Thursday, September 09, 2010

Are There Dead Bugs in Your Cookies and Muffins?

If you ever put raisins in them, Thing 1 will think so. Or, she used to and I would find her in a corner somewhere picking each one out and stashing them in her pocket to throw away when I wasn't looking.

Momma's always looking, honey.

After years of making oatmeal raisin cookies and raisin muffins, I learned a really useful tip from a crusty old baker in Pittsburgh that changed the way I baked with dried fruit forever. Totally simple and totally one of those "oh-doh!" kind of tips.

And so, along with my favorite carrot raisin muffin recipe (that Thing 1 does not pick the raisins out of), I give you this simple tip to keep your baked goods moist and your dried fruit from burning where ever it is sticking out of the batter.

Soak them first. Yep. That's it. Just soak them first. Measure out the fruit, pour into a bowl, cover with hot water (OR any other hot liquid of your choice--hot tea, hot juice, hot rum), let sit for at least 20 minutes and drain before adding to the recipe.

So, right before you crank up the oven to 350, IdaMae, first measure out 3/4 cup of raisins and soak them in some hot water while we get ready to whip up an easy batch of muffins.

This recipe yields approximately 9 large (coffee house size) muffins.

In a large bowl, whisk together
2 cups of AP flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 tsp fresh nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon

To this add
3/4 cup of finely shredded carrots
the 3/4 cup of raisins that you have now drained the liquid from (don't squeeze them dry like a telethon)

In a separate bowl, whisk together
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup buttermilk (or sour milk)

Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and blend together just as long as it takes to get the dry incorporated.

Scoop into your prepared tins and bake for approximately 20 minutes (check with a toothpick or thin knife to test the center).

This muffin is light and not overly spicy. With the raisins and carrots, it's a great way to get some fiber and iron into the kiddies without a fight....and I bet nobody picks out the raisins.

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