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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Substitutes enhance cinnamon sugar-coated muffin

By Elaine Magee

Q. A bakery in my town makes these wonderful chocolate-chip muffins with a cinnamon sugar coating on the outside. Can you create a healthier version?

A. Marrying a little cinnamon with chocolate sounds like a grand idea. At first I couldn't figure out how best to coat the muffins with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. If I coated the pan with the cinnamon sugar, the sugar would caramelize in the heat of the oven. So, instead I decided to try baking the muffins without papers, brushing them with a little bit of no-trans margarine and dipping them in the cinnamon sugar. It worked like a charm.

To bring up the fiber in the muffins, I replaced half of the white flour with whole wheat. To bring down the fat, I substituted half of the oil with fat-free sour cream or vanilla yogurt, and I switched to canola oil to add in some omega-3s and monounsaturated fat. I used fewer chocolate chips and added some vanilla extract to compliment the cinnamon and chocolate flavors.


Original recipe contains 245 calories, 10.5 grams of fat and only 1 gram of fiber per muffin.

  • 6 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup unbleached, white flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (or substitute 1/4 cup Splenda and 1/4 cup granulated sugar, if desired)
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free sour cream or vanilla yogurt
  • 1 large egg (higher omega-3 egg, if available)
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup mini, semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons no-trans margarine (with 8 grams of fat per tablespoon, such as Take Control)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Coat the inside of each muffin cup with canola cooking spray.

Mix 6 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon in a small bowl. Set aside.

In medium bowl, combine flours, 1/2 cup sugar (or 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup Splenda), baking powder and salt.

In mixing bowl, beat the milk, canola oil, sour cream (or yogurt), egg and vanilla until smooth.

Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and beat on low just until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fill each prepared muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter (1/2 cup if using the Texas-size muffin pan).

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool muffins slightly before removing the pan. Meanwhile, melt 1 1/2 tablespoons of no-trans margarine in microwave. Brush melted margarine onto the top or bottom of muffins and immediately roll in the cinnamon sugar.

Makes 12 regular-size muffins or 6 Texas-size muffins

• Per muffin (without the cinnamon-sugar): 197 calories, 4 g protein, 31 g carbohydrate, 7 g fat (2.2 g saturated fat, 3.2 g monounsaturated fat, 1.3 g polyunsaturated fat), 18 mg cholesterol, 2.1 g fiber, 228 mg sodium.

Note: Using the cinnamon-sugar mixture adds 12 calories and 3.5 grams carbohydrate to each muffin.

Calories from fat: 31 percent; omega-3 fatty acids. 4 g; omega-6 fatty acids .8 g. Weight Watchers points, 4.

Elaine Magee is author of "The Recipe Doctor Cookbook" and "The Flax Cookbook." Readers may reach her through www.recipedoctor.com. Personal responses can't be provided. This column is distributed by the Knight Ridder News Service.