Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Homemade To Go Breakfast: Easy, Versatile Muffins

As promised, here's the recipe for Basic Breakfast Muffins.  The basic and the variations all go very well with coffee - and as I have learned, they don't make a bad late night snack either!

As I am want to do, these muffins are more indicative of a technique - you can vary the recipe depending on your cravings, likes, and what's in the larder, freezer or refrigerator.

Recipe:  Basic Breakfast Muffins
(Makes 1 dozen muffins)
#1 - 2 cups of flour
#2 - 1 Tablespoon of baking powder
#3 - 1/4 cup of sugar (with some fruit muffins, you can skip the sugar; more about that later)
#4 - 3/4 teaspoon of salt
#5 - 2 eggs
#6 - 1 cup of milk OR 1 cup of buttermilk (if you are making your own butter, you know that you always have great buttermilk in the 'fridge; there's nothing better for baking)
#7 - 1/2 cup of canola oil
#8 - 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract (the good stuff; avoid the imitation; make your own if you can!)

           Technique for Basic Muffins
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
Coat a 12 muffin tin with canola oil; coat well - especially if you are using sugar! You can also use muffin tin liners - but they are just more trash!

Combine ingredients #1 - #4 in a medium sized bowl.

Beat ingredients #5 - #8 in a large bowl for 1 minute on medium speed

Add the dry mixture into the large bowl with the wet mixture

Beat - but not too long - you just don't want to see any streaks of flour; you want it all incorporated

Spoon or pour the batter into the coated muffin tins
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes OR until the the tops of the muffins spring back when pressed lightly

Transfer the muffins to a rack to cool

The basic muffin is delicious and takes to butter and/or jam beautifully.  But so far we have tried some variations that are also delicious.

Some Potential Variations

The first addition we tried was a cup of finely diced apple and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into the batter.

For the second batch we blended a cup of local blueberries (from our freezer, defrosted and drained) into the batter. I left out the sugar from these but I did sprinkle the tops of the hot muffins with a bit of regular sugar.  That seemed to be just right.

For another recent  batch, I found that we had some Pear Jam.  It was very basic, no sugar added to the jam. We had made it from some pears that were getting soft, but were very sweet.  I blended the jam into the batter, but here I left out the sugar from the basic recipe. I did sprinkle some confectioners' sugar on the finished muffins.

Pear Jam Muffins with a sprinkle of Confectioners' Sugar

All of the above variations are delicious, moist and hold up well for the week.  It's important to note that for all of the variations I used the basic recipe.  But as I am a huge fan of Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, I wanted to try a version of that as well.

For Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, leave the pure vanilla out and substitute 1 1/2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice - I really don't like lemon extract!) - along with 2 Tablespoons of poppy seeds.  These were wonderful - and again - so easy!

The batter is so easy and so versatile that you can truly just use your imagination.  I am considering chocolate chips as well as oatmeal raisin right now!


Today's Food Rule:  "Spend as much time enjoying the meal as it took to prepare it."

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