Saturday, October 31, 2009
What produce comes to mind when you think of Fall? I associate the yearly bizarre weather patterns and flaming foliage with mellow pumpkin, juicy apples and eye-catching bags of crunchy cranberries. In my zeal to celebrate the change of seasons, I snapped all of these up at the supermarket last Saturday. I promptly opened the canned pumpkin puree to add to oatmeal and pancakes and grated the apples into curry and unique salads.
All well and good, but towards the end of the week I ran into a problem. The pumpkin had reached its air-exposure limit, the apples were starting to turn soft and the cranberries hadn't even been touched. I had to figure out how to use all three in one go. Solution: muffins!
I planned to scour the internet for a good muffin recipe before diving in, but my sweetie was busy transferring data between both computers. Instead, I brushed off the recipe book that came with the life-enhancing Vitamix my mother bought when I was in high school. In the little "grains" pamphlet stuck in the back, I found a recipe for pumpkin muffins that only used 1/4 cup oil! I made some modifications to the recipe (and didn't actually use the blender it was designed for):
-1 sweet variety of apple, chopped
-1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, chopped
-1/2 cup sugar (Vitamix called for 3/4 cup, but that would have been overkill with the added sweetness from the apple)
-1/4 cup oil (Vitamix suggested light olive; I used canola)
-1/4 cup light soy milk
-1 cup pumpkin puree
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 cup all-purpose flour
-3/4 cup whole wheat flour
-1/2 tsp salt
-2 tsp baking soda
-cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, allspice etc.
First, I combined the apple and cranberries in a bowl with the granulated sugar. I theorized this would take the edge off the cranberries through maceration--an idea I picked up from Annie's Eats.
While the sugar carried out its mission, I whisked together the egg, oil, milk, pumpkin, and vanilla. Then I mixed the flours, salt, soda and spices, going heavy on the cinnamon and lighter on the others. I stirred the wet and dry together until just combined, then folded in the fruits and dolloped into a muffin pan. Each well was almost entirely full of batter, but I had no worries of spillage because the recipe used soda instead of powder. The tin went in a 350° oven for 20 minutes.
The muffins were okay fresh, but fantastic the morning after! Cranberries suffer the same syndrome as blueberries--they taste meh newly cooked but burst with flavor after aging. I froze the muffins after they cooled, and for breakfast the next morning microwaved one for 40 seconds to eat with broccoli-mushroom scrambled eggs. Then I sipped Earl Grey and pretended I was in a fancy B&B.
According to the Vitamix book, each muffin is about 200 calories. Since I cut the sugar, that's probably an accurate estimate even after adding the fruits. I won't calculate it out precisely because I'm extricating myself from meticulous counting per the recommendations of the down-to-earth Mireille Guiliano.
Posted by Tamara Marnell at 10/31/2009