Packed with fresh fruit and nuts, and delicately spiced with cinnamon, these homemade apricot and pecan muffins are lower in fat and sugar than bought muffins, and contain no trans fats or preservatives.
2 2/3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup soft light brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons wheat bran
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 cup low-fat milk
50 g reduced-salt margarine, melted
220 g ripe but firm apricots, stoned and diced
1/2 cup pecan nuts, chopped
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Preheat the oven to 200°C. Using nonstick cooking spray, grease a 12-cup muffin pan (each cup should measure about 6 cm across the top and be about 3 cm deep).
Sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Stir in the wheat bran and lemon rind. Combine the milk, eggs and margarine in a jug, mixing well. Pour into the dry ingredients and add the diced apricots and pecans. Stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened, leaving some small lumps of the flour mixture in the dough. Do not overmix.
Spoon into the prepared muffin pan, filling the cups two-thirds full. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until the muffins are well risen, peaked in the centre and springy to the touch. Leave to cool in the pan for 2–3 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack. The muffins are best if served within a few hours of baking, but they can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.
Blueberries, strawberries, peaches or nectarines can also be used, but the fruit must not be too ripe and mushy or it will make the muffin mixture too wet.
Health experts regularly recommend that we increase the amount of fibre in our diet. This recipe shows an easy way to achieve this – substitute 2 or 3 tablespoons of wheat bran for some of the flour in your favourite recipe. And try to include fruits or nuts in your baking which boost both soluble and insoluble fibre – good for digestion and controlling blood sugar levels.