Raspberry Lemon Muffins
Going to the local farmer's market is always an adventure for me. So far, growers at my local market have many offerings from basic vegetables (lettuces, onions, radishes) to fruits like strawberries, cherries, and raspberries. I've already had my fill of cherries and strawberries. With the strawberries, we made gelato (recipe coming) and with the cherries, we made a tart (recipe forthcoming) and froze the rest.
But with the raspberries, my daughter wanted to make muffins and I wanted to make scones, so we did both. Why not? Both are equally good and were equally devoured within a day. The scone recipe will be posted separately.
Choose the sweetest, freshest raspberries you can find. I encourage you to find a grower (u-pick farm) or peruse the farmer's market. The raspberries at the store are ok (organic is best), but they are not as sweet and flavorful as the ones you will find locally. In fact, the same goes for any fruit. Local fruit is far superior to the fruit sold in the grocery store, even organic versions.
Raspberry Lemon Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Line muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Set aside.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine the white whole wheat flour, 1/4 cup white flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a small bowl, toss the raspberries in the remaining 1/4 cup white flour; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together the butter, milk, egg, and lemon zest. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined (do not over mix or make a smooth batter). Carefully fold in the berries.
Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with sugar. Bake for 17-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool completely before serving. Store in airtight container.
Maple Swirl Pumpkin Bread
Since it's Fall and pumpkins are now decorating front porches and grocery stores and all baked goods are made with pumpkin flavorings, why not share a pumpkin bread recipe. This can also be made into muffins as with any quick bread. If you choose the muffins route, bake for 20 minutes or so at 400ºF.
I've also admitted recently to not liking pumpkin flavored everything (Gasp!). However, pumpkin bread every once in awhile is fine with me. As in I will only eat this one time during October. I might have pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving but you won't see me heading to Starbucks for a pumpkin latte. I like my coffee sans weird fruity or veggie flavors, but hey, that's just me it seems. But I'm not the only one who has grown tired of all the pumpkin flavored foods available this time of year. The Daily Show did a funny segment about it just last week. A clip is posted at the end of this post for you all to see. Americans are just crazy for pumpkin everything during the fall. It's gotten out of hand if you ask me. I'm more of an apple fan.
Apples? Anyone want apples? There are so many to choose from and they're sweet and crispy!
Ok. Fine pumpkin it is.
Please note, you need a big loaf pan for this. I use a 9x5-inch pan. You can use smaller loaf pans, just divide the batter among them. The baking time will be shortened to about 45 minutes depending on how big the loaves are.
Maple Swirl Pumpkin Bread
Makes 1 9x5-inch loaf
Preheat oven to 350ºF.
Grease and line the bottom with parchment (grease the parchment paper, too) of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the Maple swirl ingredients -- butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, walnuts, and pumpkin seeds. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients -- flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar, butter, eggs, Greek yogurt, molasses, and canned pumpkin. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk until combined.
Spread half of the batter into the prepared pan. Make a trough in the middle of the batter; add half of the maple swirl mixture into the trough. Spread the rest of the batter on top and make a trough in the center of the batter; add the rest of the maple swirl mixture to the batter. Using a knife, swirl the mixture throughout the batter. The maple swirl helps keep the bread moist; I doubt you will actually see the swirl after it's baked.
Bake for 60-75 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (check it at 50 minutes to see how it is doing). Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before moving from the pan.
The Basics: Biscuits
Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Making biscuits is similar to making pie crust -- you need cold butter to achieve flaky biscuits (just like with pie crust). Of course, the flakiest pie crusts and biscuits are made with shortening or lard but the best tasting ones are made with butter. If you want, you can substitute half of butter for lard (as a rule, I do not use shortening) for either biscuits or pie crust.
These biscuits are made with white whole wheat flour, making them a little more dense. You can use all white flour, that's fine. You may need to decrease the amount of butter milk to 3/4 cup since whole wheat flour absorbs more moisture than white flour.
Even though I added cheddar and chives to the recipe, you can either omit these items or add your own herb and cheese combination. Goat cheese and rosemary sounds like a good combination if you ask me and serve with roasted lamb chops. Seriously, that sounds really damn good.
But I digress...
It's time to step into the kitchen and make biscuits for a Sunday morning treat. Your family will love you even more.
Cheddar and Chive Biscuits
Yield: about 1 dozen
Preheat oven to 425ºF.
In a bowl, mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Add the cubed butter and with a pastry blender, cut the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Stir in the buttermilk. Mix until dough starts to form. Add the cheese and chives; mix to combine.
Form the dough into a ball and place on a lightly floured surface. Roll to about a 1/2 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into shapes and place on a baking sheet. Reroll the dough until you use it all up. The last biscuit will look a little wonky but that's ok. They all don't have to be perfect.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly on a wire rack. Biscuits are best served slightly warm with a pad of butter.
The Basics: Muffins
2 Muffin Recipes: Apple Carrot and Blueberry Muffins
Been to Starbucks or Panera Bread lately? Seen those giant muffins hanging out in the display case? Is it me or have all baked goods increased in size? Well, instead of purchasing the mass produced giant muffins, you can make them easily at home. You just need to know the basics of muffin baking which is rather easy.
So you are probably wondering, why does it matter muffins are made? As it turns out there is a science behind baking – cakes, pies, cookies, quick breads, and yeast breads. Muffins fall into the quick bread category. Quick breads are made with chemical leaveners like baking soda or baking powder for rising. Some even use steam and air (biscuits and popovers) to rise as well. The science of baking includes how the batter is mixed together, what chemical leaveners are used, and the baking method.
When it comes to muffins, there’s a method to the mixing of the batter. Why? Well, it prevents overmixing. Overmixing the batter leads to tunneling (holes/pockets in the muffin and pointed top) and overdeveloping the gluten where instead of a delicate crumb, you create a tough texture. You want a muffin with a nice domed top and delicate, moist texture.
Incidentally, the muffin method can be used for pancakes, too. In fact, this is the way you should be making pancakes if you want stacks of fluffy pancakes waiting to be drenched in maple syrup.
So, to get you excited about muffins, here are two of my favorite muffin recipes. I'll post more in the weeks to come.
Apple Carrot Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins
Topping or filling:
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line muffin tin with cupcake papers (or forego the cupcake papers and grease the pan well).
In a bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, Greek Yogurt, olive oil, butter milk, carrots, and apple. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Remember, the batter should contain some tiny lumps and it should not be smooth.
In a small bowl, mix together the butter, walnuts, and brown sugar.
Fill the muffin tins ¾ full with batter. Top each with the walnut mixture (you could add this mixture into the center of each muffin instead of on top). Bake for 20-25 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center – should come out clean when muffins are done.
Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Yield: about 18 muffins
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Grease 2 medium muffin tins (or you can make mini-muffins or extra-large muffins).
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, oil, and lemon zest. Pour milk mixture in the flour mixture and mix until just combined (leaving small lumps in the batter is ok -- do not overmix). Carefully fold in the blueberries.
Spoon batter into muffin cups to 3/4 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes (mini-muffins won't take as long and the extra-large muffins will take longer -- watch your oven) until lightly golden. Cool in pan for 5 minutes and then remove and place on a rack. Leaving muffins in the tins will cause them to get soggy.