Fall favorite things, Part I, with a recipe for Cheater Strawberry Pastries!
These are some of the cool things I've gotten to try this fall!
What a weekend! It was such a treat to have my good friends Lisa and Diane, whom I met at BlogHer Food earlier this year. I’ve definitely been MIA from the Internet for a couple of days. And you know what? It was a little refreshing. I did take tons of photos, though. More on that later this week. Right now I’m sharing what Dave, Diane and I had for breakfast Saturday morning:
Did you know that muffins talk to you? It’s true. I am The Muffin Whisperer, according to Diane.
My mom and grandmother taught me a great technique for knowing that your muffins are done without making an ugly hole in one of them. Here it is – are you ready? Stick your ear next to them (DON’T BURN YOURSELF) and …
Listen. That’s it.
If the muffins aren’t done yet, you’ll hear a very gentle popping and crackling – it’s the liquid evaporating out of the batter/dough/whatever it is for muffins. When they are done, the muffins will be quiet – there will still be some popping but it is distinctively quieter. And then the muffins are done and perfectly moist. If they are totally silent they might be a teensy bit dry.
And that’s how you turn something that’s so frequently dry and heavy into a beautiful breakfast muffin that is lighter than air – such as bran muffins.
I’m already planning some great ways to play with this recipe. But here’s what I did this weekend – adapted quite a bit from this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 375 and spray your muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. When making muffins, especially ones that don’t travel outside my home, I never use wrappers. It seems wasteful. I will use them if I’m a) going to be handling them a lot (like, decorating cupcakes for example) or if I am taking them anywhere outside my kitchen and dining room.
In a medium bowl (not mixing – just something tall) mix together the wheat bran, milk and water. Allow to hydrate for at least ten minutes.
Use a whisk to combine the vegetable oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla in a mixing bowl. Add the bran mixture to the oil/sugar/etc. and use the whisk to combine.
Measure the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and stir briefly to combine. Then add the flour mixture into the liquid in the mixing bowl and whisk to fold together. DO NOT overmix – you should be able to combine these totally with large, sweeping strokes and only a few of them. Just before the last stroke, add in the raisins.
Place in the muffin tin and bake for about fifteen minutes – use the Muffin Whisperer trick. And enjoy!