Friday, January 4, 2008

Oh So Sweet Blueberry Muffins!

Blueberries baby!!

Yes, I know it is not the season for blueberries... but...

It is FINALLY winter in this cozy part of Eastern NC (although it's supposed to be in the 70's again by Monday)... and sometimes this ginger lemon girl just craves blueberry muffins!! Especially when she's curled up in soft blankets with a good book on a cold day!

For Christmas, one of the wonderful gifts my sweet husband bought for me was a mini-muffin tin. I have always wanted one of these contraptions, even though I thought it was silly to make such a small little muffin or cupcake...

But now I know why I needed one... because it just makes the cutest darn muffins ever!

Cuteness, my friends, is why you need to buy a mini-muffin tin! (See some of Abby's wonderful "mini" creations... she's really the reason why I wanted one!!)

Aren't these little puppies just the cutest things EVER?
Okay, ignore the fact that they really look like little blue alien muffins... they were still good!

These muffins were supposed to actually be "Lemon Blueberry" muffins, but in a strange twist of fate, there were no lemons in my kitchen... unbelievable, I know!

Then these muffins were supposed to be "Orange Blueberry" muffins, but in a strange twist of fate, there were no oranges in my kitchen... this is starting to sound familiar...

BUT there were tangerines in my kitchen, and this girl likes to be creative!

So, we ended up with Blueberry Tangerine Muffins... stop guffawing... they are really quite delicious!

The tangerine zest actually provided a wonderful sweetness to these sugar-free muffins! I used agave nectar in place of sugar and I am very pleased with the results. If you are not familiar with agave nectar, you need to understand that agave nectar does not produce the same type of strong sweetness as sugar. They are still very good (and sweet)! With blueberries and natural applesauce in the recipe too, you won't miss the sugar!

If you're still being naughty, throw in some regular sugar for heaven's sake! You won't hurt my feelings! But I would love for you to try these as is: with citrus zest and agave nectar. I think you will be pleasantly surprised!!

I made some regular ol' big muffins too... they're still pretty cute and they don't look like alien muffins!

Blueberry Tangerine Muffins

Wet Ingredients:
2 eggs, separated
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup agave nectar
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil (opt.)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (opt.)
1-2 tsp. tangerine zest (opt.)
1-2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen organic because they were cheaper than the "fresh" ones this time of year..but it caused the batter to turn blue!)

Dry Ingredients:
2/3 cup brown rice flour
2/3 cup sorghum flour
2/3 cup soy flour
(Aren't you proud Mary Frances! I do like it!)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. xanthan gum

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk egg whites until stiff. In another bowl, mix or sift all dry ingredients together. In a large bowl, beat egg yolks. Add agave nectar, applesauce, yogurt, oil, vanilla, tangerine zest, and mix thoroughly. Mix in blueberries. Add flour mixture slowly to batter. Batter will be thick. Last, fold in egg whites.

Drop batter by tablespoons into prepared mini-muffin or regular muffin tin. Will make 36 mini-muffins, or 12 regular muffins. For mini-muffins bake 12-14 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. For regular muffins bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

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Just in case you were wondering, blueberries are a powerhouse of nutritional goodness... here are some facts you might not know...

  • are part of the "heath" family of plants which also include cranberries and bilberries, azaleas, and mountain laurels!
  • are colorful! They range in color from blue to maroon to purple-black!
  • are very nutritious! 1 cup of fresh blueberries contains 30% of your daily requirements for vitamin C, 20% of your daily requirement of manganese, 15% of your daily fiber requirement, and only 81 little bitty calories!
  • are packed full of antioxidents which provide many health benefits such as protecting your skin cells and tissues.
  • are powerful fruits that have compounds that protect your eyes from macular degeneration!
  • provide protection against diseases such as colon cancer and ovarian cancer!
  • promote a healthy gastrointestinal system!
  • are in season from May-June.
Don't you feel smarter and healthier for knowing all that!
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