Friday, November 15, 2013

Apple Muffins ( Made with Oil)

Last week I picked up Cortland Apples at the store. They looked really nice, well rounded and plump, one that would tempt Snow White.
Cortland apples are snow white inside and are tart. Better suited for baking or making a chutney, IMO. 

 I decided to bake. Something simple. Baking is not my strong point. I have regular bouts of panic and a low self-image whenever I plan on baking, but of course, I don't give up. I follow every word of the recipe and watch the oven like a hawk every time I pop something into it. And they say baking is therapeutic. Hah!

So to start with, I searched high and low for a recipe that suited my requirement. Simple, required just 2 apples and I could use ingredients that I had at home.

I found just that!

I made these for Children's Day (celebrated in India on 11/14) for my little one (who takes it for granted that I can bake) and also (virtually) for young T (My BFF Lisa's son), who has touching faith in my culinary abilities. He rates my baking skills highly (and that, is what makes me want to bake, this innocent faith that the boys have in me).





I have modified the recipe slightly. For the exact recipe, click here. 

To start with, this recipe yielded more than 12 muffins ( I have a 12-standard sized cupcake pan). I'd say 16, maybe. So I made 12 muffins and  used a pie dish to make a smallish cake which was cut into wedges. 


1/2 cup Canola /vegetable or other neutral oil
1/2 cup Granulated sugar
3/4 cup Demerara sugar (original recipe calls for dark brown sugar)
1 large Egg
1 cup buttermilk
2 Cups Unbleached  All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
**1 1/2 tsp ground Cinnamon
2 Apples (I used Cortland), peeled and chopped

Pre-heat the oven at 375 deg. F. Grease the pan or line it with liners and grease them and set aside.

Beat the Oil and sugar together. 

* The original recipe calls for using the granulated sugar and just 1/4 cup of the brown sugar to be mixed in butter and beat it till fluffy. I have used oil instead of butter and did not reserve any sugar, but creamed it all at once.

Add the egg and mix well, scraping the sides of the bowl as required.

Slowly add the buttermilk.

Add the Flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.

Gently fold in the apple.

Add the mixture to the ready muffin pan / liners, dividing equally.

Bake for 30 mins or until a toothpick inserted, comes out clean.

Cool the muffins in the pan for about 10 mins and then on a rack.

Enjoy as a tea-time treat or in the lunch box or when you want.


NOTES:

* If you have reserved any brown sugar, sprinkle it on top of the batter and  then bake.
**The original recipe calls for 1 Tbsp. of ground cinnamon, I dislike a very strong whiff of cinnamon and therefore used just 1.5 tsp. 

These muffins are deliciously moist because of the oil and the apples, of course and mildly sweet.
(those who do not like fruit pieces in their food (as they tend to become soft) may not approve. )

The reserved sugar will provide a nice crunch when baked. The next time I will try it or make a streusel topping.



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Friday, November 08, 2013

Blondies

I am so glad October is behind me now. It was a month full of anxiety and stress, luckily, all is well now. It taught me many things and gave me many reasons to be thankful for in life. 
I learned to overcome my fear and face tough situations. Also to think on my toes. I learned who my real friends are. 

I am ready to relax and enjoy what is left of 2013. Diwali was like a fresh beginning and I was in good spirits and made Diwali goodies and enjoyed snacking, without any shame guilt. 
With 5 days of Diwali goodies and total Indian food, I wanted to divert my mind to something a little different. 
In an ideal world, I should have been eating salads and light meals, but... we do not live in an ideal world, do we now?
So I decided that the party had to go on, just in a different direction. 
Also it was Thursday, the day my little one has chess class after school and which means he and his 2 friends (who come back with me) are hungry after school. 
On most days, I carry fruit for them, it keeps them full until we reach home and they get their milk. but the bananas were kinda spotty brown, the kind that kids turn up their noses at. 

So it was simpler to make or bake something. Just that I had only 1 egg and I am not so confident when making egg less cakes ( and the one I have bookmarked needs dates, which, I did not have on hand) and I was itching to make blondies. There are any number of recipes online, just google and get it. After poring over a few, I went ahead and made these. They are VERY simple to make, a 5 year old can make them and I intend to let my little one do just that, next time- with 'dark chocolate chips' as he pointedly told me, several times (with each bite, to be precise). My excuse, I was in a hurry ( and to myself: where are those chocolate chips anyway? I know I have them, somewhere).

So if you are in a hurry and want to make something quick and sweet and tasty, try these. 
Blondies, for those who are wondering, are brownies, minus the chocolate. Dense, moist, gooey and oh-so-good that you want another piece! 

You need:

1 stick / 1/2 cup unsalted Butter
1 cup Brown Sugar
1 large Egg
Hefty pinch Salt (about 1/8 tsp)
1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Essence
Chocolate /Butterscotch chips ( or nuts, if you prefer them)

Preheat the oven at 350 F.
Grease a pan that you will use to bake the blondies in ( I used a square cake pan and sprayed it with non-stick PAM)
Sift the flour and salt and keep it ready
Melt the butter ( microwave it in short bursts), you want just melted, not bubbling ( that would be, almost ghee)
Add the sugar to the melted butter and beat until creamy
Add in the egg and the vanilla and mix well
Add the flour + salt and mix well
Transfer to the greased pan and bake in the oven for 25 mins ( or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean) 
Cool in the pan for about 10 mins and then transfer to a rack to cool completely. I left the pan cooling and went to get ready to go get the kids from school, no harm done. I sliced them in the pan and cooled them just a tad more, to pack them an go (and of course, take pictures).


-I carefully added butterscotch chips, each blondie had one, just so that there would be no comparisons when I handed them out to the 3 hungry ( and sometimes cranky) kids. Next time, I will add about 1/4 cup small semi-sweet chips and stir them in.

-Other options are, toasted nuts- chopped, M&M's.

-I got 16 blondies ( and I kept the edge on one side- as you can see in the pictures-for myself, I love 'em)


That's it at my end. and oh! I am planning a Thanksgiving party this year!  I am so excited about it, planning the menu and reading recipes..... What is happening in your part of the world? Drop in and leave a comment.
Hope you all have a sweet weekend ahead.
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