That’s right: You say cupcakes, I say muffins!
Gosh, I would hate to lose my popularity with the junior cupcake crowd, but many years of catering kids’ parties and watching their delighted faces as their lick their fingers put my fears at rest.
As if that was not enough, my granddaughter Musia recently described to me a birthday party she went to and said to me “The only thing I didn’t like is I had to wipe off all those blue and green and red creams off the tops. Bubbie, why do they need it?”
Yes, why indeed?Also, good observing eater that she is, she picked up on the fact that commercial frostings and colorings are chemical and bitter, so she scrapes it off with a vengeance. I make muffins, and make them festive in ways that are not expressed in extra sugar or fat, or added colorings.
To list just a few examples.
I make them mini; I use multicolored muffin liners; I sprinkle them with miniature chocolate chips, grated coconut, grated apple, blueberries or chopped nuts; I stick cute flags and candles into them at display time. However, if you absolutely must, top the muffins (excuse me, the cupcakes) with icing or frosting or whatever, I trust you will find recipes for that everywhere. But I sincerely hope you don’t…..
This is my master muffin recipe, complete with all its variations.
As always, I am starting with the simplest preparations. You will be amazed at all the possibilities, all equally easy, delicious and nutritious. Mix and match, and get different results each time. You will never ever eat a store-bought muffin again, let alone a muffin mix: I am not even going there! This recipe makes a dozen and a half perfect medium muffins, in less than ten minutes’ preparation time.
All these muffin batters are mixed by hand, no need for a mixer.
My muffin recipes are all gluten-free-friendly.
Just one useful piece of advice: When adapting these recipes to gluten-free, always make muffins out of them, not larger loaves because the smaller the gluten-free item, the more manageable, and the less room for flopping and crumbling.
They freeze beautifully:
So don’t divide the recipe. Make a full batch, enjoy them now, and freeze the rest for later! Be sure to wrap them tightly in ziplock bags, label them, and add the date. You’ll be happy to find them, ready when you are!
- Vegetable spray
- 2/3 cup dairy-free milk, low-fat OK
- 2 large eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup sucanat or coconut sugar (evaporated cane juice OK too): Health food stores
- 3 Granny Smith (green) apples, unpeeled, cored and grated coarse in a food processor
- 1 cup old-fashioned oats
- 3 cups all purpose, whole wheat pastry or spelt flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Spray about 18 muffin molds with vegetable spray.
First, combine the milk, eggs, oil, sucanat and apples, and mix thoroughly but gently in a bowl, making sure not to extract more moisture from the apples. In another bowl, combine the oats, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, raisins and nuts. Then, add the dry mixture to the milk mixture, combining gently but thoroughly with a spoon, taking care not to over mix, which toughens the batter. Next, pour the batter into the prepared muffin pans. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
All substitutions in equal amounts:
- For the all purpose flour, substitute whole wheat pastry or spelt flour.
- For gluten-free, GF substitute any GF flour plus 1 teaspoon xanthan gum. Make sure the mix includes a third tapioca flour
- For the oil, substitute coconut or flax oil, or olive oil marked “light”
- Use 4 egg whites instead of the 2 eggs, if you are watching your cholesterol
- For raisins, substitute dried cranberries (only if you use cranberries, add 1/4 cup sugar or sucanat to offset their sourness) or other chopped dry fruit (prunes, apricots, dates, figs, etc.
- For grated apple, substitute 2 cups packed grated carrots or zucchini, or 2 cups unflavored plain canned pumpkin, or 3 ripe bananas diced small, or 2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries marked IQF or IFF
- For walnuts, substitute almonds or pumpkin, flax, sesame, chia, hemp, poppy or sunflower seeds.
- For sucanat, substitute coconut sugar or date syrup(health food stores). These sugars are expensive!
- Throw in 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips.
- For cinnamon, substitute ground ginger, cardamom or allspice, lemon zest or orange zest
- For rolled oats, substitute barley, quinoa, spelt, soy or other flakes.
- Vegan: If you are egg- restricted, use ½ cup flax mixture (1/2 cup warm water mixed with 2 tablespoons flax meal)
- Throw in a cup of unsweetened grated coconut.
Have fun with these savory muffins: It's all in!
To make a loaf or a round cake:
Only if using eggs and regular flour (all purpose, whole pastry or spelt), in other words not for egg-free or/and gluten-free batters. Pour the batter into a greased round pan or tube pan, or into a greased 11x14 inch baking pan, and bake in a preheated 350ºF oven, about one hour, or a little longer, until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.