Muffins I Have Altered

A completely unrelated bunny birthday cake I made using this Smitten Kitchen recipe, plus many changes. 
My daughter pointed out at her party that I forgot the whiskers. So it's a nude bunny.

I’ve been reading a lot of British authors recently, for no particular reason--which leads me to muffins. Of course, muffins aren’t a British thing. Wine and crisps seem to come up more often in the books I’m reading, but there you are. Muffins.

My kids like these. My son wants to "monetize" them. I find them difficult to ignore to the detriment of my children's afternoon snack stash. But I’m glad they are in our lives. So I’m writing down my bastardization of other people’s recipes so that I have a record of these fleeting delights. For the record, I have also gotten in the habit of making weekly sourdough sandwich bread loafs from the Josey Baker Bread book recipe. Yes, I feel unduly virtuous when I tend my dough--talk about my dough--on Sundays, but you have to love that one of my son’s chores is to feed the starter beast three times a week. It’s like having a pet, that you get to flush a lot.

So, muffins. I know my vices, and added sugar is not one of them anymore. After a few years of trying to go sugar-free thanks to a health scare, most sweets I buy in the world taste like poison to me. Butter. Dark chocolate (made, yes, with some sugar). That’s the hill I want to die on.

I have no pictures of any of this because we ate it all.

Orange Chocolate

This was my daughter’s idea/entreaty. So I took this Family Circle recipe (thank you), and made some changes:
  • No sugar—zippo
  • Slightly less flour, mainly because my daughter accidentally dumped a plate full of garlic noodles in the dry ingredients bowl (but thank heavens, it was exactly what the recipe needed). This is also how we invented penicillin, yes?
  • Semi-sweet chocolate wafers
  • Lots more orange zest. My childhood birthday cakes were mountains of orange zest.
The resulting muffin was super sweet and full of flavor. I might put even less flour next time because it still bordered on a tad gluten-y. Maybe try butter instead of oil?

Banana Blueberry with White Chocolate Chips

My son requested banana blueberry muffins, but I grew panicky about the lack of chocolate. So I put my own spin on them. I took this recipe (again, thank you) and made some changes:
  • Upped the butter to 1/2 cup - what?! I love butter, though honestly it was mostly out of laziness. I doubled the recipe and didn't want to bother cutting our frozen butter sticks to get the proper amount. Penicillin, people.
  • No sugar—zero
  • Added white chocolate chips. This is so unhealthy, but OMG!
The result is tangy, sweet and completely irresistible. In fact, in second grade parlance, blueberries and white chocolate should get married and run off to a private island to be perfectly delicious together. Banana can visit every month or so--because it would be mean to exclude banana.

Chocolate Banana, Occasionally with Yam

Like many families, we regularly have bananas rotting away on the counter, delighting fruit flies for inches around. We also often get yams/sweet potatoes in our weekly farm box in the dark months. So I adapt this excellent recipe from Smitten Kitchen (again, thank you) to throw them together and disguise them with chocolate. I know this is hardly a new trick, but it is a WONDERFUL trick. My kids are far healthier than they will ever realize.

  • No sugar
  • No cocoa powder. Instead I melt the chocolate and butter together over a double boiler and then mix that directly into the mashed bananas.
  • Add 1/2 cup (roughly) of milk or cream or whatever suitable plain dairy product I have on hand
  • Double the eggs, occasionally more
  • No additional chocolate chips
  • Add the pureed roasted yam at the beginning, right to the banana. How much yam? I don't know. Whatever we get in the box, which is often a few. I've never not doubled this recipe.
This is, as you can see, my loosest recipe. I just go by feel, though I owe the basics and overall feel to Smitten Kitchen. The yam makes things more pudding-y, or just kind of space-age. Like, it's slightly closer to astronaut food than most earthly snacks. But the chocolate saves the day. We all live to see spring.

Plain Banana

I also sometimes just make the above banana bread recipe without an additional vegetable or chocolate (or sugar). It ends up being this lovely savory bread with a hint of sweetness. A dab of butter and/or honey on a warm slice is quite lovely. If this bread were a pet, it would be a sleepy old lap cat that uses the toilet outside.

Banana Zucchini with Chocolate Chips

I know I made these, but for the life of me, I can't remember how. We had a bunch of zucchini from our farm box that was going unloved, so I attempted a muffin. Honestly, it came out as a proper English pudding thanks to the egg and butter ratio. I probably won't make it that way ever again. It was delicious (hot), but I think I lost a year of my life to heart plaque.

Good luck if you ever decide to try any of these alterations. Here's my one baking tip: know what hill you want to die on ... and baaaaake.