Monday, September 3, 2012

Bake to School Baking: Muffins

My final year of high school begins TOMORROW. With cross country practice, a pretty heavy school load, and college applications I can only imagine that I'll be fairly busy this year. On  the other hand, one of the my worst habits is stress baking. Unfortunately, baking tends to take a fair amount of time thus reducing the time I'd have to do homework or study for a test - you can see why it's such a terrible habit. I decided that if I'm stress baking, I might as well have some good come out of it; afterall, with only me and my dad home we can hardly manage a batch of muffins or cookies on our own. 
THIS is the way to a woman's heart

Instead, I'm turning to my friends. Because we all know that's what friends are for. Encouraging your awful baking habits. 
These muffins are my favvvvvvvvorite. Not a huge muffin fan, but I love raspberries and I love chocolate even more. The basic muffin recipe is fairly generic, a perfect base for any sweet or savory muffin, so it's a good one to keep in the back of your mind.
Oven Temp - 400* (see below)
Prep Time - 15 minutes
Bake Time - 25-30 minutes
Total Time - 50 minutes

2 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg **
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup raspberries (while fresh are always best, frozen ones are good too - but DON'T thaw them****)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (it's kind of nice to use the mini ones in this recipe!)

Preheat oven to 425* degrees F
Stir together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a small bowl or 2 cup measuring cup, beat egg with a fork. Stir in milk and oil. Pour all at once into the well in the flour mixture. Mix quickly and lightly with a fork until moistened, but do not beat. The batter will be lumpy.

 Pour the batter into paper lined muffin pan cups. 

Bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until golden.  

Alternative Recipes:
      Blueberry Muffins: Add 1 cup fresh blueberries.
      Raisin Muffins: Add 1 cup finely chopped raisins. 
      Date Muffins: Add 1 cup finely chopped dates. 
      Cheese Muffins: Fold in 1 cup grated sharp yellow cheese. 
      Bacon Muffins: Fold 1/4 cup crisp cooked bacon, broken into bits.

Bacon muffin....interesting

* To get a really nice muffin top (on the muffins, not on you) preheat the oven to 425. As soon as you place the muffins in, turn the temperature down to 400.The initial high heat will cause the batter to have rapid rise during the first few minutes of baking thus producing the desirable top.
**Substitute 2 egg whites for one egg in the recipe. If these are stiffly beaten and folded in at the end it will produce a lighter muffin with less fat. 
***I'm sure you're dying to know why you don't want to thaw the frozen raspberries. If you DO thaw them, they become quite mushy so instead of a nice little raspberry in your muffin, you'll be encountering a mild raspberry flavor throughout without the satisfaction of actually eating one. 

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