I love alliteration! One, two, three, M’s; ah ah ah.
Okay, I’m done.
I do have a confession to make: I experiment on my family. I look at ingredients I have in my house and wonder how this would taste with that, and that with this, so I mix them together and feed them to my family. Then, I wait. I watch for their reactions and ask their opinions. I feel a little like Count Rugen as I watch them eat. “What did this do to you?” I ask. “Tell me. And remember, this is for posterity so, be honest.” And, I hold my pencil ready over my recipe, ready to make notations. There have been moments of tears-not the happy kind-and pleadings with me never to make some recipes again. There was a garlic/chive mashed potato incident my step-father hasn’t forgotten. But, sometimes, I get it right.
I experimented on my mother for Mother’s Day. Why test out a new recipe on such an important day? Well, because making muffins was a last-minute choice, I didn’t have all the ingredients I needed, and the recipe called for some I didn’t want to use. I did not have the yogurt the recipe wanted me to use and I was curious what substituting applesauce for the oil would do. I did have fresh blueberries and, with those little anti-oxidant gems, how bad could my muffins be? The answer was pretty darn bad but I was committed to my course. I gathered my ingredients, bowls, hand mixer, measuring cups, and measuring spoons and took over the kitchen.
I strictly adhered to the ratio of dry ingredients: wet ingredients. I’ve found I can do all the substitutions I want as long as my ratio remains in place. I mixed the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt together and then turned my attention to my wet ingredients. I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk, applesauce, vanilla, and subsituted Toffutti sour cream and cream cheese for the yogurt. When I blended the wet into the dry, the batter looked to be the right consistency. I folded in the blueberries and hoped for the best.
I have two stoneware muffin pans. I like them because I don’t have to use paper liners and the pans make perfect jumbo muffins. I’d planned on six jumbo but had enough batter to make ten fairly good sized muffins.
I baked the muffins for 15 minutes, switched the pans around in the oven, and baked ten more. The muffin pan with the six muffins needed five more minutes but my toothpick test told me my muffins finally baked through. They needed to cool in the pans for ten minutes and then were turned out onto a rack. I slid a butter knife around the edges and I cheered when the muffins dropped onto the rack, perfect and steaming. There have been times when half-or most-of my muffins stayed in the pan but not these.
I was a little cautious: I used whole wheat pastry flour-organic, of course-and these weren’t the pale, fluffy blueberry muffins I’d grown up with. Would they be too dense? It was time to submit them for tasting. I hauled the Earth Balance spread out of the refrigerator and called my family to the table.
They were hungry enough they probably would have eaten anything but I received nothing but the warmest praise for my muffins. And, they were very good. The sour cream wasn’t overpowering but there was a subtle tang that offset the sweet blueberries. The muffins were dense but not unpleasantly so. They were certainly filling. And, they weren’t too sweet. The applesauce helped offset the sour cream but didn’t make the muffins so sweet the flavor of the berries was lost. My family all went back for seconds: the mark of a successful experiment.
If I had a complaint, it was that I missed a taste of caramel. I think next time I’ll substitute some of the sugar for brown rice syrup or perhaps maple syrup. Or, I can make a crispy cinnamon/sugar topping-almost like a streusel topping. Who can guess? Colorado has chosen to re-visit winter and the weather is perfect for baking.
Mom’s Mother’s Day Muffins
2 1/4 cups plus 2 TBSP organic whole wheat flour, divided
3/4 cup sugar
1 TBSP baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups unsweetened almond milk
4 oz applesauce
1/2 cup dairy-free sour cream
3 tsp dairy-free cream cheese
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, not thawed.
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Light grease 12 regular or 6 jumbo muffin cups with margarine or oil, or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine the 2 1/4 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, combine milk, applesauce, sour cream, cream cheese, and vanilla. In a small bowl, toss blueberries with 2TBSP flour. Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just incorporated. Fold in blueberries.
3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each cup half to 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes for regular muffins or 20 to 25 minutes for jumbo, until muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then transfer to a cooking rack and let cool completely. Store leftover muffins covered at room temperature or in refrigerator.
Yield 6 to 12 muffins.