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New Years MUFFIN mania celebration {4 recipes}

Leftover ingredients used in Holiday desserts were thrilled to be...
celebrated once more in MUFFINS baking for a New Years celebration.


Time has certainly become my precious commodity...
especially with the New Year shining new hope around us.
Reflection is certainly knocking at most doors...it certainly hitting darn hard at mine.

In the last few months...in reality, the last few years...
I've been slightly overwhelmed with unforeseen personal events.  
Forced life changes, a health check reality and several moves later have been tagging along.
For the better part, I have learned to take it in strides.  This is the ride I was given to live.
Experience the sometimes rocky roller coaster of life...heck...why not. 

As Mom (who's been through a tumultuous ride of her own) so often expresses ...
 " As long as we're among the living "...and she's so spot on...as usual. 
So grateful to be here...I shall continue to be patient until the light shines much brighter ;o)

Inevitably, some nostalgic moments have been following me through this obviously required journey.  
A few mild stresses have been felt along the way.  Some of which have come from decluttering.
Sorting through stored boxes of personal effects: photos, school projects, knickknacks.
However, my vast collection of books and especially recipe materials have been the biggest weight. 
After all, as much as I want to believe that I've had a respectful emotional attachment to...
all of this stuff...how respectful was I being...really?   
Yes, all has been neatly packed in boxes...but, it has not really found it's place back into my surrounding...in its proper domain where it can be put to good use and appreciated. 
This so called stuff has now been rediscovered in a new light.  
So much has changed.  
Some memories we cherish and some moments...we’d rather forget.  
Other than the very personal effects which I'll still want at my reach...
others, like recipe booklets and books were screaming to be passed over and shared with others.  
However, I knew very well that I had to give each one another last look over before letting go.  
Ahhh...letting go...how difficult a task...much more than my very matured self was ready to accept.
Overall, I'm pleased to announce that I've at least gone through half of these effects.  
My determined persistence has finally got my physical collaboration to properly declutter.

Hubby, more than anyone else is over the top in contentment.  
No more lugging of labelled extra stuff in boxes to give...most have made it into other hands.  
Happy New Year Honey ;o)  
You see, as promised...I did get around to properly down-sizing.


One of the many little recipe booklets that had been used over the years had somehow been misplaced and then found again.  Yes, in one of the stored, dusty boxes.  
My love of making muffins originated from this little treasure published in 1982 from no other than a publishing company actually by the name of the "Muffin Mania Publishing co."  
Two sisters, Cathy and Joan from Kitchener, Ontario would get together most Fridays and prepare muffins for the weekend.  After many requests for the written recipe sharing...a possibility of publication came to light.  The project started with many hits and misses...however, their art and love of baking muffins never let them waiver.  Their friends and family were more than happy to 'muffin taste test'  throughout their dedication towards this publication.  A text only book (which today, I would never consider buying) actually made it into my kitchen.  Many photocopies with scribbled notes later...my original copy safely stored in that box has remained in great condition.  Imagine, when I read about one inexpensive $6.95 purchase in 1982 has actually sold for about $100 on Amazon and Ebay.   Wow, my mutual funds can't even brag those numbers...can yours?  This is not to say that mine is for sale.   No, I think I’ll hold on to my cherished, now re-found copy.

Anyhow...on to the next part of this small culinary muffin baking journey:
  
    Oddly, I had never taken the time in the past to realize the origins of this fine little recipe booklet.  Lately, however,  I was lured into wanting to know more about what had happened to these sisters.  Well, not only have they been crazy busy with other titles which I admittedly knew nothing about...one of the Granddaughters (Martha) took upon herself to re-launch the original book in 2008.
I also learned that 30 years ago, their well titled original "Muffin Mania" sold over 500,000 copies worldwide.  I could only imagine how much of a wild ride that must have been for two homemakers in the early 80s.  Unlike the overwhelming recipe books of today which unfortunately include more misses than hits...these muffins always gave me anywhere from good to great results.  
***
One of their very easy banana muffin recipes has been a staple or...
at the very least, the foundation of many of my Banana based muffins.


I've adopted this particular original recipe in this festive platter.



Mini Banana Chocolate chip muffins

All dressed up with a filling of my Chocolate frozen Mousse...
as well as a sinful Fancy Butterscotch sauce topping.



recipe adapted from:
Best Ever Banana Muffins 
in the "Muffin Mania" recipe book...by Cathy Prange and Joan Pauli  

Yields 24 mini muffins
Printer version





INGREDIENTS:
American / Metric measures:

. 2 cups (500ml) ripe bananas (about 4 large), mashed
. 3/4 cup (158g) granulated sugar
. 1 large egg, lightly beaten
. 1/3 cup (75ml)  unsalted butter, melted
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking powder
. 1/4 tsp (1.75ml) salt
. 1-1/2 cups (195g) all-purpose flour
. 3.5oz.(100g) bittersweet Chocolate mini chipits






Directions:
. Pre-heat oven to 350F/180C/Gas4.   
. Position rack at the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.  
. Prepare a 24 mini-muffin pan with optional paper liners.

1. In a large bowl, mash bananas. Stir in sugar and the egg.  Add melted butter. 
2. Stir in the baking soda, baking powder, salt and flour to make a thick batter.  Blend in the chocolate chipits last.  Don't over mix.
3. Take the mini muffin pan and paper liners (optional)...spray a generous spot of oil into every cavity.  Fill each cavity three-quarters  of the way.   This will ensure a domed cap.
4. Bake the mini muffins for about 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Take them out and onto a metal rack as soon as possible to cool.  Enjoy.





Eat them as is...or dress them up with:
Chocolate frozen Mousse as well as a sinful Fancy Butterscotch sauce topping. 


***

If anyone is interested in this fine "Muffin Mania" book...
it seems that the new edition carries all the original recipes.  
A twist of modern changes were added to compliment our waistline more appropriately ;o)

I love the story behind this muffin dedicated book.  
I wish them well in their obvious continued success.
***

Today, I’m thankful to these ladies for making me such an enthusiastic muffin baker.  
My ongoing relationship with making muffins has awarded me a repertoire of my own treats.  
My instincts towards ingredient pairing in muffins has blossomed from the dedication of these ladies.
After my clean out of these recipe booklets, this one is definitely a keeper.  


Most definitely, my muffin creativity has stemmed from this fine treasure.
I could share the many more recipes I've made from the "Muffin Mania" book...
however, for today, I'll share more of my Foodessa muffin creations instead.
Certainly, at some later time...
I'll have to re-make my favourites from this book and have the appropriate accompanying photos ;o)

Here are some muffins I've made over the last few months...
 and now sharing them with you for a possible brunch in our newest year?

***


Chocolate ice-cream Hazelnut Cranberry muffins
Re-purposed, thawed, Chocolate ice-cream Muffins...
inspired by one of my other crazy muffin idea.

yields 12 muffins
No electric mixer required

Click HERE for the PRINTER version


INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

Dry mix:
. 2 cups (260g) unbleached All-Purpose flour
. 1/4 cup (24g) Dutch-processed Cocoa powder
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking powder
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt
. 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
. 1/2 cup (85g) roasted hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
. 1/2 cup (120g) dried cranberries
Wet mix:
. 2 large eggs
. 1/2 cup (120ml) vegetable oil (grape seed preferred) 
. 1 tsp. (5ml) pure Vanilla extract
. 1 cup (250ml) dark Chocolate ice-cream,thawed *
. 1 orange zest (optional)
. 12 paper liners (optional)
. vegetable oil spray

* Ice-cream thawed:  Make sure this procedure has been done solely in the refrigerator about one hour before starting the recipe.

PREPARATION:
. Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas4. 
. Position rack at the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
. Prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.  Note: oil spray will be used right before pouring the batter.

1. DRY MIX:  In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.
2. WET MIX:   In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs and add in the rest of the wet ingredients.  Blend until well combined.
3. Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add the wet mixture.  Combine until there is no appearance of flour.  Do not over mix the batter.  Set aside.
4. Take the muffin pan and paper liners (optional)...spray a generous spot of oil into every cavity.  Fill each cavity three-quarters  of the way.   This will ensure a domed cap ;o)
5. BAKE them for about 26-28 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  When you take them out...do not wait longer than 5 minutes to extract them out of their moulds.  Place them onto a metal rack to have them cool.  Yes, they will still be hot...but not unmanageable.  This will stop the muffin from over baking and will keep the liners from sticking too much to the muffin.  Note:  When ready to peel off the cupcake liners...be gentle.  Enjoy.

***

Jam filled Almond Banana 
big cap Gluten-free muffins
Inspired by my very sought after BANANA CHOCOLATE candied Ginger Muffins

yields 12 muffins
No electric mixer required

Click HERE for the PRINTER version

INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

Dry mix:
. 2 cups (285g) sweet Sorghum white flour
. 1/2 cup (65g) raw Almonds (finely ground) 
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking powder (GF)
. 1 tsp. (5ml) baking soda
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt
. 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
. 1/2 cup (70g) roasted almonds, coarsely chopped
Wet mix:
. 1-1/2 cups (350ml) ripe bananas (about 3 large), mashed
. 1/2 cup (125ml) plain yogurt (2% fat+)
. 1/2 cup (125ml) vegetable oil (grape seed preferred)
. 2 large eggs
. 2 tsps. (10ml) pure Almond extract
. Filling: 12 heaping Tablespoons of jam (plum in this case)
. 12 paper liners (optional)
. vegetable oil spray


PREPARATION:
Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas 4. 
Position rack at the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
Prepare a muffin pan with paper liners.  Note: oil spray will be used right before pouring the batter.

1. DRY MIX:   In a large bowl...whisk together all the dry ingredients.
2. WET MIX:   In a medium bowl...mash the very ripe bananas and add to it the rest of the wet ingredients.  Blend until well combined.
3. ASSEMBLY: Make a well in the dry ingredients and then add the wet mixture.  Combine well until there is no appearance of flour left.  Do not over mix the batter.  Set aside.
4. Take the muffin pan and paper liners (optional)...spray a generous spot of oil into every cavity and all over the surface as well so that the muffin tops will detach easily.  Afterwards, fill them evenly halfway, add the generous spoonfuls of jam and finish with batter to the very rim of each cavity.  This will give big muffin caps ;o)
5. BAKE them for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Gently nudge the muffins out of their cavities as soon as possible.  Place them onto a metal rack to have them cool.  Enjoy.

***




banana coffee DATE nut spice muffins
Based on a Date-walnut loaf bread I've been making for years

yields 24 muffins
No electric mixer required

Click HERE for the PRINTER version

INGREDIENTS:
(American / Metric measures)

Wet mix:
. 1 large egg
. 1/2 cup (125ml) ripe bananas (about 2 small), mashed
. 1/2 cup (120ml)  vegetable oil (grape seed preferred) 
Date mix:
. 1 pkg. - 8oz. (250g) pressed Dates, pitted
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) instant Coffee
. 1 cup (250ml) boiling water
Dry mix:
. 2-1/4 cups (292g) unbleached All-Purpose flour
. 2 tsp. (10ml) baking powder
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) baking soda
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cinnamon spice
. 1 tsp. (5ml) ground cardamom spice
. 1/2 cup (105g) granulated sugar
. 1/4 cup (50g) brown sugar, packed
. 3.5oz. (100g) bittersweet, 70% Chocolate, coarsely chopped
. 1/2 cup (80g) walnuts, coarsely chopped
. garnish: finely ground coconut or slivered almonds
. 24 paper liners (optional)
. vegetable oil spray


PREPARATION:
. Pre-heat oven at 350F/180C/Gas 4. 
. Position rack at the 2nd level from the bottom of the oven.
. Prepare two muffin pans with paper liners.  Note: oil spray will be used right before pouring the batter.

1. In a small bowl, prepare the date mix by first dissolving the instant coffee into the boiling water and then adding the mashed dates.  Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine all DRY ingredients.  Make a well and add the WET ingredients.  Combine slightly before also adding the date mix.  Combine until there is no appearance of flour.  Do not over mix the batter.  Set aside.
3. Take the muffin pans and paper liners (optional)...spray a generous spot of oil into every cavity.  Fill each cavity three-quarters  of the way.   This will ensure a domed cap.  The optional garnish can be sprinkled on top if desired.
4. BAKE them for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  When you take them out...do not wait longer than 5 minutes to extract them out of their moulds.  Place them onto a metal rack to have them cool.  Yes, they will still be hot...but not unmanageable.  This will stop the muffin from over baking and will keep the liners from sticking too much to the muffin.  Note:  When ready to peel off the cupcake liners...be gentle.  Enjoy.

***

Leftover Muffins?

Here’s a small suggestion to making them feel like they were just made:  
If not planning to eat the muffins within the next two days...
it's best to freeze them (paper liners also) up to one months time.  

Afterwards, the frozen muffins can be re-warmed...paper liners too.  
Set the oven on very low for about 20 minutes...or until the aroma fills your home. 
Now...you can enjoy your freshly made muffins every time ;o)  











Entering into a New Year always tends to bring a glimmer of better days ahead.

Here’s to living life to its fullest...but more importantly...make yourself a favour...declutter.

Happy New Year

Flavourful wishes,
Foodessa

Comments or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com



Go HERE for more SWEET creations.





Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)
. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later. 

Other related recipes in this post:
- Chocolate frozen Mousse
- Fancy Butterscotch sauce