I’m a big fan of making things that are usually super offensively calorific into things that are only mildly offensively calorific. Muffins fit that bill pretty perfectly. Muffins are often billed as a ‘healthy’ alternative to something like a breakfast burrito or banana bread (depending whether you’re snagging one for breakfast or to have as a snack), but the reality is that they’re usually loaded with sugar and can easily cost ya several hundred calories, if you’re not careful.
For some folks, this might not be a big deal, but I like to trim cals where I can, and so I’ve been baking healthy-ish muffins for a while now. I’ve got a few great recipes up my sleeve, including a pumpkin-dark chocolate chip riff that’s out of this world, but these Maple-Pecan babies come in a pretty close second. They’re tasty and sweet, but not overly so, and they’re nice and dense (like, in a good way) that leaves you feeling satisfied without feeling stuffed. Plus, the addition of oats and whole wheat flour means these little guys pack some extra protein and fiber, which is always a win in my cookbook.
The best part about this recipe is its versatility: the pecans can be swapped out for whatever muffin filling floats your boat. If you prefer walnuts, cool. If you want chocolate, toss some in. Dried fruit? Aces. Just try to keep the add-ins to about a cup of ingredients total, and these babies will come out great, every time. Here’s how I do it.
Maple-Pecan Oat Muffins With Brown Sugar Crunch
- 1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 3/4 cup unsweet almond milk (or any milk you prefer)
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat an oven to 375 degrees and spray a 12-muffin tin with non-stick spray.
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.
Distribute the muffin batter between the cups. Tap the tin on the counter a few times to get any air bubbles out of the batter. Top each muffin with 1 tsp brown sugar, if desired (this is what forms the brown sugar crunch on top!)
Bake for 27 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, typically between 25 and 30 minutes. Serve hot with butter or desired topping!