Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A healthier take on blueberry muffins

Last weekend I had a couple of different things cooking at the same time, including a loaf of bread. My husband came out and asked if I was baking muffins, because that’s what he smelled. When I told him that there were no muffins in the oven, he was a little bit disappointed, so of course I had to remedy that. I put together this recipe for blueberry yogurt muffins for a healthier take on an old classic.

I think that sometimes muffins can be so sweet that they’re almost like a cupcake. To me, that’s fine for a snack, but I don’t usually like to eat an overly sweet breakfast. These muffins are just slightly sweetened, which really lets the flavor of the blueberries come through.

I used vanilla sugar to sweeten the muffins. If you don't already have a jar in your pantry, I encourage you to get one started. After you scrape the seeds from your vanilla beans, don't throw the pods away. Instead, store the pods in a jar of sugar. When the sugar gets low, just refill the jar and add new vanilla bean pods as you use them.

vanilla sugar, vanilla bean sugarI made these muffins a little healthier by keeping the butter to a minimum, and instead relied on Oikos greek yogurt from Stonyfield Farm to add moisture. I also used half white whole wheat flour.

I was quite happy with the end result – you get all the goodness of a blueberry muffin with a much better nutritional profile. If you like your muffins on the sweeter side, you may want to increase the sugar by 2 tablespoons or ¼ cup, but I think these are great as is.

blueberry muffins

Blueberry yogurt muffins
Makes 12

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 cup vanilla sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 eggs
8 ounces of vanilla greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
cooking spray
coarse sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine the first six ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl combine the butter, lemon zest and juice, eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Gently fold in the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the tops of the muffins. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until golden.


76 comments:

Tracey said...

Isn't vanilla sugar the best? I only recently started saving my vanilla bean pods but it's fantastic. Your muffins look delicious. I have some vanilla Greek yogurt in my fridge waiting to be used so I'm going to give these a shot!

Melissa @ For the Love of Health said...

Sara- those look so good! Thanks for sharing!

Claudia said...

I like these! I never buy muffins in a store - why not get a chocolate mousse? I love the addition of yogurt in muffins. Vanilla sugar - so wonderful and so much fun. You could absolutely have these for breakfast! And you are very kind to your husband.

Maria said...

I love a healthy muffin! These look superb!

Lisa said...

Great muffins. I agree and don't like real sweet for breakfast.

Barbara Bakes said...

I'm always on the look out for a better muffin recipe. I'll give this one a try! Love the vanilla sugar idea!

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

Beautiful. I just picked up some blueberries this afternoon. I'll give them a try.

Tyler said...

These sound wonderful! I've never heard of vanilla sugar before, but it sounds like a really useful and delicious thing to have in the kitchen.

Priscilla said...

Goodness, these look so delicious and healthy. Love your photos Sara!

LaDue & Crew said...

I LOVE vanilla sugar. I usually make it for gift giving, but I need to "gift myself"! These sound awesome. I love that you really cut the sugar. I hate when you bite into something and your first taste is sugar. Super yum, can't wait to try!

5 Star Foodie said...

These look fabulous and I love the healthier version. Vanilla sugar sounds wonderful.

Monica H said...

These look delish! I too love vanilla sugar--mostly I love the way it smells.

Irene said...

Sara, these look fantastic! I love how you use whole wheat flour. It's exactly perfect for breakfast or a snack.

Kitchen Flavours said...

Awesome......Looks drolworthy....

Kerstin said...

Awww, that's so sweet of you to make your hubby muffins so he wouldn't be disappointed! They look fantastic and I love how you lightened them up.

Thanks for the tips on how to make vanilla sugar too!

Helene said...

I have to make vanilla sugar. Do your muffins rise the same when you are using half WW flour? I like the idea of making them healthier.

Elra said...

Is this mean we can eat this muffin everyday? I like it Sara. Not just healthy, it also delicious!

Selba said...

Oh my... I wish I could take a piece of muffin from the picture and eat it! Looks so good!!!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

They look fantastic! A nice healthier take on that classic!

Cheers,

Rosa

Pearl said...

oh wow! i must really try to find some vanilla sugar.

Debinhawaii said...

Love the tips on the vanilla sugar. The muffins look delicious. I am always a big fan of putting in Greek yogurt.

Manggy said...

Hah! You are right about overly sweet breakfasts-- I love my dessert but I think that's going too far! I love the muffins, they look so moist and delicious :)

Sophie said...

MMMM...Sara! Great minds think a like,...I make my vanilla sugar allways like that!!
I love the healthier version of muffins! That is what I allways try to do!!
I love... eh adore your healthier blueberry muffins!! Great job!!! MMMMMMM...

Donna-FFW said...

Oh, these sound terrific, and I can not thank you enough for the vanilla sugar recipe. I am going to start one as soon as I use my next vanilla bean. Thank you so much for that tip.

Christina Kim said...

The healthier alternatives are much appreciated!!

My Carolina Kitchen said...

A very nice healthy recipe on the muffins Sara. I too don't like the overly sweet muffins. The vanilla sugar is a great idea. I've got several bags of frozen blue berries in my freezer that came from our own bushes - I know my husband would love this recipe so I'll give it a try.
Sam

girlichef said...

What a great idea to use the Oikos..these sound great. And I actually started some vanilla sugar a few months ago (love it!) :)

Cathy said...

I have never had vanilla sugar, but guaranteed I'll be starting some the next time I break out the vanilla beans.

Sara said...

Helene - They do rise the same. Any more than 1/2 wheat flour and you'll start to see texture changes, the muffins become more dense and dry. I like white whole wheat flour because it's lighter than your standard wheat flour. King Arthur makes it.

Debbie said...

Those muffins look wonderful. Love muffins for a snack or breakfast...

Jenna said...

I love muffins for breakfast but I feel so guilty eating the ones that are high in fat and sugar. These muffins look perfect, and no guilt! :) I love vanilla sugar! Its so great!

Culinary Wannabe said...

Yay for yogurt muffins! :) And thanks for the tip on the vanilla sugar. I had never heard of that before but am sooo excited to try it!

Dawn said...

I love vanilla sugar! LOL
Well, for healthier they sure look tasty. I used yogurt in a banana cake and seriously could not tell the difference.

Lynda said...

These are beautiful muffins, Sara! These sound healthy and delicious!

Reeni♥ said...

They are so perfect! I bet they are just delicious-love vanilla sugar!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I've always thought of muffins as cupcakes in disguise. In a sense that's what many muffins are. Yours are a nice alternative. These look like they have a nice reduced fat and sugar content, but they're not the twigs-and-wallpaper-paste things that often get sold as "healthy" muffins.

lisa (dandysugar) said...

Mmm, I love vanilla sugar and I love mixing yogurt into any baked good, actually! This is such a great twist on the classic yummy treat!

noble pig said...

I love the coarse sugar on top...so lovely!

Diana said...

That is such a cool trick with the vanilla sugar! I'll have to try it!

stephchows said...

I made up a healthy blueberry muffin version sans butter using stonyfield lemon fat free yogurt. They are super tasty! http://stephchows.blogspot.com/2009/04/muffin-mania.html

The Blonde Duck said...

I'm so scared of vanilla beans...so I'll admire from afar.

lisaiscooking said...

A less sweet muffin sounds perfect. The yogurt must have been great in them too.

♥Rosie♥ said...

Hi Sara those muffins look superb!

Apologies for not calling by earlier due to my back circumstances.

Rosie x

Natashya said...

Blueberry muffins are my favourite. Love that you healthied them up!

Marta said...

Beautiful recipe Sara! I like subbing in yogurt for butter, the outcome is almost identical and the treat ends up being way healthier! Go yogurt go!
I know what you mean about muffins being too sweet, who can have that for breakfast?!

Soma said...

Healthy & delicious! I too try to bake with yogurt. & the vanilla sugar idea sounds really good!

Sylvia said...

I found here a very , very good yogurt. I´ll must try soon your recipe , looks delicious. The first photo is awesome

Daziano said...

Oh, Greek yogurt is one of the best things!

Suzy said...

Those look great. Love the sparkly sugar on top!

The Food Hunter said...

Thanks for the vanilla sugar idea and for making us a healthy muffin.

Lori Lynn said...

Good tip, that vanilla sugar. Like the photo too.
LL

Half Baked said...

Great looking muffins! Vanilla sugar...awesome!

Chef E said...

I like that salad below this one, and then here is dessert! I have not bought vanilla beans in such a long time, but now that I am baking I should!

Another month and blueberries will be in season here in Jersey, and we love them...

Annie said...

I too just started a vanilla sugar! I make a very similar blueberry muffin recipe and love it. Your right, it is just sweet enough!

Steph said...

I wish I had a some vanilla sugar. It must be so fragrant. Those muffins look great, especially with the sugared tops.

dessertobsessed said...

i think vanilla sugar makes everything better! these look great!

Bharti said...

Lovely..I find that substituting half the whole grain flour works out best. Make sit hearty and not too dense. Nice version.

Juliana said...

Your muffins looks terrific! I'll start to make muffins with yogurt...thank you for your recipe.

Maris said...

I love blueberry muffins and this sounds really good! Sometimes butter can weigh down recipes, so I agree that yogurt is a perfect substitution.

LK- Healthy Delicious said...

these sound really good. I don't like my muffins to be very sweet either- I prefer them to be closer to bread than to cake.

Ingrid said...

They look great. Love the bit of sparkle on top!
My children do the same thing and if they guess wrong....major disappointment. Doesn't matter that there's already something lovingly freshly baked for them already cooling on the counter. Luckily they get over it quick!
~ingrid

Alex said...

I'd take these over a regular muffin any day!

gastroanthropologist said...

I had a similar experience with my husband last weekend - though he suspected angel food cake. It wasn't what was in the oven, but the second I considered it he ran out of the house to get whipped cream and strawberries (and he never grocery shops!).

Love vanilla sugar...the way it tastes and smells.

Patsyk said...

I need to start a jar of vanilla sugar! I've got some vanilla beans waiting to be used, so I'll get there soon. I love that you lightened this up, so there's less guilt when enjoying a bit of those delicious muffins!

teresa said...

Yuuuuuummy, these look so good and I love how healthy they are!

alexandra said...

I baking with yogurt and buttermilk ... they add that perfect tang and like you say, they make for a healthier baking experience. I totally agree about disliking muffins that are too sweet. These look beautiful!

Gera @ SweetsFoods said...

Sinful but utterly delicious…when eaten in moderation, perhaps not this case with these blueberry muffins!

mamakd said...

What a sweet wifey! I love that you sprinkled sugar on top of them. They look delicious. I really need to get some vanilla sugar started!

Leslie said...

I love my vanilla sugar..I use it all the time! Love you healthy muffins

Chef Fresco said...

I've never even heard of vanilla sugar - what an awesome concept! Your muffins look delicious!

Jennifer said...

I always bakee with the 50/50 flour. I am so happy with the texture.

harcoutbreton said...

these muffins look delicious... ohhh i think you're very sweet person too ^^

Megan said...

I just bought some white WW flour and was curious about it. Cant wait to try it. These look great and makes me want to make some more muffins!

Margaret said...

I just made your wonderful muffins. Thank you so much. Quick, easy and delicious. I used 3/4 cup sugar, my family (okay, me too) like them a tad sweet and it was not too much. I sprinkled the top with a tiny bit of brown sugar as I did not have the large sugar crystals. I used fresh blueberries, next batch I will increase the blueberries to 1.5 cups. They have a great texture, almost cornbread-like.

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Sara- I found a container of frozen blackberries (picked wild from along the train tracks last summer) in the freezer and will try this recipe in the morning!

Loretta

Veronica said...

Just took them out of the oven. Delicious. I was browsing the web for exactly this. Thanks Sara.