Blueberry Muffins

I love baking — and eating — sweets, but I tend to find myself with an abundance of treats and not enough time to eat them before they go bad. Even after I pawn off half of each batch on friends or family, I usually can only get through two or three muffins before I’m tired of them, forget about them, or make something else and have too many muffins to handle.

What I’ve found is that muffins (and cookies, especially) freeze really, really well. They only need an hour or two to defrost on the counter, but they also can be defrosted in the microwave really easily — 15 or 20 seconds and they’re perfectly warm all the way through.

Another thing I tend to run into with baking is the fact that there are about 789 bajillion recipes online, and it’s sometimes overwhelming to try to choose one that tastes good and isn’t too complicated. I love this recipe (made with oat flour) because it has a little extra staying power, doesn’t require strange ingredients, and I can easily leave out the crumb topping if I’m crunched for time. This recipe can be made with whatever type of oil and flour you have on hand, but I like to use oat flour and grapeseed oil. Here’s why:

Oat Flour

I love baking with oat flour for a number of reasons. First of all, oats are naturally gluten free. In the store, they usually are contaminated with residues from wheat in processing facilities, but on their own they are far less inflammatory than GMO wheat, which constitutes the bulk of wheat-based products consumed in the US. Certified Gluten-Free Oats can be purchased at stores like Whole Foods, but I’ve even seen them at Trader Joe’s before and even big chain stores like Meijer and Kroger. For non-celiac folks, regular oats are just fine, and much less expensive. Oat flour can be difficult to find at times, but what I like to do is just grind up quick-cooking oats in a blender. It’s easy and inexpensive, and I can cut back on the number of items I store in my pantry.

Avocado Oil

I keep avocado oil on hand for the same reason that I make my own oat flour — simplicity and versatility. It’s also heat-stable, which is extremely important. At high temperatures, oils can oxidize, which causes dangerous free radicals. Over time, the effect of these can accumulate, causing cancer and other health conditions. So, even when cooking at high temperatures or in baking, it is less likely to oxidize. Second, avocado oil is usually not a genetically modified product. I like to eat food products that are as close to the earth as possible, meaning they haven’t been changed too much from what I could go outside and harvest from a plant. Arguably, coconut oil meets these criteria as well, and has a much more “beneficial” fatty acid profile. However, I really don’t like the taste of coconut, and coconut oil tends to make everything it touches taste like coconut. So, I don’t supplement with it, I don’t cook with it, and I don’t buy it. If you like it, use it! But I’m picky, and use avocado oil.

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Blueberry Muffins

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or oat flour)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup cooking oil (avocado, coconut, or grass-fed butter)

1 egg

1/3 cup milk (dairy, almond, etc.)

2 cups frozen blueberries (fresh is fine, but more expensive)

CRUMB TOPPING:

1/2 cup sugar

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Combine the 1-1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and whisk. In a measuring cup, combine cooking oil, egg, and milk. Pour into the dry ingredient mixture all at once, and mix a few times with a spatula. (Some lumps should remain). Fold in the blueberries, and spoon into muffin cups.

TO MAKE THE CRUMB TOPPING: mix 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, and cinnamon together. Add cubed butter and press with a fork to make coarse crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over the muffin batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

 

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