Apple Cranberry Chocochip Muffins

Today’s healthy recipe of Apple Cranberry Chocochip Muffins is being posted after a long gap of two months. This period has been extremely busy for me on personal front. Some events at Zoey’s school, few healthy bake orders, house shifting, kids sick, vacation to home town and the biggest festival of the year for us, Deepawali and the regular stuff amidst all this. It had been a crazy schedule for the last two months. Even though I kept craving for some new baked tastes, I just had to curb down all my cravings since my 9-year-old friend, my beloved oven took its last breaths around this same time. Baking is a therapy that keeps me going in the middle of all storms and with the oven gone, I felt so incomplete.

Dhanteras festival which comes just before Deepawali came as a respite for me. Hindus consider Dhanteras to be one of the most auspicious days to make new purchases, especially gold, silver and kitchenwares. I decided to purchase a new OTG (Oven, Toaster and Griller) Oven for the festival and inaugurate it on the festival day with a fusion dessert of Mawa Cake, the recipe of which I will be posting soon for all of you.

With my baking rack ready for adventures with its own brand new oven, my hands have been craving for some baking experiments. This super healthy recipe of Apple Cranberry Chocochip Muffins made with gluten-free oats flour is a result of some random mixing of ingredients lying around in the kitchen. The recipe is a fat-free recipe with no use of butter or oils. Yet, the muffins are super moist and soft, just the way I like them to be. It is free from refined sugars and is sweetened with dates making it perfect for a health conscious soul with each muffin being less than 100 calories.

A gluten-free diet is a diet that excludes the protein gluten. Gluten is found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, and a cross between wheat and rye called triticale. Unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable after eating foods that contain gluten. The most severe reaction is called celiac disease. The claimed benefits of the diet are improved health, weight loss and increased energy. Most people try a gluten-free diet to treat digestive problems. If you have celiac disease, switching to a gluten-free diet may help boost your energy levels and stop you from feeling tired and sluggish.

Oats is a low-calorie food which slows digestion and makes you feel full longer. Thus, reducing your cravings and helping you shed a few pounds. Oats are loaded with dietary fiber and the antioxidants present in oats are beneficial for heart disease and the dietary fibers help lower the bad cholesterol. Oats are a rich source of fiber, both soluble and insoluble, which helps in regulating bowel movements and hence prevents constipation. Since oats help stabilize blood sugar and reduce risk of type-2 diabetes, diabetics should consume oats regularly. Oats are also a rich source of magnesium, which is key to enzyme function and energy production, and helps prevent heart attacks and strokes by relaxing blood vessels, aiding the heart muscle, and regulating blood pressure.

The health benefits of apples include prevention of heart, stomach, and liver disorders, gallstones, constipation, anemia, and diabetes. They also lower your risk of suffering from rheumatism, eye disorders, a variety of cancers, gout, and Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. Apples help in reducing weakness, providing relief from dysentery, and promoting digestion. Finally, they also aid in dental and skin care.

Being rich in various nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants, dates have amazing benefits for the brain and heart. It also helps in improving bone health, treating constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunctions, diarrhoea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates also help promote a healthy weight gain. They are rich in many vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Cinnamon is a highly aromatic and delicious spice commonly used to add a distinct flavor and aroma in baked goods. Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants that protect the body from cell damaging agents. It helps the body to fight infections and repairs tissue damage. It is good for diabetics and it slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract. It also helps fight bacterial and fungal infections.

The recipe combines the benefits of all its ingredients and turns them into a yummy delicious dessert, breakfast or a tea-time snack. The flavors of apple, dates, cranberries and chocochips blend wonderfully giving oats a complete makeover. They are a perfect replacement for days when you are bored of your bowl of cereal or oats porridge. People who use oats as a part of their regular diet will love this recipe for sure and for somebody who has not tasted oats thinking of it as a bland food, this recipe will come as a surprise. Whatever it be, I would recommend to give this recipe a try once before you start falling in love with it or rejecting it forever.

The recipe passed my critic tests when both my toddlers gobbled upon two pieces each of these healthy muffins the moment they were out of the oven. The smile on Zoey’s face clearly made the recipe a winner. The younger one, Elina couldn’t resist her urge of tasting the second one even with her hands already full. The pictures say it all. I hope all of you love the muffins as much as we did. Do give the recipe a try and let me know how it turned out for you. Happy Baking!!

RECIPE FOR APPLE CRANBERRY CHOCOCHIP MUFFINS:

Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Baking Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

No. of servings: 20 Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

2½ cups oats

1 cup/ 250 gm/ 22-25 pitted dates chopped

1 cup milk

2 medium sized apples chopped finely

½ cup diced cranberries

½ cup chocochips

½ cup curd

2 tsp vanilla essence

2 tsp cinnamon powder

2 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

RECIPE:

  1. Grind oats to get flour. Add cinnamon powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.
  2. Boil milk and pour over the chopped dates. Leave aside for 15-20 minutes.
  3. Blend the dates and milk mixture to a smooth paste.
  4. Add chopped apples, curd and vanilla essence to the dates paste and whisk till well blended.
  5. Add the flour mix to the wet ingredients. Gently mix to get the batter. I prefer using my hands to mix. You may use a spatula to roll and mix the ingredients well. Be careful not to overmix the batter.
  6. Add cranberries and choco chips and gently mix.
  7. Preheat the oven to 170 degree Celsius for 10-15 minutes.
  8. Line a muffin tray with cupcake liners and spray a little oil on them. Spoon the batter into the liners filling them upto three-fourth levels. Pat the tray on the slab couple of times to ensure that the batter evens up in the tray.
  9. Bake the muffins for 25-30 minutes or until the skewer comes clean.
  10. Cool on the wire rack for 5 minutes and enjoy your muffins.

RECIPE NOTES:

  1. The recipe yields 20 muffins of standard size. The number may vary depending on the size of your muffin tray. Accordingly the baking time may vary.
  2. For extra decoration and to enjoy the crispiness of oats, some oats can be sprinkled on top of batter before keeping in the oven.

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