Thursday, March 29, 2012

Muffin #1: Coffee Cake Muffin

As you can probably tell, I am not very good at this make-things-when-you-say-you-will thing. 
However, this last Tuesday I made the first muffin in a series of muffin tests.  
#1:  Coffee Cake Muffin from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book.  

First, I'll talk about my general feelings about the recipe, then how I felt about how it tasted and then I'll post the recipe.
1)  a) The recipe was set up for someone who had a food processor, (i.e. pulse the butter into the flour/sugar mixture until you get small pieces, about 8 pulses), which made me dream of days when I will have a food processor.  Not having one made integrating the butter into the mixture a little bit harder and I didn't end up with small pieces by any means, but I did the best that I could.  b)  It called for a LOT of butter, a stick and a half.  Don't get me wrong, I absolutely adore butter, but that seems to be a little excessive.  But I think that is why they were as moist as they were.  (and probably reeeally fattening too, but we're not thinking about that part).  c) For the streusel topping, it said to put a little bit of the batter, about a tablespoon, in the bottom of the muffin cup, then put in some of the streusel then top with the rest of the batter, that's it.  I really enjoy a crusty sugary muffin top, so I put more of it on top as well.  d) Now I think of it, maybe I didn't bake them long enough, perhaps they were still doughey.  and e) I don't think there is an e.

2) I liked that it was moist and tasted fair enough.  I think that it was a little too dense and it didn't pouf up like I thought it would, which was disappointing.  I don't think I'll make them again, in fact I couldn't get through eating my first one, there were a few bites left before I threw it away.  I imagine there is a list of things I didn't do right and that are wrong with my taste buds, but there it is (sorry ATK.  I still love you anyway!).

3) The recipe:
Coffee Cake Muffins
(makes 12, or 6 jumbo in my case)
Note that the processed sugar mixture in step 1 is divided to become the base for both the streusel topping and the cake batter.  
1 cup granulated sugar)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces and chilled
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1) Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 12-cup muffin tin. 
2) Pulse the granulated sugar, 1/2 cup of the flour, and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar together in a food processor to combine, about 5 pulses. Transfer 3/4 cup of the processed sugar mixture to a medium bowl (leaving the rest in the processor), and whisk in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and the cinnamon to make the streusel topping; set aside.
3) Add the remaining 1 cup flour, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda to the sugar mixture left in the food processor and pulse to combine, about 5 pulses. Scatter the butter evenly over the top, and pulse until the mixture breaks down into small pebbly pieces, about 10 pulses. Add the eggs and sour cream and pulse until the batter is well combined and thick, about 8 pulses.
4) Portion a generous tablespoon of the batter into each muffin cup, then sprinkle each with 1 1/2 tbsp of the streusel mixture. Spoon the remaining batter over the streusel. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 20 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking.
5) Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then flip out onto a wire rack and let cool for 10 minutes. Dust lightly with confectioner's sugar before serving.  

(for my jumbo muffins, I baked for about 25 minutes)
Thank you, and good night.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Muffin search

I am in search of finding the right muffin.  Hubby and I often take trips to the local grocery store to get treats, including muffins.  They make the BEST jumbo muffins in their bakery!  They are moist, delicious as I'll get out, and often I just want to eat the whole package of 4 in one sitting.  Just being completely honest here, naturally, I haven't...yet.  However, I'm having a hard time shelling out $5 for 4 muffins that go really really quickly.  Plus, it means a trip to the store, and its kind of out of my way of my regular shopping trip.

This week I am going to try 4 different recipes for muffins.  I just tried some Cinnamon Sugar Muffins. The recipe follows:

Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
Cook time: 20 mins Prep time: 5 mins

Total time: 25 mins
Serves: 12
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup melted butter (applesauce or oil works too)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Put cups in 12-muffin cup pan.
  2. Beat milk, butter and egg in a medium bowl.
  3. Add in flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt all at once and stir just until flour is moistened. (Batter will be lumpy; do not over stir.)
  4. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake until golden brown (16 to 20 minutes).
  5. Immediately remove from pan and carefully roll hot muffin tops in melted butter, then in cinnamon-sugar mixture. Serve warm!
Since I was not all that impressed with the recipe I decided not to link it here. Ultimately, I am looking for a jumbo muffin, so I made 6 in a jumbo muffin tin and they baked for about 18 minutes and seemed to be done. (Except hubby's, the handful of peanut butter chips he put in made things a little difficult, so his weren't cooked all the way).  I tasted the batter and didn't taste much so I added about 4 Tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 Tablespoons of cinnamon-sugar.  Even after that I didn't think they had much flavor and were pretty disappointing really.  

Next, I think I will try some Blueberry Streusel Muffins (from, Coffee cake muffins (from America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book), and Banana Crumb Muffins (from  
Wish me luck.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Best lasagna ever!

I was going to take a picture of it but I didn't get a chance to.  The beauty was destroyed once we dug into it.  I made this lasagna on Monday evening.  (It's spring break for hubby this week, so I took the first 3 days of this week off work, so I had plenty of time, it took a while to make, probably 2 hours) But I made it according to the recipe.  OMG!  It is so good, probably the best lasagna I've ever made in my life.  Which really isn't saying much, because I've only made enough to count on one hand, but still.  Hubby even said that it didn't have the usual icky taste that lasagna usually has...which means a lot, where he doesn't like lasagna in the first place.  Also, I brought some for work today, and all the delicious mozzarella melted all over and it had a beautiful melty yummy "crust" to it...

So, you are probably wondering where this alleged recipe's the link to it.  Best Lasagna Ever! You can see why it intrigued me, based solely on the name.. Also, I feel a certain connection to her (the Pioneer Woman), where she enjoys living on a farm and has all sorts of aminals (yes, I meant to spell it that way).  However, I forgot to put the parmesan cheese next to the top of the lasagna, but by the time I remembered it was too late.  Also I thought it was weird to add eggs to the cottage cheese goo, but I did anyway and don't regret it.  Also, I tried to drain as much fat as I could from the meat, but our meat was pretty lean so there wasn't much.  Yum Yum Yum.  Highly suggested!

Plus, as opposed to my previous meatloaf recipe, this one is very accurate, like with actual measurements!!  I tried the meatloaf again as I laid out the recipe and it didn't turn out very good.  However, last week I tried to make meatloaf men (which didn't turn out to be men, but simple meatloaf rounds.  I didn't want the arms and head to cook faster and end up being gross.  So if anyone knows how to do that and not end up that way, let me know :)).  In that recipe, I added half of a tube of reduced fat original sausage and it added lots of delicious flavor, and used just plain Italian bread crumbs, no onions at all and it ended up to be very good!

Also, in my last round of cookbook purchases, I got the Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.  I was thinking it might be fun to make some things from that and post them here.