Thursday, August 25, 2011

Back to School means back to Baking

WOW....less then 2 weeks till school starts again (and I go back to work).  Its been nice having time off with the kids.

I had great plans for this summer, tons of new recipes I wanted to try out, but the truth of the matter was....It was too DARN HOT!!!!!  Most days I couldn't even take the kids out to the park till about 7pm and even then they were sweating after running around a few minutes.  Add to the incredible heat the fact we live in a small apartment with no air-conditioning.....I wasn't going to go anywhere near the oven.

Now with the last days of summer upon us, the temperature has dropped to comfortable levels and I have dared to dream about cookies, bars, cakes and treats again.

So this afternoon I pulled out my big mixing bowl and got set to bake.  The kids were in raptures...."Mamas baking again!!!...what are you going to bake? ...Snickerdoodles...No!  I want Chocolate chip about cupcakes?...we want to help....."

"well actually" I replied, "I'm making muffins to put in your school lunches"...........................................
..........."hello? are you going?...........<sigh>

Well I have to admit muffins might not hold the glammer of other treats but considering that the number of muffins now on the cooling racks is quite a bit lower then the number I pulled out of the oven, I think the kids have gotten over their disappointment.

I have yet to find a muffin recipe that I am totally happy with so I was searching Tasty Kitchen  which for those of you not familiar with it, is the addictive, go-to site for all recipes hunters, created by the Pioneer Woman (aka Ree Drummund).  As I was searching, I came across a posting for a basic muffin mix which you can do endless variations on.  As the poster mentioned that she works in a bakery and this is the recipe they use, I decided that this needed testing out.  

I made 2 types today, a basic banana, and a pumpkin spice.  The hardest thing about the recipe is making sure your consistency is fine after adding your "variations", which is just a matter of not adding the milk until the end and adjusting the amount accordingly.  Overall the recipe is very simple and the muffins turned out good so it is something I will continue to play with.  (the kids have already put in requests for blueberry, chocolate chip, carrot and apple spice and I have some lemon and cranberries that I want to use)

Basic Muffins with Variations    -   makes 12 (med)

2 cups flour                          1 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder             1/2 tsp salt
1 egg                                    3/4 cup milk (or as needed)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp oil           1 cup optional variation ingredients

sift dry ingredients.  Add wet and any additional ingredients and stir until moistened.  Scoop into greased muffin tins and bake at 400 for 20 -25 minutes.

For the banana I doubled the recipe, added 5 over ripe mashed bananas, cut the sugar to only 1 1/2 cup total, used only  1/4 cup oil and 1 cup milk.  It made 24 medium muffins.

For the pumpkin, I doubled the recipe, added one can (about 1 1/2 cup) pumpkin puree, 1 tsp pumpkin spice and 1 tsp cinnamon.  I ended up adding an additional 1/4 cup of milk (on top of the doubled amount).  This made 24 medium and 12 mini muffins.  * next time I think I will try adding a bit more milk.

Original Tasty Kitchen Post