Monday, April 16, 2007

Do you know the muffin (wo)man?

(These are apple muffins)

Actually, I am the muffin woman. It's a fairly recent transformation, and mildly surprising even to me. I never liked to make cupcakes or muffins because of the fussiness about them- I didn't like playing around with the paper liners, I didn't like measuring out the small amounts of batter. But last fall, I became the muffin woman in a big old way.

My younger son was married in September of 2006. The bride and groom, as well as all other members of our extended family, live in Missouri. The wedding was to be held here, in Pennsylvania, because this is the bride's home; all of her family lives here, as do my husband and I.

For some reason, about 3 weeks before the wedding, I became concerned (some might say obsessively concerned) about the number of people from our side of the family who were making a long trip for the wedding. I decided that the best way for me to honor them for making this trip was to make them breakfast every day. All of them. To that end, I started making muffins. Fourteen dozen muffins. I filled my freezer, and the freezer of my co-worker with muffins. We had a lot of muffins.

Some were good, some not so good. We had muffins left over. I sent muffin care packages back to Missouri. I took muffins on a work retreat a few weeks later.

In all the muffin making, I found a good, versatile recipe. Last night, my son told me that he had started on a healthy living routine, one facet of which was eating breakfast instead of skipping it. He added that his lovely new wife was making him muffins for breakfast. So I thought I'd share my good muffin recipe with my daughter-in-law and all of you!

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks- Simply In Season, from Herald Press. In the cookbook, it's called Nutty Pumpkin Bread, on page 178.

1.5 cups (375 ml) flour
1.5 cups (375 ml) whole wheat flour (I like white whole wheat)
1 cup (250 ml) wheat germ (I use oat bran instead)
1 cup (250 ml) brown sugar (I use sucanat*)
1 cup (250 ml) white sugar (I use sucanat for this, too)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1.5 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (I alter this based on what fruit I use)
0.5 teaspoon each ground ginger, nutmeg, cloves (ditto on the altering)

Mix together in a large bowl and make a well.

2.5 cups (635 ml) pumpkin or winter squash cooked and pureed (I have substituted grated zucchini or chunky applesauce or peachsauce or other thick cooked fruit puree for this)
4 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125 ml) oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) pecans or other nuts (I have used almonds and sunflower seeds)
1 cup (250 ml) raisins or dates (I have used dried apples, dried cranberries, dried peaches, any dried fruit)

Add into the well and mix just until all of the ingredients are moistened. Pour batter into 2 greased 9 x 5 inch loaf pans (I use 2 silicone muffin pans- I know a lot of people don't like these, but I love them- I freeze the muffins right in the pan, and then pop them out to seal in a bag)

Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) until a toothpick place in the center of the muffin comes out clean 50 minutes for loves, 30 minutes for muffins.

Now, it may be that I have a high tolerance for variance in muffins, but I have been happy with every combination I have used. I think the yummmiest were the ones I made with peachsauce, dried peaches and pecans. These are pretty dense, which is OK with me, but some others might find them overly heavy. Anyway, Jen, this muffin's for you! (actually, you have the cookbook!)

*Sucanat is a very lightly refined sugar cane product. I have read that it has a higher glycemic index than white or brown sugar. I buy mine in bulk.


cookiecrumb said...

I think that's the best picture of a kiss I ever saw.

Willa said...

It is good, isn't it- they are so cute together.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

I love muffins! I could get fat on them!
All kinds---well except dry,not very sweet bran muffins. Those I don't like so well---but most everything else :-)

Glenna said...

Willa, Those look really good. Like you, I don't mind a dense muffin. It makes me feel like I'm eating a meal rather than a piece of cake.