Makes 18 / Whole-wheat flour, brown rice syrup, and warm spices create a muffin good enough for breakfast or dessert. The cream-cheese frosting is optional, for extra richness.

1 cup brown rice syrup
1/2 cup sucanat
4 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened apple juice
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs
1-1/4 cups unbleached flour
1/3 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 apple, diced (about 1 cup)
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup raisins
Frosting (optional)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces low-fat cream cheese
1 tablespoon unsweetened apple juice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup date sugar or sucanat

1. Preheat oven to 350º. Prepare 1/2-cup muffin tins with cooking spray, or use paper baking cups.

2. Whisk together brown rice syrup, sucanat, oil, apple juice, yogurt, and vanilla in a large bowl. Mix in eggs, one at a time. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring until just combined. Do not overmix. Add diced apple, walnuts, and raisins, and stir until just combined.

3. Pour batter into prepared muffin tins. Bake 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool on a rack.

4. If frosting, let muffins cool completely. Mix butter, cream cheese, and apple juice with an electric mixer on medium speed. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon and date sugar or sucanat. Slowly pour sugar mixture into cream-cheese mixture, blending on medium speed until stiff. Use 1 tablespoon frosting per muffin.

Nutrition Facts Per Serving: Calories: 174 calories % fat calories: 28 Fat: 6g Saturated Fat: 1g Cholesterol: 36mg Carbohydrate: 28g Protein: 4g Fiber: 1g Sodium: 202mg