The Lean Green Bean

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Muffin Mania

Today I got the urge to bake, but didn't want to make dessert. Ok, well I did, but I didn't want it sitting around. So I went with muffins. First of all, let me introduce you to one of the BEST websites EVER: Food Gawker. (A similar website is TasteSpotting, but I have a slight preference for Food Gawker). The main reason I enjoy this site is because it appears to be specifically designed for visual people like myself. Every recipe has a picture and you can browse by category or search a specific item. So today I typed in "muffins" and did a little browsing. I really wanted to make blueberry muffins but I ALWAYS make those, so I decided to be a little more creative. The first recipe I decided on are probably the craziest muffins I've ever made. On any other day, I never would have chosen them, but I had all of the ingredients on hand, and I needed to use up the exact kinds of fruit in the recipe so I decided to give them a whirl!

Strawberry Orange Sunrise Muffins
*Original recipe here

2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and chopped
1/2 cup fresh orange juice
1 medium-sized peach, peeled and chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas. Add the strawberries, orange juice and peach. Set aside. (I had some bananas in the freezer. Whenever you have a banana or two that gets too brown and speckly to eat, peel them and throw them in a ziploc bag and put them in the freezer if you don't have time to bake with them right away. Then, they'll be on hand when you need them and all you have to do is defrost them!)

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, cooled butter, eggs and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix just until combined (The batter will be thick and kinda dry but don't worry!)

Gently stir in the fruit mixture.

Fill muffin cups 3/4 full and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Makes about 18 muffins.(I made 26 muffins)

The result? A little crazy, but not bad. The taste grows on you. The first bite I took I thought, "Ew! Why did I make these?" But after a couple bites you can taste the orange juice and the banana and the strawberry and peach bites help keep them moist! Give them a try if you're feeling adventurous :)

The second recipe I tried was lemon poppyseed.
*Original recipe found here

2/3 cup sugar
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/4 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
3/4 cup sour cream (I used fat free)
2 large eggs
1 t pure vanilla extract
1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 T poppy seeds

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray the 12 molds in a regular-size muffin pan or fit the molds with paper muffin cups.

In a large bowl, rub the sugar and the lemon zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of the lemon strong. (I'd never heard of doing this, but it does smell quite nice!)

Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large glass measuring cup or another bowl, whish the sour cream, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter together until well blended.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with the wish or a rubber spatula, gently but quickly stir to blend. Don’t worry about being thorough-a few lumps are better than overmixing the batter. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until the tops are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.

The result? These are pretty good. A little dry. I think that's why the original recipe has a glaze, but I decided not to glaze mine. Overall, good, with a crunchy top! The only other thing I noticed was that these muffins didn't rise a lot. So mine are kinda short and squat :)




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