Friday, January 28, 2011

Fugue at 350 Degrees Fahrenheit

In the past week, a week of emotional ups an downs as witnessed by yesterday’s morose posting, I have made a dozen muffins six times. For those of you who are rusty on your times tables, that is 72 muffins. All were eaten, none went to waste.

Jessica started it all last Sunday.

I’d really love some blueberry muffins.”

“You would, huh? How do you plan on getting those blueberry muffins?”

“Um, you’re going to make me some?”

So bake muffins I did. And cinnamon rolls. And popovers. I baked myself into a fugue state in which the memory of recent unfortunate job-centric events disappeared and were replaced by the scents of delicious fat and sugar-laden carbohydrates.

Have I mentioned that I am (was) following a slow carb diet on which I lost ten pounds in two weeks? Did you know a day of drinking beer and eating baked goods causes all that no-bread-allowed suffering to be for naught? I need my manna from heaven. Or the grocer's.

My yen to bake has passed for the moment but my family’s yen to eat has not. So I am off to the kitchen once more, not at five a.m. and not donning a white paper cap, but still feeling a bit like the dead doughnut man. “Got to make the muffins.” The pint-sized farmer has requested orange. Thanks be to the gods of variety.

For now, a roundup of recipes from last Sunday:

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins Gourmet | July 2006
Lillian Chou

Thus far this week, I have substituted chopped frozen strawberries and a strawberry-banana mixture for the blueberries. I also added a skosh of vanilla because I like it. I’d photograph them but nary a one remains.

(photo by: Romulo Yanes)
Yield: Makes 12 muffins
Active Time: 25 min
Total Time: 1 hr

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups blueberries (7 1/2 oz)
Special equipment: a muffin pan with 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups; 12 foil or paper muffin liners
Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 400°F. Put liners in muffin cups.
Whisk together butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg in a bowl until combined well. Whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a large bowl. Add milk mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in blueberries gently.
Divide batter among muffin cups and bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Basic Popover

I didn’t change a thing. They were perfect as are all Alton Brown’s recipes. He’s my geeky chef crush.
Recipe courtesy Alton Brown, 2008
Prep Time: 10 min
Inactive Prep Time: --
Cook Time: 40 min
Level: Intermediate
Serves: 6 large popovers

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted and cooled, plus 1 teaspoon room temperature for pan
4 3/4 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 1 cup
    1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup whole milk, room temperature
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Grease a 6-cup popover pan with the 1 teaspoon of butter.
Place all of the ingredients into a food processor or blender and process for 30 seconds. Divide the batter evenly between the cups of the popover pan, each should be about 1/3 to 1/2 full. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 40 minutes. Remove the popovers to a cooling rack and pierce each in the top with a knife to allow steam to escape. Serve warm.

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls
Try not to eat them all. Especially when everyone is asleep and you’re afraid your family will eat all that remains the next morning before you awake so you devour two around midnight. Don’t do that! Better yet, pass them out to the neighbors and be thankful for the temporary memory loss that a day of hardcore baking provided.
1 cup water
1 large egg
3 ¼ cups bread flour
4 tbsp Sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbsp dry milk
¼ cup butter
1 ½ tsp active dry yeast

Add ingredients to bread machine in the order listed and run under the dough cycle. Place dough on lightly floured board and divide into three pieces. Roll each into 8 x 9 rectangle, dot surface with butter, and sprinkle on a mixture of ¼ c brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon (divided into thirds as well). Sprinkle raisins as preferred.
Roll jelly-roll style, pinch seam to seal, and cut each third into eight pieces. Place on greased baking sheet, cover with damp towel, and allow to rise in a warm place until size doubles, approximately 45 minutes to an hour.
Bake at 375 degrees, 10 to 15 minutes. Glaze with a light mixture of confectioner’s sugar and milk.

Happy Baking!

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