Saturday, February 17, 2007

Muffin Man is here again !!

Dear Foodies,

I was busy working on some school work last week and well how long can a foodie dedicate herself to just books. Since the weather was bad I was at home for most part of the day too and the hall where I sit to study overlooks the kitchen !! Now it takes a loooot of will-power to sit there and not get into the kitchen to dish something out right !! So finally one evening I decided to make a few muffins. I was craving for some warm simple vanilla muffins, so I went into the kitchen and getting all the stuff I would need onto the counter and poooofff the power went out !!! Yes, the power !! It was 6 in the evening and the whole place went into pitch darkness... :-( I was alone at home and ......and......well......and....ummm....well..... I am a lil scared of the dark u see.... :-(

So I called my brother and my friends and well...they did come to the rescue. I immediately rushed to a friends house 2 blocks from mine and we were around 6 of us huddled in their hall. They had a gas stove and not the electric one and the leftovers came to our rescue again. We heated up a few tortillas a bowl of sambar, a bowl of rasam and a cup of cauliflower curry were all wiped clean ! The power outage lasted for about 6 hrs !! But it was fun, we all sat down and exchanged stories of how wonderful the power cuts were to us as kids in India. It was the official play time for us. The best part being that in summer the power cut would follow a the homework schedule would be built around it and it would be a lot easier to play hide n seek...hehe

Can u see the nicely browned, smooth base..
Well I think I have digressed enough, so the next day I had all the ingredients ready. I wanted to try something different. Like many might already know I don't use eggs in my dishes, I had some leftover cream cheese+sour cream+heavy cream mix from my Tiramisu that had to be used. I intuitively felt that if used in muffins, it would make them fluffy and light as the heavy cream was whipped well and the cream cheese was also beaten to incorporate air. And the sour cream would give me the acidity that the baking soda will need to act on the batter and help it rise. So that was fixed, I also made another change, I wanted to see how using the buttermilk biscuit /scone making method of rubbing cold butter into the flour work for muffins. I wasn't disappointed with either of these changes.

So here goes the recipe:

  • 2 cups : All purpose flour
  • 1 cup : Sugar (+/- as per taste)
  • a pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp: baking powder
  • 1 tsp: baking soda
  • 2 tsp: Corn starch
  • 1" inch piece from a chilled stick of butter, cubed
  • 2 Tbsp: cream cheese+sour cream+heavy cream mix (my mascarpone cheese substitute)
  • 2 Tbsp: milk, or as much as you might need to make the batter
  • 2 tsp: Vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup: chopped strawberries

  • Procedure:
    1. In a bowl combine your dry ingredients(first 6 in the list) and mix well.
    2. Pre-heat your oven to 300F.
    3. Now add the cubed chilled butter and rub into the flour mix. It will slowly turn into a crumbly mix.
    4. Grease a muffin pan with some butter and have it ready so that once the wet ingredients are added you can send them into the oven as quick as you can.
    5. Now add the cream cheese mix, required amount of milk and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and fold them in to combine.
    6. Add in the chopped strawberries and incorporate it well without beating/mixing the mixture too much.
    7. Transfer the batter to the pan to fill 3/4th of each cup and rush it into the oven. Look at how well it rose in the oven :-) yayyyyyy
    8. Send it into the oven and bake for about 20-30mins based on your oven and until the muffins turn a light brown on the top.
    The butter used to grease the pan gave a very smooth finish to the base, also the butter rubbed into the flour gave the muffins a very nice inside. The cream mix I used made them lite and fluffy and the vanilla flavor grew with time. They tasted really yummy and delicate the next day. The strawberry pieces hiding inside were a like lil surprises.

    P.S: The batter for this muffin is not a flowy one, it resembled more like a chapati dough gone bad due to extra water. It was all sticky and mushy, I had to use two spoons to fill the muffin cups, one to scoop and another to help me drop them into the muffin pan.
    The amount of butter was how much it took me to get a slight crumble texture to the flour.

    You can play around with the flavorings, probably almond extract or rose essence would be good too. You can use any fruit, fresh/dried berries and even nuts. I prefer a smooth & soft cake and don't like nuts in mine and so skipped them. but you can add what ever you like, probably even chocolate chips.
    I liked the way my muffins rose in the oven and would totally attribute it to the sour cream and beaten cream in it.

    Baking powder:
    It is a a mix of baking soda & some kind of acidic agent like cream of tartar and can be used by itself in any dish.
    Baking soda: It needs a moist acidic environment to work in. And so you will see recipes calling for ingredients like buttermilk or lime juice or vinegar and in this case sour cream. You should combine them just before the dish is ready to be cooked as they react almost instantaneously to create CO2 bubbles that help is rising.
    Read more here and here.

    Enjoy your muffins with some nice warm tea or milk !

    17 thoughts:

    Anonymous said...

    Hi,your Muffin looks very delicious.

    J said...

    Hi Priya! Your muffins look delicious! I'm a muffin fan myself, so will try your version soon!:)

    Sia said...

    hi priya,
    no power for 6 hrs? didn't u play hide 'n seek then?;) ah... good old memories isn't it?
    u have got very nice eggless recipe here. looks like evryone is busy baking this season:) love the pics.
    and by the way i guess there is a typo. u have entered baking powder twice. i guess u meant baking soda and baking powder:)

    Anupama said...

    Priya dear your vanilla muffins are a dream. And yes I did see the nicely browned base of the muffins

    Mythreyee said...

    Woohooo!! thats a wonderful eggless recipe. thanks for sharing. the photo is really good.

    Unknown said...

    Thanks for this entry priya..muffin looks delcious and perfectly baked..

    Vcuisine said...

    Priya, the muffins are great. Nice write up. Easy to follow. All your baking dishes have professional touch. Viji

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Priya, your muffins look gr8!! I like any thing eggless n you hve a perfect recipe here:)

    Menu Today said...

    Hi Priya,
    Your Muffin looks so soft. Thanks for sharing.

    Anonymous said...

    Hi Priya,
    Eggless muffins and your very own recipe? you are amazing! I am always on the look-out for eggless desserts. Love this one. Thanks!

    Chandrika said...

    Priya, those muffins looks so delicious, I wish I can grab them from the picture...And the picture is so good with the strawberries... One more recipe in my todo list...! And thanks much for the comment at my blog, Priya...I am working on my next post...It will be in shortly..

    Anonymous said...

    Wow Priya, The muffins look gorgeous, without cover.. :D

    Oh the fond memories of India...everything in it is a part and aprcel of life...could never experienced a power cut here in NJ for 10/12 minutes, but not enjoyable like in India...I had none to talk / share the days data / stories / play antakshari...the official powercut program!!

    Revathi said...

    Hi Priya

    no power for 6 hours and u were alone.. oh my it happend to me once when i was new in US and alone and I screamed on the top of my voice. i had no idea that there are power cuts in US he he heeeee

    TNL said...

    beautiful muffins...strawberries really add that nice and tart taste to it..I love that!


    Priya said...

    Happy to see that all you guys liked the muffins. They were really delicious and the vanilla taste just beautifully grew on the muffins. I am planning on making another batch soon. I was hesitant to make a huge batch and it not turning out well. But I have always had a way with muffins :-)

    @ Lera: Thank youuuuu :-)

    @Jyothsna: Let me know how you like them :-)

    @Supriya: thank you for mentioning the typo :-) With all the snow and ice outside, all we wanted to do was to sit in the warmth and share equally warm stories :-)

    @ Anupama: :-), do try them Anupama. The next day they tasted a little like pound cake, without all that butter :-)

    @ Mythreyee: Thank you...luckily when I was done baking the Sun was still staying with us :-)

    @ Maheswari: I am waitinggg for the round-up

    @ Viji: That was flateringg Viji. I am soo new to baking that I have been looking at a lot of recipes for egg-less ideas.

    Priya said...

    @ Archana: Glad you liked them, let me know how you like them :-)

    @ Menutoday: They came out really well MT. This recipe is a keeper :)

    @ Hema: Let me know how u liked them Hema and do you have more egg-less recipes ??

    @ Chandrika: All for meeeeeeeeeee :P
    I'm waiting for the post :-)

    @ Yunus: They just din't need them :-) Power cuts are such a handicap here. In India not many things get halted due to them, but here everything needs power !! Lucky we had a gas stove...

    @ Revathi: I would have screamed too if not for my friends. You can't even use the phone too long cos you can't charge it back if it takes too long for the power!

    @ TS: I love it too...I was actually planing on taking a pic with my hands and sending it over to your lil chefs event :D I still go to school u see :P

    Anonymous said...

    Thats a perfect Mushroom shaped Muffin!!!!!! Nice one priya :)

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