It's no secret we're big fans of Greek yogurt here at Greatist. We named it one of our very first and favorite superfoods. We've told you how to make Greek yogurt yourselves at home. We've rounded up our favorite snacks to make with Greek yogurt, and then our favorite meals. So it should come as no surprise that when representatives at Yoplait started to search the web for writers who love Greek yogurt, they stumbled across us pretty quickly.

Last month, I headed up to Minneapolis for a day at General Mills headquarters to learn all about Yoplait's new line of Greek yogurt. They had gone Greek before — with their Yoplait Greek 100s and original Yoplait Greek lines — but neither had quite hit the mark with the Greek yogurt lovers of the world. So Yoplait went back to the drawing board to create a product that better met consumers' preferences. One of their more interesting findings in researching the new product was that many of the Greek yogurt eaters they surveyed weren't especially fond of the tart taste, but they ate Greek yogurt because it's considered healthy. There was also a big group of people who were curious to try Greek yogurt but were a bit intimidated by it — they didn’t quite know what to expect or and weren’t sure they’d like it.

Photo: Joe Dickie

The product Yoplait made needed to be strained — like traditional Greek yogurt — to increase protein content and produce that classic thick and creamy Greek yogurt texture. But it also needed to be a bit less naturally tart compared to other Greek yogurts. (Yoplait’s original Greek yogurt was thickened and upped in protein with the addition of whey protein powder, a quality many consumers did not like.) What they ended up with is a blended (meaning the fruit flavor is mixed with the yogurt base, eliminating that sometimes-watery top layer found in flavored yogurts), strained Greek yogurt made with a more mild culture (for less of that tart taste). When I first tried it, the flavors reminded me of more traditional yogurts (definitely not tart, a bit on the sweet side), but I liked knowing there was more protein packed in there, and the texture was much thicker and creamier than non-Greek style yogurts.

After taste testing all six new flavors, we headed to the Betty Crocker Kitchens, a (really freakin' awesome) part of General Mills headquarters filled with every ingredient and kitchen tool a cooking fiend like me could possibly imagine: stand mixers, ice cream makers, food processors, newly sharpened knives — and the list goes on. Left with only our imaginations — and a lot of yogurt — we whipped up a few recipes featuring the new product.

I find the most flavored Greek yogurts a bit too sweet to eat alone, so using them in baked goods as a replacement for some of the fat and sugar is one of my favorite tricks. Instead of using lemon zest — a classic carrot cake ingredient — to get that fresh, citrusy flavor, I opted for the tangerine flavored Yoplait Greek, which offers the same fresh taste, while also adding some sweetness and helping to moisten the muffins. These little treats are also packed with grated carrots, healthy walnuts, and plenty of cinnamon and vanilla. They make a great breakfast or even dessert (especially when paired with the yogurt-whipped cream spread detailed below).

Recipe: Gluten-Free Carrot-Tangerine Muffins

Carrot-Tangerine Muffins Makes 10 standard-sized muffins
What You'll Need:
1 1/4 cups gluten-free flour (I used gluten-free Bisquick mix)
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup citrus-flavored Greek yogurt (I used tangerine Yoplait Greek, but any citrus-flavored Greek yogurt will work!)
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
3/4 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1/2 cup shredded carrots
*Note: To cut down the ingredient list, you could use 2 teaspoons cinnamon and eliminate the vanilla extract.
What to Do:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place paper baking cup in each of 10 regular-size muffin cups; spray paper cups with cooking spray.
  2. In medium bowl, combine flour or Bisquick, brown sugar, and cinnamon with whisk. Set aside.
  3. In small bowl, combine yogurt, milk, butter, vanilla, and egg. Whisk until well blended.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stirring until just moistened.
  5. Add in carrots and walnuts and fold together until just blended
  6. Divide batter evenly among 10 muffin cups (cups will be full).
  7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until tops of muffins are lightly browned and spring back when touched lightly in center. (Note: Depending on your oven, the mufifns may require an additional 5-10 minutes. Check them after 25 minutes, and if they seem a bit doughy still, bake for an additional few minutes.)
  8. Cool for 10 minutes. Then, move muffins from pan to cooling racks. Cool completely.
  9. Serve as-is, with a dollop of butter, or whip up a simple whipped-cream topping. (In the bowl of an electic mixer, beat 1/2 cup whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold in an additional 3/4 cup citrus-flavored greek yogurt. Dollop on muffins, and enjoy!)

Want some more Greek yogurt recipes? Check out these two, created by the other two bloggers who visited Yoplait with me last month!

Yoplait Greek Recipes

Pineapple-Pepper Chicken Salad by Heather at Kiss My Broccoli
Chocolate and Peanut Butter Frozen Yogurt Bars by Brianne at Cupcakes and Kale Chips

Disclaimer: Travel, accommodations, and all other arrangements to visit Yoplit and General Mills were paid for in full by Yoplait. As with all Greatist stories, any content we publish is independently written and never in exchange for goods or services.

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