Monday, March 30, 2009

The Muffins That Ate...It

I wanted some really great title for this post.  Like Killer Muffins Attack Tokyo or something. For one, my muffins weren't poisonous.  Two, they have nothing to do with Tokyo.  And three, don't killer anythings attack other places?

Alright, it's Monday morning and clearly that's taking a toll on the sane center of my brain, but that does not change the fact that I did make muffins yesterday.  And they did eat it.  However, I'll still eat them.

I think there are many reasons that these muffins did not turn out, and I plan on sharing them with you so you can either help me solve my issue for trial #2 coming up next weekend or not repeat my mistakes in this experiment.  

Major Problem #1: Substitution Extravaganza
I started with a recipe that wasn't my own and wasn't originally gluten free.  I then substituted so many of the ingredients that I think the chemistry was off. The biggest problem was in the consistency of batter.  In the original post, the chef remarked that the batter would be lumpy. But mine was more of a dough and less of a batter.  It was dry yet incredibly sticky.  You see, when you substitute agave for sugar in recipes, you are supposed to lessen the liquid. Normally, this works; however, this time, the batter just seemed too dry and dense.  I think the next trial will include the full amount of milk AND 1/4 cup more pumpkin.  

1 1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil

What I did:
1 1/2 cup GF rice flour blend
1/3 cup agave
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp spice blend
1 egg
1/4 cup + 4 tbs milk (I use lactose and fat free)
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup apple puree
1/2 cup low sugar, soy free mini chocolate chips

Major Problem #2:  Evil Oven
I'm convinced that the oven in my rental flat may be possessed by the devil. First it wouldn't turn on.  Then it wouldn't heat up for ages.  Then it heated up so quickly it started to cook things fast; we're talking supersonic cooking times folks.  The best was when it decided to randomly shut off when I was making dinner last night and not turn back on.  That was awesome.

In the original recipe, the muffins are supposed to cook for 20 (okay?) 20 minutes at 400 degrees F.  I had my muffins at the Celsius equivalent for 6 minutes when they started to burn a bit on top.  That's right folks.  My muffins went straight from raw to almost burning in 6 minutes out of a 20 minute suggested cook time.  I'd say that's light speed.  It's also another reason why the muffins were a bit spongier and more rubbery than desired.  As well as lightly charred in places.  Lightly charred pumpkin.  Yum, yum.

I'll post the recipe below anyways.  They're not the best muffins in the universe, but if you're on a low everything diet, they're a fairly decent snack choice with a low GI (minus the chips), no gluten and if you add fruit instead of chips or don't add anything, they're nearly fat free and super low cholesterol.  

Nearly Free From Everything (Including Awesome Flavor) 
Pumpkin Muffins aka PM Trial #1

1 1/2 cup GF rice flour blend of choice
1/2 cup agave nectar
2 tsp GF baking powder
2 tsp spice blend or pumpkin pie spice
1 egg
1/4 cup + 4 tbs milk (I used lactose and fat free)
1/2 cup pumpkin
1/4 cup apple puree or apple sauce (which will add more liquid than the puree)
1/2 cup low sugar, soy free mini chocolate chips (or addition of your choice)

Directions (according to how my oven cooked it, adjust accordingly):
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Place parchment paper liners in a 12 muffin pan.  Do not grease; it's parchment paper.
In a bowl, sift all dry ingredients together.  
Add all wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix well, careful to not over-mix.
Drop sticky batter into 12 liners and bake, watching carefully until muffins brown (this trial, it took about 5 minutes but I have a feeling it takes more time in less demonic ovens)
Remove and cool.

Remember, this was only the first trial.  Check back next week for the second trial which I have a feeling might be pretty successful.  The suspense is just killing you, isn't it?  Better the suspense kills you than the muffins kill you.

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