Honey and Nut Muffins

There’s no better way to greet the morning than with a fresh-from-the-oven homemade muffin. Unfortunately, far too many muffin recipes today resemble calorie-laden cakes or other sweet treats. This week, AICR offers an exception: A delicious and hearty muffin that truly packs a nutritional punch.

Starting with a foundation of half whole-wheat flour, the recipe offers superior nutrition from the first bite. Whole-wheat flour provides more fiber, vitamins, minerals and natural plant compounds than refined flour. And, according to experts, a diet that features foods containing dietary fiber can probably decrease your risk of developing colorectal cancer.

Honey, which is manufactured in some of the world’s most efficient factories – beehives – adds a unique, subtle sweetness to the muffins. Up until the 16th century (when sugar cane became more widely available) Europeans enjoyed honey as their sweetener of choice. Because honey takes on the tastes of the flowers that supply the nectar, honeys from different regions can taste vastly different.

The flax seeds, walnuts and sunflower seeds supply the crunchy textures needed to round out the muffins. Beyond texture, they also provide valuable sources of heart-healthy fat. Flax seeds supply the only significant plant-based source of omega-3 fat, which researchers believe may offer protection from heart disease, dementia and inflammation that can lead to rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes and cancer.

A note to cooks: During preparation make sure to mix the ingredients until they are just combined. Over mixing can negatively impact the fine crumb texture you desire.

Honey and Nut Muffins - Makes 12 servings.

Vegetable cooking spray

1 cup whole-wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/8 tsp. salt

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

½ tsp. nutmeg, freshly grated

1 cup low fat buttermilk

3 Tbsp. honey

2/3 cup brown sugar

4 Tbsp. canola oil

2 large egg

1/4 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped

2 Tbsp. sunflower seeds, shelled and divided

3 Tbsp. ground flax seeds

1/4 cup oats

Place rack in center of oven and preheat to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-mold muffin pan with cooking spray.

Combine white and wheat flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into large bowl and stir well.

Using separate bowl, combine buttermilk, honey, sugar, oil and eggs and whisk well. Add the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

In separate bowl, mix raisins, walnuts, half of sunflower seeds, ground flax seeds and oats. Fold mixture into batter until combined. Spoon batter evenly into muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining sunflower seeds on top of muffins. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden.

Transfer pan to rack to cool for 5 minutes before removing muffins and placing them on a wire rack to further cool.

Makes 12 servings.

Per serving: 260 calories, 11 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 38 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 165 mg sodium.

The Author:

The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $86 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

Article Posted: February 22, 2009

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