Storm o' muffins...
The conservatorium where we rehearse every Saturday morning was having a garage sale; lots of old sheet music, opera scores, junk from the classrooms, old computers... We thought we'd cash in on the fact we'd be there rehearsing and set up a muffin stall, as we're trying hard to raise money for our 2nd European tour in September. It's pretty easy to whip up a batch of muffins, and the plan was to sell them for $2 each. Even some of the non-cooking blokes got involved; my favourite was my friend who hasn't baked for 20 years, in fact had never turned on his oven (I used to think it'd be the safest place in the world to hide valuables), but who turned up with a batch of rather yummy strawberry cheesecake muffins. All thanks to his housemate assistant!
I went a bit overboard - as usual - and covered for a few of us who weren't able to produce something - and did 3 batches. I guessed a lot of people would do the blueberry, choc chip variations, so I decided on a savoury cheese & bacon muffin. I also whipped up a maple syrup and pecan batch - more cup-cake than muffin - from the copy of Donna Hay's Modern Classics 2 I bought at the uni market this week. And because I had some wheat-free, dairy-free, egg-free, everything-free bread mix at home, I did a batch of cranberry & white chocolate muffins for allergy people.
Yeah, so we had razzer a lot of muffins...!
The unfortunate thing was that, during the hours we were around, very few people turned up to the sale! And we were also competing against the student cake stall (not much competition, to be honest) and a very successful bacon & egg sandwich stall....yum!
Although, we did manage to made $220, which is not bad. About 1 night's accommodation for one person in Rome, but hey, it all helps!
I have to commend my friend's peanut butter & Snickers muffins, courtesy of Nigella, but we noticed that they tended towards dryness. If you make them, watch out for that. In fact, muffins sitting out in the cold and wind for a few hours does them no favours. If we had a microwave by our side they would have really jumped back into life. My maple syrup and pecan cakes had great flavour (although a little too sweet for me), but a much better texture after being zapped for 15 seconds.
The best of my bunch I made were the cheese & bacon lot. I used the basic muffin recipe in the new edition of Stephanie Alexander's Cook's Companion. A great idea, to have a basic muffin to which you can add any sort of sweet or savoury flavouring. I used good bacon, and a bit of tomato relish, and they had great flavour. My brother reckoned they needed a bit more cheese, but he reckons a bit more cheese is the answer to everything. He might have been right, although maybe the trick is to use a stronger cheese rather than more cheese. I'm thinking Mersey Valley would work really well. Again, these have a better texture warm, rather than cold.
I've included the recipes for the cheese & bacon and maple syrup & pecan muffins, but not for the allergy ones. Mainly because they weren't that great (awful texture, although I was assured that was normal for those sorts of mixes) and not many of you will have unusual wheat/dairy/egg free bread mix in your cupboards.
Read on for the recipes:
Maple Syrup & Pecan cakes Ingredients:
Cheese & bacon muffins
Adaped from Stephanie Alexander, 'The Cook's Companion'.
120g wholemeal self-raising flour
100g white self-raising flour (or use all white)
150g grated cheese (I used cheddar & parmesan)
3/4 cup milk (or buttermilk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
~3 slices of bacon, fried until crispy, drained and chopped
2 tablespoons tomato relish
-Preheat oven to 180C and grease a 12-cup muffin tin
-Mix flours, cheese in a large bowl.
-Combine milk, egg, oil and relish in a jug and whisk lightly.
-Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour in the liquid.
-Add the crumbled bacon, and mix lightly. Do not overmix. It will toughen the batter.
-Garnish each with a few spikes of rosemary, if you feel artistic
-Spoon batter in muffin cases until two-thirds full, then bake for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top.
-Remove tin from oven and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool. Best served warm.
Adapted from Donna Hay, 'Modern Classics 2.'
90g softened butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 2/3 cups sifted plain flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
~100 grams pecans, lightly toasted and chopped
-Preheat the oven to 180C (350F)
-Beat the butter and both sugars until light and creamy.
-Add the eggs gradually and beat well.
-Add the milk, maple syrup, flour and baking powder and beat until just smooth.
-Fold in the pecans
-Spoon into muffin cases and decorate with half a pecan.
-Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked, when tested with a skewer.
-Cool in the tins for 5 minutes. Transfer to a rack.
Tagged with muffins
Maple Syrup & Pecan cakes