Monday, December 5, 2011

Makeover Monday: Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Spice Muffins

Baby, it's cold outside.  I can't put my finger on it, but when the weather outside gets frightful, spice muffins are so delightful.  Add the sweet combination of cranberry and orange, and there's not even a word for it.  All I can say is that I want it!  

On chilly evenings, my husband and I enjoy wrapping up in a cozy blanket, watching sitcoms, and sipping cups of hot tea.  I have been craving a coffee shop worthy treat to munch on that would be good with our hot tea.  The idea came to me that a spiced muffin with cranberry and orange would hit the spot.  I love it when I'm right!  These muffins are packed with warm flavors and just beg to be eaten with hot tea.  And because I gave them a healthy makeover, you can feel good about eating them any time of day.

I didn't have a recipe for exactly what I wanted.  Grandma's cookbook to the rescue again!  I am on a major oatmeal kick, so I knew my muffins had to be oatmeal muffins.  So I combined an oatmeal muffin recipe with a spicy tea muffin recipe, and added some dried cranberries and orange zest.  And they turned out exactly as I hoped they would.

To make these muffins a guilt-free treat, I used my old tricks again: whole wheat flour, applesauce instead of oil, and Splenda instead of sugar.  Thanks to these simple swaps, I got a delicious muffin that came in at about 125 calories with 3 grams of fiber and about 1.5 grams of fat.  Based on the nutrition information I found on the Starbucks website, the average calorie count for their muffins is 400 calories with about 10 grams of fat.  Of course theirs are probably a lot bigger than my muffins, but still!

And like all muffins, these couldn't be easier to make yourself.  Mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, and stir them together.  Of course for these muffins you have the additional step of stirring in the cranberries and orange zest.  How will you ever manage?

Okay.  If you follow my directions, it won't look like this.  As much as I love my grandma's old school cookbook, the directions for most of the recipes are not great.  The original recipe said to just dump everything in all together.  It worked out fine, but next time I think I will use the traditional muffin method of quick bread preparation.
I highly recommend licking the bowl when you are done making this (unless you are immunocompromised and could get sick from eating raw eggs!).  But please do not do so until your muffins are secured in the oven.  Otherwise they may never make it to the oven.  This stuff is good!
Whip up a batch of these flavorful muffins today, enjoy with a cup of antioxidant-rich hot tea, and pat yourself on the back for choosing something good for your body and your soul!

Cranberry Orange Oatmeal Spice Muffins
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup skim milk
1/2 cup Splenda
1 beaten egg
1/2 cup no sugar added applesauce
1/2 cup dried cranberries
zest of one medium orange
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, oatmeal, spices, salt, and baking powder.  
In a medium mixing bowl, combine milk, Splenda, egg, and applesauce.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Gently stir in cranberries and orange zest.
Pour batter into muffin tins, about 2/3 full.  Bake 10-12 minutes.  
Yields about 10 muffins.

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