Blueberry Flax Muffins: golden flax to the rescue

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Does this look like a dry, dense, “fiber-y” muffin to you?

No, it doesn’t to me, either.

And I can attest (since I was there, on the other end of the camera) that this moist muffin, packed with high-fiber flax and juicy blueberries, is as tasty as any “healthy” muffin you’re liable to run across.

What do we mean by healthy, anyway? In truth, it means something different to everyone.

Think of all the diets people follow: low-fat, low-calorie, low-sugar, low-carb. High-protein, high-fiber. Raw, vegan, vegetarian, ovolactarian. Gluten-free, dairy-free. Kosher. Halal.

And then there’s the chocolate diet…

The best diet advice I ever heard came from Dr. Marion Nestle, former chair of the department of public health at NYU. And it mirrored what I heard Julia Child say, on one of the occasions I was fortunate enough to hear her speak in person.

Eat a little bit of everything.

The key words being, “a little bit.”

I love pretty much everything I bake (otherwise why would I bake it, right?) And I’m betting you’re the same. It takes a ferocious amount of willpower to eat one brownie – and then put them away for another day. Or, better yet, send them to soccer practice with your daughter, or bring them over to the guys at the firehouse.

But if you can gather the will to do that, you don’t need to abandon any of your favorite foods – cookies, cake, pie, white bread.

A small portion of these special treats, slipped in among the apple and the green salad, the bowl of oatmeal and the nonfat yogurt, is part of a balanced diet – YOUR balanced diet.

And the occasional indulgence is even better when you add fiber, protein, and vitamins (plus Omega-3 fatty acids) – as happens when you bake with flax.

Here are a couple of our favorite high-fiber stars: golden flax meal on the left, golden flax seeds on the right.

Why golden flax, instead of the more common brown?

Because we did some thorough taste-testing with customers before deciding which kind of flax to offer, and our testers were pretty unanimous in their choice of golden flax over brown – citing its mild, nutty flavor.

So, are you ready to bake with flax? Let’s try these Blueberry Flax Muffins.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Start by whisking together the following:

2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/4 cup whole flax meal
1/4 cup whole flax seeds, optional
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Set the mixture aside.

In a separate bowl, beat 4 tablespoons unsalted room-temperature butter with 1/2 cup light brown sugar until creamy.

Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add 2 large eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Add 2 teaspoons vanilla and 3/4 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt (or 2/3 cup liquid whey), and mix again.

The batter may look a bit curdled; that’s OK.

Add the flour/flax mixture, beating on low speed just until the batter is smooth.

Fold in 1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen, briefly and by hand; you’re trying to avoid discoloring your batter. Fresh blueberries won’t turn your batter blue/green like frozen ones will; but if the frozen berries are frozen solid, and you fold them in quickly, your batter will stay fairly golden.

Grease a muffin tin; or line it with papers, and grease the papers.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, using a heaping 1/4 cup for each; a muffin scoop works well here. Sprinkle each muffin with a bit of coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until a cake tester inserted in the center of one comes out clean.

Remove them from the oven…

…and tilt in the cups to keep their bottoms from steaming.

As soon as you’re able, transfer the muffins to a rack to finish cooling.

Enjoy as part of your well-balanced diet!

Read, bake, and review (please) our recipe for Blueberry Flax Muffins.

Print just the recipe.

PJ Hamel
About

PJ Hamel was born in Wisconsin, grew up in New England, and graduated from Brown University. She was a journalist in Massachusetts and Maine before joining the King Arthur Flour Company in 1990, where she's been ever since. Author or co-author of three King Arthur ...

comments

  1. lauried

    Our local store now carries dried blueberries, which hold their shape and don’t bleed blue. Have you tried using them in any recipes?
    You can certainly use dried berries, they just won’t “squish” as much in the muffins or breads. They are great to add to cookies, they don’t get as soggy. ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  2. marcin

    I know this information is available elsewhere, but English-major-turned-baker PJH explains things in a way that I always understand and can retain and sometimes can repeat intelligently to others. So: What is flax anyway? Is it wheat? I don’t get it. How does it differ from bran? And I don’t know what “bran” as in “bran muffin” is either, actually. Are both of these primarily geared to maintain digestive health? If I made flax blueberry muffins for a gathering of people, do I need to tell people about the flax? Or do I just know in my heart it is excellent food for people, just the way I cook everything else, and say nothing? Is flax good universally for nearly everyone?
    Hi there,
    These are excellent questions. Here’s some more info for you.

    Per Wikipedia: Flax is grown both for its seeds and for its fiber. Various parts of the plant have been used to make fabric, dye, paper, medicines, fishing nets, hair gels, and soap. Flax seed is the source of linseed oil, which is used as an edible oil, as a nutritional supplement, and as an ingredient in many wood finishing products. Flax is also grown as an ornamental plant in gardens.

    As far as bran, grains are comprised of different parts, including the bran and germ. You can see a diagram of a wheat berry on our grain page. It will show the bran (the outer coat of the berry) the endosperm (the part we mill flour from) and the germ (the embryo of a new wheat berry).
    The fiber in bran is insoluble, so it passes through the body as more easily.

    As far as letting your guests know about different ingredients, it’s always nice for folks to be aware of ingredients in a more allergy-prone world, that way each person can decide for themselves what to eat to maintain their particular diet. Hope this helps! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  3. marcin

    Thank you, MaryJane. It does help. So I will make these muffins and think of them as a different version of bran muffins. Flax is basically another way of getting the fiber people are looking for when they choose a bran muffin. Because flax appears to be a woody plant that produced edible but insoluble fiber. Which is really hard to get in most food but much needed by everyone. I will get some and start incorporating it into my baking. Thank you muchly.

    Glad MJ could help you – she’s so knowledgeable, isn’t she? And so supportive, too – I can see her blushing from here… :) Thanks for connecting here, Marcin – PJH

    :oops: ~ MJ

    Reply
  4. "Teresa F."

    As mentioned in the blog, flaxseeds has plant-based omega-3 fatty acids (like those in fish), which are good fats, and lignans, which has antioxidant qualities in addition to the fiber. Bran do not provide omega-3 fatty acids or lignans. Flaxmeal is also used as a replacement for eggs for it’s thickening and binding qualities for some recipes. For example, it can replace some of the eggs in a meatloaf recipe to add fiber to the dish. It doesn’t replace any leavening action eggs provide.

    Anyway, those blueberry muffins look terrific!!

    Reply
  5. LeeB

    Would like to encourage people to grind their flaxseed freshly just before using. A spice mill or coffee bean grinder works great. The fragile omega-3 oils and polyunsaturated oils of the flax quickly go rancid once the seeds are milled. The flavor or freshly milled flax is delicious and nutty, whether brown or gold.
    Great reminder Lee, thanks! ~ MaryJane

    Reply
  6. Kathleen S

    I still have several pounds of blackberries in my freezer from last summer’s berry picking. Generally, can they be substituted for blueberries when baking? I’d like to successfully try them in this recipe and in other blueberry recipes on your website. They are the same size as blueberries but not as sweet.

    Yes, absolutely – the muffins should be more than sweet enough to make up for any extra tanginess in the berries, Kathleen… PJH

    Reply
  7. bobbietwin2

    I am going to try these today! We grow our own blueberries and I have several bags in the freezer. My question is can I use my Keifer in place of the yocurt? I started using all KA flour this year as I learned it is not a GMO product and I really like it. I make my own bread also. I wish you had a 7-grain mix for bread!

    You are welcome to use Kefir in place of yogurt/buttermilk in the recipe. Go right ahead! While we don’t have a 7-grain bread mix, we DO have an 8-grain/seed blend for breads as well as a 9-grain flour blend, too! Harvest Grains Blend and 9-Grain Flour Blend Kim@KAF

    Reply
  8. Erica

    Can you post the nutritional count for these please?

    Thanks for asking – we don’t have nutritional info for all our recipes and encourage our readers to use their favorite on-line resource. There’s a nice recipe calculator on Spark Recipes or sparkpeople.com Happy Baking! Irene@KAF

    Reply

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