Edible Gifts: Muffin Mix in a Jar

Keep your loved one on the road to health with the ingredients for heart smart muffins.

You will need:

  • 1 quart wide-mouth canning jar
  • 1 small Ziplock bag
  • 16 inches of a pretty ribbon
  • 1 tiny wire whisk (available from kitchenware shops)
  • 1 large rubber band
  • 1 large envelope (Punch a hole in the upper left corner of the envelope.)
  • 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour (spoon into measuring cup and level top)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar

Directions:

1. In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose unbleached flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg and 1/8 teaspoon salt

2. Using a funnel, pour ingredients into the jar. In a small Ziplock bag, place the dark brown sugar in and completely close. Push bag into the mason jar. Close jar tightly. Secure the small wire whisk with a rubber band around the lid.

3. Type baking instructions (see below) on a pretty piece of paper or card, and tuck inside the envelope. Tie instruction card with a pretty ribbon covering the rubber band.

Instruction card:

Heart Smart Muffin Mix

Per muffin: 158 calories, 30 grams carbohydrates, 3 grams fat (less than 1 gram saturated fat), 18 milligrams cholesterol, 1 gram fiber. Makes 12.

Dry mix keeps for 3 months. Store in a cool, dark cupboard

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray twelve 2 3/4-by-1 1/2 inch nonstick muffin cups with oil.

2. Empty the Heart Smart Muffin Mix ingredients into a medium bowl. Set aside.

3. In another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at medium speed, beat the 3/4 cup low-fat (or regular) buttermilk, 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, 2/3 cup packed dark brown sugar (from the Ziplock bag), 1 large egg, 1 1/2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract until frothy, about 2 minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, mix just until moistened. Batter will be thick. Do not overmix.

4. Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm or cool completely on the rack. Variations:

Do Your Own Thing Muffins: Stir in 1/2 cup fresh or frozen (do not thaw) blueberries, raspberries, chocolate chips, raisins, currants or walnuts.

Bran Muffins: Stir in 3/4 cup unprocessed bran flakes with the dry ingredients. If batter is too thick, add in 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce.

Cranberry-Pumpkin Muffins: Substitute 1/2 cup solid pack pumpkin for 1/2 cup of the applesauce and 1/2 cup dried cranberries.

Dairy-Free Muffins: Replace the buttermilk with soy or rice milk. Add in 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice.

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