This month was quickbreads, dealer’s choice. I like quickbreads and I would have probably gone with a scone had that not been January’s challenge. Since it was, muffins seemed a good choice. Here it’s time for a confession. I’ve been known to use a mix when making muffins and coffeecake. Why? well, quickbreads are pretty firmly rooted to morning food for me and I’m not a morning person. Just ask anyone who’s heard me grunt hello before my morning caffeine. Bleary eyed grumpy people don’t measure well so mixes seem appropriate. My favorite is Morrison’s BisKits. They’ve got a terrific coffee cake variation on the back of the package and its a real winner. But that’s not in keeping with the challenge so mid-morning muffins were called for. I used the King Arthur recipe below and added a bit of orange peel and handful of dried cranberries and some pecans. I loved it, husband hated it. (Not surprised there really)
Fancy Department Store Muffins
These lavish muffins emulate the big, high-crowned muffins you often see in department store bakeries. They’re a good example of “cake-like” muffins, containing high amounts of both sugar and fat. Be sure to set your muffin tin on a larger baking sheet, to catch any overflow which may occur as muffins bake.
2 cups Round Table Pastry Flour or King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups fresh blueberries, chopped apple or peach, etc.*
1 cup chopped nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, etc.*
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or nutmeg mixed with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar (for topping)
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, berries and nuts. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter or margarine with sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat well.
Blend dry ingredients into wet alternately with milk.
Because these muffins will rise up and over the edge of your muffin tin, you’ll want to grease the top of the pan as well as the cups. Fill the cups almost full, and sprinkle with the spiced sugar.
Bake muffins 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove muffins from oven and cool completely on a wire rack.
* Chopped fresh cranberries are nice, but be sure to increase the amount of sugar to 1 1/4 cups, as cranberries are quite tart.
* Note: These muffins are wonderful made with tiny fresh blueberries, chopped, toasted almonds, and almond extract substituted for the vanilla extract.