Blueberry muffins with carbalose flour

These were adapted from a Carbquik recipe by Chef Gregory Pryor. They taste a little like pancakes and that’s just awesome. Another Poon-friendly treat.

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Ingredients:

  • 250 g Carbuik
  • ⅔ cup almond milk, unsweetened
  • ½ cup to ¾ cup water, enough to make the batter goopy
  • 2 tbsp powdered Splenda
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup frozen blueberries

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 204°c / 400°f.
  2. Place muffin liners into muffin cups.
  3. Stir all ingredients together until combined, then add berries.
  4. Bake 16-20 min.

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Verdict:

I enjoyed these. The flavour reminds me of blueberry pancakes, win! Peeling the liners off was difficult, they were much easier to handle the next day. My next baking goal is to experiment with other types of sweeteners and see if they are better to work with compared to Splenda.

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Patty’s vegan muffins 2.0

This is the same recipe as the first vegan muffins with two minor additions. They turned out great for a healthy and delicious breakfast.

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I used the organic lemon extract I purchased at The Spice Trader, and added ground cinnamon. These were so good fresh out of the oven, Boyfriend Unit just woke up as they finished and we ate them for breakfast. The smelled so amazing.

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Success! Healthy muffins experiment # 4

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Very pleased to report the 4th experiment was a huge success!  I came up with a healthier alternative to a traditional blueberry muffin, and it tastes like a blueberry muffin.  It’s really good!  At this point I don’t even notice the odd colour.  I see one and think “delicious muffin get in my mouth”.

Thanks to Calorie Count I have the nutritional data again, and I notice the sodium is still fairly high, based purely on using baking soda.  No other ingredient has salt.  I want research further into leavening agents to see if anything can be done about that.

Just how healthy awesome is this muffin?

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The flavour not was sacrificed in the name of nutrition, to make this just required opening my mind to some new ingredients and getting more creative.  I compared my muffin to what you can buy at two popular fast food chains:

mcdonalds muffin

McDonald’s blueberry muffin

That is a lot of calories!  The salt in the next one is even more insane!

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Tim Horton’s blueberry muffin

After reading those charts, I’m even more excited about my muffins!  I learned a lot by experimenting to make a healthier muffin.  If you try this recipe, I suggest adding a little more water, my batter was very thick.

The spelt flour came from the Bulk Barn, and they have two types of spelt, the stone-ground spelt has way more calories (ha ha, get it?) than the sprouted spelt.  I used sprouted spelt.  I’m going to check what other brands are available locally though since there seems to be a big difference in the numbers of the flour.

Time required: 30 min

Yields: 12

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $45 ish

Cost per muffin: 52 cents

Ingredients:

  • 230 g frozen blueberries
  • 188 g organic sprouted spelt flour
  • 63 g egg whites
  • 60 g organic, unrefined red palm oil
  • 50 g Splenda granulated sucralose
  • 5 g baking soda
  • 4 oz water
  • 4 g pure vanilla extract, Lorann Madagascar Bourbon

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Instructions:

1.Grease the muffin tin.  (Grease it really well because mine stuck badly.)

2.Combine all of the wet ingredients (except the berries) with the Splenda.

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Something really awesome about baking by weight is that I used way less dishes!  All I needed to do was sit the mixing bowl on my scale, and add each ingredient one at a time until the desired weight. So easy!

3.Measure out the dry ingredients and add them to wet, gradually.

4.Stir in fruit and spoon into tray. They are an… alarming colour I’ve begun to refer to as “blinding chartreuse”.

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The batter was very thick.

5.Bake 20 min.

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6.Remove from tray immediately.

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So happy!

Verdict:

They tasted great!  We tried them with breakfast when they were fresh from the oven, and they were amazing.  However the real test of a muffin is once it’s cooled down.  I’ve yet to eat a baked good straight out of the oven that tasted bad.  These muffins were still very tasty once they cooled completely.

Boyfriend Unit says, “They’re delicious. Better eaten warm.  But still delicious.”

Once the muffins cooled the texture got crumbly. I believe this is caused by the spelt flour.  Future baking plans include looking into correcting the crumbliness, lowering the sodium content in the leavener, and find a flour with less calories.

Playlist: Walk the Moon – Shut up and dance

Healthier muffins experiment # 2

This weekend marked the beginning of my blog’s transformation into a healthier way to enjoy desserts.  Yes!  Let us eat more desserts, and more often!  I tried those elusive muffins again and got much better results.  Am still making some modifications and excited for batch # 3.

I intentionally overstir batter for the colour bleed.  Blue muffins for days!

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My motivation to make this change towards healthier desserts is three-fold.

  1. I refuse to entertain the notion of a sad, soulless existence of healthy eating without dessert.  What good is eating better food if you cannot enjoy the extra deliciousness of a good dessert?
  2. I’ve baked with traditional ingredients solely because that is what I’m used to.  I grew up in a family that stocked granulated sugar, table salt, all-purpose white flour, et cet.  Now that I am a responsible adult and no longer shackled by somebody else’s grocery decisions, it is time to make the switch!  Belatedly.
  3. Theoretically… if one can reduce the nutritional impact of a dessert by 50%, one can then enjoy that dessert twice as much without remorse!

Alright. Fine.

It’s more about recognizing that desserts are okay in moderation, and desserts become even more okay (transcendence!) if you reduce the nutritional impact they have on your health.   If I can make reductions to the Nefarious Hexad™ (calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbs, and sugar) that I eat on a daily basis, I will.

Yesterday I wrote about substitutions and the benefits of baking with sucralose and half salt instead of sugar and table salt.  Before doing anymore baking, I spent a few hours converting some recipes into grams and fluid ounces.  In the past month I’ve gotten into the habit of weighing food for meals and cooking, so carrying it over to baking was easy.

Then it was time for round 2 of muffins.  Along with using sucralose and half salt again, I used two egg whites instead of a whole egg.  Used the amazing ingredient analyser on Calorie Count, I confirmed that the nutrition content improved significantly, except for one thing:

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Sodium went up.  Cholesterol did not change.  And everything else went down.  The change in salt caught me by surprise, I didn’t realize egg whites have so much salt.  Hmm.  What to do.

I’m thinking one or two small changes before I’m finished.  Then it’s recipe posting time.

Boyfriend Unit tested a muffin from each batch, the 2nd batch is pictured below:

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He said 1st batch is good, but agreed it was overdone.  He said the 2nd batch seemed exactly like normal muffins to him, they taste better than 1st batch, but he detected a faint aftertaste of something.

I found the muffins slightly too sweet but as I chewed, I began to second guess myself.  Is it really too sweet, or do I just think it’s too sweet because I’ve always thought artificial sweeteners were extra sweet tasting?

And then the strangest thing happened.  Within a minute of finishing the muffin, I noticed the aftertaste too.  It was just like what happens when you stir a package of Crystal Light into water, when suddenly you can taste the powder from inhaling as you stir.

Hmm.  I can live with an aftertaste for the sake of a healthier muffin.  The aftertaste wasn’t gross, but it was strange, and I’d like it gone.  Why does sucralose leave an aftertaste?  More research is needed.  For Science.

Hit me up with ingredient substitutions you use in baking.

Blueberry muf… blueberry parts

It’s a well-documented fact that any and all attempts of mine to make banana bread end poorly.  I had given up on making banana bread completely, until New Years day.

My friend had made banana muffins for breakfast, and they blew my mind. They were so delicious, just like banana bread. But not a loaf.  Last night I made them, and they turned out great.

“That’s it!”, I said to Boyfriend. “I am never making banana bread again. From now on it’s muffins.”

He was okay with this proclamation since he would still get to eat them.

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This morning I wanted to make blueberry muffins as I have company later for tea.  I called up my mom to clarify a measurement in the recipe, and got to work. They looked so good.

Until I tried to remove them from the pan and realized I had forgotten just one thing.

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Greasing the pan. Is apparently really important. Sigh.

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Blueberry jam

Last week my sister M taught me how to make blueberry jam, the same way Grandma taught her. Am feeling very proud of myself, and my jam!

Time required: 2 days (1 hour of actual work, needs to set overnight)

Yields: six 250 mL jars of jam, or 7 cups of jam

Total cost if you have none of the tools and ingredients: about $80.00 since making jam requires an initial investment to purchase the equipment. Everything you need can be purchased online at Golda’s Kitchen, they sell the Bernardin canning starter kit for $67.25 which contains:

  • waterbath canner
  • canning rack
  • jar lifter
  • funnel
  • magnetic lid lifter
  • bubble remover/headspace gauge
  • 4 mason jars with rings & lids
  • pectin
  • how-to canning DVD

FYI: The jars and rings can be re-used, but the lids cannot be. A 12-pack of lids costs $3.50, and you can also get extra jars and rings for a fairly cheap price.

To put the cost in perspective, once you have the equipment, to keep going you’ll need to keep buying white sugar, fruit, and the pectin which is $2.25 per package. The actual cost per jar is around $2-$3 which is amazing considering you can make DELICIOUS HOMEMADE JAM whenever you want.

Before you get started:

You don’t want to poison your nearest and dearest so listen up. Part of canning is learning how to properly seal the jar. If you screw this up your preserves may develop botulism which can be fatal.

Read a book on canning, ask your granny, consult the pros, know what you are doing!

Storage: if the seal is correct, jam can be stored for up to 6 months in a cool, dry place. Once the jam is opened it needs to be refrigerated. Any jar that did not seal correctly should be refrigerated and consumed within 2 weeks.

Spoilage: visible signs of spoilage may not appear right away, it can take time for bulging or leaking to occur. When you open a jar, watch out for discolouration, mold, or weird odors.

Sterilization: equipment must be sterilized before you put the ingredients together.

  • Sanitize jars in the oven, pre-heat to 108°C / 225°F and heat jars for 10 minutes, then keep in the hot oven until needed.
  • Sanitize lids in a pot of steaming (not boiling) water, keep in hot water until needed.
  • Rings do not not need to be sanitized.

Don’t tinker with the recipe. Doubling the batch or skimping on sugar will cause your jam to not set.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of pectin (we used Certo)
  • 2½ C granulated white sugar (divided)
  • 1 box frozen blueberries
  • 1 C water

1. Place canning rack in canning pot, fill with water about halfway. Simmer and cover.  Sanitized jars should be in hot oven, sanitized lids should be in hot water (see tips above).

2. In a bowl combine ¼ C white sugar and pectin. (Reserve the rest of the sugar for later.)

3. If using fresh berries, crush with a potato masher. If using frozen berries, microwave them for a minute first. You need to obtain 5 cups of crushed berries (this is not 5 cups of whole berries).

A big glass measuring bowl is helpful. Once you have enough fruit, transfer to a large pot (not your canning pot).

4. Add water to fruit.

5. Add the sugar/pectin  mixture to fruit. Give it a good stir.

6. Put pot on stove and bring to a boil, then stir in remaining sugar.

Increase heat til you achieve a rolling boil (can’t stir it down). Let pot boil for 1 min, stirring often.

7. Remove fruit from heat, stir and skim for 5 minutes. See how it bunches up towards the left side? You don’t want that in your jam, gently pull it up and away and discard.

8. Place a funnel into a hot jar. Use a fresh measuring cup to spoon the jam into the jar.

9. When the jar is nearly full, use the headspace gauge. The little corners mark different heights, we filled to ¼ of an inch to the top. The jam should just touch the bottom of the gauge. (Too much space, or not enough space, affects the seal.)

10. Use the end of a measuring spoon to gently stir out air bubbles. M is braver than me, she is handling the hot jars barehanded. Wipe the rim of the jar clean when you are done. (Jam on the rim will affect the seal.)

11. Use magnetic lifter to get the hot lids onto the jars.

12. Use your finger tips to screw the ring onto the jar. You don’t want it super-tight, because the air in the jar will expand as the hot jam heats it up, and that hot air needs to be able to escape the jar, to create the vacuum seal when the jar cools.

13. Now it’s time to use the canning pot and rack. The water should be hot but not boiling yet. Use the jar lifter to set the jars onto the rack.

Use a stick to ensure you have at least one inch of water above the lids.

14. Turn up the heat until you have a full rolling boil, then cover and cook for 10 minutes.

15. Use jar lifter to remove jars from pot, and set into a lined pan. Leave room between jars for air to circulate. Let jars sit undisturbed for 24 hours. You should hear a “pop” as the jars cool.

16. The next day check the seal. (If you have sealed your jars correctly, you can pick them up by the lids without the lids coming off.) Remove the rings, the lids should be “sucked down”. Press down on the centre of the lids with your finger.

If the lid springs up after you take your finger away it did not seal. :[

17. Put on bread and enjoy!

Verdict: Making jam was very fun. I feel like a pioneer now, bring on the sod. Boyfriend was very impressed. Thank you M!! Homemade jam is also very delicious, I am enjoying some right now.

Playlist: Final Fantasy Distant Worlds

Mom’s blueberry pie

Today was a glorious day! Behold!

I have learned the secret of rolling a pie crust. I could cry from happiness right now. I’ve tried so many times, and this is my first pretty pie. ^^

Before you get started:

Make your pastry in advance and chill it.

Time required: 1 hour

Yields: 6-8 pieces

Cost per slice: $4.33 to $3.25

Total cost if you have none of the ingredients: $26

Special kitchen implements I used:

  • pie plate
  • cookie tray (to catch overflow)
  • wax paper
  • rolling pin (thanks Mom!)

Filling ingredients:

  • 4 C frozen blueberries (do not thaw)
  • ¾ C white sugar
  • 4 TBSP flour
  • ⅛ TSP salt
  • 1 TBSP butter

Instructions:

1. Pre-heat oven to 204°C / 400°F.

2. Put a large sheet of wax paper on the counter, and set chilled pastry on it. Cover with another sheet. Cajole partner into holding the paper down firmly against the counter while you apply rolling pin. (Shout victoriously when this method works without tearing pastry to shreds, unlike all past attempts.)

3. Use a thin blade or whatever works for you to carefully work the edges of the pastry loose. Don’t pick it up, instead roll it gently around the rolling pin, and then carefully unroll it over the pie plate.

4. Place half of the berries into the plate. (Squeal in excitement.)

5. Combine sugar, flour, and salt, and sprinkle half of the dry mix over the berries.

6. Place remaining berries in the pie plate, and top with remaining dry mixture.

7. Divide butter into 4-5 pieces and place evenly on top.

8. Roll out 2nd piece of pastry, and place on top.

(Hold your breath and pray it doesn’t tear.)

(Sob with joy. Hello, beautiful.)

9. Once pastry is completely draped out, it’s time to trim away the excess crust, and use a fork to press the edges together. Poke a few holes in the top to vent steam.

(Chortle with glee at what you have wrought.)

10. PLACE THE PIE ONTO A COOKIE TRAY OR YOU WILL BE SORRY.

11. Bake 40 min. As soon as you remove it from the oven, use flat spatula to lift pie off the cookie tray, and set pie on wire rack to cool at least 15 min before slicing.

(Soak in praise from significant other.) TAH-DAH!!!

Verdict: I am victorious! Frankencrust, you can kiss my ass goodbye. Pie is officially a 2-person job in this house from now on.

I adore juicy pie. The juicier the better. This was awesome, it turned out just like I hoped it would, just like Mom’s. So happy!

I want to send a shout out to Hobby Victim for suggesting the wax paper method of rolling pastry. It worked like a charm. You are full of the good advice my friend. Next time I come visit I am bringing pie. ^^

Playlist: Radiohead