Maple-Cranberry Muffins with Goat Cheese Filling

If you’re planning a healthy entrance into 2010, start New Year’s Day with these special muffins. After a long night of celebratory imbibing and noshing, brunch offerings that are both comforting and healthful are the ideal remedy.

From the outside, these maple-scented muffins appear to be your run-of-the-mill cranberry baked good…

… but tucked inside each is a pocket of maple syrup-spiked cranberry-studded goat cheese.

The sweet and creamy filling is a lovely complement to the light and spongy muffins, which are made with white whole wheat flour.  Unsweetened applesauce stands in for oil and pure maple syrup replaces refined sugar, making these tasty muffins a smart choice.

Bake a batch of these muffins on Friday morning, and everyone will come flocking to the kitchen!

Maple-Cranberry Muffins with Goat Cheese Filling

inspired by Honey-& Goat Cheese-Filled Fig Muffins from the February 2010 issue of Eating Well

yields 12 large muffins

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup crumbled (about 3 oz) dried cranberry-covered goat cheese, softened (alternately, add 2 Tbsp dried cranberries to 3 oz plain goat cheese)
  • 1 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 cup milk (I used skim, but buttermilk, 1%, or non-dairy milk would suffice)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup dried cranberries

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425*F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners, or coat with cooking spray.
  2. Thoroughly combine the softened goat cheese, 1 Tbsp maple syrup, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  4. In a medium bowl, lightly whisk the eggs and egg white. Add in the 1/2 cup maple syrup, maple extract, milk, and applesauce. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add the wet ingredients into the dry, stir until just combined. Fold in the dried cranberries.
  6. Spoon half of the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add 1 heaping tsp of the goat cheese mixture to the center of each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter. The muffin cups will be full, and the goat cheese filling should not be visible.
  7. Bake the muffins for 13-15 minutes. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Let cool completely.

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