around here, things are a special kind of crazy!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Starting and Ending with Muffins

Today I made muffins. This morning I made homemade english muffins for breakfast, and tonight after dinner I whipped up a batch of banana cinnamon chip muffins- frosted, because I could. All in all it was a phenomenal day for me and flour. One of these days I'll remember to wear the adorable apron I bought at a shop on main street at least a month ago...

Pug worked the closing shift, so he didn't go in to work until 1. That meant I had the opportunity to make a big breakfast on a weekday. Pug and I were really impressed with the results, and Pon even ate an entire english muffin! I'm really excited about making these again when my parents and Mei-mei come to visit in two weeks.

Check out those nooks and crannies!
English Muffins from Michael Ruhlman 

(The original recipe was in metric units, so I used this conversion site to figure out what he meant)

4 Tbls butter
1 Tbls sugar
2C milk
1 1/2 tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast
1 large egg, beaten
*16 oz flour (I seriously weighed it because I couldn't figure out this particular conversion)
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder dissolved in 1 Tbls water (I forgot the water part, but it still turned out okay!)

In a small saucepan on medium heat melt together the butter and sugar, whisking to combine. Remove from heat and stir in milk. Use a food thermometer to check the milk mixture's temperature, which should be between 100-110* F. If it's too cool put it back on the burner, if too warm, allow to cool or whisk. Stir in yeast and let rest 5-10 minutes, then whisk in the egg. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the dry ingredients. Stir in the yeast/milk mixture until well combined. Allow to rise in a warm location for 1 1/2 hours, or store in fridge overnight (as I did) removing from fridge 1 hour before cooking.
Hey batter, batter, batter!
Preheat a griddle to medium high, spray, and dust with corn meal if desired (I didn't do the corn meal thing, I was out). Now, at this point you could use rings, if you have them, to make completely round and pretty muffins. I don't have muffin rings, so I used my icecream scoop to just plop the batter onto the griddle.
Don't overcrowd your griddle, or they won't cook evenly.
Cook for 3-5 minutes per side, being careful not to burn them.
Even just 6 at a time was hard to flip.
Use a fork to split the muffin, and eat as is while warm, or toast it and enjoy with your favorite topping.

The batter made 14 muffins for me, Pug and I ate the first few plain straight off the griddle. They're buttery and yeasty with just a hint of sweetness. Once cooled, they're still good, but fantastic toasted with butter and honey or lightly spread with nutella.
They look so rustic!
I kept the muffins warm in the oven at it's lowest setting while I fried up some turkey bacon and made some cheesy scrambled eggs. It was seriously a feast!

After Pug went to work, Pon and I sunscreened up and headed to the pool for an hour and a half. He loves the water and is getting more and more bold daily. He even likes to put his face under the water and jump off the edge of the pool! After the pool we came home for some "Buzz soup" and a few episodes of Diego and naps. I meant to do some chores, but I guess the sun and fresh air got to me! After naps I cleaned up the kitchen, made a jalapeno marinade for tomorrow's dinner and took Pon back to the pool for another hour of splashing around.

Dinner was literally thrown together in 15 minutes. Using 2 pots, I boiled penne in one, and put frozen turkey meatballs, jarred alfredo sauce, frozen spinach, a bit of skim milk and a dash of hot sauce in the other. The sauce simmered while the noodles boiled, then I just mixed the drained noodles into the sauce and served.
Not a bad presentation for such a quickly thrown together meal!
Pug was pleasantly surprised by the addition of the hot sauce, though his initial reaction was to call me weird. And then he got seconds :)

I had 4 bananas that needed using so I made some muffins and frosted them. The muffins are actually an adaptation of an find from the "Dinner Spinner" app on my phone and it's become my go-to banana bread recipe. I also had a bag of mini cinnamon chips that I bought from the "country market and deli" on main street, so I threw that in there and cut the original's sugar in half to accommodate for the added sweetness.

Banana Cinnamon Chip Muffins with Banana Buttercream Frosting adapted from

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 C brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 C butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla
3 bananas, mashed
1 bag (~ 1 C) mini cinnamon chips


1 banana, mashed
1 1/2 C powdered sugar
3/4 C shortening

Combine all of the dry muffin ingredients in a large bowl, including the cinnamon chips. (A lot of bakers suggest flouring your chips before adding them to batters to prevent them sinking. I figure the dry ingredients are mostly flour, so may as well toss the chips in now!) In a smaller bowl, mash the bananas. Thoroughly mix the butter, eggs, and vanilla into the bananas. Add the banana mix to the dry mix, stirring until just combined. Bake at 350 for 15 mins for full sized muffins and 10 mins for mini muffins.
The batter makes 1 dozen each regular and mini muffins, and Pon loves the minis!

While muffins are cooling, beat together frosting ingredients until smooth and stiff. Frost as desired and serve!
I got to use the pastry gun thing Heydew loaned me!
I kind of made up the frosting as I was making it, so it needs a little more tweaking. It's a little too soft and a little too sweet, but practice makes perfect, so I'll try again another day. But try the muffins, they're awesome!

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