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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Low-Fat Blueberry Muffins

UPDATE: I noticed a lot of you commented and said you're going to bookmark this recipe until blueberries are in season. America's Test Kitchen actually recommends frozen wild blueberries. Wild blueberries are packed with flavor, and they are teeny tiny which makes them perfect for muffins. Also, they're frozen at the peak of freshness, so they're a fabulous substitute for fresh berries! It would be torture to wait for berry season!

Last weekend I was craving something other than my usual granola parfait for breakfast. I've been extremely lax on watching what I eat lately, so I wanted to make something a little on the lighter side. I looked in the Light Baking section of one of my favorite books, The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book, and found a recipe for blueberry muffins. What a great recipe! The muffins are chockful of blueberries. They're so moist and light. You'd never guess they are low-fat! I especially love them because they aren't so sweet that you think you're eating cake. They were sooo good when they were warm from the oven, and the next day they tasted like a whole other muffin. I love a recipe that does that! This is going to be my go-to recipe for blueberry muffins from now on. How many low-fat recipes are good enough to be go-to's?? Bravo, America's Test Kitchen! You definitely deserve a pat on the back for this one!
They're so pretty...
Mmmmm, can it get any better???
LIGHT BLUEBERRY MUFFINS (from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Book)
MAKES 12 (I got 8 when I halved the recipe)

Vegetable oil spray
2 cups (10 oz) plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 oz) cake flour
1 cup (7 oz) sugar, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
(I used coarse sugar for sprinkling)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons fresh lemon Juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt (Use low-fat yogurt here; nonfat yogurt will make dry, tasteless muffins)
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (ATK prefers frozen wild blueberries)

1. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with vegetable oil spray.

2. Whisk 2 cups of the all-purpose flour, cake flour, 1/4 cup of the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat 3/4 cup more sugar and butter together with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 6 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until combined, about 30 seconds. Beat in the lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla until incorporated, scraping down the bowl and beaters as needed.

3. Reduce the mixer speed to low. Beat in one-third of the flour mixture and half of the yogurt. Repeat with half of the remaining flour mixture and the remaining yogurt. Beat in the remaining flour mixture until just incorporated. Do not overmix.

4. Toss the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of all-purpose flour, then gently fold them into the batter with a rubber spatula. Using a 1/3-cup measuring cup sprayed with vegetable oil spray, portion the batter into each muffin cup, then portion any remaining batter evenly among the cups using a small spoon (My cups were almost completely full). Sprinkle the tops with the remaining tablespoon sugar. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.

5. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

(I halved the recipe expecting to get 6, but I got 8. Therefore, the nutrition facts are a little higher than what my muffins would actually be.)
PER MUFFIN: Cal 250; Fat 5 g; Sat fat 3 g; Chol 45 mg; Carb 45 g; Protein 6 g; Fiber 1 g; Sodium 270 mg

"We wanted to drastically reduce the amount of butter in our muffins down to just 3 or 4 tablespoons-but we didn't want them to be dry and dense. The solution turned out to be twofold. First, we creamed a portion of the sugar with the butter, which made the muffins light and airy. Second, we substituted cake flour for some of the all-purpose flour to give the muffins a fine-textured, delicate crumb." -THE AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN FAMILY BAKING BOOK


Elyse said...

I'm so impressed that this low-fat muffin is now a go-to muffin. I'm usually so skeptical of those low-fat muffins because they taste, well, low-fat and gummy. But, these look fabulous, and your description has me totally sold. I want these to be my go-to muffins, too!

Olivia said...

I just googled a recipe for blueberry cupcakes. These muffins look great too--but a little icing always makes things better. :)

A. Fiercehair said...

Mmm... there is not much in life better than a good blueberry muffin. A good low-fat blueberry muffin? That's just too much.

Daniëlle said...

Hmmmm looks good!!!

Steph said...

I made these before, don't you just love Cook's Illustrated? I can't wait til the summer now for blueberry recipes!

Sara said...

These do look really good, I've been looking for a great blueberry muffin recipe.

Ingrid said...

Wow, had you switching over from your previous recipe and making these the go to?

Happy cook said...

When i saw the pic i was thinking to myself i am sure going to make these when the bleberry season is here. Then i saw you made with frozen ones, which i think is available here whole year around.
Bookmaking to make these once.

Amanda @ Fake Ginger said...

Holy yum! I'm trying these very soon!

Iqphantom said...

can wait to try it.

Ginny said...

I am so looking forward to fresh blueberries from the farmer's market for this very reason! Very yummy looking!

Christina said...

Holy perfect muffin, Batman!

Snooky doodle said...

these look delicious :) yummy yummy. and low fat too :)))

Dani said...

Love them!
ps - where do u get course sugar? i love the way it looks on top of muffins, but cant find it in my grocery store :(

jodye said...

Mmm blueberry muffins are my favorite. I love the coarse sugar on top, too. Very pretty!

Amy said...

This look tasty! Are you making the Tres Leches Cupcakes at a later date? I really want to try those for Cinco de Mayo!

veggievixen said...

wowie those look good.

Selba said...

Interesting to sprinkle sugar on the top of the muffins.

allison said...

i've said it before on your blog, but i ♥ america's test kitchen. they are the best.

The Food Librarian said...

These look great! Thanks for posting.

dessertobsessed said...

these look so good! hahaha i always have granola parfait for breakfast too!

apparentlyjessy said...

Wow, they look SO good, I like the sugar on the top, it makes them look pretty! mmm blueberries

Natalie... said...

Mmmm wow I really want to try one of these now. Ive never had a blueberry muffin before :O

Treehouse Chef said...

You even make low-fat food look good. I love blueberries and will keep this recipe for when they are in season.

oneordinaryday said...

The Cake Slice sounds like a lot of fun. And it looks like a great cookbook you'll be baking out of!

Tracy said...

I adore blueberry muffins. These look delish!

Heidi said...

How do you make your muffins so high and puffy? That is my holy grail that I have NEVER attained, even with the full-fat muffins I just baked this morning. Tell me your secret!

♥Rosie♥ said...

These look delicious....oh and low fat too ;0)

Kim said...

These are seriously the most delicious blueberry muffins that I have EVER had. You'd NEVER know they were low fat. And I *only* eat BLUEBERRY muffins, so I am quite picky. They rose well and were nice and big - but they were fluffy and sweet on the inside. I wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in freezer bags and stuck them in the microwave on defrost for just about a minute when I wanted one. Which was every single day, and now they're all gone - so I'm making more today! I also made some mini muffins for my four year old, filling them halfway, and they came out great.

Two questions:

Where do you get that sugar?

Do you bake yours in paper cups? I did mine with no cups last time, but when I turned them out upside down onto a wire rack, they all got 'lines' on them. If I turned them right-side up, then the bottoms began to 'lean' and it changed the shape. Maybe I'll just turn them out onto the counter this time.

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Kim, I'm so glad you love them. They're my favorite too! I got that sugar from Michael's craft store. It's on the aisle with the sprinkles. You could also use Sugar In The Raw, which you can find at all grocery stores on the sugar aisle. I do bake mine in the paper liners, just because I've found they stay fresher longer, and the sides don't dry out. If you wanna make yours w/o paper, you could put a sheet of parchment on your cooling rack to help prevent those lines on the bottoms of the muffins. As for them getting a little lopsided... I guess cooling them on a flat surface (a kitchen counter) would help with that!

I hope that helps.

Kim said...

Thanks so much!

I made them again yesterday, but I realized that I didn't buy yogurt. So I used my daughter's Yoplait Dora yogurt. It was low fat and vanilla, so I figured it would work.

BAD IDEA! I was so bummed! They came out totally FLAT, BURNED and like blueberry SOUP. There's no telling what's in that stuff, haha! I don't know what I was thinking.. I just wanted more of those fabulous muffins!

I'm going to make them again this week (with NORMAL yogurt!), so I'll let you know how they come out with lining the rack (good idea!).

Have you tried adding banana? :O)

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

I haven't tried adding banana. Sadly, I don't bake muffins as often as I should :( Lol let me know if you do the banana thing! :D

Dajana said...

I just made some blueberry muffins yesterday with a different but similar recipe (before I saw your recipe) - they were called Bright blueberry muffins. They had 2 tablespoons butter and milk (instead of yogurt). But they were great.
I just need to say sth. else (sorry, I'm a bit sensitive to the subject), I'd be carefull about calling low fat anything made with (normal) butter (I sometimes use low fat and low cholesterol one, but it's not the same thing) - this goes more to the authors of the recipe, not to you. Butter is I think more than 80% fat, while yogurt is only 5% fat. Eliminating fat from yogurt doesn't really make much difference to me.
I still love good things, I just like to call them their real name

Anonymous said...

awesome recipe.
a few observations for anyone interested in trying this:

1)yields more than 12 standard size muffins. i filled my cups to the TOP
2)beating the 3/4c sugar + butter for 3-6 minutes seemed like a very long time. i only did 3 minutes. i also didn't beat the last stage of flour in bc i didn't want to overmix
3)baking time was 27 minutes
4)the batter will be heavier than you'd expect during the mixing but these are cake-like muffins and won't turn out dense
5)they will be eaten quickly!

Anonymous said...

heya, these look great! i was just wondering whether the oven heating was in degrees farenheight or degrees celcius?

Anonymous said...


Quick question: Should the oven temperature be 375 degrees Fahrenheit or 375 Fahrenheit Celsius?

Also, the sugar that i sprinkle on the top sink into the muffin instead of remaining at the top. Any reason why?

How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Anonymous, 375 C is equal to 707 F... which is FREAKIN hot! So..... the recipe is written in Fahrenheit. ;D

Did you use coarse sugar on top? Regular granulated sugar and sanding sugar will just dissolve.

Anonymous said...

I've just made a batch of the muffins.. they are soft , light and fluffy.. almost cake-like without the oiliness and not overly sweet. It's definitely a "must-keep".. Way to go!!!!

nick the cook said...

This recipe definately makes more than 12- if you fill it to the top of the cup then you can get 14+ (although I did add extra blueberries). Also I used french vanilla yogurt and skipped the coarse sugar- no need for it- these are great for being lowfat!

Anonymous said...

Just made this morning...with a few variations: 1/2 King Arthur white whole wheat and all purpose flours, buttermilk in lieu of most of the yogurt plus a little more to compensate for the whole wheat flour and one heaping tablespoon each sour cream and vanilla yogurt (they were in the fridge), less sugar. Love the subtle flavor imparted by the lemon zest. We turned out with 24 mini-muffins and 12 muffin tops...we have one of those rather dated baking tins! delish!

Anonymous said...

Made these this morning, and I now have a new favourite blueberry muffin recipe! My grandfather ate 3 right off the bat.
I didnt have all purpose flour, so all 3 cups were cake flour but I didnt notice a difference - they were still light and fluffy.

Katelin said...

Great recipe! My batch made 18 muffins!