A cooking, drinking & musings blog.

Karaoke "Bliss": Guess what I'm choosing to sing...

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

RECIPE Tip of the Day 2/14/07: My legendary muffin

Happy Valentine's Day! Smootches to all!

If you are single like me, and are looking for love (or sex) in all the wrong places, try offering one of these muffins to a cute, interesting person you'd like to get to know better.

Chocolate-Chip, Cranberry, Walnut, Oat Bran Muffins
My muffin has made me famous among my mommy circles and co-workers.
*See Shopping Tips below.

Dry Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour*
2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour*
2/3 cup oat bran, plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling on top*
1 tbsp baking powder (double acting, aluminum-free)
½ tsp sea salt or kosher salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp baking soda, if using yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk; omit if using milk

1 cup chocolate chips (about half of a 12-oz package)*
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

Wet Ingredients
2 large eggs (left out for about 30 mins)
¼ unsalted butter, melted*
¼ coconut oil (melted if solid)*
2/3 cup organic sugar or evaporated cane juice or sucanat*
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup yogurt*, buttermilk or sour cream, pref. whole; can also use milk (not ice cold)

  1. Preheat oven to 400˚ F.
  2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  3. In another medium sized bowl, toss stir-ins together with 1 tbsp of dry mixture. Set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk wet ingredients together, fully stirring the sugar to dissolve. Coconut oil may form small lumps if the eggs and yogurt, etc. are very cold.
  5. Grease a standard-size 12 count muffin tin.
  6. Take dry flour ingredients and stir into the wet ingredients for about 10-12 strokes, until almost all the flour mix is moistened. Add stir-ins with another 2-3 strokes. Do not over stir. Batter will not be smooth.
  7. Using an ice cream scoop or a ¼-cup measuring spoon, drop batter into the muffin tin cups evenly. Sprinkle tops with reserved oat bran.
  8. Place muffin tin in oven. Reduce heat to 375˚ F—very important!
  9. Check for doneness in about 18-20 minutes. (Use the “clean toothpick” test.)
  10. For cooling, spread a hand towel on the counter and flip the muffin tin, crown side down, onto the towel. Let cool upside down.

*Shopping Tips:

Flours and Oat Bran: I insist on using organic whenever possible. Arrowhead Mills makes organic versions of all of these flours (except oat bran). Bob's Red Mill is another reputable brand for flours and brans, though not everything is organic. The most likely place to find these brands and choices under one roof is Whole Foods Market. (Beware of Whole Foods store brand all-purpose flour because it is not 100% wheat and therefore I could not guarantee the results). Some health food stores offer these ingredients in bulk containers too. They are fine too (support local business!) but give the flour a bit of an inspection before bagging.

Chocolate Chips: I have gotten into reading the ingredients of these bags, and what I have found that the brands that add milk fat in place of cocoa butter, such as Nestlé, Hershey, and generic store brands, are inferior to the ones that just have cocoa (or chocolate) liquor, sugar and vanilla. Baker's has a good chocolate chunk (though they use artificial vanilla). The best for the value is Trader Joe's at $1.79 a bag! (Compare to $2.99 and up for the name brands.)

Butter: European-style butter has less water than conventional butter, which makes it extra delicious in baking (and everything else really). (Get Plugrá coupons here!)

Coconut Oil: Coconut oil, a common cooking oil in tropical countries, has gotten a bad rep for decades in the US for its high saturated fat content and studies in the mid-20th century done with hydrogenated coconut oil. Coconut oil has since made a comeback, as virgin coconut oil (meaning unrefined), but is mostly available at health food/vitamin stores, not the supermarket. I buy mine from the Vitamin Shoppe, which has good sales on health food ingredients. I usually buy Nutiva coconut oil, which by the way, is made in the Philippines (PINOY PINAY POWER!).

If you can't find coconut oil, just use all butter, or vice versa.

Organic sugar, et. al.: Organic sugar is a vague term, because there are various levels of refinement that go into making sugar of any kind. Evaporated cane juice is a generic term for sugar that has minimal processing. Sucanat is a brand name of evaporated cane juice, and is one of the darkest brown ones on the market (meaning it will impart a delicious molasses/brown sugar taste to your foods). All three—organic sugar, evaporated cane juice, sucanat—may be in the bulk section of your local health food store.

Yogurt, etc.
: If using whole fat, non-homogenized yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream, remember to stir the contents in the container before using it to evenly distribute the fat. I like Fage, a Greek yogurt, which strains most of the water out of the yogurt before packaging, therefore it is extra-rich.

(I used Fage, as well as oat flour, in my last batch of these muffins, and I think they were my best so far!)

No comments:

Thanks for visiting! Stop by tomorrow!

Thanks for visiting! Stop by tomorrow!
A day at the park.

Mozilla Firefox

The BEST Browser to View this Blog