Showing posts with label muffins and scones. Show all posts
Showing posts with label muffins and scones. Show all posts

08 June 2017

Improv Cooking Challenge: Jalapeños & Cheese

After much indecisiveness, I decided to experiment with jalapeño and cheese corn muffins for June's Improv Cooking Challenge. Unfortunately, the first batch was nearly indelible -- astonishingly hot, much too dry, and a little tough. However, I tried again -- adding more liquid, reducing the amount of dried jalapeños, and stirring less -- and eventually arrived at a moderately zippy, tender muffin.


I used Cabot's Jalapeno Jack, a creamy cheese generously studded with fiery jalapeño pieces. It's a flavorful cheese, with plenty of spice, but doesn't set fire to the back of my throat. Really, though, any spicy semi-soft cheese you like will work in this recipe. Just as you should only cook with wine you like to drink, you shouldn't cook with cheese you don't want to surreptitiously nibble.

If you can't find plain kefir at your market, buttermilk or soured milk will work in a pinch. I used kefir simply because I almost always have a container of kefir in my fridge and running to the shop to purchase a container of buttermilk that would end up going off before I could use it up was just ... nope.



Jalapeño Cheddar Corn Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 3 oz canola, plus extra for greasing the muffin tin
  • 5 oz white whole wheat flour
  • 5 oz cornmeal
  • ⅛ tsp mustard powder
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
  • 1 Tbsp dried crushed jalapeños
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 9 oz plain low-fat kefir
  • 4 oz whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 12 pickled jalapeño slices

Instructions

  1. Heat oven to 425°F. Brush a 12-hole muffin tin with neutral cooking oil.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cornmeal, mustard powder, baking powder, cheese, crushed jalapeños, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the kefir, milk, oil, and eggs together.
  4. Fold the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture, working swiftly yet gently to avoid tough muffins.
  5. Divide the mix between the 12 oiled muffin wells (they will be quite full) and top each with a jalapeño slice. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean when tested.
  6. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Serve warm with whipped butter.

For anyone new to my blog, the Improv Cooking Challenge is a monthly blog hop where two ingredients are assigned, participants must make a new-to-their-blog recipe using both ingredients, and publish a blog post about it on the second Thursday of the month. If you think that sounds like fun, click on the Improv Cooking Challenge logo below.





21 July 2016

Improv Challenge: Peaches & Cream


I didn't plan on participating in July's Improv Challenge. Housebound, easily tired, and increasingly irritated by the tether that is my wound vac ... cooking just hasn't been my thing. But I'm getting bored with myself, you see. Boredboredbored. And so I thought "What the heck! I have dried peaches in the pantry, sour cream in the fridge, and nothing else that needs doing. Why not, at least, try? At worst, I exhaust myself, have a little cry, and need a lie down. At best, I am one step closer to convincing myself I am a Well Person now."

Briefly, I considered tarting up a basic scone recipes with peaches, crystallized ginger, and honey cream. But then I came to my senses and remembered I don't particularly like scones. I know, I know. Scones are something all bookish tea drinking Anglophiles should love. And I do love the idea of them. But I've eaten so many bad scones -- dry, bland, chewy, UGH -- that I've learned to avoid them at bakeries and cafes. And, more importantly, I've not had much luck baking them. So.


Muffins! Glorious, peachy muffins! I've adapted "Naomi's Apricot Nut Muffins" recipe from ApricotKing Orchards to use spelt flour, peaches, ginger, and almonds. I also soaked my peaches in a cup of freshly brewed Salada Green Tea "Immunity" (a blend of green tea, nectarine and peach flavors, spices, and herbs) instead of water, in an attempt to boost the muffins' peachiness. (Feel free to use any peach-flavored tea or just plain ol' hot water).

Peachy Spelt Muffins

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup diced dried peaches
  • 1 cup freshly brewed Salada Green Tea Immunity
  • 1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar [Imperial Sugar]
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups spelt flour [King Arthur Flour]
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp grated orange zest
  • ¼ cup crystallized ginger
  • Sparkling (large grain) sugar, if desired
  • Sliced almonds, if desired

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F with a rack in the lower middle. Line a 12-count muffin pan with baking cups or grease the bottoms and halfway up the sides of the wells.
  2. Place peaches in a bowl, add hot tea, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain.
  3. Cream together butter, sugar, and sour cream in your stand mixer
  4. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and orange peel in a large bowl. Slowly add the dry ingredients to wet, mixing until just until combined. (Careful you don’t over mix as that can result in a tougher muffin). Gently stir in apricots and ginger.
  5. Fill muffin tin or paper cupcake cups. Sprinkle with sugar and almonds.
  6. Bake 18-20 minutes in the 400°F oven (if the almonds get too brown, tent with foil). Muffins are done when the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the middle-most muffin comes out clean.
  7. Let the muffins cool in the muffin pan for 5 minutes, then immediately remove them from the pan. Let cool on a rack for another 15 minutes before eating.


As you can see, none of my muffins domed and a few have sunken centers. They're not under-baked -- the inside of the muffin in soft, fluffy, and moist-but-not-wet -- and my baking soda was new. While I was careful mixing the batter, it is still possible I over-mixed it. Also, in hindsight, I wonder if there wasn't enough leavening used? Perhaps I should have used used a 1:1 baking soda to flour ratio, even thought the original recipe used 1:2?

Anyway, while they're not as pretty as I would have liked, these muffins are still quite yummy. Nutty, just the right amount of sweet, and peachy. Even The Husband has been eating them! I thought for certain spelt would bet a big ol' NOPE from him, but I have been proven wrong. It happens.



24 October 2014

Toast Those Muffins

We had a Dunkin Donuts chocolate chip muffin kicking around the kitchen that no-one seemed interested in eating because it was two days old, after all, and lost much of the fluffy cake-like qualities that make Dunkin Donuts chocolate chip muffins worth eating in the first place. I didn't want to throw it out -- waste of food/money -- but I couldn't see how to make it taste good, again.

And then I remembered how The Husband love's the chocolate chip muffins at The Shack in , because they butter and toast the split muffins on their griddle. And I thought "I have a cast iron skillet and butter!" And, you know, it worked out pretty well! The muffin -- warm, crunchy, and buttery -- was a lovely bit of decadence on a dreary October evening.


Cut your muffin in half. Heat a blob of butter in a cast iron skillet until it's foamy.


And halved muffin, cut side down, to skillet and cook until beautifully browned.


Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, because whipped cream makes tasty toasty muffins even better.

07 April 2012

Crazy Cooking Challenge: Blueberry Muffins

PhotobucketI don't bake muffins very often. I don't know why, because I hate the commercial bakery "big-as-your-fist" type muffins that are little more than overly sweet cake with stuff mixed in. Unless they're split in half, slathered with butter, and slapped on a hot griddle until golden, these giant cake-like muffins (cupcake wannabes?) have nothing going for them. Yes, I am a muffin snob!

So, yes, you'd be right to suppose that, having such strong feelings about muffins, I'd be baking them all the time.  But, no. I could not tell you the last time I made muffins!

Going into this challenge, I knew I wanted a muffin that was not very sweet, but would be packed to the roof with blueberries. The texture should be more like quick bread and less like cake -- denser and heavier, more like "food" than "dessert." The recipe should use oil or melted butter as I am too impatient to soften butter. Ideally, the ingredients would include yogurt as I had a large open container of 2% Greek yoghurt I wanted to use up.

I fed all my hopes and desires into Google and it spat out several promising recipes. In the end, I went with the simplest and most straight-forward of the lot -- The Stock Pot's "Evan's Blueberry Mini Muffins." I admit I was intrigued by the inclusion of cornmeal and mini muffins seemed as if they would perfectly proportioned with the correct ratio of batter to blueberries. Also, if I went all Garfield on the muffins, bite-sized muffins would make me feel less naughty.

Wet Ingredients
All the wet ingredients -- yoghurt, milk, egg, vanilla, canola and olive oil.

Dry Ingredients
All the dry ingredients -- flour, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, and sugar.

Combining Ingredients
Wet ingredients meet dry ingredients and blueberries.

Combined Ingredients
Mixing the batter together. (Surprised by how fluffy the batter
became as I mixed it -- yoghurt & baking powder magic in action?)

Filled Muffin Tin
Ready to go in the 375°F oven 15 minutes later.

Baked Muffins
Fresh from the oven.
(Let them sit 10 min in the tin on a rack).

Cooling Muffins
Cooling on a rack.
(Let them sit another 10 minutes, decanted, before eating).

I made my muffins as directed ... with two small changes. Because I used plain Chobani 2% Greek yoghurt while the original recipe used vanilla yoghurt, I added 1 teaspoon Penzeys Mexican vanilla to my wet ingredients. I also used a combination of olive oil and canola oil as I completely misjudged the amount of olive oil left in the bottle.

These muffins came out really well. So well, in fact, I was not inclined to share them with my coworkers! (But I did, because I'm a nice person ... but only eight, because I'm not that nice). I definitely recommend this recipe if you're looking for a quick, easy, and reasonably healthful muffin.

30 July 2006

A Conspiracy of Bananas

There is some kind of banana conspiracy going on in my kitchen. I keep buying bananas and we keep not eating them. No matter how many bananas I buy, there are always bananas going brown and squishy on the kitchen side. I mean, I am only buying three or four bananas at a go -- it seems we ought to be able to eat them before they go brown and squishy, but no. One day there are three bright green bananas. The next day, there are two squishy brown bananas in a cloud of fruit flies. I thought at first this was because we are very choosy people when it comes to banana consumption (I like mine still faintly greenish and The Husband prefers them a nice unspeckled yellow) and weren't eating them fast enough. But, no. There is a conspiracy in the kitchen. How else would three (vibrant green) bananas I bought on Tuesday become all brown squishiness by Thursday?

Even though we do not eat the brown bananas, I am loathe to throw them in the compost. Waste of perfectly good banana! I could always make bread or muffins out of them, after all. So off they go into the depths of the freezer and never again shall they see the light of day.

Yesterday, I had three bananas in the freezer and four more squishy ones on the side. Do I need seven frozen bananas? I think not. I made "Streusel Banana Bread" from the Better Homes and Gardens New Baking Book (Meredith Books, 1998). I lacked a pastry blender for blending in the butter to make the struesel topping, but found that the combination of mashing with a fork and pinching with my fingers worked pretty well.

I brought the loaf over to my parents, later, and my dad liked it well enough that he ate three slices and kept half the loaf. He seemed really enamored with the streusel topping. My mother makes a good banana bread, but it is very different from the BHG bread and I suspect half my father's infatuation was due to shear novelty.

Berry Mini-Muffins on Winnie's Tier

Because everything in the is going bad, I wanted to use the raspberries and blackberries before it was too late. They were almost over-ripe when I took them out of the fridge, so freezing them did not seem like a good idea. Happily, I found a recipe at joyofbaking for "Buttermilk Berry Muffins" which seemed promising. Since I'd already used half the lemon zest in the banana bread, I used a combination of lemon and lime zest for the muffins. I also drizzled a lemon glaze over the tops of them after they came out of the oven and had cooled for a bit. Because the blackberries were so very ripe, they disintegrated when I tried to fold them into the batter and turned the batter a nice bluey-purple. The raspberries, however, managed to hold together and look quite pretty nestled in the purple muffins.

They taste pretty good, too. My mother is allergic to bananas (yet loves my father so much she bakes him banana bread), so I brought some muffins over with the loaf and she seemed pleased and surprised I had brought something especially for her. Note to self: bake more for your mother.

My mother is a diabetic and making sweets for her can be a bit of an adventure. She can eat things with sugar, obviously, but prefers to consume sugar substitutes. Sugar substitutes bake up a little weird, you know. Even Splenda, which is supposed to be some kind of miracle sweetener, doesn't work out as well as I would like. Unfortunately, a lot of the recipes that use natural sugar substitutes use ... bananas.