Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A Shot of Rye

You might think from this post and my post at the beginning of this month, that I eat a lot of muffins.  Or, at least, I did for the month of April.  I do love me a good muffin, don't get me wrong...but I normally don't eat them all that much.  I guess I felt that April was the month of muffin experimentation.  At least twice.  [My apologies also to those who saw the title and thought it might lead to libations.]

I was sorting and organizing my pantry and found my rye flour.  There was also an overripe banana or three.  You know as well as I do, that overripe bananas invariably lead to some sort of baked goods with bananas as the key ingredient.  One of the work study students told me her mom had made banana bread the day before I brought these into work because she had past-prime fruit sitting on the counter.  The natural progression in the life of a banana.  There is the desperate need to make something quickly, because I am not a fan of refrigerated or frozen bananas.

I really like what the rye flour did to these little guys.  They turned out a little dense, with an almost savory quality, but it's 'under the radar', 'can't quite put your finger on it', kind of flavor.  These muffins are also less sweet than you'd probably expect.  The original recipe called for a whole cup of sugar.  Way too much in my opinion.  Drop the sugar, up the cinnamon, you've got enough sweetness from the fruit.  I was also able to finally use up my Easter muffin/cupcake liners!  And yes...I made these on Easter Sunday.  Baking alignment!

On another note...once again, the month of April was my annual mid-life crisis month.  Someday I'll get tired of doing this to myself.  But, hey...consistency, right?  This also means that there will be cake.  Yes, I have decided on my birthday cake.  No, I am not spilling the beans.  You'll just have to come back in a couple of days and see for yourself.  Or find me on Instagram.  No doubt there will be a photo posted.  In the meantime, enjoy a muffin (again).

Banana Walnut Rye Muffins
Makes 10-12 muffins

1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
3 overripe bananas
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rye flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 12-muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease and flour.  In a bowl, sift flours, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.  In a small bowl, mash the bananas, cinnamon, and vanilla together until all big lumps are gone.  In another bowl, vigorously whisk the oil, sugar, and egg until well-mixed and smooth.  Add the bananas and mix.  Add the dry ingredients and mix well.  You can use a hand mixer if you like, but I like doing it all by hand.  Spoon the batter into the cups so each is about 2/3 full.  

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean.  Let cool in pan.  

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No Foolin'

How can it be April already?  April!  The month even started off with showers last night (you know that saying, 'April showers bring May flowers.) with more predicted for tonight!  And to reinforce the sometimes strangeness of April Fools' Day, despite being a week into Spring, it was downright chilly...here...in Los Angeles.  Though that made it the perfect day for a little late afternoon baking.  It was also a great way to get my mind off of things I didn't want to think about...at least for an hour.

You know the Parade magazine that comes with the weekend paper?  A year or so ago, they printed a basic muffin recipe that I've been meaning to try.  Finally got around to it today.  The verdict is that the recipe is a winner.  The article also included a handful of variations you could try...or if you're the daring type, you could go out on a limb and create your own concoction.

As the sun set tonight and the air grew colder, I boiled a kettle of water and settled in for a few minutes with a cup of tea and one of these muffins.

Date Walnut Muffins
Adapted from the Basic Breakfast Muffin recipe on Parade.com
Makes 6

1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 fluid oz olive oil
1 fluid oz vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup dates, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped fine

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, line muffin tin with paper liners.  In a small bowl, add flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.  Mix to combine.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, oils, and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to wet and mix well either by hand or with an electric mixer (about a minute).  Add dates and walnuts, mixing well to combine.  Spoon batter into muffin cups filling each to about 2/3 full.

Bake for 16-20 minutes until tops are lightly golden brown or a toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.