Friday 29 July 2011

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

I enjoy a muffin for breakfast, particularly if it is home baked and still warm from the oven.  I've found that when I have house guests they enjoy them too, so over the years I've tucked away quite a few recipes.  They're all hand written, on various scraps of paper, and tucked higgledy-piggledy into a dog-eared cardboard folder.  You can tell which are my favourites--the ones I revisit again and again--because they're covered with scribbled notes and spattered with batter.

I had reason to add  yet another scribbled note to my zucchini muffin recipe today.  When I went to bake  them this morning, I noticed that I had quite a number of carrots.  Since I knew the carrots would add both flavour and colour to my muffins, I adapted my recipe to include them.

Here's how I made them:

I started by covering a cup of golden raisins with boiling water.  I let them sit until the raisins had plumped and softened, and the water had cooled to room temperature.  The raisins absorbed enough water to increase in volume by half.  I drained them and left them sitting in the sieve, over a bowl, to be sure that all of the excess water was gone.

I grated a cup each of carrot and zucchini on the coarse side of my box grater.  I've noticed that my food processor shreds things more coarsely than a box grater might.  If I were to use a food processor to prepare the vegetables for this recipe, I would use the fine shredding blade.  I pack the grated vegetables firmly into a dry measure when portioning them.

I added
  • 4 beaten eggs
  • 2/3 c. canola oil*
  • 1-1/2 cups of lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c. buttermilk
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
to the carrot and zucchini and stirred until they were well combined.

In another bowl, I whisked together
  • 2-1/2 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
I added the drained raisins and--using my hands--tossed them gently until each raisin was coated with the dry mixture.  (This helps to keep them suspended in the batter, preventing them from sinking to the bottom of the pan.)

I added the wet mixture to the dry ingredients and stirred, just until they were combined.  Muffin batter should be lumpy and may have bits of unincorporated flour in it.  Over-mixing the batter yields a tough muffin.

I spooned the batter into buttered muffin pans, filling each cup completely, to make 18 muffins.  I baked them at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

These muffins are best served warm.  If you're not serving them as soon as they're baked, reheat them in the oven, not the microwave. 

If you're not concerned about the extra fat and calories you can also heat and serve these muffins diner style:  Cut the muffins in half vertically, butter the cut sides, and place the muffins buttered side down on a griddle over medium high heat.  Serve them when the buttered side has toasted.  You'll be a breakfast-time hero.

*If you wish to reduce the amount of fat in these muffins, you can substitute unsweetened applesauce for some, or all, of the oil.  It does change the texture though:  A muffin made with applesauce instead of fat will be moist, but less tender.)

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