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Low Fat, Low Sugar Apple Cider Muffins

If you'd like a real muffin--not a cupcake--for breakfast (or any other time), this recipe may be for you. The muffins are sweet, but not very. They get their flavor from apple cider and their moistness from a moderate amount of canola oil and applesauce, which, along with sweet spices, reinforces the apple taste of the muffins. White whole-wheat flour and oatmeal provide whole-grain nutrition. The muffins mix up in just a few minutes and cook in about 25, making them perfect for baking alongside something else if you already have the oven on. I like to bake the muffins in the evening with other parts of our dinner so that we can enjoy the muffins as a treat with our dessert fruit and then have the leftover muffins later in the week for breakfast. Although reasonably nutritious, these aren't boring muffins. Rather, the muffins' layers of apple taste, moistness, and bonus of raisins and walnuts will beat out dry, stodgy, sugary cupcakes any day.

Quick Apple Cider Muffins

Apple Cider Muffins -- Makes 12

1/4 cup of canola oil

1/3 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of apple cider (I use Trader Joe's Honeycrisp Cider)

1 egg

3/4 cup of apple sauce

1 cup of white whole-wheat flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/4 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon of cloves

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

1/2 cup of quick oats

1/4 cup of raisins

1/2 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and coat a 12-cup muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line the muffin tin with cupcake liners and spritz the liners with a bit of non-stick spray. In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, sugar, apple cider, and egg. Whisk in the applesauce. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and oatmeal and add them to the wet ingredients, stirring just until everything is moistened. Stir in the raisins. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with the walnuts. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until firm and golden brown.

Low Fat, Low Sugar Apple Cider Muffins

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