Yes, we have Healthy Muffins . . .
Lard Puck! How did the once humble muffin end up with this disparaging (and, sadly, well deserved) moniker?
A brief history of the muffin.
Muffins are one of the favourite fast-food snacks in North America. Originally eaten as a quick breakfast food, they have evolved to become popular at any time of day. Muffins come in two main types: English and American.
American Muffins (the type of muffin covered in this article) are made with a quick bread recipe:
"Muffins...Women were making muffins well before the twentieth century...these varied mainly according to the type of flour used-white, graham, rye, corn. Sometimes a handful of chopped dates and/or raisins would be added, in which case muffins became "Fruit Gems."...For the most part, however, muffins remained basic plain until well into the twentieth Century. For years we had a fairly set repertoire of muffins: bran, blueberry, corn, date, apple, oatmeal, and such. Then in the 70s and 80s, muffin madness set in. Muffins exploded to three or four times their normal size...."
American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes of the 20th Century, Jean Anderson
(For more on the history of muffins, read this article in Wikipedia)
Prior to the 60s, because muffins had a short shelf life, they were only made at home or in small retail bakeries. Then, as the muffin’s popularity grew, large commercial bakeries began to produce them by using artificial ingredients to reduce costs and preserve the ‘fresh baked’ taste through to the end of a long supply chain.
The next big change came in the 80s when concern began to grow about the quantity of artificial ingredients in commercially produced food. With muffins, the industry’s solution was to maintain the long shelf life by replacing some of the artificial additives and preservatives with large quantities of sugar and fats. As a bonus the added fats aerated during baking and the same quantity of dough now made much larger muffins. The visually appealing, flow-over the cup, ‘Muffin Top’ was born.
And the once humble muffin was now firmly in the “fast food” category - fattening, unhealthy and to be avoided at all cost by people concerned about what they eat.
Should all muffins be considered as unhealthy fast food?
The Healthy Owl Alternative - delicious low fat, low calorie muffins
Fast Food franchise outlets typically offer muffins that have been prepared in bulk at a factory, frozen and stored at a central distribution depot before being transported to individual restaurants for reheating and serving to customers.
At The Healthy Owl, we prepare our muffins in small batches, making only enough for immediate consumption. We use real fruit in our muffins, and never use synthetic flavourings, preservatives or additives. We do not add sugar and fats to extend shelf life as is done in mass produced, high volume “muffin factories”. (One thing we do add is fiber by using whole wheat four where possible.)
Cornmeal Cranberry Lemon Muffins
The Healthy Owl Bakery Cafe
As a result, our muffins typically contain only half the calories and one third the fat of muffins bought at fast food outlets (and, our loyal customers maintain, they taste better).
Our muffins include Wheat Free, Gluten Free, Dairy Free and Vegan varieties. Please ask which varieties comply with your dietary requirements.
Now you can enjoy one of North America's favourite snacks without feeling guilty about eating too much fast food or exceeding your daily intake of calories. You will also benefit from the lower fat and increase of healthy ingredients in your diet.
Why don't you stop in and try our Healthy low calorie, low fat Muffins (and Healthy Bites) for a mid morning or mid afternoon snack and take a selection home to give your family a healthy evening snack or after-dinner treat.
Muffins ready to go!
The Healthy Owl Bakery Cafe