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So for a couple of years now I have been laughing in the face of Fate, and it has finally come to bite me in the proverbial ass.  For my first few years of teaching, it was nothing for me to come down with a cold every month from November to March.  Then, magically, for the past three years, I have been strikingly unafflicted by the common cold – only having a mild case one time throughout a whole season.  I bragged to all who would listen about my newly impenetrable immune system, and now the magic has come to an end.  Two weeks ago, I got a regular cold, thinking,”Oh well, here’s my annual cold…haha…” But then this past Friday, just as I was coming to the end of it all, I managed to get ANOTHER cold, right on top of the first one. I’ll spare you the gory details, but needless to say, I have cooped myself up in my apartment for the past two days, and the only thing that has brought me joy is experimentation in the kitchen.

You see, I am on a quest.  I want to be able to have my cake and eat it too.  I have been messing around with recipes, seeing if it is actually possible to make baked goods that are tasty, satisfying, AND that are low-fat.  For a long time I didn’t think it was truly possible, until I found this recipe: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/carrot-cake-ii/detail.aspx  This carrot cake is so ridiculously good, that it tasted better WITHOUT cream cheese icing.  And so I made them into muffin form. Brilliant.

But that wasn’t enough.  I wanted to see if I could create different muffin recipes using the same principles. Fall…Pumpkin…YES! But alas, colossal fail. Unless you like the taste of paper. So I gave up for a while.  But this weekend, mired in my cold squared, I tried again.

Low-fat muffin attempt #1: Oatbran Apple. Result: Tasty, moist…a little gummy Conclusion: Maybe it’s not possible to get that ‘classic’ muffin texture when you substitute all of the fat for applesauce?  It works for the carrot cake because there’s lots of stuff in carrot cake to give it structure, and it’s supposed to be ultra moist and heavy. Next Step: Try leaving a little fat in there, maybe reduce the sugar?

Low-fat muffin attempt #2: Honey Oatmeal Raisin. Result: Better texture! YAY! Conclusion: Keeping in a couple of tablespoons of oil made all the difference. Here’s the recipe:

  • 4 oz. old-fashioned oats (2 oz. ground into flour, 2 oz. left whole)
  • 4 oz. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 c lowfat or nonfat milk
  • 3 oz honey
  • splash of vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • scant 1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp canola oil
  • 1/3 c raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350F, spray 12 cup muffin tin with non-stick spray.
  2. Combine first 6 (dry) ingredients in a bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, honey, vanilla, eggs, applesauce, and oil.
  4. Add wet mix to dry mix, and stir until just combined.
  5. Incorporate raisins.
  6. Pour into prepared muffin tin, and bake for approx. 20 mins (more or less). You want them to spring back when touched and not be sticky on the top. Keep an eye (and a nose) on them so they don’t burn. I wouldn’t recommend muffin papers…muffins taste better without them anyway! Makes a dozen.
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