Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Indulge in healthier blueberry muffins

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RIPE, plentiful blueberries are such a highlight of summer that some of us are prone to getting the blueberry blues during the rest of the year.

Happily, imported and frozen blueberries make it easy to enjoy them all the time. In fact, if you're really on your game, you can pick extra now and freeze them for later.

First, let's tackle some issues we run into when making muffins. Typically, the batter is made with white flour and a ton of fat and sugar, which makes blueberry muffins more an indulgence than a healthy choice.

It was easy to swap some of the white flour with whole wheat, but I also added oat flour to the mix. If you can't find it in stores, making your own is easy; just pulverize the oats in a blender until smooth. Besides lots of fibre and nutrients oats bring a sweeter and heartier flavour than wheat flour. They also made the muffins moister.

Thanks to the moist mashed banana, this recipe for a requires only 3 tablespoons of butter. Just make sure the banana is very ripe to get the most out of its flavour and natural sugars. I also substituted low-fat -- and big-flavoured -- buttermilk for the full-fat milk usually called for.

Considering that this recipe requires only 25 minutes of hands-on time, you might frequently find yourself whipping up batches of blueberry muffins in the dead of winter. They are sure to banish those blueberry blues.

Hearty Blueberry-Banana Muffins

250 ml (1 cup) oat flour (made by pulverizing 250 ml (1 cup) plus 45 ml (3 tbsp) old-fashioned oatmeal in a blender or processor until smooth)

180 ml (3/4 cup) plus 30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour, divided

125 ml (1/2 cup) white whole-wheat flour

80 ml (1/3 cup) packed brown sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) baking powder

5 ml (1 tsp) baking soda

1 l (1/4 tsp) table salt

10 ml (2 tsp) lemon zest

5 ml (1 tsp) cinnamon

1 small very ripe banana, mashed (about 60 ml / 1/4 cup)

180 ml (3/4 cup) buttermilk

1 large egg, lightly beaten

45 ml (3 tbsp) unsalted butter, melted

310 ml (1 1/4 cups) frozen blueberries

30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar

Heat the oven to 350 F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners or coat it with baking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the oat flour, 180 ml (3/4 cup) of the all-purpose flour, the white whole-wheat flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, lemon zest and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, combine the banana with the buttermilk, egg and butter. Mix well. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until they are just combined.

In a medium bowl toss the blueberries with the remaining 30 ml (2 tbsp) all-purpose flour, then transfer them to a strainer and shake off the excess flour. Add the blueberries to the batter and gently fold them in.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan. The batter should be slightly mounded above the edge. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the tops of the batter, then bake on the oven's middle shelf for 20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted at the centre of the muffins comes out clean. Let the muffins rest, in the pan, for 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 12 muffins.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 27, 2014 C5

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