Monday, March 17, 2014

More Muffins!

More muffins!
I've been promising to get this recipe up and available for a few people, partly because I'm terrible at remembering to write more than one email, but mostly because I hadn't gotten the recipe actually written down until just now.

Here we go:

  1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  1 cup quick-cooking oats
  1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  2 teaspoons baking powder
  1/2 teaspoon salt
  1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  1 egg, lightly beaten
  1 cup (8 ounces) plain yogurt
  1/4 cup butter, melted
  2 tsp vanilla
  1 cup chopped cherries
  1/3 cup chocolate chips

First thing you need to know, is this turns out somewhere closer to a really sticky dough than a batter. A little like oatmeal cookie dough, if I were to compare it to anything. That's good, that's how it's supposed to be.
The vanilla is a minimum, honestly. My hand slipped the first time, and I'm pretty sure I ended up with rather more than a tablespoon. It was wonderful.
As for the yogurt, I've been using that 0% fat plain Greek yogurt. It works great for the texture, and I think it makes the muffins just slightly tart, which works wonders with the dark tart cherries I've been using. (turns out it works with regular, full fat yogurt, too)
I have discovered that Costco, once a year or so, has frozen cherries in stock. I have a bag of the dark tart ones, and to get them ready I just chop them roughly, the largest pieces being halves. I haven't had access to fresh cherries, but I'm pretty sure they would be tasty, too.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Combine the first six ingredients thoroughly, then mix in the egg, yogurt, butter and vanilla until the mixture is moist. Fold in the cherries and chocolate.
Make sure you grease the muffin cups well, fill each cup about two-thirds to three-quarters full.
They'll need 18-22 minutes, or until they're lightly golden and have no obvious wet spots left on top. You can also check with a toothpick, and if it comes out clean, they're good, or if they feel firm when you tap them.

These come out dense and a little chewy, and transport very well. I bag them up and toss them in my backpack and they don't squish or turn to crumbs before I get a chance to snack.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

It's just muffin!

I've been working with this muffin recipe lately... It started out pretty good, I have to admit, but I'm a firm believer in stuffing breakfast muffins as full of tasty goodness as is, well, tasty. So, I've been making batch after batch of these things. Partly because I want to keep tweaking the recipe, but mostly because they keep getting eaten so quickly.

I'm considering that a good sign.

I somehow got it into my head that I really wanted oatmeal muffins, and I had bananas that were...well, only good for baking at best. So I dug through about fifteen or so recipes, and settled on this recipe as my starting point.

After a few weeks of messing about, though, I've made a few slight alterations, though I'm not sure if the adjustment to the moisture content was necessary because I live in a desert, or because I'm not using the quick-cook oats.

Maybe they cook the same as quick-oats, I don't know... I have a terrible confession to make- I hardly ever eat oatmeal. I don't like it. But in muffins, well, that's another matter.

The second change...I added chocolate chips. Who doesn't like chocolate in muffins? I add in a handful of chocolate chips, probably about a third of a cup (I have large hands, so that's an easy scoop) and chop the pecans and chips roughly, so that I get some smaller bits of chocolate and some whole chips. I aim to end up with a heaping cup of the pecan-chocolate chip mix.

After my slight adjustments, the recipe looks more like this:

  3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
  1 teaspoon baking powder
  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  1/4 (heaping, for me) teaspoon ground nutmeg
  2 egg whites
  1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium)
  1/4-1/3 cup packed brown sugar (depending on how sweet you want them)
  1/3 cup milk
  1/4 cup canola oil
  1 heaping cup chopped pecans and chocolate chips

You notice all the 'heaping' measures. It's not a terribly fussy recipe, and you can tweak these around to taste.

1-In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg whites, bananas, brown sugar, milk and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Stir in pecans.
2-Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill two-thirds full with batter. Bake at 400° for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
3- let them cool just as long as you can bear before trying one of your delicious muffin creations.

Some tips and why to try them-

Don't try saving bowls by just dumping all the ingredients in and mixing.
There are several reasons: one, mixing the first six ingredients breaks up and evenly distributes the baking soda and powder (and the spices), which otherwise tend to clump terribly on contact with moisture and taste pretty bad when you find a plain lump. Second, beating the sugar and the rest breaks up the bananas and egg whites, and works some air into the mix, keeping what could be a very dense recipe just a little lighter.

This recipe does make one dozen (12) muffins, but with the extra ingredients you are going to fill the cups pretty full. I just evenly distribute the batter with the measuring cup I used on the milk. You have heavy ingredients, so you'll want to keep scraping the bowl to mix things up, even as you're scooping the batter.

They'll be ready when the tops are firm and dry looking, and bounce back when tapped (instead of feeling gooey or sinking) and they turn this lovely dark gold. Or you can use the clean-knife trick, just know the chocolate chips will always be messy and if you leave any chunks of banana they'll stick to the knife no matter how done your muffin is... well, there may be limits to that, too...


(I finally got around to cleaning this post up a bit! Yay!)