September 21, 2012

Spontaneous Baking

What to do when you're itching to make something, anything so long as it's not too involved because it is nearing time for bed, and you happen to have an apple and a couple of plums hanging out in the fruit bowl past their prime? As far as I could tell, the aged fruit was begging to be transformed into baked goods. Add some basic ingredients, super charged Vietnamese cinnamon, and a handful of chopped pecans and we're onto something. I only wish you could scratch-and-sniff these photos. The muffins smelled ridiculously amazing while in the oven. Powerful scents of cinnamon with hints of plum and the barest whiff of apple. Who's hungry?

This is an adaptation of my favorite muffin recipe, which can be found in Moosewood Restaurant Cooks at Home. I like this one because it begins with a basic recipe that is meant to be varied to accommodate whatever fruit or vegetables you have on hand. The book includes four variations: apple (which I must admit I find too dry), banana, blueberry-lemon, and zucchini. This is my go-to muffin recipe because it does not contain milk. I never have milk in the house, so my spontaneous baking is limited to milk-less recipes.

The fruit, spices, and nuts are the variations. The "basic" recipe consists of the eggs, oil, sugar, vanilla, flour, baking powder, and salt. To make your own version, be sure to mix the basic wet ingredients together in one bowl. Add to them your wet variation, about 2 cups for somewhat wet additions, 1½ cups for super wet additions (like mashed bananas). Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl, adding to them any spices. Then stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just mixed. Lastly, gently fold in any nuts, dried fruit, or chips.

Plum Apple Muffins
Yield: 12 standard size muffins

2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
¾ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 granny smith apple, peeled & grated (about 1 cup)
2 – 3 plums, peeled & finely chopped (about 1 cup)
1 tsp lemon zest
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
½ cup chopped, toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix eggs, oil, sugar & vanilla. Stir in apple, plums & zest. In a separate bowl, mix or sift together flour, powder, salt & cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients & fold in pecans. Evenly distribute batter into oiled muffin tins. Bake 20 – 25 minutes. 

No comments:

Post a Comment