Muffin/Quick Bread Archive

Friday, September 28, 2012

crackly banana bread

crackly multigrain banana bread

There are a lot of good reasons to make banana bread: You have a pile of sad bananas on top of your fridge that have reached their life’s expectancy. You like things that are unquestionably delicious. It’s raining and you need something toasty and cake-like to go with your coffee. You’re into recipes you can make with one bowl, and feed a dozen. You’re going to be wildly busy this fall and are hoping to pack your freezer with all sorts of wonders that that can be warmed up whenever the craving strikes, even if you’re not around to enjoy them.

soft focus bananas so to revolt you less
mashy mashy

There are very few reasons, however, to reinvent banana bread, even when one’s original recipe is just shy of six years old, an eternity in blog years. I mean, is there anything new to add to banana bread? Even if there were, should banana bread be mussed with? The answers are, of course, no but due to a confluence of events — and yes, 24-hours-from-fruit-flies bananas were one of them; freezer-packing was another — I found myself making an updated banana bread last week and it was so lovely that it deserves a new mention.

ready to go

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

double coconut muffins

I hadn’t meant to disappear on you, and what’s worse, I have a terrible excuse: I took a nap. In the same week that I conquered my cooking Mount Everest — a lasagna I’d only dreamed about for the better part of six years, one that still took me many tries in the kitchen to get right and more than a week just to write — I was going back and forth with my publisher over the page designs for my cookbook, and (no doubt) giving some poor book designer some gray hairs. One day, I’ll remind my editor about that time I said that I didn’t care how the book looked, “just make it pretty!” and she’ll snort coffee out her nose. It will probably be a while. Nevertheless, the day after I posted the lasagna recipe, we finally found something that made everyone happy and now they’re designing the remaining hundreds of pages and that night, I think I slept a million hours. I did the same thing the next night and on the third night, when I yawned at 9 p.m. and said I was thinking about calling it a night my husband — who is the one who typically has a bottomless capacity for sleep and I’m the one who pops up at 7:30 even when it’s my turn to sleep in — looked at me like I had two heads. I… just had a lot of catching up to do.

coconut oil
really thick batter (yours won't be)

We’re also officially in the part of the year I affectionately call The Dregs of Winter. It’s not spring yet, in fact, it will at least a month before anything tasty or green emerges from the earth and another month after that before they will be good enough to eat. It’s not actually snowy and pretty enough out there to bliss out in a New York Winter Wonderland; in fact, it’s just cold and a little dull. Typically, the way I get through the blahs of winter is not to sleep through them but to begin plotting an escape. I start pining for someplace tropical, please, where the deep blue ocean meets the bright blue sky at a horizon so far away, it’s almost unfathomable to this city dweller, whose current vista is little more than the building across the street. And so I think about it, think long and hard about it, a book open on my lap, my fingers wrapped around a frosty, fruity cocktail with an umbrella and then I fly home a few days later, my usual ghost-like complexion faintly less so and my brain cleared of thoughts that don’t include “Is it time to reapply?” and “Are we too old to go on the water slide that leads to a swim-up bar?” You know, weighty matters.

batter in, when you don't have papers

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

cinnamon brown butter breakfast puffs

I took a Home Economics class in the 7th grade. I probably don’t need to tell you how stoked I was about this (especially after nearly flunking Wood Shop the semester before with the saddest “toolbox” ever) although I am fairly certain they failed at whatever household management skills they’d hoped to impress on my 12-year-old self. I’m currently staring down a particularly fetid sinkful of dishes, willing them to wash themselves, while deep creases form in a towering basket of clean laundry that has yet to be folded, though perhaps there’s a glimmer of hope for the next generation. Nevertheless, the one class I remember perfectly was the one in which we made a puffy muffin embodiment of butter-slathered, sugar broiled cinnamon toast. It could be whipped up in no time, presumably along with a stack of bacon while wearing a gown-like robe and fuzzy slippers to the delight of sleepy-eyed children tumbling down the stairs. (Sorry, my housewife archetype is firmly etched in the Brady Bunch era.)

freshly grated nutmeg
batter

These pastries are, amusingly, called French Breakfast Puffs, I presume they are “French” in the way that French Toast and French Fries are, or that I convince myself I am every time I order Lillet, which is to say, dubiously. Their origin, however — the Betty Crocker Test Kitchens– isn’t half as interesting as their flavor, which is a little bit snickerdoodle, a little bit butter cake and a lot of addictiveness. My first thought upon eating one in class that day was “It’s like a doughnut hole!” and my second was “Why hasn’t my mother ever made these for me? I thought she said she loved us!” and then I pouted for the remainder of the hour. What? I said I was 12.

filling the tins -- you fill it less, okay?

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, July 30, 2011

corn, buttermilk and chive popovers

buttermilk popovers with corn and chives

I hope you didn’t think I forgot about you this week, or actually hopped on a plane to Mexico, as repeatedly threatened during last week’s taco fest. The truth of where I’ve been is far less interesting and could be roughly summarized as: man, am I a terrible cook this week. However, the week started out promisingly; I nailed a cookbook chicken dish on the first try (that I’d been certain would be no good at all) and brimming with confidence — maybe I should trust all of my cooking instincts! maybe I am good at this? — I decided to make a dish of slow-roasted vegetables that turn out should never have been slow-roasted, unless vegetable leather is your thing. Oops.

buttermilk, flour, eggs and corn
more corn

I gritted my teeth and decided to move on, as I had on my agenda to prove that my recent acquisition of a popover pan — yes, a pan that makes one thing, and one thing only, purchased by the person who used to insist that you buy no single-use items for a kitchen, unless your kitchen has cabinets by the dozen, in which case, can I borrow one? because I can’t fit this pan anywhere — had not been a late-night impulse purchase but a justified step in bringing us my idea of summery popover nirvana. Or something.

splattery batter

Continued after the jump »

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

rhubarb streusel muffins

whole wheat rhubarb streusel muffin

Today I’m conquering some frequently unanswered frequently asked questions.* In short, no, my cookbook isn’t done yet. “But Deb,” I’m sure you’re thinking, “How can it not be done yet? Bloggers always finish their books in 6 to 9 months! And didn’t you start it over a year ago?” At first I thought it was because I had grossly, dramatically and almost hilariously (but in that ha-ha-ow kind of way) underestimated the number of hours I’d need to work a week to get it done. Then I blamed the toddler, depriving his elders of much needed sleep, leaving me bleary eyed and ineffective when I was supposed to be drafting my masterpiece. But neither of them are as true of this: It’s the breakfast section. I can’t put it to rest.

rhubarb, diced

It started small and tidy, about 8 recipes. But I kept adding to it. I kept tweaking what was just fine to begin with. It became an obsession. I starting thinking about muffins while pushing swings at the playground, getting wound up about fritattas while lumbering back from yoga and jotting down notes about French toast while in places that were neither French nor toasty. Ostensibly, I handed the breakfast batch into my editor January but Monday still found me still pulling pancakes out of the oven that I couldn’t bear not to include in the lineup. It had to stop. “No more!” I told myself in the same tone I use to keep the toddler from his curious habit of removing things from his dresser and putting them in mine. (“A burp cloth where my pants should be? You shouldn’t have!”) But it didn’t work (never does, really) as even yesterday I found myself making a list of breakfast recipes I’d add to the section if I hadn’t cut myself off.

batter + brown sugar streusel

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