January 4, 2010
It’s been awhile since I’ve baked muffins. Typically they go to waste in this house. With a husband who doesn’t much care for breakfast breads (or desserts, generally), I’m usually hard pressed to see them consumed within five days (or before they start growing blue fuzz). Yes, I could freeze. But we have an especially deep freezer which likens a black hole. The only foods that seem to come out are nuts, stocks and buy one get one free chicken breasts. Baked goods are usually forgotten. Where are those walnuts I stashed in here? Oh, a loaf of banana bread! From 2008. Trash. A random bagel (when did I buy these?). Who doesn’t love the taste of freezer burn in the morning? I always have the best of intentions, but a terrible memory, clearly. And because it pains me to throw food in the trash, I save baking muffins for expected guests. Or for when my fridge needs a good clean out.
Two overripe bananas keep making eyes at me. One lonely apple is ignored by the bag of fresh clementines. A few carrots are being suffocated by the cauliflower in the vegetable drawer. And while searching for those walnuts, I discovered some frozen grated zucchini from August when we just couldn’t eat any more zucchini. This cast of characters deserved some sort of redemption. I decided they could all make merry in some muffins, because muffins don’t discriminate. They are the perfect canvas for sneaking in any number of fruits and veggies (well, I can think of a few vegetables that would make for some horrendous muffins; Brussels sprouts come to mind). Or for quieting those voices of guilt because you just can’t throw perfectly good food away.
This is a very good basic muffin recipe to accommodate whatever produce you have hanging around, screaming for attention. Just sweet enough and super tender, thanks to the produce, light olive oil, and honey. I love the combination of spices. Your kitchen will smell like home. And while you’re staring through your oven window in anticipation of the first heavenly bite, you can think up a fun name for them. I’ve affectionately named these Zucarrappana muffins. Or Carappabanini muffins. I can’t decide.
My Go-To Muffin Recipe
- 2 cups grated/mashed apple, pear, carrot, zucchini, banana, etc.
- 1/4 cup light olive oil or canola oil
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1/4 cup clover honey
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- pinch ground cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- pinch salt
- 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 3/4 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup other mix-ins (nuts, raisins, coconut)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-muffin pan or use paper liners.
In a large bowl, combine the fruits and/or vegetables, oil, sugar, honey, egg, spices, and vanilla. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over mixture and stir in. Combine the flours in a separate bowl. Gradually add flours to wet mixture and stir until just combined (do not overmix!). Fold in additional mix-ins.
Divide batter evenly into 12 muffins (will be approximately 3/4 full). Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the pan before transferring to a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. You can also wrap each muffin in plastic wrap and store in a freezer bag in the freezer for up to 3 months (though I can’t guarantee they’ll ever surface again).