Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Maple Walnut Muffins

Maple Walnut Muffins

I love maple syrup, or to be more accurate, I love maple sugar.  Despite being a dark chocolate addict, one of my favorite candies of all time are those leaf shaped blocks of pure maple sugar.  Usually you can only buy them at specialty shops, Northern touristy spots, or large country fairs.  I was at one such fair a few weeks ago and was in search of maple sugar the whole day.  Not only did I find a bunch of the candies I love, I also bought a jar of pure maple sugar and the best find of the day: maple cotton candy.  My son loves cotton candy, but I never let him buy the traditional type made with chemical food coloring, so as soon as we saw the pure maple version, I knew we had to get it. And I think I ate more of it than he did!

But I digress.  I love maple syrup so much that despite the cost, we go through a 12.5 ounce bottle or two a month because it is not only good on pancakes, waffles and oatmeal, but it is great to bake with as well. While being full of flavor, it is also lower in carbohydrates than other types of syrups, has a significant amount of calcium and potassium, small amounts of iron and phosphorus and trace amounts of B vitamins.  When cooking, you may need to adjust the ratio of dry and liquid ingredients if using maple syrup in place of regular sugar*, but otherwise it is a nutritionally superior substitute.

This recipe is all fixed and ready for you, so no need to worry about substitutions, and it is so worth the slightly extra cost of maple syrup.  I also used organic butter in this recipe, but you could definitely use oil instead if you are worried about saturated fat.  I chose butter because there is not a lot of other flavor besides the maple, and I wanted to have a very rich decadent muffin to pair that subtle flavor with, and this way there is no need to add extra butter when eating.  They are that good.  If you happen to have any pure maple sugar, you could definitely sprinkle some on top before baking for an extra boost of sweetness. And please, whatever you do, do not use imitation maple syrup or flavoring.  Most of the syrup sold in grocery stores today is nothing more than flavored corn syrup full of chemicals and harmful additives.  Spend the extra few dollars because with the intense flavor of real syrup you will need considerably less, and thus not break the bank and possibly shrink your waistline in the process.

*To substitute maple syrup for sugar, you should use about 1/3 less maple syrup than the amount of sugar called for (use 2/3 cup maple syrup for every 1 cup of sugar) and decrease the wet ingredients by approximately 2 tablespoons for every 1/2 cup of maple syrup added.

Maple Walnut Muffins

2 C. organic whole wheat pastry flour
dry and wet ingredients
1 T. ground flax seed
1 T. wheat germ
1 T. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1/2 C. organic butter, softened
1/2 C. packed brown sugar
1/2 C. real maple syrup
2 large organic eggs
3/4 C. organic milk
1/2 C. chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 F. Sift the flour, flax seed, wheat germ, baking powder and salt together and set aside. Cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in the maple syrup and the eggs and beat until well blended. Add the flour mixture alternately with the milk and whisk until combined. Stir in the walnuts. Spoon the batter into paper lined or greased muffin tins filling each about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 20 - 25 minutes. Makes 12 - 16 muffins.

ready to bake
fresh from the oven

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