Mundane Muffins? Nah, Not Really.

May 3, 2011

If to be interesting is to be uncommonplace, it is becoming a question, with me, if there are any commonplace people.
~Mark Twain

I openly admit to primitive pastry and baking skills. My purlieu lies elsewhere, in a more savory world.

The term “muffin” is derived either from the French word moufflet, meaning a soft bread, or from the German word muffe which is the name for a type of cake. Much like pancakes, it is a two bowl yeast free method where you simply fold the wet into the dry. Please do not overmix—this overdevelops the gluten in the flour which causes tough muffins with tunnels and a compact, almost rubbery texture. Always hand stir the batter until just thick and lumpy.

Symmetrical with domed tops, these muffins are humble homages to those overripe bananas or luscious blueberries peering at you from the counter or fridge. In either event, moist and tender muffins are fine ways to fuel up a morning coupled with a morning cup of joe, or they can be that needed pick me up when you hit that proverbial late afternoon wall…maybe they are an occasional antidote to circadian cycle hiccups.

This may fall short of provocative fare that elicits raves. Then again, things plebeian are not always prosaic.

BANANA OAT MUFFINS

1 1/2 C walnuts

2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C rolled oats
1 1/2 C granulated white sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 t ground cinnamon
Grating of nutmeg

4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 C unsalted butter (1 stick), melted and cooled
6 very ripe large bananas (approximately 1 lb.), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
2 t pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 F

Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

In a large bowl combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and nuts.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla.

Lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined, and the batter is thick and chunky. Take care not to over mix the batter as totally smooth batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins.

Line two 12 holed muffin pans with paper liners or butter. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool for five minutes and then remove muffins from pan.

BLUEBERRY MUFFINS

5 C all-purpose flour
1 C granulated white sugar
1/2 C raw sugar
3 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
Zest of one orange
Zest of one lemon

2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 C buttermilk or plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/3 C canola oil
2 t pure vanilla extract
3 1/2 C fresh blueberries

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange and lemon zests. Gently fold in the blueberries.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract.
Fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter as smooth batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins.

Line two 12 holed muffin pans with paper liners or butter. Spoon the batter into the prepared tins. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full of batter. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.

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