Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oatmeal Lemon Cranberry Muffins

Phew, now THERE is an unwieldy title. These muffins are based on the muffin recipe in Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) anniversary edition cookbook. Believe me when I say it is almost always my first stop for a "base" recipe.

I doubled the recipe and used the "oatmeal muffins" option (reduce the flour and add oatmeal) and then riffed from there. Here's my final recipe, it made 20 large muffins (about a 1/4 cup of batter each.) The nice thing about using these silicone muffin liners is that I could use them, free standing, on a baking sheet and didn't need to worry about filling empty spots with water. The water is one of my pet peeves- it wicks onto the oven mitts and burns me, sloshes, makes so much steam my smoke alarm goes off when I open the oven, and I can't just dump all the muffins onto a cooling rack. These are Le Creuset brand, I highly recommend!

The muffins came out nice and light, without the bitter baking soda flavor I often find in muffins. The lemon wasn't overpowering or bitter, which is nice too and hard to do with oils I've found. You could probably substitute a bit of lemon juice and rind for the same effect, and reduce the milk accordingly. One thing I'm not sure of is the effect of the lemon oil on the milk- I mix lemon juice and milk for a buttermilk substitute, and I didn't notice any thickening of the milk mixture before I stirred it in, but the "buttermilk effect" might account for why these turned out so light and airy.

Oatmeal Lemon Cranberry Muffins
Based on a recipe from BHG

a scant 2 2/3 cup AP flour
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup white sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
a few handfuls of dried cranberries

1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs, beaten
a few drops of pure lemon oil (just a tiny dribble)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Mix dry ingredient and wet ingredients separately, then just barely stir together. Spoon into muffin tins or liners and bake 18-20 minutes at 400 degrees until they test done in the centers. Best served warm.

Notes: cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cranberries, lemon oil, and vanilla were not included in the original recipe.
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Friday, August 6, 2010

LoLo Banana Bundt Cake

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking, From My Home to Yours” (Classic Banana Bundt Cake)

3 cups AP flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup olive oil
2 cups sugar
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs
About 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about four medium bananas), very ripe
1 cup plain yogurt

Preheat your oven to 350, with a rack in the middle. Prepare your Bundt pan by greasing it well. (I used cooking spray.)
In a medium bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the olive oil and sugar until well-combined and smooth-ish. Add the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating for about one minute after each egg goes in to make sure it is well incorporated. Turn the mixer down to low, and add in your bananas. Finally (still on low), mix in half the flour mixture, then all of the yogurt, and then the rest of the flour mixture.  Remove all of the batter to your Bundt pan and smooth out the top.
Bake for 65-75 minutes, or until a toothpick in the deepest part of the cake comes out clean. (Check it at 30 minutes – if it’s getting too brown for your liking, cover it loosely with tin foil for the rest of the baking time.) Cool the cake pan on a rack for 10 minutes, and then take the cake out of the pan and let it finish cooling on the rack.
This is even better the next day!