Monday, February 9, 2009

The perfect muffin quest continues

OK, the last batch of muffins was really good, but we thought that a little citrus (orange) flavor and maybe a little more exotic of a dried fruit - like cranberry (ok, so not that exotic) would really make them killer. Rather than start experimenting with something I know nothing about (and really, keeping that perfect balance of liquids is elusive to me), I thought I'd try out a couple of recipes that were already supposed to be orangy. Maybe I'd find the perfect muffin recipe, or at the least, I thought I could find a recipe that could be merged with the almost-prefect muffin. Ha!

I tried searching sparkrecipes, since that's where I found the first recipe, and I knew that it would be more likely to produce recipes that were healthy (because, after all, that is really the goal here). Here are the two I tried out. They are the only two recipes that come up when you search sparkrecipes for orange muffin.
First, I tried out the orange cranberry muffin. Just what we ordered, right? Well, first, I must disclaim that I couldn't find fresh or frozen cranberries (no dried, for this recipe!), so I substituted cherries. Mmmm... cherries. I think that they were a good choice. However, this one fails in the orange flavor, and at 164 calories and no bran falls a touch short on ideal nutrition.
2 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten
3 Tablespoons melted butter
2 teaspoons finely grated orange peel (approx from one orange)
1 cup chopped fresh or frozen cranberries
Combine dry ingredients.
Make a well in center.
Combine milk, egg and oil, add to dry ingredients.
Mix just til all blended together, don't over mix.
Add orange peel and cranberries.
Mix lightly.
Spoon into muffin pans lined with paper liners or well greased.
Bake at 450 for 18-20 minutes.
Number of Servings: 12
The second was the Orange Bran Flax Muffin. Once again, I had to make a supply-based substitution. I didn't have/couldn't find any wheat bran (and couldn't find my wheat germ until 2 days later), so I just used more oat barn instead. I don't know if this limited the range of flavor in these muffins, but I think it might be worth trying again to find out. To me, these at least look healthier. And they are definitely a more dense muffin (although the above muffins were surprisingly dense/filling too). The raisins were definitely necessary in these to give them a little kick, since (in spite of having two full oranges in them), the orange flavor was hard to find in these guys too. These guys came in at 180 calories, but were pretty much pure fiber, so I can deal with that.
1.5 cup oat bran
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup ground flax seed
1 cup wheat bran
1 TBS baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 oranges,cut into 1/8's
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1.5 cup golden raisins
Preheat oven to 350.
Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with paper liners.
In a large bowl,combine oa tbran,flour,flax seed,wheat bran,baking powder and salt.
Set aside.
COMBINE oranges,brown sugar,buttermilk,oil,eggs and baking soda in a food processor.
Mix well.
POUR orange mixture into dry ingredients.
Mix until well blended.
Stir in raisins.
DIVIDE batter evenly among muffin cups.
Bake 18-20 min. or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Cool in pans for 5 min. before moving to a cooling rack.
makes 24 muffins

Both were pretty easy to make, although the cherry/cranberry muffins required significantly less clean up. I'm still searching for the perfect combination, but I think that the original Breakfast Muffin Bonanza is far in the lead right now.


Carrie said...

Elizabeth, I love your blog and all your recipes! I was wondering what icing tip you used for the cupcake background picture on your blog. It's beautiful!

Elizabeth said...

Carrie, Thanks so much! The background picture is actually a stock photo (not one of my cupcakes), but it is just a large star tip!

natalia said...

Ciao ! Muffins are such fun to make that I end up trying a new combination every time !!

Sweet Charity said...

I love eating muffins, but for some reason I almost never make them... You've inspired me!
Here's a link for my favorite orange muffin recipe :)
Add cranberries and flax instead of raisins and nuts and I think you'd be on your way to a hybrid of your two recipes.
Also, for future recipe tinkering, a good ratio of flour to liquid in muffin recipes is 2:1.

Elizabeth said...

SC: Thanks!!! That receipe loks great, and that's a very handy little piece of info that I'm going to tuck away for fututre reference. :)