Muffin Nirvana …
The best muffin I have ever, ever tasted.
I’ve always been a sucker for the creamy sweetness of white chocolate. And, when it’s mixed with the tangy burst of blueberries – it’s sheer genius.
Once I tried one, I knew I just HAD to have the recipe!
Luckily, that was not a problem. My love-at-first-bite had just come right across the street to me, in the arms of my neighbor and dear friend, Marrie (I have the best neighbors!).
The original recipe, which sports a “five oven-mitt” rating at Nestlé (you can find the original recipe here), is a winner in many ways. Nutritionally, though, it just isn’t something I can feel very good about serving my family.
Packed with white flour, almost an entire stick of butter and 2 cups of white chocolate chips, the original version is really more of a dessert indulgence than a power-packed breakfast or snack.
So, I happily got to work, recreating my favorite new muffin into something as wonderfully nutritious as it is stark-raving delicious.
After baking six different versions and tormenting our families for days with endless debates about which had the best flavor, the best texture, the best … muffin excellence … Gretchen and I settled on just the right balance of healthiness and all-out yumminess. I can’t believe how decadent these still are, even after their nutritional
Our final version has just 1 ½ tablespoons of butter (instead of the original 7 tablespoons), lots of whole wheat flour, and just ¾ cup of white chocolate chips (instead of the original whopping 2 cups – and it’s still PLENTY!). Plus, you’ve got all the luscious blueberries – those tiny nutritional powerhouses!
And so, I humbly offer to you my favorite muffin.
My kids always do a little cheer when they rush into the house after school and find a fresh batch of these on the cooling racks.
This is one of my very most requested muffin recipes. I will freely admit that these are still just a little bit naughty, especially with those white chocolate chips. But, this version is so much healthier than the original … and still so, so darn good.
And, hey – if it makes your kids do a little cheer for you, then you really ought to bake these every now and then!
To begin your journey to muffin nirvana, first mix the flours, sugars, baking powder and salt. Then add the milk, egg, applesauce, canola and lemon zest. Ever wondered about the best way to zest a lemon? Check out our post How to Zest a Lemon (and Grate Other Stuff, Too!).
Oh! And for those of you who are tempted to substitute 2 additional tablespoons of applesauce for the canola (so you have ¼ cup of applesauce in the muffin batter but no canola), we can tell you that these muffins will still be lip-smackingly awesome. We tried it! But, as with most muffins, using only applesauce can compromise texture just a little, and we thought the 2 tablespoons of heart-healthy canola oil really improved the texture and flavor.
After combining the wet and dry ingredients, gently stir in the white chocolate chips, and then add the frozen (or fresh) blueberries.
A couple of important tips:
Tip #1 – Make sure you whisk the dry ingredients very thoroughly. But … once you begin adding the wet ingredients, you should keep the amount of stirring and mixing to a minimum (this is true with pretty much any muffin or quick bread recipe). If you stir too much, your muffins can turn into tough bricks (bye-bye, muffin nirvana!).
Tip #2 – If you’re using frozen berries, keep them in the freezer until the very last moment before you need to add them. After those little guys begin to thaw, they will stain the batter purpley-blue when you mix them in!
Once your batter is ready, simply fill 18 muffin cups about ¾ of the way full.
Tip #3 – As you may have noticed in our photos, part of our recipe testing included trying different muffin liners. The white chocolate and blueberries that make these muffins so wonderful also make them stick a bit to traditional paper muffin liners. If that’s all you have on hand – no worries – the paper just won’t release quite as easily. But, what works much better for this recipe is foil liners (just the foil cups, not the accompanying white paper liners that foil cups are usually packaged with).
Once you’ve got your batter in the muffin cups, it’s time for the finishing flourish. After tossing together a crumbly topping of sugar, flour, cinnamon and a tiny bit of butter, sprinkle about ½ tablespoon of that delicious streusel across each muffin. (And don’t worry if your sprinkling skills aren’t finely honed … as you can see, ours definitely aren’t right on target!)
Depending on your oven, your pan, and the exact size of your muffin liners, bake these for about 18-22 minutes, until they are just turning golden and a wooden toothpick comes out clean. Make sure to test them early and be careful not to over-bake – these are much better if they’re not dried out!
And then … joy … pure, delicious muffin bliss. Who knew that nirvana could be so easy to find (and that it’s actually muffin-shaped?)!
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- 2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup non-fat milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons lemon zest (from 1 lemon)
- ¾ cup white chocolate chips
- 1 ½ cups frozen (or fresh) blueberries
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ tablespoons butter
- Preheat oven to 375° F. Line muffin pans with 18 paper liners (foil liners are preferable because they prevent sticking).
- In a large bowl, combine both flours, granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir well with a whisk until evenly combined.
- Add milk, egg, canola oil, applesauce and lemon zest to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined – do not over-stir or your muffins may become tough.
- Add white chocolate chips and blueberries, stirring briefly after each addition.
- Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners, filling each about ¾ full.
- To make the streusel topping, combine the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in the butter (the easiest way is with your fingers) until evenly distributed so that the topping is similar to crumbly wet sand.
- Sprinkle the muffins evenly with streusel topping, using about ½ tablespoon of streusel for each muffin.
- Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until lightly golden brown, and a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake, as these muffins are much better if they aren't dried out.
- Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes or until the muffins are beginning to set and are cool enough to handle. Remove the muffins to wire racks to cool completely.
To freeze, wrap individually and store in freezer bags. They will thaw in about 45 minutes or can be gently defrosted at 50% power in the microwave in about 20-30 seconds.
We’d Love to Hear From You!
What’s your idea of the perfect muffin? Tell us about the most amazing muffin you’ve ever tasted or the muffin flavor you’ve always dreamed of concocting (maybe we’ll try creating it!).
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