Saturday, August 22, 2009

In the kitchen: Morning Glory Muffins

A couple of years ago I worked at D'Latte, a wonderful bakery and coffeehouse in Greenport, New York. The baker, a talented Argentinian woman, created the most scrumptious scones and muffins ever, not to mention incredibly indulgent gelato. Always one of my favorites, the morning glory muffins she made are among my all-time favorite. I have always wanted to try to replicate them. Today I made attempt number one. Using a dog-eared printout of a recipe given to me ages ago by my friend BE, I made a tasty muffin, though my hunt for the perfect recipe will continue. Here is how it goes:

Morning Glory Muffins
Adapted from the Macrina Bakery and Cafe Cookbook by Leslie Mackie with Andrew Cleary, 2003
  • 1/2 cup seedless raisins
  • 1/3 cup walnut halves
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
  • 3/4 cup chopped pineapple
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 6 Tb unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 Tb freshly squeeze lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup or less coarse raw sugar

• Preheat oven to 350F. Brush insides of muffin tin with canola oil.

• Place raisins in a small bowl and cover with hot tap water. Let sit for 10 minute while raisins plump, then strain and squeeze out excess liquid with your hands. Set aside.

• Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and shaking a couple of times during cooking, toast until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Let cool, then chop coarsely and set aside.

• Sift four, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Mix gently with a wooden spoon and set aside.

• In a separate large bowl, combine raisins, walnuts, carrot, apple, pineapple, eggs, canola oil, melted butter, lemon juice, vanilla extract and coconut; mix with a wooden spoon until combined.

• Add the dry ingredients and continue stirring just until all the dry ingredients are moistened. It’s important not to over mix.

• Scoop batter into oiled muffin tin, filling the cups to the top. Sprinkle coarse raw sugar on tops of muffins and bake on the center rack of the oven for 40-45 minutes.The finished muffins will be deep brown. Let cool for 20 minutes, then slide a fork down the sides of each muffin and gently lift it from the pan.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Extracting vanilla

When I was at the grocery two days ago, I grabbed a big tub of yogurt as I do on a regular basis. They didn't have my favorite brand, so I chose another. Except that I picked up the wrong tub. I'm a plain yogurt kind of gal. I like to mix it into all kinds of things: smoothies, salads, sauces, dips. You name it; yogurt makes it better. But I mistakenly pulled the vanilla from the case. I didn't even realize it until I made a smoothie yesterday and took a big old sip off the straw. Uck. That awful taste of fake sweetness. Whoa is me, what to do with 26 more ounces of this stuff? Well, today I did some experimenting and found that it's not too difficult to mask the taste in a smoothie: add a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and just a dash of real vanilla extract and voila! Nothing but peach-blueberry goodness.