Sunday, February 25, 2018
Health

Oats boost nutrition, taste of Hearty Blueberry-Banana Muffins

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.

But before you get out the muffin pan, let's tackle some of the issues we often run into when making muffins. Typically, the batter is made with white flour and a ton of fat and sugar. It's a delicious combination, but one that 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. I worried that oat flour might be hard to find, but I discovered that making your own is easy: Just pulverize the oats in a blender until smooth. I loved what the oats brought to the recipe besides fiber and nutrients, principally a sweeter and heartier flavor than wheat flour. They also made the muffins moister.

Thanks to the mashed banana, which contributed moisture of its own, this recipe for a dozen muffins required only 3 tablespoons of butter. Just make sure the banana is very ripe to get the most out of its flavor and natural sugars. I also substituted low-fat — and big-flavored — buttermilk for the full-fat milk usually called for.

Finally, I jacked up the pleasure quotient by adding lemon and cinnamon, which always pair up beautifully with blueberries, and conjured some crunch by topping the muffins with a little extra sugar.

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