Sunday, April 10, 2011

A craving for muffins

I've been craving good muffins for weeks. Weeks. Why haven't I made any before now?

I also need to do some baking, because I've been accumulating supplies and I don't think I can fit anything more in my pantry.

Sounds to me like it's time to fire up the stand mixer, heat up the oven, and break in my muffin pan!

"Good muffins" to me need to have two key factors: 1) They need to be reasonably good for me, so I'm not feeling guilty about the fact that I shouldn't be eating them, and 2) they need to be tasty to really satisfy that hunger in the first place. If they taste like cardboard, then what's the point of eating them at all?

It's a tough equation.

I chose a recipe by Alton Brown (who I'm loving more and more with every recipe I make) that I found in his Good Eats 2 cookbook. I can't seem to follow a recipe without making any changes, so I made some substitutions. Here's his original recipe:

Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12-15 muffins

7 ounces sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 large egg
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, grated
12.5 ounces all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 heavy pinch kosher salt
8 ounces fresh blueberries

And I substituted:
1/2 cup applesauce instead of oil
1 cup plain Greek yogurt instead of standard yogurt
12.5 ounces whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose white
8 ounces frozen blueberries instead of fresh (and according to Alton, you should not thaw them out before adding them to the mix -- dump them in frozen)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F*. Spray a standard 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
2. Whisk the sugar, oil, egg, yogurt, vanilla and zest together in bowl A. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into bowl B (which by the way should be the larger of the two bowls). Toss the berries with one tablespoon of this dry mixture and set aside.

3. Dump bowl A into bowl B. Stir it a dozen or so times, add 6 ounces of the berries to the batter and stir three more times, then just walk away for 1 minute.

4. Use a disher to spoon 1/4 cup of batter into each hole of the muffin pan.
5. Broadcast the remaining 2 ounces of berries on top of the muffins and press down on them ever so slightly.
6. Let the muffins sit for 3 minutes on the counter.

7. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches 210°F or a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. If your oven has a history of uneven baking, rotate the pan halfway through.*

8. Remove from the oven. Cover with a clean dish towel and flip the muffins out so that the bottoms are facing up.
9. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container for 2 to 3 days.

* I actually baked mine at 400°F for about 20 minutes, inspired by a post on TheKitchn that suggested how you can get a higher, more domed muffin top by increasing the heat.

They turned out wonderfully. They're healthier than most any giant muffin you'll find at your favorite coffee shop, so it's a no-guilt treat! I'm going to keep a few fresh on hand to eat in the next few days, and the rest are going in the freezer for many breakfasts to come. Alton Brown once again pulls through for me and offers up a fantastic recipe.


  1. Yummy! My mouth is watering :)

  2. They were wonderful! I had another for breakfast this morning. :)

  3. Delish! I've been wanting to make muffins ... this was a perfect excuse. ;) Changes: 1 c wheat flour (remainder white), 1 T ungrated lemon zest, & 1 c unpacked brown sugar. (No kitchen scale). Also baked higher temp, less time = awesome!

  4. Jes, yours sound fantastic! I had one of my leftovers this morning with cold overnight oats and chia seeds, like this post suggests, and it was tasty, too. I'm going to enjoy having these on hand. :)

  5. Hmmm ... I'm totally intrigued by this overnight oatmeal w/ chia seeds thing. Will have to try. Thanks, Mandy!

  6. I tried a different variation last week and wasn't thrilled with it. The blueberry muffin version in the link above was much better. It's a great blog to follow, she has some creative ideas and lots of recipes.