Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Muffin Variations

I posted my basic muffin recipe here. Here's a list of ideas to mix and match from. These are from my brainstorming and have not necessarily been tested.

Extracts: Vanilla Extract, Almond Extract, Lemon Extract, or other extracts you can find. Use 1 tsp in general, but you could increase the total extracts to 1TB for very decadent recipes.

Spices: For sweet muffins, common spices include: cinnamon, cardamom, ground ginger, allspice, nutmeg, cloves, pumpkin pie spice. The amount varies -- up to 2 tsp, but for strong spices (nutmeg, cloves, allspice) perhaps only 1/2 tsp.

For savory muffins, consider cayenne and other peppers, minced jalapeno, oregano, basil, dill, rosemary.

Zests: Lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, etc would all work. Up to 1 TB.

Moist Mixins: Any kind of berries, cherries, cranberries, apples, mango, grated carrots, grated zuchini, corn. Make sure the pieces are small.

Dry Mixins: Dried fruit (apples, pears, cranberries, etc.), raisins, dates, nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds) -- toasted nuts add a nice depth, shredded coconut, chocolate chips, grated cheese (add to dry ingredients).

Flour Substitutes: Replace a 1/2 c flour with a 1/2 c of cornmeal, ground oatmeal, almond flour, wholewheat flour, proteen powder, or besan flour, etc.

Oil Substitutes: Instead of oil use melted butter, melted lard (savory only), almond oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, etc.

Sugar Substitues: Instead of white sugar, use brown sugar or (add to wet) molasses, honey, rice syrup, concetrated fruit juice (apple or orange). For the molasses, start with only substituting 2TB as it is a very strong flavor.

Yogurt: Use flavored yogurt instead of plan. This will make the muffin sweeter unless you decrease the sugar. Or use coconut milk or buttermilk.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

More Muffins!

Today's a muffin day. I usually do four batches of muffins at once. That gives us some variety during the week. It also uses all of one large yogurt container. This month's muffins (using my basic muffin recipe):

Apple Cardamom: Three (granny smith) apples grated, chopped dried apple, 2 tsp cardamom, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, vanilla extract.

Cheddar Corn: Omit the sugar. Replace 1/2 c flour with cornmeal. increase salt to 3/4 tsp. 2 cups corn kernels, 1 cup grated cheddar (add to flour), 1 tsp basil, 1/4 tsp oregano, 1/4 tsp rosemary (crush it), 1/2 tsp minced jalapeno (add to wet).

Cranberry Pineapple: Replace sugar with 1/4 c molasses, 1/4 c concentrated orange juice (add to wet). 1 1/2 c chopped/crushed pineapple. 1 c. dried cranberries (chopped), 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp vanilla, 1/2 tsp lemon extract.

Berry Almond: 2 cup mixed frozen berries, 1 cup almond slivers. 1 1/2 tsp almond extract, 1/4 tsp cinnamon, dash of cloves.

These recipes are my own creations, adapted from recipes I've seen on the web. Let's hope they work well.

Update: I have deemed the Cranberry Pineapple muffins a failure. Three main problems. First, while pineapple upsidedown cake might be tasty, pineapple does not quite work in muffins. Second, molasses is quite a strong flavor, so even a quarter cup is a bit much. Finally, very moist fruit plus juice and molasses make the muffins a bit too wet so they fall.


On a non-beef note, I've been making muffins! The past few months I've gotten in the habit of making a couple of batches of muffins and freezing them. I grab one in the morning, microwave for 30 seconds and breakfast is done.

Here's the basic muffin recipe I settled on:

Dry Ingredients:
  • 2 c. flours
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • spices
Wet Ingredients
  • 1 c. plain low fat yogurt
  • 1/4 c. oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp extract
  • 1 to 2 tsp zest (optional)
  • up to 2 c moist mix ins (frozen fruit, grated carrots, zuchinni, etc)
  • up to 1 c dry mix in (chooped nuts, raisins, etc.

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a large measuring cup to measure and mix the wet ingredients. Add wet to dry, stir a bit. Add mix ins. Stir until just combined. Baked in a greased muffin tin at 375 for 25-35 minutes (depending on how moist the mixins are). Cool, then freeze. Makes 12.

I adapt this recipe in a variety of ways based on the mixins, spices, extracts, and zest.

Lemon Blueberry: Use blueberries, lemon zest, lemon extract, dash of cloves
Apple: grated apples, chopped walnuts, vanilla extract, 2 tsp cinnamon
Carrot Cakish: 1 c grated apple, 1 c grated carrot, raisins, vanilla extract, 1 2/2 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cloves, orange zest.

The blueberry were my favorite. The apple were fairly bland. I'll play with the seasonings next time and toast the walnuts.

Catch Up

Just wanted to finish off my side of beef chronicles. I made the stuff ages ago, but never posted. For the last package of stew meat, I think I made a beef paprika dish (smoked spanish paprika, tomatoes, sourcream type sauce).

On New Year's Day I used the rest. The beef bones got made into stock. The suet was rendered into lard. The last of (my half of) the liver was made into dog treats. It's all in the freezer slowly getting used.