Moist, hearty, and flavorful, these are the kind of muffins that make you feel good about yourself and your morning. Made with wholesome ingredients, the addition of pear puree adds a sensual honeyed flavor and a beckoning perfume. Topped with thick, creamy, protein-packed yogurt, this is breakfast’s healthiest cupcake!
Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pear Muffins with Greek Yogurt “Frosting,” cupcakes inspired by Joy the Baker’s oatmeal applesauce blueberry muffins
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened pear sauce (or pureed canned or fresh, ripened pears)
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk or yogurt
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
2 large egg whites (or one egg), lightly beaten
Mix-ins of your choosing: 3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen), chocolate chips, candied ginger, nuts, etc.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper cases or spray with nonstick cooking spray. (This recipe will yield 12 to 15 muffins, depending on mix-ins.)
- In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and stir until just moist. Fold in any mix-ins. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes
Greek Yogurt “Frosting,“ from Rice Kernel’s kitchen
I admit there is nothing “frosting” (in the traditional sense) about this, but we routinely slater it atop muffins and cupcakes. Sweet and creamy, it is a healthy way to glaze the top of any breakfast muffin.
1 cup Greek yogurt (flavored Greek yogurt also works, although I use plain typically, which has no/less sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup powered sugar, sifted
- Whisk all ingredients until they become a bit thick.
- Place in the fridge to thicken even more (at least 30 minutes).
- Spread on cake, cupcakes or a sweet quick bread
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A creamy, German cake healthy enough for breakfast. Seems impossible, no? As far as I can tell, there are endless varieties of kuchen. This one (which I had never come across and, in all likelihood, is not authentic now that I’ve got my hands on it) features a base cake layer topped with a creamy, cheesecake-like custard. And it is all about the creamy, smooth custard. That’s probably because my meddlesome fingers replaced the all-purpose flour in the cake layer with whole wheat flour. Not a good move. My cake layer was sandpaper-like juxtaposed with the light raspberry-studded custard. But don’t let my failure deter you – it can be easily rectified. I rebaked the cake with some all-purpose flour. And the cake has returned to its intended, fluffy state. It is now worthy of custard perfection.
This cake comes together simply with everyday pantry ingredients. With protein-packed nonfat Greek yogurt as the base, a few eggs, and a scant 4 tablespoons of butter, it is a welcome treat for breakfast and equally appealing as a dessert or afternoon snack. Even without whole wheat flour. Whew.
Lowfat Lemon Raspberry Yogurt Kuchen, adapted from Better Homes and Gardens: New Baking Book, via The Cravings Chronicles
1/2 cup white whole wheat pastry flour (or you can use all all-purpose flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar + 1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 large egg whites, yolks reserved for filling
2 tablespoons milk or buttermilk
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups non-fat Greek yogurt
1/2 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/2 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces fresh raspberries or blackberries (I imagine strawberries or stone fruit would be as delicious; can also use frozen fruit, although I imagine your filling will be runnier)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9-inch springform pan with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add melted butter, egg whites, lemon zest, milk and vanilla. Stir until dough forms and press lightly into bottom of prepared pan. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, egg yolks, egg, zest, lemon juice and vanilla extract until smooth. Let sit for 5 minutes.
- Spread berries evenly on top of dough. Pour yogurt mixture over berries. Bake for 35-45 minutes, or until center is set but still jiggles when gently shaken. (Original recipe calls for a bake time of 45-55 minutes, but my cake was completely set at 35 minutes.) Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Remove outer ring and cool about an hour on baking rack. Cover and chill for 4 hours, or until ready to serve.
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I’m excited to be profiled on Chobani as their Featured Blogger today! For Chobani fans visiting Rice Kernel for the first time, welcome and we hope you’ll take a look around.
Yogurt is always stocked in our fridge. Rice Kernel and I frequently enjoy it as a snack with agave, berries, and nuts. I also use it to replace fat in baked goods as as a tenderizing marinade in savory dishes. Some of our recent yogurt-infused delights include Yogurt Corn Quiche with Teff Crust, Yogurt-Marinated Chicken with Aleppo Peppers, Swedish Spinach Pancakes, Lemon Blueberry Yogurt Cake, and Orange Olive Oil Pignolia Yogurt Loaf. Today, we’re featuring a lightened version of a dessert classic.
Panna cotta (literally “cooked cream”) is an Italian dessert made by simmering cream, milk, and sugar and then mixing in some gelatin and letting it set. In the large family of creamy desserts it is the easiest and fastest one to prepare. Our version is made lighter than the authentic version with the addition of protein-packed, low-fat (or non-fat) Greek yogurt. The result is divinely creamy and thick.
This panna cotta recipe is easy to make and always turns out great. It does require a bit of chilling time but since it lasts as few days in the fridge, you can make a larger batch or plan ahead for a party or potluck. Cool and refreshing, it’s the perfect healthy treat on a warm day.
And, now, the best part – leave a comment and/or follow us on Facebook and you’ll be entered to receive Chobani coupons. (Four winners of three coupons each.) Drawing ends Sunday, May 15 at 9 PST.
Thank you again, Chobani, for selecting Rice Kernel as your Featured Blogger!
Mango-Lime Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta
½ cup water
1 envelope unflavored gelatin (about 2 1/4 tsp)
¼ cup sugar (or more to taste)
½ cup reduced fat (2%) milk
zest of 1 lime
2 cups Greek yogurt
1 ripe mango, diced (or more to taste)
Honey, for drizzling
- Bring water to boil in a small pan. Remove from heat and add gelatin and sugar. Mix well. Add milk and mix well. Set aside.
- Combine yogurt, lime zest, and mango in a large glass or ceramic bowl. Add warm gelatin mixture and stir to combine well. Spray 6 dessert molds (or one large mold) with nonstick cooking spray and divide yogurt mixture evenly among the molds. Cover and chill for 4 hours or overnight. Turn molded desserts out onto plates or scoop servings from the large mold.
- Serve with a drizzle of honey or additional mango.
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I’ve had my eyes on this cake for a long while. With antioxidant-rich blueberries, vitamin-packed citrus, whole grains, and protein-, calcium-, and probiotic-rich yogurt …. oh who am I kidding, the health benefits of this loaf are but a footnote. I mean, the original recipe is one of Ina Garten’s most famous! In Ina’s language that means, (1) “how bad can that be?” and (2)” how good can it be for your waistline?” All kidding aside, this is a great snack cake to keep around when a craving for sweets occurs (which tends to happen regularly in this household) – and partly because it can be made less sinful.
Rice Kernel decided to skip his afternoon nap today so I enlisted his help. Not a bad idea, per se. Let’s just say my “helper” made a few unexpected modifications. First, he claimed the alluring container of full-fat yogurt I had purchased for the recipe (we only buy Fage 0%). Thinking I better pick my battles wisely with a sleep-deprived toddler, I let him have it. I could see his expression: “Why have you kept this rich goodness from me?!” While he was eating, I grated and squeezed some lemons. In the time I threw away the peels, Rice Kernel decided the yogurt in the mixing bowl (for the cake) needed some citrus. And, in a heartbeat, the cake inherited fat-free yogurt and an extra 1/3 of a cup of liquid. New motto: baking is an art, not science.
Despite the personalizations, our loaf was delectable. The inclusion of yogurt and oil create a moist, custard-like center with a tender crust. (Ours was probably a bit more cheesecake-like, rather than poundcake-like, with the substitution of nonfat yogurt and additional liquid.) The blueberries and lemon add a tart and refreshing lightness. If you prefer the taste of oranges, grapefruits, or limes to lemons, don’t hesitate to make the substitution. This cake can handle your imagination – poppy seeds, raspberries, nuts, chocolate. Utterly simple and versatile, this cake will certainly become a part of your repertoire.
(Will report on my Orange Creamsicle (Popsicle) and Orange Olive Oil Pignolia Nut versions of this cake soon!)
Lemon-Blueberry Yogurt Cake, from Smitten Kitchen, with minor adjustments
1 1/2 cups + 1 tablespoon white whole wheat flour (regular whole wheat will make the tender cake a bit too tough)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup plain yogurt (we used non-fat; full-fat was used in the original recipe)
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of agave nectar (or 1 cup granulated sugar)
3 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (approximately 2 lemons)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup vegetable oil (or olive oil)
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, thawed and rinsed
1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.
- Sift together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and oil. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Mix the blueberries with the remaining tablespoon of flour, and fold them very gently into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 (+) minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
- Meanwhile, cook the 1/3 cup lemon juice and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a small pan until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is clear. Set aside.
- When the cake is done, allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack. Carefully place on a baking rack over a sheet pan. While the cake is still warm, pour the lemon-sugar mixture over the cake and allow it to soak in (a pastry brush works great for this, as does using a toothpick to make tiny holes that draw the syrup in better). Cool.
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