If you’re anything like me, you’ll have a Healthy Eater Conscience that watches over your eating habits. I haven’t always had one, but I’m happy to have it now. Over the years, it has made me much more aware of what I eat, and taught me what “enough” and “not too much” mean. It has inspired me the love of food: one of the greatest gifts that life has given me so far.
Yes, I like my Healthy Eater Conscience; however, it isn’t always easy to live with. If you have one, you’ll know the feeling. Imagine not making all the recipes you’d like to try in a new cookbook, because they contain too much butter for your Healthy Eater Conscience to bear: it takes a lot of effort to remind yourself that you’re doing it for your own good, and even that is hard to believe, sometimes.
If you love baking, you’ll be glad to hear that there’s a very simple and effective way to make your recipes a little healthier. I discovered it recently, while looking for a recipe for Chobani‘s CHObrunch challenge: you can use fat-free yoghurt as an alternative to many fattier ingredients, such as butter, oil, and cream cheese. This baking tip was in the kit that Chobani sent me in preparation for the challenge; I want to share it with you, today, so you can bake yourself a treat without worrying about what your Healthy Eater Conscience will say.
If you want to start experimenting, try this muffin recipe, and let me know how you like it!
Honey Nut Muffins
(makes 12 muffins)
After making my Butterless Pizza Muffins, I had a half pot of Chobani plain yoghurt left; I decided to use it for a sweet treat that could suit brunch time, as well as a tasty breakfast. Choosing my recipe required a lot of internet browsing, cookbook perusing, and drooling over inspiring Pinterest boards. I had started my search with the intention of making cupcakes, but when I saw these Maple Yoghurt Pecan Muffins on Completely Delicious, I instantly felt compelled to create something similar.
To me, muffins always win over cupcakes. Sure, cupcakes are cute. And delicious. But I can’t indulge in a cupcake as lightheartedly as I indulge in a couple of muffins – and the reason, once again, is my Healthy Eater Conscience: it hasn’t yet overcome its fear of buttercream icing. That’s one of the reasons why muffins win. That, and the fact that buttercream icing can sometimes be too sugary. Even a sweet tooth has boundaries for “too” sweet!
- 75g unsalted butter
- 50g sugar
- 115g runny honey
- 245g natural yoghurt (I used Chobani Plain Fat Free Authentic Strained Yoghurt)
- 2 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 50g chopped pecans
- 50g chopped walnuts
- Pecan halves for topping (optional)
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Once completely melted, let it cool down for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, salt, and cinnamon.
- In a separate bowl, beat together the wet ingredients: butter, honey, yoghurt, and eggs.
- Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients, and mix until almost combined.
- Add the chopped pecans and walnuts, and mix until just homogeneous.
- Fill a muffin tin with the batter. You can get quite creative here: I made rose-shaped muffins, using a silicon muffin mould, which doesn’t need greasing. I then poured the remaining batter into a standard 12-hole muffin tin, which I had previously greased with butter.
- Top each muffin with a pecan half. I skipped this part for the rose-shaped muffins, which needed turning upside-down before serving, but found it was a quite nice way to decorate the “plain” muffins.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°. Bake for at least 15 minutes, until the muffins are golden, and a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. For best results, leave the muffins in the oven for 5 more minutes after turning it off.
- Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack or plate. Let them cool
completely before serving.
- Store the muffins in an airtight container, or another closed space, such as a cold oven. They will keep very well for at least 3 – 4 days.
Note: These muffins are one of my entries to Chobani’s CHObrunch Challenge. Chobani supplied me with the yoghurt I used for the batter, as part of a baking kit they sent me when I signed up for the contest.
To build the How To Bake With Fat-Free Yoghurt chart, I calculated the metric equivalents of cups using the Cooking Ingredients Conversion Tool on Convert-me.com.