Maple Cinnamon French Toast Muffins

In a little over a month, I will be packing my bags and making my first (ever!) trip to California.  I am SO excited!!  I’ll be heading to San Francisco for the 2nd annual Foodbuzz Blogger Festival to enjoy a weekend of eating delicious food while meeting and connecting with many of my favorite bloggers.

Nature’s Pride bread is one of the official sponsors of the Foodbuzz Festival, and they are hosting a Bread Ambassador recipe contest, where bloggers are challenged to create unique recipes using Nature’s Pride bread.  For my entry, I knew I wanted to do something totally different and unexpected.  After two days of recipes trials, and 64 muffins later, feast your eyes on these…

Maple Cinnamon French Toast Muffins

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Featuring Nature’s Pride healthy multigrain bread!

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Ingredients for “French toast” topping:  (makes 18 muffins)

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 6 slices Nature’s Pride healthy multi-grain bread

Ingredients for muffin base:

  • 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (unpacked)
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxmeal
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.25 cups almond milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • pinch of cinnamon sugar

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To Prepare:  First things first, start by pre-heating the oven to 375 degrees.  Next, you can begin preparing the “French toast” topping.  I chose this healthy multi-grain bread because it was soft and fluffy on the inside, and the outside was covered with yummy seeds.

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Start by using a bread knife to cut all six slices into 1/2 inch cubes.

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In a medium sized bowl, combine 1 tbsp ground flaxmeal with 3 tbsp of water (to make a “flax egg”), along with 1/4 cup almond milk, 1 tsp vanilla, and 1/2 tsp cinnamon.  Whisk all of the ingredients together, and then add bread cubes to the liquid mixture.  Toss well and set aside to soak while the rest of the ingredients are prepared. 

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In a separate bowl, combine the dry ingredients for the muffin base – all purpose flour, rolled oats, baking soda, baking powder, flaxmeal, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt.

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Stir to combine.

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In a smaller bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients together – almond milk, maple syrup, and vanilla. 

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Then slowly mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients…

And stir just until all ingredients are incorporated.  Try to avoid over-mixing!

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Once the muffin base is mixed…

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It is time to gently fold in the toppings.  I chose 1/4 cup each of raisins and sliced almonds, but other nuts and dried fruit could be subbed in to your liking. 

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With everything ready to go, get out your muffin tin and give it a healthy shot of non-stick spray.

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Then spoon the muffin mixture into each cup, filling it only about 1/2 way.  You should have enough to fill 18 cups, so you’ll need 2 muffin pans (or you can just do two rounds of baking, like me).

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Once they are all filled to the half-way point…

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Grab the bowl of French toast topping that you set aside when we first began.  Give the bread cubes one more big stir, and then add a healthy pinch to the top of each cup of batter – just enough to fill to the rim of the baking cup.  As you add the bread, push it down gently into the batter a bit, so that some of the batter squeezes up between the cubed topping and holds it all in place.

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With muffin batter and French toast topping in each muffin cup, we are ready to BAKE!

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Slide your muffin pan into the 375 degree oven and let it bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

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Fifteen delicious smelling minutes later…

IMG_1171 (640x480)  Give them each a tiny sprinkle of cinnamon sugar on top, before carefully sliding them out of the muffin tin.

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Set them out on a cooling rack and try to resist sampling until they have cooled for a few minutes (yeah right). 

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Set on your favorite pretty plate, and ENJOY!

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These muffins are amazing – just enough maple cinnamon flavor to really bring the taste of French toast, without so much overwhelming sweetness that it turns into a cupcake. 

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And you know what’s even better?  By using non-traditional baking ingredients like almond milk and flax instead of butter and eggs, these muffins are HEALTHY!  Even with the delicious flavor of maple syrup, raisins, and almonds, these muffins cash in at only 165 calories, 2g fat, and 4g protein each!

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In that case, I will have three please.  :)

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Moist, soft, delicious, and healthy– what more could you possible want in from a muffin? 

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Many thanks to Nature’s Pride for allowing to me to participate in their Bread Ambassadors Challenge.  Hopefully I will get the chance to showcase these delicious treats in San Francisco.

Until then, happy baking!