Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Muffin to be Thankful For

All my favorite holiday flavors in one package: a cornbread muffin flavored with molasses and sage, and best of all - a surprise cranberry filling.

Muffin batter
1 cup spelt flour (or substitute whole wheat pastry, or all purpose in a pinch)
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 - 1 cup buttermilk (to substitute with regular dairy/soy/nut milk - add 1 TBL lemon juice and let curdle for 10 minutes)
1 egg
1 TBL safflower oil
1/3 cup applesauce
2 TBL blackstrap molasses
4 TBL honey
1/2 tsp vanilla
2 TBL fresh chopped sage

Homemade Cranberry Sauce
use your favorite recipe, or try this simple one I mostly swiped from the bag:
(makes enough for one batch plus leftovers)
8 oz fresh cranberries
zest and juice of half a large orange
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup maple syrup

Put everything in a pot and boil the crap out of it for 40 minutes or so, until thick and saucy, adding water and squishing as needed. Let cool.

Assembling muffins
Sift dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine wet ingredients in another bowl, reserving some milk. Stir wet into dry and mix in the sage. If the batter is still too thick, add the rest of the milk. Place muffin liners in muffin tin. Spoon a small amount of the batter into each liner, just enough to cover the bottom. Place a generous spoonful of cranberry sauce in the center and top with more batter. Be careful not to overfill the liners. Bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, rotating halfway through. You may want to give them a minute or two more than you think they need... it's hard to test for doneness without just cutting them open, and they won't dry out thanks to the cranberry sauce! This method was surprisingly successful, I didn't have a single leaker out of a triple batch. One batch makes about 15 muffins.

I declare this experiment a rousing success! I think the sweetness, herb, and tang balanced perfectly. As I hoped, consumers exclaimed over the packaging and then the taste.

Let this be merely the first in a long line of too-many-things-in-one-muffin recipes.

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