Last weekend my teacher brought in some delicious homemade muffins, and it got me thinking about how convenient muffins were as a breakfast item. I started thinking about how I used to buy muffins every morning with a tea at the local McDonald’s or Tim Hortons, and I thought about what actual ingredients might be in those muffins, and ultimately inspired me to create a muffin that has oats, walnuts, all natural sugar, and stuffed with a little bit of cream cheese.
Everyone seems to think muffins are a good breakfast choice, but I remember when I was in culinary school and I was taking a nutrition course, we talked about how eating muffins for breakfast is basically the same thing as eating cake for breakfast (which I’m most definitely not against, of course), but after thinking about muffins and ingredients for a good couple hours I felt inspired to create a healthy breakfast muffin. And yes — I spend my spare time thinking about muffins.
These muffins are loaded with oats for that soluble fibre, which absorbs and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol in your body. I swapped out refined sugar for some natural sugar by making date paste, which is also high in insoluble fibre, which is great for digestion and keeping regular. I folded in some chopped and toasted walnuts for the extra omega 3 and good fatty acids that are good for your brain, and spiced up the batter with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and clove. I used all-purpose flour because it was all I had, but feel free to swap it for unbleached or whole wheat flour.
Disclaimer: I am in no way qualified to be giving out nutritional advice but I am just stating what I learned in my nutrition course in culinary school. For any actual nutritional or dietary concerns please see a professional nutritionist or dietician.
The baker in me needed to have a contrast in texture, so along with the toasted walnuts, I made a streussel topping using the date paste, and put a little pocket of cream cheese into the center of each muffin for that surprise bite of creaminess and tanginess. This muffin recipe is super versatile and you can swap out ingredients to your liking.
Here is the recipe:
Healthy Breakfast Muffins
125 mL (1/2 cup) water
175g (1 cup) dried dates
80g (1/4 cup) date paste
30g (2 tbsp) butter, cold
40g (1/3 cup) flour
20g (1/4 cup) oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp clove
200g (3/4 cup) date paste, increase by 50g if you are a sweet tooth
180g (2 cups) instant oats
128g (1 cup) flour
250mL (1 cup) buttermilk, if swapping with a nut milk, add 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice to react with the baking soda.
50mL (1/4 cup) vegetable oil, I used canola but you can use coconut, olive, etc.
1/2 tbsp baking soda
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp salt
112g (1/2 cup) chopped and toasted walnuts
60g (1/2 cup) cream cheese
1. Boil water and dates until soft, about 5 min.
2. Blend with a hand blender, food processor, or blender.
3. Set aside to cool.
1. Take a dough cutter or use your hands to cut the butter and date paste into the flour, oats, spice, and salt, until slightly crumbly and just combined. Place in the fridge to chill.
1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F
2. Line a 12 cavity muffin tin with cupcake liners.
3. In a large bowl, whisk your flour, oats , baking soda, spices, salt together. Make a well in the center.
4. Place your eggs, milk, oil, and date paste in the center.
5. Whisk in circles from the center out until just combined.
6. Fold in the walnuts.
7. Fill each liner halfway with muffin batter, spoon in 1/2-1 tsp cream cheese into the center of each muffin. Top with the remaining batter.
8. Bake for 15 min or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
9. After cooling, wrap each muffin in saran wrap and place in the fridge for a grab-and-go breakfast.