Nothing like getting halfway through a baking recipe and realizing you don’t have one of the critical ingredients.
Leandro and I were experimenting with a new muffin recipe on the eve of the spring semester and I had laid out all the ingredients beforehand (a critical strategic move when baking with a four-year-old boy and a secret pleasure because I pretend I am on my own prepped and pretty cooking show).
Then the “1/2 Cup milk,” bit, which I swear was not there when I was playing next Food Network Star in my own head five minutes previous, suddenly loomed into view. Milk!?! I hate milk! Leandro hates milk! Ick! We never have milk in!
And baking? Well I suddenly hated baking too, because it is so precise, so unforgiving, so anal, so not me….
But, Leandro and I do like yogurt and we always have plain nonfat organic on hand for my breakfast and his dip for apple slices. So, seeing as we were well into the process of these muffins (which started with a recipe from Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread by — I kid you not — Crescent Dragonwagon, an Arkansas chef and innkeeper), I bunged in 1/2 Cup of yogurt instead and hoped for the best.
The result was some really fun mini-scones. They were nubbly and attractive, studded with ruby cranberries. Instead of my usual muffin sponginess, the texture had that dense fluffiness that makes scones so lovely with tea or coffee, punctuated with nutty bits. The craisins took on an orange-y candied peel flavor that was perfect for a winter day.
Leandro did not like them at all. “I told you not to put that smelly powder (nutmeg) in,” was his shrugging response.
My colleagues, however, were a different story. I brought them in for a first-day-of-school snack for our kitchen and they moved quickly and got lots of compliments. So….as they used to say in hockey “kick, save, and a beauty!” I guess I like baking again.
Here’s the recipe…enjoy!
1 ¼ Cup unbleached all purpose flour
½ Cup sugar
2 ½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 Cup nonfat plain yogurt
½ Cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
¾ Cup dried craisins (sweetened dried cranberries)
½ cup coarsely chopped walnuts (you may sub 1/4 cup walnuts with ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds)
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease or line with paper cups 48 mini-muffin tins.
In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar to taste, baking powder, salt and nutmeg. In a second bowl, whisk together milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine gently into a soft dough (crumbly is fine) with as little handling as possible. Gently fold in cranberries and nuts.
Use a spoon or fingers to fill muffin cups a half to two-thirds full. Bake until lightly golden, 12-15 minutes. Cool for a minute, remove and then cool completely on a wire rack. Will keep three days in an airtight container; no refrigeration.