Initially, I wrote this blog for my online blog with the Bournemouth Echo, "Jenny's Week" where I report back on the nicest thing I've eaten or cooked that week. So I have to admit, I was a bit stuck for something to talk about up until I made the muffins.
Yes, the Pasta Alla Amatriciana that I made last Thursday really is a superlative recipe that knocks all other Amatriciana recipes into a cocked hat.
Oh, and let’s not forget the Lancashire Haggis that we managed to track down after an exhaustive Haggis hunt, all ready for Burns Night last Wednesday.
However, even those two jewels haven’t upstaged these muffins.
Why, you may ask? Well, because they ARE sugar free (if you discount the natural sugars in the fruit), and they don’t taste of yukky sweetener, they’re totally aspartame free (which is very important) and most of all, they are light, fluffy and fabulous!
To be able to eat an American style muffin with the minimum of guilt, is really something new. In the past, we’ve had to close our eyes to the amount of sugar involved – which if you couple it with the oil involved as well, wasn’t good.
However, with diabetes in the house, a teenager who could do without growing sideways instead of upwards and myself (who grew sideways a long time ago), it has become important that I pay attention to whittling down – where possible – the calorific input of our food.
|So, do you think there's enough blueberries?|
Now you must bear in mind what a complete numpty I am where figures are concerned, when I tell you that I had to work out the comparative amounts. The box said that you could use it like for like, i.e. a teaspoon of sugar equates to a teaspoon of Splenda, but that didn’t help me much when considering the equivalent in Splenda for 100g of light muscovado sugar! 100g of Splenda would probably be a bucketful, it’s that light! So after a bit (actually, quite a lot) of brain-wracking, I came up with the brilliant solution of weighing a tablespoonful of sugar (20g) then working out how many tablespoons amounted to 100g – and the answer, 5, is how many tablespoons of Splenda I used. I’m quite proud of that equation, especially as it worked perfectly.
The end result is a light, fluffy, sponge-like muffin that has none of the heaviness of a “normal” muffin. Even with the two mashed bananas in the mix (which can often make a muffin batter quite heavy), they rose beautifully. The blueberries did what blueberries in a muffin should do, in that they burst and lent gorgeous blue-purple streaks of lovely fruity flavour to the whole.
I’ve since eaten these muffins with ice cream, with coffee, with a cup of tea and even, in a moment of madness, with a slice of cheese – and they stood up perfectly to the challenge.
So, if you’re busy watching your waistline but are craving something sweet and baked – I can’t recommend these enough.
SUGAR-FREE BANANA & BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (makes 12)
300g self raising flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
5 tbsp Splenda sugar alternative
50g porridge oats
2 medium over-ripe bananas
280ml (or thereabouts) of live greek yoghurt
5 tbsp sunflower oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten
200g punnet blueberries.
1. Pre-heat oven to 180degC/350degF/Gas 4.
2. Line a 12-hole muffin tin with paper muffin cases. (Don't just put the muffin cases onto a baking tray - as I did - or you'll have deformed muffins).
3. Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda, Splenda and oats to a large bowl and stir to combine. Make a well in the centre and set aside.
4. In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas until almost smooth. Add the yoghurt, oil and eggs into the bananas and stir to combine.
5. Pour the liquid into the dry ingredients and quickly give a rough mix until they are just combined. Don't worry if you still see some flour and lumps, muffins thrive on not being mixed too much.
6. Tip in the blueberries and give one more stir to coat them in the batter mix, then divide between the twelve muffin cases.
7. Place into the oven for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden.
8. Cool on a wire rack and guard closely or you'll find several have disappeared before you can get back to them!