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    Breakfast muffins

    "I'm a huge fan of the breakfast muffins at my local coffee shop, but they taste too rich and sweet to be healthy. Can you suggest a homemade alternative?" Heather Rivers, Harpenden, Hertfordshire. These muffins are lower in fat than standard ones and sweetened largely with dried fruit - which doesn't make them low in calories, but does raise the fibre content.

    • Vegetarian
    • Preparation time: 20 minutes
    • Cooking time: 20 minutes, plus cooling
    • Total time: 40 minutes, plus cooling 40 minutes

    Makes: 12


    300g plain wholemeal flour
    50g rolled porridge oats, plus extra for decoration
    3 heaped tsp baking powder
    ½ tsp mixed spice
    ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    100g raisins
    100g dried apricots, chopped
    50g pecans, chopped
    50g caster sugar
    100ml sunflower oil
    150ml natural yogurt
    150ml milk
    1 medium egg, beaten
    2 medium bananas, mashed
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    2 small apples, grated
    1 medium carrot (100g peeled weight), coarsely grated

    To Decorate:
    Sunflower and pumpkin seeds


    1. Preheat the oven to 190°C, gas mark 5. Lightly oil a non-stick muffin pan with 12 large cups (or two six-cup pans).
    2. Combine the first nine ingredients (the dry ingredients) in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix the remaining (wet) ingredients well. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. Spoon into the prepared pans.
    3. Sprinkle with oats, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and bake for 20 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 5 minutes, then cool on a rack. Eat when still warm. You can prepare the dry and wet ingredients the night before. Combine the two in the morning and you'll have a fresh-baked breakfast.

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