Fruity Muffins

Doctors everywhere are telling us to eat more fruit. For some of us, that's easy. But sometimes there's that craving for something more. That's where fruit muffins come in. They're often as sweet as our favorite desserts, hearty as a bowl of steaming oatmeal and satisfying as any comfort food. In addition, many include a combination of fruit, nuts and grains that make them a healthy choice for breakfast, brunch or snacks.

With all of the fruit options available to consumers today, there shouldn't be a shortage of combinations to try in your next muffin adventure. Fruits that were once available only during local harvesting times or not at all are finding their ways into your grocery aisles. And, with more fruits being frozen and dehydrated, storing them for longer periods of time is an option many didn't have even a few years ago. In the end, that means being able to have the ingredients for tasty fruit muffins on hand at any time of the year -- even if a muffin baking adventure hadn't been planned in advance!

The muffins in these recipes can be frozen if a dozen sounds like too much to tackle in a few days. However, if you invite a few friends over, you're likely to find that one batch just isn't enough! Whether you enjoy them first thing in the morning or pop one into your lunchbox, these versatile gems are sure to bring a smile. What a nice way to eat fruit!

Here's what's on the menu:

Banana-Almond Muffins

Having these muffins on hand is like having portable banana bread ready for an autumn hike through the brightly colored woods. Don't chop the almonds too small -- the bigger pieces give the muffins a satisfying crunch.
  • 1 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 c. margarine, softened
  • 3/4 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 c. almonds, chopped
  • 5 T. milk

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly spray 12 muffin tins filled with paper linings. Set aside.

Combine the flour and baking powder in a small bowl. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream together the sugar and the margarine using an electric mixer. Add the egg and the vanilla and beat until fluffy. Mix in the banana and almonds.

Add the flour mixture and milk and beat on low speed until mixed and moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Remove muffins from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 12 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Blueberry Muffins

These all-time favorites are the perfect accompaniment to hot tea and your favorite version of scrambled eggs.
  • 1 3/4 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 3/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tsp. grated orange rind
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray 12 muffin tins filled with paper linings. Set aside.

Combine the first four ingredients in a small bowl. Add the blueberries and toss to coat.

In another bowl, combine milk and the five remaining ingredients (sugar thru vanilla extract). Add to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them about three-quarters full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Remove muffins from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 12 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Fruity Bran Muffins

Using dehydrated fruit makes these muffins easy to make anytime and enjoy anywhere -- take them along to the next football game for a halftime snack.
  • 1 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. raisin bran cereal
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 c. chopped dried fruit (Sunsweet makes a nice International Orchard Mix that's perfect!)
  • 1/3 c. chopped almonds
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/4 c. skim milk
  • 1/2 c. maple syrup 1/4 c. margarine, melted

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray 12 muffin tins filled with paper linings. Set aside.

Combine the flour and raisin bran in a large bowl. Add the baking soda and the salt; stir. Add the dried fruit and chopped nuts. Mix well to coat with the flour mixture. Set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg, milk, maple syrup and margarine. Pour all at once into the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened. The batter will be thin.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them until they are nearly full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Remove muffins from the muffin tin and cool on a wire rack.

  • Yields: 12 muffins
  • Preparation Time: 30 minutes

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