Mmmm. Muffins. Is there any better way to start your day? These Healthier Sprouted Grain Pecan Muffins offer a cake-like indulgence you can actually feel good about snacking on with your morning coffee or tea. Believe me, they’re hard to resist!
Healthy alternatives to breakfast baked goods do exist! One of my favorites is Whole Wheat Buttermilk Biscuits, so fluffy no one will know they’re full of whole grains. Your family will love these gorgeous Blueberry Crumb Muffins made with kamut flour, as well as this super moist and tender Einkorn Banana Bread. Is it breakfast yet?
What Makes This Recipe Work?
Anything that helps me enjoy a muffin (or two) without guilt makes for a good recipe, and the sprouted spelt flour in these muffins does just that. Whole grains have more fiber than traditional processed flour, and, since we’re using a sprouted whole grain, these muffins are also more nutrient-dense. Sprouted flour is easier to digest, which makes it a great choice for those with gluten issues, and the flavor is milder so the other ingredients can shine through.
The flavor is not the first thing you’ll notice, though. The smell of these muffins is incredible! Aromatic spices - cinnamon, nutmeg, and clove - will fill your kitchen like your favorite fall candle. You know the one, the one that makes you feel like you’re at home no matter where you are . . . and you’ll get to enjoy that with every single bite!
I love a soft, tender muffin, but sometimes it’s nice to have a little crumb topping or some other bit of texture. Instead of topping these, I stir chunky bits of pecans into the batter. The crunchiness from the generous cup of chopped nuts provides a nice contrast, and the flavor of the pecans works really well with all the spices. Yum!
- All-purpose flour- Mixing regular flour with the sprouted whole grain flour keeps the muffins nice and light.
- Sprouted grain flour- I used sprouted spelt flour, but a good spelt flour substitute would be sprouted whole wheat flour. You can also experiment with other sprouted grains.
- Baking powder- Make sure your baking powder is fresh for maximum “poof.”
- Baking soda- The baking soda helps the muffins rise, but it also adds a saltiness that enhances the sweetness of the muffins.
- Cinnamon- Whatever type of ground cinnamon you have is fine.
- Nutmeg- I typically use already pre-ground nutmeg but grind it fresh for even more of the nutty, sweet aroma.
- Cloves- These have a really strong flavor and can be a little bitter, so measure carefully.
- Butter- This really helps the flavor of the muffins. Make sure your melted butter isn’t too hot when you mix it in.
- Olive oil- I use olive or neutral oil to keep these muffins nice and moist.
- Brown sugar- Brown sugar has a higher moisture content, which makes it ideal for a muffin recipe. The flavor is also deeper and richer. You can substitute it with regular granulated sugar if needed.
- Eggs- My recipes use large eggs.
- Vanilla- Choose pure vanilla extract.
- Milk- You can use whole milk, 2%, or skim milk in this recipe.
- Greek yogurt- You can also use sour cream.
- Pecans- I like to toast my pecans before chopping to intensify the flavor.
How to Make
- Preheat your oven.
- Prepare your muffin tin(s), using either liners or a light spray of oil.
- Combine all your dry ingredients in a large bowl. I like to whisk this to make sure everything’s evenly distributed.
- Combine all your wet ingredients in a separate bowl, mixing well.
- Pour your wet ingredients over the dry and add your pecans.
- Mix just until combined. I use a spatula for this step to avoid overmixing.
- Underbake just slightly, then let cool a few minutes before moving the individual muffins to a cooling rack.
- Enjoy warm or cool.
Tips for Making Healthier Sprouted Grain Pecan Muffins
- One of the tricks to these spelt muffins is careful baking, particularly because the whole grains absorb more moisture than traditional flour. I start out baking them hot at 425 for 8 minutes, then I reduce the temp to 350 degrees for the last 8-10. This creates a beautiful "oven spring," meaning a lot of lift in those muffins.
- There’s a reason many chefs use scales to weigh their flour. Depending on how packed your flour container is, there can be a variation in the measurement. Just a little too much or too little can negatively affect the quality of whatever you’re baking. To offset this, I like to fluff up the flour in my canister a bit, then spoon it into measuring cups. This helps ensure the perfect moisture balance.
- Many people use applesauce as a healthy substitute for oil and butter in baking. Although I haven’t personally tried it with these muffins, I think it would work well.
- As much as I love muffins, I can’t always eat them all before they lose their freshness. I pop leftovers in the freezer inside an airtight container or Ziploc bag and just microwave them while I’m getting my coffee ready.
- I’m such a fan of sprouted grains that I sprout my own at home to dry, then grind. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to sprout grains yourself, check out this Sprouting Grains Post I created just for you. The guide contains all my tips, tricks, and suggestions for home sprouts. You are going to love it!
The answer is, of course, fat. In muffins, you can get that from oil or butter, as well as eggs. For this recipe, I include all of the above, as well as a little sour cream to maximize the moisture and produce the perfect crumb. You definitely won’t need any butter on these! You can also use fruit puree (i.e., applesauce, pumpkin) as a lower-fat alternative.
Traditional muffin tins don’t give a lot of vertical space for muffins to cling to. Since I wanted a big, tall, bakery-style muffin, I baked mine in tulip liners. These paper liners allow you to fill above the muffin pan rim and ultimately bake a much bigger muffin than you usually could. Bigger is definitely better when we’re talking muffins!
Muffins aren’t hard to make, but there are a few things to keep in mind for creating muffin magic. Overmixing leads to tough muffins, so you always want to mix your dry and wet ingredients separately so you don’t have lots of mixing to do once they’re combined. Overbaking leads to dry muffins, so I always start checking my muffins on the early side of whatever time is recommended. Everyone’s oven is a little different, so a couple of minutes can make a difference. I also like to use a scoop to put the batter in the muffin tin so the muffins are a consistent size with consistent cooking times.
Sprouted Grain Pecan Muffins
- 1 ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cup sprouted grain flour or other whole wheat flour I used a sprouted spelt. Make sure you spoon and measure. Meaning, spoon into your measuring cup, ensuring to break up the flour. It gets compacted in shipping and storing in grocery stores.
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ cup melted butter
- ¼ cup olive oil or other neutral oil of choice
- ¾ cups brown sugar or other granulated sugar of choice
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt or sour cream
- 1 ½ cups chopped pecans
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Also, read the instructions all the way through.
- If you are using tulip liners, line 10 muffin inserts with liners. If you are not using the tulip liners, spray 14 muffin inserts to prepare.
- In a small bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, sprouted grain flour, baking powder, baking soda, and other seasonings.
- In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter, oil, brown sugar, eggs, sour cream, milk, and vanilla. Now, combine the wet and dry plus the chopped pecans. Mix them ONLY to combine. Do not overmix.
- Divide between the 10 muffins with the tulip liners if you are using them. If not, divide between the 14 muffins.
- Place in preheated oven and bake for 8 minutes, if you are using the tulip liners. If you are baking regular-sized muffins, bake for 5 minutes on 425. Reduce the heat and bake for another 8-10 minutes with the tulip liners. For the regular muffins, bake for another 6-8 minutes. With any type of whole grain baking, you will want to underbake just slightly, the whole grain flours absorb more liquid than refined flours.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool just a few minutes. Gently remove the muffins from the pan and move them to a cooling rack.
- They are amazing straight out of the oven and hot, but are still really good cooled. If you are using them for meal prep, I prefer to freeze them. Then when you are ready to eat, simply heat it in the microwave.