Blueberry Muffins

I tried a new blueberry muffin recipe and they were pretty good. I usually make this Double Blueberry Muffins recipe, where you mash part of the blueberries. With less smashed fruit, the muffins in this recipe aren’t a strange grey from the blueberry juices, which was a plus as I brought them for the Forum for Equality Candidate Interviews for the upcoming election. Only problem was they didn’t want to come out of the muffin tins, so I ended up with a lot of muffin tops (which is frankly the best part). Next time, I’ll put these in cupcake papers, though.

Blueberry Muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
2 large eggs
3/4 cups milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

cinnamon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 – 12 cup muffin tins

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Cream the butter in a mixing bowl. Add the sugar and the extracts and mix to combine. Scrape down the bowl and then add the eggs one at a time.

Add in one third of the dry ingredients. Pour in half the milk. Add in half of the remaining dry ingredients and then the rest of the milk. Add the final bit of dry ingredients. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and fold in the blueberries.

Fill the muffin tins with batter. Sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar and bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Rotate and switch the pans midway through baking.

Let the muffins cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Advertisements

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

I’m watching World Cup Soccer Round of 16 games today and I’m also craving yeasty, salty, rosemary-ie focaccia bread. I worked out the time needed and, so, started the dough after the France-Argentina game to allow for the first rise. It was ready to spread it in the pan right before the Portugal-Uruguay game began. I let it rise through the first half and then baked it during half time.

By using beer, I got a very light texture even with higher gluten bread flour plus an added flavor boost of yeasty goodness. I went with a wheat beer from Blue Moon.

Focaccia with a Beer Assist

2 cups unbleached bread flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast (1 package)
1 12 ounce bottle of beer (wheat beer, if possible)
¼ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt

Topping:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitter with a dough hook, add 2 cups bread flour, sugar, 1 tablespoon rosemary, and yeast. Warm beer in the microwave to 120 to 125 degrees F. Add the beer to the stand mixer and let stand for 5 minutes. Turn the mixer to medium, mix until combined.

Add in the all-purpose flour, ¼ cup olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt. Switch the mixer to medium high, and knead for 10 minutes.

Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat the dough. Cover and allow to rise in a warm room until doubled in size, about 1 hour. I use the oven with the oven light turned on.

Lightly oil a rimmed baking pan. For an optional, added crunch, sprinkle on a little corn meal or semolina flour. Transfer the dough to the pan, pulling to cover the entire pan. Cover and allow to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 425.

Press your fingers into the dough making holes across the entire loaf. Brush with remaining oil, sprinkle with remaining rosemary and the coarse salt. Bake until golden brown and it sounds hollow to the tap, about 15 minutes.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

Michelle and I are nearing our anniversary and I wanted to bake her a special treat. As compromise is the heart of any good relationship, I crafted these muffins that are full of sweet potato and oat bran goodness for her but tasty enough for me. Of course, she is going to experiment with the fat content and even switching to some whole wheat flour but, for me, for now, these are a success – lots of sweet potato flavor but not dense and heavy.

This recipe is an amalgamation from one for Sweet Potato Muffins from The Loveless Cafe and one from King Arthur Flour for Oat Bran Muffins. The recipe makes 36 regular sized muffins but don’t be intimidated as they freeze really well.

We usually buy lots sweet potatoes when they’re on sale and then bake them all up, scoop out the insides and freeze them in 1 and 2 cup measurements. That makes it easy to pull them out and put them in all kinds of recipes, like this one. You’ll need about 3 sweet potatoes to make 2 cups baked and mashed.

Sweet Potato Oat Bran Muffins

1/2 cup oat bran hot cereal, not flakes (I used Hodgson Mill)
1 pound butter (4 sticks unsalted butter), divided
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 cups sweet potatoes, baked and mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1  1/2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
cinnamon sugar for topping

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place cupcake liners into the cups of 2 twelve-count muffin pans, set aside.

Bring 1/2 cup water to a boil. Mix with the oat bran cereal and let cool slightly. Melt 1/3 cup butter and stir into cereal along with 1 tablespoon honey. Set aside.

Cream remaining butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time. Scrape down the bowl of the mixer and then add sweet potatoes and beat until blended. Add in the oat bran mixture.

In a separate bowl add all dry ingredients, whisking to ensure all the spices and baking powder are well-blended with the flour. Add flour mixture to sweet potato mixture a little at a time until you have a smooth consistency. With a spoon, mix in chopped pecans. Stir the vanilla into the milk. Slowly add milk mixture to the muffin batter, stirring until just blended.

Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each cup 2/3 of the way full. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar.

Bake first pan of muffins for approximately 20-30 minutes, rotating midway through baking. They are done when golden brown and a toothpick placed in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Remove first pan and set the second muffin tin in the oven.

Let baked muffins rest in pan for 5 minutes before removing and letting cool completely. Let the muffin tin cool slightly before placing in more liners and refilling the pan as the second one bakes.

 

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

Here is another recipe to help use up any leftover cranberry sauce after your Thanksgiving feasting. My other version is here. I primarily did these because mom had less flour than I anticipated (and Dad was still expected me to make a batch of oatmeal cookies) because they include oats in them.

Oat and Cranberry Sauce Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 cup oats
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ½ cups of leftover cranberry sauce
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

optional: cinnamon sugar (combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tin with paper baking cups or butter the muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine regular flour, oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well. In medium bowl, combine milk, oil, cranberry sauce and egg; blend well. Fold wet ingredients into dry. Stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.

Fill muffin cups about three-quarters full. If desired, sprinkle the tops with cinnamon sugar. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until golden brown.

Corn Muffins

I’ve been craving corn muffins ever since I saw a TV chef make some. Today, I made a batch and then proceeded to gobble half of them up, still steaming from the oven. I put in some corn that came from Michelle’s grandfather and which she had cut off the cob and put in the freezer.

This is a southern recipe, so there isn’t a lot of sugar in it but, the addition of fresh corn (you can use canned or frozen, too), means they’re plenty sweet anyway. 

Corn Muffins

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoons salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk (buttermilk may also be used here)
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen is best – if using canned, drain first)
1 stick melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Whisk together dry ingredients, making sure there are no white streaks. Scramble the eggs into the milk (or buttermilk). Use melted butter to grease either a 12 cup muffin tin or, if using cast iron corn stick pan, grease that plus a 6 cup muffin tin. Add remaining melted butter to milk and eggs. Stir in fresh corn and then add to the dry ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Makes about 12 muffins.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

I’ve been looking for a bread I can use to make sandwiches – not too heavy, a little sweet and with a soft texture. I found this recipe in James Beard’s book Beard on Bread (pg 37). It was the first book I ever owned on bread baking and I just had to adjust the recipe a little to use my sourdough starter. Because I only wanted a mild sour flavor, I only let the sponge sit overnight on the counter – a little under 12 hours.

Sourdough Sandwich Bread

Sponge:
1 cup unfed sourdough starter
2 cups bread flour
1 cup water

Mix together all the ingredients in the sponge and place it in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit on the counter or other warm, draft free place overnight.

Bread:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon coarse salt

Remove the sponge to the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the oil, buttermilk and yeast and use the paddle attachment to stir the dough on low speed until it is well mixed. Gradually add the flour a half cup at a time and the salt. Once 2 cups of flour are incorporated, switch to a dough hook and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Add more flour as necessary, if it is very sticky. The finished dough should be smooth and elastic.

Butter a large mixing bowl and place in the dough, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm, draft free place for 2 hours or until doubled in size. Punch down and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes while you butter two loaf pans. Divide the dough in half and set a half in each pan. Let rise until doubled in bulk and over the edges of the pan, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Set a dish with boiling water on the lower rack of the oven to provide steam. Brush the top of the loaves with water and then slash it three times diagonally across the top with a very sharp knife.

Place in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 375 degrees F and bake for 20 minutes. Brush the top with cold water and bake for another 20 minutes. Remove the loaves from their pans and put directly on the oven rack for a final 20 minutes. When done, the bread will be darkly brown and sound hollow when tapped. Cool completely before slicing.

Sourdough Baguettes

This recipe comes from Father Dominic Garramone, OSB and his book Breaking Bread with Father Dominic.

Remember, the longer the sponge sits, the stronger the sour flavor will be. As I was planning to use some of the bread for sandwiches and the rest in garlic bread, I only had it sit for 24 hours.

Sourdough Baguettes

Sponge:
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups bread flour

Dough
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 to 3 1/2 cups bread flour

Combine all the ingredients for the sponge together in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and set on the counter to stand at room temperature for at least 24 hours and as long as 48.

When ready to begin, put the yeast in the warm water and allow to proof for 5 minutes. Place the sponge, the salt and baking soda in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment and stir. Add in the yeast and continue stirring until well mixed. Add one cup of bread flour and mix until incorporated. Trade to the dough hook and add another cup of bread flour. Once incorporated, add another cup of bread flour. You want the dough to only be slightly sticky. Add the final half cup of dough, if necessary. Knead on medium for 8 to 10 minutes.

Let the dough rest for 15 minutes. Divide in half and shape into a rectangle. Roll up and set into lightly greased dough pans. Cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size. Use a sharp knife to make diagonal cuts in the top.

While the bread rises, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Place a pan of warm water on the bottom rack. Bake the loaves from 35 to 45 minutes or until they sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans and let cool on wire racks.

To make garlic bread, I roasted 8 cloves of garlic in a little olive oil. Once cool, I then mixed them with a softened stick of butter. I cut the baguette lengthwise and then smeared butter over both sides. Putting the loaf back together, I smeared the remaining garlic butter over the outside bottom and top before wrapping in aluminum foil and baking for 15 minutes at 350 degrees. I removed it from the oven, turned the broiler on high and opened the loaf, so the interior could toast about 4 minutes total.