Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Fluffy Muffin

I've been on somewhat of a baking rampage lately.  I blame it on the 99¢ blueberries that Sprouts had last week.  We bought six of them, and while some of them were eaten the second they were washed, most of them ended up in muffins.
I actually made two batches, as the first batch, according to Scott, wasn't blueberry-y enough; he said he likes them to barely hold together because of the amount of berries, and I have to say that I rather agree.  I used my friend Katie's A-Z bread recipe and then modified it thus:

  • I did a half-and-half approach to flour, using both AP and WW.
  • I cut the sugar by half.
  • I used a cup and a half of plain yogurt instead of oil
  • I added some cinnamon
  • And of course, I used blueberries as the fruit, but I threw in three pints (plus a few more that were left) into the DRY ingredients - I learned that trick from Alton Brown.

I used a whole milk yogurt - the more fat used in a recipe, the lighter and fluffier you will get.  If you are concerned about fat content (hey, I'm running a 10K this weekend, so I'm allowed some fatty goodness, right????), you can of course sub using a lower fat yogurt or even applesauce, while will help keep the pastry with a proper level of liquid, but it won't be as fluffy.
Now, when I had made the first batch, Her Royal Highness had yummed away at one, so I decided that the second batch would have some mini muffins, more her size.  Of course, now she is turning up her nose at them, stinker that she is.  I'm also finishing up some chocolate muffins as I type, which is made from a recipe that uses a honey instead of sugar and other healthier stuff to made it delectable AND fairly good for her (at least better than that other crap you can get in cookies at the store - you know, the unpronounceable stuff).  Since I didn't have enough mini muffin tins for the entire batch, I HAD to make a dozen regular sized, which I suppose I'll have to choke down myself... c'est la vie, right?

A sweet AND savory breakfast - just what I have been looking for!
Not a Dusty muffin at all.
I also made my FAVORITE oatmeal cookies last weekend.  Now, I don't usually like oatmeal cookies.  The sweetness of them is usually cloying, and I end up feeling gross after just one.  But when I was nursing, I was looking for ways to improve the amount of milk I was producing, and I read in many places that oatmeal helps.  Well, one can only eat so much oatmeal, and a search for an edible cookie produced one from Cooking Light magazine.  However, the reviews noted, again and again, that it was a rather bland end product, so after some time and energy, I modified it and came up with what I think is a winning recipe:

Dried Fruit and Oatmeal Cookies (adapted from Cooking Light)

  • 1 c assorted dried fruit
  • 1/2 c freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1/2 c sugar (brown, white, or raw - doesn't matter)
  • 1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter, softened)
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 c flour (I use a combo of WW and AP)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 c regular (rolled) oats
  • 1-2 Tbsp cinnamon (to taste)
  • The zest of that freshly squeezed orange

Challenge accepted!
Preheat oven to 375.  Combine fruit and orange juice in a bowl and set aside (note - when I say 1 cup of fruit, I take it as a personal challenge to see how much fruit I actually can get into that 1/2 cup of orange juice - the more fruit, the tastier the cookie will be, IMO).
Cream butter and sugar.  Add eggs and honey until combined, then stir in fruit/juice mixture and zest
Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a bowl, whisking well.  Add the oats and cinnamon, and stir to combine.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir to mix thoroughly.
Drop onto greased cookie sheets with tablespoons.  bake for about 8 minutes, until nearly done.  Cool completely on wire cooling rack.

These are great for any time of the day - they are filled with good things and have less sugar than a commercial breakfast bar.  Alas, HRH still prefers those commercial bars over these guys, so I guess I have yet to find that tasty but healthy snack.  I tried making homemade vanilla wafers today in order to sneak in a little flax.... so far they look like a bust, but we'll see what she thinks after her nap.

I almost forgot to take a picture before I ate them all!
This week I have got to get moving on making lots of stuff with leafy greens - we got green leaf lettuce, spinach, collards, and kale, so you know my iron count is going to go through the roof, which is great, as I am hoping to give blood on the 12th.
Finally, because it never gets old, I give you Betty White as Florence Dusty.  Enjoy!

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