food processor until the texture of a fine flour. You can sometimes also find oat flour at specialty stores, but it’s much cheaper to make it yourself.
  • Coconut sugar, date sugar, and Sucanat: These are some of my favorite natural gratulated sugars that work well in baked goods but also still contain lots of the good nutrients thanks to their less-processed nature.
  • Choosing your fat: Since this recipe is originally based on weight, you’ll need slightly different volumes of fat or fat replacers depending on what you choose. Any butter or oil will be about a 1/2 cup melted. If you prefer applesauce for a lower fat, lower calorie option you’ll need less and the same with pumpkin (perfect for fall!) which will require a touch more than the applesauce since it’s not as liquidy.

Make Your Own Healthy Muffins

Now that you have the basic recipe, you’re ready to make great tasting, healthy muffins that your family will love!

A few rules for success:

  • Add lots of seasonings – we love cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla
  • Add up to 1 cup of mix-ins – any more than that and you run the risk of the muffins falling apart. Chocolate chips, nuts, and raisins are all good options here. Below you’ll see I’ve also included an option for adding some veggies. Grated zucchini worked well but I don’t see why carrots wouldn’t work well also!
  • Don’t tweak too many things at once!
Healthy Zucchini Apple Muffins

clean eating. whole grain, homemade, muffins, kid friendly, make-ahead, gluten-free

APPLE ZUCCHINI MUFFINS

2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp date sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Already pre-made the mix? Just mix together the ingredients below and then stir the dry mix in!
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup applesauce
3/4 cup shredded zucchini

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well (flour through baking powder).

Stir together the remaining ingredients, not including the zucchini. Add dry ingredients and mix together. Add zucchini and stir until just combined.  Spoon into muffin tin or loaf pan.

Bake in oven until cooked in the middle. This usually takes about 20 minutes for mini muffins, 30 minutes for regular muffins, and 50 minutes for a loaf.

PUMPKIN CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS

2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Sucanat
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
Already pre-made the mix? Just mix together the ingredients below and then stir the dry mix in!
1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
1 cup almond milk
2 eggs
1/3 + 2 Tbsp cup pumpkin puree
3/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Combine the dry ingredients and mix well (flour through baking powder).

Stir together the remaining ingredients, not including the chocolate chips. Add dry ingredients and mix together. Add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.  Spoon into muffin tin or loaf pan.

Bake in oven until cooked in the middle. This usually takes about 20 minutes for mini muffins, 30 minutes for regular muffins, and 50 minutes for a loaf.

Make-Ahead:

  • Make the dry mix up to 6 months ahead of time and store in a sealed container
  • Make the muffins up to 1 week ahead of time and store in a sealed container in the fridge

Freezer:

  • Make the muffins up to 6 months ahead of time and store in a sealed container in the freezer. To defrost, remove from the freezer the night before you want to eat them or heat in the microwave in 20 second increments.  (I store ours in the freezer and then add them as a treat to school lunches the night before!)

 What kind of muffins do you love to make? How might you customize this recipe?

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