Spiced Pear-Walnut Muffins
Decadent fruit-and-nut-filled muffins, with 60 percent whole grain and 4 grams of fiber, are perfect for breakfast or a nutrient-rich snack. Pears -- use any variety in these muffins -- contain cholesterol-lowering soluble fiber and anti-aging antioxidants. Heart-healthy walnuts contain omega-3 fats. And according to the latest research, phytonutrients in raisins may help fight gum disease. Replacing some of the heart-healthy canola oil with applesauce helps keep the total fat content moderate.
Makes 18 muffins
3 cups peeled, cored, diced pears (4 to 6 large, ripe yet firm pears)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/3 cup canola oil
2/3 cup natural unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Saigon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup chopped walnuts
1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray muffin cups or line with paper holders.
2. Mix pears and sugar in a small bowl.
3. Whisk oil, applesauce, eggs and vanilla together in a large bowl. Lightly stir in pear mixture.
4. Whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl. Stir in raisins and walnuts.
5. Add flour mixture to pear mixture, stirring just until all ingredients appear wet. Do not overmix. Batter will be thick.
6. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. They will be heaping full.
7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
8. Remove muffins immediately, and place on wire rack for cooling.
Nutrition information (per muffin):
5 g protein
44 g carbohydrates
9 g fat (0.5 g saturated)
24 mg cholesterol
300 mg sodium
47 mg calcium
1.4 mg iron
45 IU vitamin A
2 mg vitamin C
4 g fiber
Kim Galeaz is a registered dietitian and owner of Galeaz Food & Nutrition Communications based in Indianapolis and Jacksonville, Fla. As a culinary-nutrition consultant, writer and spokeswoman for the food, beverage and agriculture industry, she is passionate about blending great taste with good health in all her culinary creations.