Monday, March 8, 2010

Bananas. In my pajamas.

Friday night I was sitting around in my pajamas, overwhelmed with the amount of food in my refrigerator's crisper drawer. Hadn't I just used all my oranges to make Prosecco sorbet (which is still delicious and still in my freezer)? How was there still so much fruit in there??

The answer: APPLES. So bloody many apples I needed to use them immediately or I would consume more than my monthly allowance of peanut butter to get them out of the drawer. Enter the beloved muffin recipe.

Fluffly Apple Walnut Muffins

1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
2 cups peeled, cored-apples, sliced
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp butter, cubed

1. Preheat oven to 375 and prepare muffin tin. Mix butter, sugar, vanilla and salt in large mixing bowl. Beat in eggs, one at a time.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir into butter mixture, alternating with milk, until just incorporated. Fold in apples and walnuts. Fill muffin cups to 3/4 full.
3. Cinnamon crumble: Mix sugar, cinnamon and flour in small bowl. Cut in butter until mixture resembles small peas. Sprinkle on top of batter in cups.
4. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until tops are brown and a wooden toothpick comes out clean.

I have made this recipe many times with great success, and have started to make my own modifications. My one unsuccessful attempt included replacing all the butter with applesauce and the results refused to leave the liners. Delicious if you were content to only have one bite, mostly the cinnamon crumble with a wee bit of muffin attached.

Friday night's modifications turned into an adventure. First, I doubled the recipe to get rid of more apples. This turned out perfect, because I wanted to use half butter, half applesauce, and both come in 1/2 cup portions. Next, I used 2 cups all-purpose flour and 1 1/2 cups whole wheat (100% whole wheat flour often makes baked goods dry, so I like to do halfsies).

I went to the fridge to pull out the eggs. Where were the eggs? Oh yeah, Leda had just cleaned and rearrange the fridge, so maybe she put them somewhere other than the usual place.... hmm. Nope. No eggs here. Weird. Maybe there are some downstairs? Nope. No eggs downstairs, either. Dammit! How could I start baking without checking for eggs first? And honestly, how could we be out of eggs??? (I think my real thought was "Dammit, VB! I want my eggs back!") After running up and down the stairs again looking for Egg Beaters or Crisco, I consigned myself to going to the store. But wait! I was on the phone with Elaina in San Fransisco at the time and she was trying to sooth my ire by proposing egg substitutes. Elaina is a genius! She found a list of common and not-so-common replacements for eggs in baked goods. We didn't happen to have any tofu, soy milk, arrowroot powder or flaxseed, but we did have bananas.

To replace eggs in baked goods, use 1/2 banana for each egg. If egg is used for leavening, add 1/2 tsp baking soda.

I was a little worried what two bananas and an extra teaspoon of baking soda would do to my recipe, but WOWZA! They turned out great!! Unlike some recipes that call for a bit of banana and the flavor takes over the whole thing, you can't tell there's any banana in these guys, much less two whole bananas!

I guess what they say is true. You learn something new every day. And every now and then its even from someone other than Alton Brown!

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