It's Muffin Time
Do muffins have a season? Seems like when the weather turns cool, I spend more time in the kitchen, and when the editor of Vegetarian Journal asked if I'd be interested in doing an article on muffins, the prospect intrigued me. I haven't baked muffins for years, but I was suddenly hungry for muffins. What a great excuse to warm the kitchen and infuse the house with the aroma of baked treats
I've written for the Vegetarian Journal for year. In fact, I recently got all the old magazines that had articles I wrote out and covered my living room floor. It always seems like they've covered everything and then suddenly a new idea pops up. I've done some quirky articles in the past including, Vegan Cowboy Cuisine, Secrets of the Seasonal Vegan, and Super Savory Pancakes. Many of these vegan recipes went into my cookbook.
Most recipes can be made into vegan versions but vegan baking can be tricky. Every ingredient interacts with every other ingredient and if you change too many ingredients at once a muffin can turn into something with a hockey puck texture, if you you aren't careful.
I figured I should start with something I really liked, so I crafted a blueberry muffin recipe from a number of recipes I found. I didn't want to try gluten-free or low fat yet. Just get the feel for what a muffin should be in this first baking round.
The Joy of Cooking cookbook gives these general muffin baking tips:
- Hold the mixing to an absolute minimum--from 10 to 20 seconds. Ignore the lumps.
- Good muffins should be straight sided and slightly rounded on top. The grain of the muffin is not fine but uniform and the crumb is moist.
- Fill oiled tins 3/4 full before baking. And put a few tablespoons of water in any empty muffin tins while baking.
- Leave baked muffins in tins for a few minutes and they will be easier to remove from the tins.
I didn't add enough flour in the beginning. As you can see the result was a flatter muffin. After I noticed how these weren't rising enough, I added more flour and got a better rounded top for batch number two.
I can tell already, this is going to be one fun article to complete. I won't give all the secrets to good muffins away, you'll have to stay tuned to Vegetarian Journal and find out the end of this story.
Anybody else hungry for muffins?
|Straight sides, rounded top--these are the second muffins that I baked with more flour.|
|Inside the crumb was delectable.|
Vegan Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
3 tablespoons water
1 cup soy or rice milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 to 1 cup cornmeal
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
1/2 cup canola oil
Blend flax seeds and water until thick and frothy. Set aside. In a small bowl, add lemon juice to soy milk and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400F. Oil 12 muffin tins or line with cupcake papers.
Blend flour, cornmeal, baking soda, lemon zest, sea salt and sugar in a medium mixing bowl. (Make sure there are no small lumps of baking soda.) In another bowl combine flax seed mixture, milk and oil together. Whisk to combine thoroughly.
Add blueberries to the flour mixture then add the milk mixture blending just enough to form a batter. Do not over mix. The consistency should be somewhere between a pourable cake batter and a thick cookie dough--not too thin and not too thick.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the tops are lightly browned. Gently tap the surface or use a toothpick to confirm the muffins are done.