Flax seed ‘mug muffin’ experiment

I’m always intrigued by those cake-in-a-mug recipes but resist them for obvious reasons. Then yesterday I came across a “healthy breakfast mug muffin” attributed to Four-Hour Body author Tim Ferriss during an appearance on the “Dr. Oz” show. Naturally I had to try it.

Ferriss is a proponent of a “slow carb diet” — basically, take Atkins and add beans and a weekly cheat day. (Or at least he was. Given that his forthcoming book is titled The Four-Hour Chef, perhaps he’s changed his outlook.)

Naturally I had to tinker with the recipe, since I didn’t want to use a whole egg when I could easily erase 3 WW points by jettisoning the yolk. I added everything else as instructed:

4 T. ground flax seed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp. coconut oil (which turns out to be solid at room temp)
a packet of Stevia
and 2 teaspoons of a pumpkin pie-like spice mixture (since I didn’t have enough straight cinnamon)

The muffin slid right out of the mug when I turned it out on a plate after letting it cool a couple of minutes. And it was definitely filling. But it was too hard. Either I left it in the microwave too long, or that missing egg yolk was more of an issue than I expected.

Coconut “oil” looks and acts like Crisco at room temperature.

This called for further experimentation. In round 2, I followed the recipe exactly in one mug, including the full 2 tsp. of cinnamon. In the other, I subbed in ¼ cup no sugar added applesauce to replace both the egg AND the coconut oil. I also thought about replacing the Stevia with a teaspoon of either agave nectar or brown rice syrup, but decided against it.

The results? No contest: Three of three taste testers available when the muffins came out of the microwave agreed that the applesauce version was much better — primarily because it was moist while the “original” was dry and stiff.

Applesauce muffin on left, egg/coconut oil muffin on right.

This is really cool, because it not only simplifies the recipe by reducing the number of ingredients, it also reduces fat, calories and Weight Watchers points. (Plus, you don’t really have to worry if your muffin is “done” or not, because there’s no danger you’re going to bite into runny egg yolk.)

For the record, I came up with 3 points for the applesauce mug muffin (all of which come from the ground flax seed), along with 156 calories, 6 grams protein, 14 carbs, 10 grams fat and 8 grams of fiber.

(The “original” registers 7 WW points, 230 calories, 12 grams of protein, 8 carbs, 19 grams of fat and 8 grams of fiber.)

I definitely liked this well enough to try again and possibly even work into my breakfast or snack repertoire. I love how filling it is; the flavor could use improving, though. Next time I’m going to try adding vanilla and/or coca powder.

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7 Responses to Flax seed ‘mug muffin’ experiment

  1. tischcaylor says:

    Regarding a microwave time: If you click on the link at the top of this post, the recipe I based this on suggests 50 seconds. We have a small microwave so I knew our time would be different. I put these in for about a minute, but that wasn’t long enough so I put them in again, probably overdoing it the first time. I was more cautious the second time and kept checking it every 30 seconds. I’m going to make one of these again today so I’ll try to come up with a more accurate time, though remember this is for a small microwave.

  2. tischcaylor says:

    Wow, interesting timing here: Just got an e-mail from Amazon alerting me to Ferriss’ new book, so I guess it’s out … like right this minute: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B005NJU8PA/ref=pe_174190_26720570_nrn_title

  3. tischcaylor says:

    So yeah, that’s 2 minutes on the small microwave for the applesauce version. BTW, this one doesn’t just slide out of the mug as easily as the original. It comes out OK, but it doesn’t pop out like toast, even if you use cooking spray. (Which of course you should).

  4. I tried the original muffin recipe off Dr. Oz. I liked it OK, but if I’d known it had over 200 calories, I wouldn’t have been so excited. My 7 year old daughter LOVED it, which surprised me. You might want to add tons more cinnamon for flavor.

  5. tischcaylor says:

    I guess it depends what you’re looking for. It is a bit high in calories and WW points, but good for people who are watching their carbs but need something that “kinda sorta” reminds them of baked goods. As you say, not a whole lot of flavor. It’s funny your daughter likes it! (Must be all that broccoli and hiding the Oreos that’s warped her taste buds….)

  6. Julia says:

    I really liked this applesauce tweak. I added blueberries and vanilla extract and topped with walnuts and coconut butter. Delicious thanks!

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