19 April 2010

Family recipe Monday: baked goods: muffins

Three states in the United States of America have adopted official muffins. Minnesota has adopted the blueberry muffin as the official state muffin. Massachusetts in 1986 adopted the Corn Muffin as the official state muffin. Then in 1987 New York took on the Apple Muffin as its official muffin of choice.

I must admit here that I did not know that there were any state muffins. South Dakota doesn't seem to have one, though it does have a state bread (frybread) and a state dessert (kuchen). (Of course, I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the fact that South Dakota's state bird is the Chinese ringnecked pheasant, making SD the only state in the Union, as far as I can tell, whose state bird is 1. a non-native, introduced species, and 2. a major game bird in the state. We can shoot and eat our state bird. But I digress.)

These are unofficial but great muffin recipes from the Simple Gifts file. Muffins have an interesting history, particularly in terms of leavening. They are batter breads rather than dough breads and depend on a chemical agent (first pearlash, now baking powder) to leaven the batter. The best muffins are mixed quickly and baked in sturdy mold pans. I am a fan of cast-iron muffin pans, personally, as they seem to yield the lightest muffins. For best results, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes or so before removing them.

Here's the recipe from the card at the top.

Sour cream muffins
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp cream of tartar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
Salt (1 tsp)

Beat all ingredients together and bake at 400* F.
--Vada Johnson Brooks

"Flavoring" could be any extract or essence desired: vanilla, lemon, orange, almond and rum were particularly popular. 

I have not tested the claim below that this muffin batter will keep for six weeks, and am I ever glad that someone corrected the recipe. 8 cups of sugar and no flour would be a bit much...This makes a huge batch of muffins, and my inclination would be to make it up all at the same time rather than trying to save the batter. With sufficient friends, family and colleagues, you can get these distributed quickly, and be far more popular in the process than the zucchini reverse bandits of late summer. (I actually, out of desperation, made zucchini muffins and teabread two years ago...but I digress again.)

Six-week muffins
1 10-oz box Raisin Bran
3 cups sugar (or use brown sugar)
5 cups flour
2 tsp salt
5 tsp baking soda
1 quart buttermilk
4 beaten eggs
1 cup Crisco (melted)

Mix Raisin Bran, sugar, flour, salt and baking soda. Add buttermilk, eggs and Crisco. Use a very large mixing bowl and mix well. Store covered in refrigerator and use as desired. Fill muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 400* F for 15 to 20 minutes. This batter will keep for 6 weeks.
--Gladys Strickland

A couple of other favorites:

Blueberry muffins
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 ½ cups sifted unbleached flour
2 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup granulated sugar
1 egg
2 T unsalted butter, melted
½ cup milk
Grated rind of 1 medium lemon

Wash and dry blueberries thoroughly. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and sugar. Add blueberries and stir to mix, being careful not to break blueberries. In a separate bowl, beat egg lightly. Mix in melted butter and milk. Stir in grated lemon rind. Add liquid ingredients all at once to dry ingredients. With a spatula, stir and fold only until dry ingredients are barely moistened (only a few seconds). The batter will be slightly lumpy and quite thick. Fill greased or paper-line muffin tins 2/3 full and bake at 400* F for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool in the tins for 2 to 3 minutes, then remove and cool on a rack. Makes 10 to 12 muffins.

Interesting how blueberries and lemons always pair well in taste and complement each other.

Cranberry orange muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1½ cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup cranberries, washed and patted dry
½ cup salad oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 T Grand Marnier (optional)
1 T grated orange rind

Preheat oven to 375* F. Grease bottoms of 12-cup muffin tins. In large bowl, sift together flour, salt, sugar, and soda. Add cornmeal and cranberries. Stir to mix. In smaller bowl, combine oil, eggs, buttermilk, Grand Marnier, and orange rind. Beat until well blended. Add liquid ingredients to dry ones, stirring until flour is moistened but still lumpy. Do not overbeat. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until tops are peaked and golden. Let sit in pan for 5 minutes before serving. Serve warm with butter.

Dinosaur corn muffins. Take that, Massachusetts.

Happy Monday.

No comments: