Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sugar-Free Muffins in the Making

At last we have rain. That’s not something you hear said very often unless you live in the Serengeti or here when there is no snow in the Southern Alps, mid-winter. If there is rain down here, there is the strong possibility of snow up there – we hope and pray.  So today, being Saturday and rainy, is a perfect day for baking. Methodical, easy baking with the predictable happy ending that most baking produces and every rainy day needs.

I’m currently baking a whole butternut squash in the oven which will be the main ingredient for today’s Butternut Muffins. Now these little mounds of treasure are muffins with quite a difference. You could call them savoury – or you could call them sugar-free. Depends on the psychological edge you need them to have. I am calling them sugar-free because that is the aim of my New Year resolution so far; to depend on sugar a lot less than I didn’t realise I apparently did…  (Let’s not dwell on whether that makes sense; it feels like it makes sense).

I’ve always considered myself to be without a sweet tooth. When I was a kid I would spend my ‘sweet money’ on prawn cocktail crisps or sketch books and crayons. I have obviously always liked chocolate of course, although without the strange emotional need for it that some (girlfriends) experience. But generally I’ve always said I’m more of a ‘pastry girl’.

But doing a bit of research I have discovered that I do actually consume a fair amount of sugar and cutting it out or down is a much harder task then it may first sound. White breads,  white pasta and white rice send blood sugar levels soaring; most convenience, pre-packaged foods, pickles, ketchups (ouch) and dairy products like yoghurts etc and when you start adding it all up it doesn’t half make you think.

And checking out my muffin tops I decided to find some healthier ways of eating and some low-sugar alternatives to those times of the day when one finds ones head very unexpectedly thrust into the fridge or the bread bin looking for a ‘hit’.

I found this recipe for sugar-free, butternut squash muffins and have given them the usual Suzy-twist to make them more acceptable to my gluttonous palate. They are not meant to be a savoury snack but a sugar-free ‘sweet’ snack. I know that doesn’t make sense because they have no sugar in them but by teasing your brain and taste buds with the flavours of cinnamon and vanilla, you can feed your craving but not your muffin-tops with muffins!

Now I think my butternut should be roasted and ready and the amusing display I have been watching out of my bedroom window of the neighbour trying to ‘walk’ her cat has ended in – I would say – reasonably predictable failure as it walks off, tail and nose held high in the absolute opposite direction. So I shall go bake and I’ll be back later with a recipe and pictures.

I reckon these would be great for kids too and also for breakfast. If you’re not worried about your sugar intake then these muffins warmed and smeared with some honey would be pretty good and since they’re full of good fibre, they would still be a very healthy and low-sugar snack. But don’t let that put you off.

Try ‘em and see. They are delicious, soft and light and fluffy and very satisfying. Even and especially at that time of day around 4pm when biscuit tins around the world are being wrenched open in the search for a blood-sugar revival.

Thanks for reading, back soon.