Monday, May 14, 2012

Do You Know the Muffin Method?

There are a couple of recipes that I seem to have trouble with, the most notable being muffins. I know, in comparison to pâte à choux or popovers, you’d think that muffins would be easy-peasy lemon squeezy. They are very persnickety, and demand a lot of attention to detail.

The first time I attempted to make gluten free muffins for this blog was for the GFRR. To remove some of the fat and sugar content, I substituted butter for avocado and the sugar for a little maple syrup. After a few other recipes, such as my cornbread rounds, I noticed that there was a greasy crumb to my muffins and I had no idea why.

I learned that muffins/quick breads need a certain amount of “sugar” to balance its “fat”, no matter what you use in place of both. If you omit one the other will cause an imbalanced product, too greasy and/or too dense and chewy.

I started doing research on baking the “perfect” muffin after my chocolate muffin recipe didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. Fearing that it wouldn’t be cooked after the designated time had elapsed, I baked them for an additional fifteen minutes. They were baked through all right, but they didn’t have the crumb and overall texture I was looking for. If I’d taken them out after thirty minutes, as Ruhlman instructed for his muffin ratio, I’d have been golden.

They still tasted pretty amazing though.

After reading up on "The Muffin Method" from The Balanced Pastry Chef, I learned a thing or two about muffins: how they differ from cupcakes, how to get a peak versus a dome muffin top, and why it’s crucial to keep the wet and dry ingredients in separate bowls before mixing together. Ah, the joys of food science at its best.

So what did I learn from the two muffin recipes I created? Well,
  1. Do not over-bake. Seriously.
  2. Keep the wet and dry ingredients separate before combining, and make sure all ingredients are at room temperature (as in, between 70 - 72ºF).
  3. If substituting fats and sugars, make sure that you keep the ratio of ingredient types balanced.
Next time I want to try baking muffins at a higher temperature for those majestic peaks I read about, maybe baking half the batter at a lower temperature to see just how different the tops actually turn out.

The story behind these muffin recipes differ, as one was made for the ultimate indulgence and one was to go back memory lane with every bite. The chocolate muffins are meant to be a treat, something that says “Late Night Snack”, while the apple muffins were made with breakfast (and the doctor) in mind. Like the chocolate, I did not skimp on the apples with this recipe. There were apple chunks and applesauce in there for double the apple love, tasting more like a moist coffee cake in a muffin package. Mama Dazz and the boyfriend really liked this one, but I’ll post it another time this month.

For now, indulge yourself and "... keep the doctor away" later.

Late Night Chocolate Muffins

60 g Cocoa powder
60 g Mesquite flour
60 g Blanched almond flour
60 g Quinoa flour
120 g Maple sugar
1 tsp. Sea salt
2 Large eggs, room temperature
240 g Whole milk yogurt, room temperature
113 ml Unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp. Baking soda
1 tsp. Unrefined apple cider vinegar
Cocoa nibs, as garnish

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
Combine the flours, maple sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl.
In a quart measuring cup, blend together the eggs and yogurt until you have a smooth consistency.
With a hand mixer or a whisk, add the wet ingredients to the dry until just combined along with the baking soda and cider vinegar, and then slowly pour the butter until all has been added.
Pour the batter into greased muffin tins, about three-fourths the way, and lightly garnish with a sprinkling of cocoa nibs.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the blade of a pairing knife inserted in the center come out clean.
Let it cool in the muffin tins for 10 minutes before popping it out onto a cooling rack.
Serve warm with coffee or a glass of milk.

Makes 12 muffins.

No comments:

Post a Comment