Tag Archives: muffins

Oddities in Context

What fruit cake?! Pork…in a fruit cake. Okay, people, here’s the thing. I don’t do pork. Sure, I loved a crisp slice of bacon or a juicy BBQ tenderloin back in the day but the thought of “one pound of pork” in a cake – baked slowly and then kept around for a while to make it even tastier – that’s nasty.

Christianna sure dished out a doosey for this month’s Recipe Swap. She even dug up a new (to us) vintage cookbook, the Nebraska Pioneer Cookbook. You gotta love the wood stove and the plaid table-cloth on the cover.

I have to admit, as a pioneer braving the wild Nebraskan plains, a pork fruit cake would probably be the most delicious thing I could ever dream of eating. Think of it as the wild west version of the energy bar: you’d get your protein, carbohydrates, and fat all in one stick-to-your-ribs hunk of food! Just slather on some butter and you’d be ready to ride all day!

Hand a Nebraskan cowboy a Powerbar and he’d probably spit it right back at you. Now, hand that same cowboy one of these muffins and I doubt you’d get so much as a questioning glance. Just don’t say anything about the tofu.

My thought process leading to these muffins went something like this:

Yuck! Pork Fruit Cake! -> What odd ingredient would a vegetarian put in fruit cake -> Tofu! -> I’ve got all these tomatoes and I really want to bake with them -> There’s that classic spice cake recipe with a can of tomato soup -> I’ll use tomatoes and tofu!

Slow-roasted tomatoes were the perfect sweet, smokey (dare I say meaty) addition to a block of silken tofu. Blended smooth, the tofu-tomato mixture was delicious on its own (thinned-out it would make an awesome tomato soup) and an adequately odd ingredient for muffins. Here’s where I screwed up: I decided to throw in the last tablespoon of blackstrap molasses at the bottom of the jar. Have you ever taken a recipe experiment just one ingredient too far and blacked-out other flavors in the process? Well, I lost all trace of the tomato-tofu puree when I added that little bit of molasses. I’m sure it still added moisture and protein of course but the muffins I ended up with were very good…molasses muffins! Argh!

Some day soon I’ll make these muffins again without the molasses. Until then. I’m going to enjoy my apple-studded pork-free snacks. The spices remind me that Fall is almost here and these are sweet enough to keep me away from the ice cream carton after dinner.



Molasses Tomato Muffins

Cook Time: PT25-30M

Yield: 16-18 muffins

If you're in the mood for a traditional Mystery Cake (aka. Tomato Soup Cake) this recipe from King Arthur Flour is the one on which I based my muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1/3 palm sugar (or whatever sweetener you like to use)
  • 1 large egg, well beaten
  • 12oz silken tofu (plain yogurt, sour cream, or pumpkin puree would be good too)
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup slow roasted tomatoes. I used this recipe minus the spices.
  • 1 tablespoon blackstrap molasses diluted with 1/4 cup warm coffee to get it out of the jar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or your preferred flour)
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • About two cups chopped apple

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a muffin tin with some kind of liner or oil.
  3. In a food processor or in a large bowl, using a hand blender, thoroughly blend tofu and tomatoes. The mixture should be smooth with no lumps.
  4. If using a food processor, transfer the mixture to a large bowl at this point.
  5. Add remaining wet ingredients plus sugar to tofu, mixing completely.
  6. In a separate bowl, whisk together dry ingredients.
  7. Stir dry ingredients into wet and fold in apples, avoiding over-stirring.
  8. Spoon batter into muffin cups. These don't rise excessively high so you can fill the cups to the top.
  9. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.
  10. Cool on a wire rack and store in the fridge for longer shelf-life.

Notes

I used leftover coffee to get the last bit of molasses out of the jar on a whim. It worked great but feel free to substitute water, juice, or milk.

If you don't have roasted tomatoes leave them out. It'll work without them. You could also get crazy and add some sun dried tomatoes (packed in oil or re-hydrated).

Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://blog.muffinegg.com/2012/09/11/oddities-in-context/

5 Comments

Filed under muffins, Recipe Swaps

Chocolate trail mix muffins

I don’t know what I’d do without snacks. Granola bars, fruit, string cheese, and handfuls of nuts sustain me between meals. There’s nothing wrong with having a snack, as far as I’m concerned, and in a lot of cases it’s absolutely necessary to keep body and brain going!

My morning snacks are usually some kind of granola bar, lately these, a handful of trail mix, or various more complicated things if I’m at home. It’s protein and healthy fat that keeps me going through the rest of the morning.

After weeks of packing the same snacks for all my work days I finally got sick of them last week. Not only was I bored with what I was eating, but I was also tired of spending money on pre-made snacks. The solution: make muffins!

Last weekend was a relatively quiet one – perfect for baking. Lee was invited to race on a boat on Saturday and had to work all day Sunday (ah, startups). I stayed home and relaxed with the dog. That was probably our last weekend at home for a while so I soaked up the leisure time while I could. I thought about projects that need doing but didn’t really accomplish much. Finally planting our backyard herb garden still had me feeling accomplished from the weekend before.

On Sunday I pulled various ingredients out of my ugly pantry cupboards (I swear I’m going to rip those things out one of these days. That’s one of those projects…). I made something new that I hoped would meet my morning snack needs for the coming week. With trail mix as my inspiration and chocolate as my canvas, I chopped, stirred, and sprinkled my way to chocolate trail mix muffins.

Chocolate Trail Mix Muffins

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: PT15-18M

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup spelt flour
  • 1/4 cup hemp protein powder (or your preferred protein powder, or another 1/4 cup flour)
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
  • 6 prunes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1-2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. If your coconut oil is solid, measure 1/4 cup into a small oven-proof dish and place in the oven to liquify while the oven preheats.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flours, protein powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder, stirring with a whisk or fork until ingredients are completely combined
  4. Separately, lightly beat the egg in a medium-sized bowl. Then add the buttermilk, sugar, and oil (you may want to allow the oil to cool for a couple of minutes after taking it out of the oven).
  5. Thoroughly blend wet ingredients before stirring in almond extract.
  6. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir gently until barely combined.
  7. Add almonds, sunflower seeds, and prunes and fold into batter, being careful not to over stir.
  8. Spoon batter into a prepared muffin tin (lined with paper or silicon muffin cups or coated with oil).
  9. Sprinkle the muffin tops with shredded coconut.
  10. Bake at 375 for 15-18 minutes or until muffins are firm and the coconut has just begun to brown.
  11. Remove muffins from oven and cool on a wire rack.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://blog.muffinegg.com/2012/05/22/chocolate-trail-mix-muffins/

2 Comments

Filed under muffins, Uncategorized

The wait is over…and muffins

A somewhat random picture of our new dining room table. Isn't it gorgeous?

Ahhh, I just deleted a post that had been going stale as a draft for several days. Obviously it wasn’t right. I was trying to convey such monumental good news that I was getting more than a little carried away. Rather than dance around the issue for paragraph upon paragraph, I’ll get right to it.

I got a job!

Last Friday I received a phone call from the latest (and greatest) museum where I’d put in an application. They wanted to hire me! This job is so perfect, I would have been pretty bewildered if I didn’t get it. I’ll be doing very similar work to what I did before leaving Denver more than two years ago. I’ll spare the details for now. All that matters is that it’s something I love doing, I’ll be using my education, and getting some intellectual stimulation 3 days a week starting in April. Woohoo!

I’ve been riding the high from that news all week, although it has been somewhat muted by a sad development in the family. Almost simultaneous to the job offer, I found out that my favorite aunt has cancer. Yes, I am not afraid to admit that I have a favorite aunt (and yes, I do have several to choose from). This happens to be the aunt I’ve been closest to growing up.

Lee and I visited her last weekend. I brought homemade Peanut Butter and Nutella Cookies from a Back to Her Roots recipe via a Foodzie Baking Box (These were some seriously good cookies. Make them!). Of course, there was already a fresh-baked apple crisp on the counter when we arrived. I wonder where I got my penchant for baking?

No one knows much yet but we are all hopeful.

Focusing on the positive: you might wonder why my job doesn’t start until April. The delay allows Lee and I to take our boat relocation trip that we’ve been planning for a long time. We have to move Pirat out of the hurricane minefield and into a more secure boat yard. Here’s some quick stats on the trip, in case you’re curious, and you can always check out our sailing story and my eventual posts on this leg over at Pirat.

 

Starting Point: St. Kitt’s, the Caribbean

First Destination: Aruba

Eventual Destination: Curacao

Miles to Cover: about 500 to Aruba and another 30 or so to Curacao

Projected Wind and Sea Conditions: 15-25 knots of wind and 6-8 foot, steep or very steep seas, both from behind us.

 

As you can imagine, I’ve been very busy getting ready for our trip this week (we’re leaving next Tuesday). Among other things, I needed to use my sourdough starter! Isn’t that a high priority before going away for 3 weeks? I really didn’t have time for any elaborate bread baking so I threw together some sourdough muffins this morning. I am thrilled that something I totally made up finally came out well! It seems like I’ve produced more flops than successes in my kitchen of late.

This time, I wanted a comfort muffin. I wanted lots of whole grain heartiness that I know will be difficult to come by in the Caribbean (they are really into their fluffy, sweet bread down there). I also wanted to use up some of the perishable foods in my fridge. On all counts, these muffins were a success.

Just a little disclaimer: my measurements in this recipe are approximate, except when it comes to the bran and flour, which I weighed. Don’t ask me why I wasn’t as precise with everything else! I fed my sourdough started with 1 cup all purpose flour and 1 cup water the night before. In the morning I refilled my starter container and use what remained from the feeding for this recipe. It looked like between 1 and 1.5 cups of starter. More starter would probably just make the muffins more most and a little more sour.

Sourdough Applesauce Bran Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups active sourdough starter (fed the night before)
  • 1.5 oz wheat bran
  • 1.5 oz oat bran
  • 2 oz whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • Generous dash of cinnamon (maybe 1 teaspoon)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped prunes or other dried fruit

Instructions

  1. Mix the brans, flour, and salt in a medium bowl (I just add them to the same bowl on top of my food scale).
  2. Combine with the sourdough starter in a large bowl and stir until fully mixed. Cover bowl and allow to sit for an hour or two.
  3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat eggs, applesauce, sugar, oil, cinnamon, and baking powder.
  5. Stir in vanilla extract and prunes.
  6. Add liquid mixture to dough that has been sitting, stirring until fully combined. It comes together eventually even though the dough is kinda doughy and the liquid is liquidy...)
  7. Spoon batter into a prepared muffin tin and bake for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are firm.
  8. Remove from oven and cool muffins on a wire rack.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://blog.muffinegg.com/2012/03/08/the-wait-is-over-and-muffins/

3 Comments

Filed under inspiration and musings, muffins

Vegan Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

It’s raining in San Francisco today. We’ve been mourning the lack of moisture all over the West this winter, which is nothing like past winters I’ve spent in the bay area. I remember walking the length of campus in the pouring rain to get to a midterm. The class was held in a frigid basement room of the old women’s gymnasium, next door to the anthropology collection, and I thought I was going to freeze to death before finishing that midterm. My pants and feet were soaking wet and I’m sure my toes turned blue. I remember not really caring about the test any more. I just wanted to finish it and get out of there! Ah, those were the days.

The fool in me thinks You should go back to school! You’re certainly not getting a job so you don’t have anything better to do! Ha. No way. The smarter part of me remembers that I promised to never repeat the thesis-writing experience.

What can I do instead, now that I’m without employment, internships, or medical crises to keep me occupied? I’m thinking about learning to sing or dance (I’ve been watching way too much Glee on Netflix). Or maybe I’ll through myself headlong into organizing and decorating the house, something that might never get done otherwise.

Before I get to whiny, let me get to the point: These muffins are bright sunny spots on this grey day and on my recent dark mood. The solutions to my boredom and idleness are of cooking and blogging, of course. A job would help too. I have at least one really, really incredible prospect in my sights.

Meanwhile, I’ll be making these muffins over and over again until I get tired of them. They are undoubtedly the best thing I’ve made in a long time. I knew they would be as soon as the idea hit me. What about lemon poppy seed muffins but with chia seeds instead! They could be vegan!

Lemon poppy seed muffins have always struck me as the most dainty, sophisticated muffin. They don’t have much substance and often toe the line between cupcake and muffin. With chia seeds, though, and whole wheat pastry flour, these muffins are like undercover spies in the world of frivolous pastries. A modest amount of honey adds the perfect sweetness and the lemon flavor is surprisingly strong, in a good way.

If you have not tried chia seeds I encourage you to get some. As gross as this may sound, their coagulating abilities are just so…cool. I mostly use them in hot cereal and overnight oats but now that I’ve baked with them once I think they will join flax seed meal as an essential part of my vegan baking.

Lemon Chia Seed Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds + 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup sour non-dairy milk + juice from half a lemon
  • zest from 1 lemon
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a muffin tin with silicone or paper cups.
  3. Combine chia seeds with water, whisking them together. Allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, blend flour, baking powder, and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine lemon zest, soy milk, and lemon juice.
  6. Add honey and chia gel to soy milk mixture, stirring until honey dissolves and is thoroughly blended.
  7. Stir in vanilla extract.
  8. Add wet ingredients to dry and stir gently till barely combined.
  9. Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin and bake for approximately 20 minutes.
Schema/Recipe SEO Data Markup by ZipList Recipe Plugin
http://blog.muffinegg.com/2012/01/19/vegan-lemon-chia-seed-muffins/

8 Comments

Filed under muffins, Uncategorized