Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I hope you like cherries and chocolate and batter folding techniques, cause that's what you're gonna see here today.

There are rules to baking. Some rules are stupid. Some rules don't count. Some rules only count some of the time. Some rules are pretty much an always and are widely accepted.

I don't use recipes (this falls under the 'Some rules are stupid' category). I will mention, however, tossing out the recipe also means tossing out exact duplication for the most part, and at times, necessary chemical reactions. I do not snub recipe users, therefore, unless there is no science behind their dependence. That said ...

Here is a recipe(ish) that I came up with tonight for some Chocolate Chip Cherry Muffins. They're good but not flabbergasting. I'm pretty sure I'm too guarded to give away my wow factor baking creations, but these are good, simple, and stay moist. Although I've adapted my version for something a bit more typical, feel free to substitute things for health benefits. For example, toss in apple sauce instead of the oil, you might try some cocoa powder to reduce your chocolate chips, pour in honey instead of all that sugar, etc.

2 C Flour
2 t Baking Powder
1/2 t Salt

2/3 C Milk
2 Eggs
2/3 C Sugar
1/4 C Canola Oil
1/4 C Butter
1-2 t Almond Extract
1-2 t Vanilla Extract
1 C Bing Cherries (pitted, stems removed, cut into quarters)
2/3 C Semisweet Chocolate Chips

Muffins (like pancakes, scones, etc) are quickbreads. I'm gonna assume you are quickpeople who can assume this is because we use baking powder/soda to leaven instead of the slow-to-grow yeast. Something else we don't want meddling in our mix is gluten! Not for these suckers! For a good muffin, we want what I call a moist crumble. To achieve this, no kneading or unnecessary mixing, my precious, else you'll end up with cakey muffins (let's call them cupcakes) or dense rubber. Ew.

Just like most baking recipes, mix all the wet ingredients together (this includes sugar [why you ask? Unlike other 'dry' ingredients, sugar dissolves almost immediately in anything liquid.]) and then the dry in separate bowls. One day I may understand the necessity of sifting staple foods, but I don't have a sifter so I simply added a little air by thoroughly whisking all my dry stuffs.

(note: for the super finicky, the wet ingredients should be ALL at room temperature before adding the dry)

Here's my favorite part. Dump all the dry on top of the wet. Now fold to mix. Folding is different than creaming or simply mixing/stirring. To fold, place your utensil of choice under the dry ingredients and pull up the wet from the bottom to lay on top of (or fold over) your flour mixture. Do this gingerly only until your ingredients are moist, no more. Your batter should be blended, but you may have that ring of dry flour around the edges. Perfect! Now is the time to fold in your extra goodies (in this case, the chips and cherries). Again, fold only enough to evenly distribute your ingredients.

Plop into prepared muffin tins (around 325-350 degrees) and check your email. In about 15-25 minutes, leave cyberspace and start toothpicking.

Photo Credits: Me!

No comments:

Post a Comment