Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cranberry Orange Spelt Muffins

I had part of one of these muffins fresh from the oven last night and I did not like it. The bottom and sides were tough and chewy, the orange flavor was nonexistent and they just weren't all that good. I figured I wouldn't be bringing them in to work at all since muffins are supposed to be best fresh from the oven and an overnight sit would bring them from slightly tough and chewy to rock hard and dry. I put them in a container though and I left them sitting on the counter rather than throwing them out which was my first inclination.

This morning when I got up, I took another small piece from the muffin I had tried earlier and it was actually pretty good. It didn't blow my socks off and I still objected to the texture, but the orange flavor was present and it wasn't nearly as hard and chewy as it had been the night before. I figured bringing it to work to get other opinions would be worth a shot.

I think it's great that this muffin is actually a decently healthy breakfast, and that the flavor is pretty good... but I always shoot for outstanding flavors and textures when I bake. I only allow myself very small portions of sweets and deserts, so when I do have my taste, I want that one bite to be the best I've ever had... not... "eh." Therefore, I probably won't be repeating this recipe -- especially not since I already have an outstanding orange muffin in my Pastry Queen book.

I also changed the recipe a bit -- the ingredients call for dried cranberries re-hydrated in orange juice. I used fresh cranberries and about a quarter cup of OJ to moisten the batter a bit more. The recipe also says that the batter will be soupy after adding the wet ingredients to the dry, I'm pretty sure I didn't leave anything out, but my batter was not even close to soupy. Something else to note, since the recipe calls for spelt flour, the batter should sit overnight to allow the spelt to absorb as much liquid as possible. As usual though, here is the recipe as it appears in the book:


1 cup diced dried cranberries
1/2 cup orange juice
1 1/4 cups whole spelt flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup honey
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon orange zest
1/2 cup chopped pecans

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup chopped pecans

The night before you want to bake the muffins: Place the cranberries in a small, heatproof bowl. Heat the orange juice in the microwave, at hight power for 30 seconds and pour it over the cranberries. Cover the bowl, and set aside to cool.

Whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the milk, honey, eggs, and oil. Add to the dry ingredients, stirring just until you see no more dry clumps of flour. The batter will look a bit soupy; that's OK. Stir in the orange zest, pecans, cranberries and juice. Cover the batter and refrigerate for an overnight rest. If you can't wait for an overnight rest, let the batter sit for at least 2 hours before baking.

Make the streusel while the batter is resting. Combine the butter and sugar until well mixed. work in the flours until you have a crumby mixture. Stir in the pecans.

When you're ready to bake the muffins, remove the batter from the refrigerator. Preheat the oven to 400. Lightly grease a muffin pan or line with papers and coat the papers with nonstick spray.

Scoop the batter by 1/3 cupfuls into the prepared pan; the muffin cups will be almost full. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter. Bake the muffins until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 24 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn them out onto a rack to finish cooling.

Nutrition info per serving (1 muffin): 17 g whole grain, 230 calories, 12 g fat, 5 g protein, 12 g sugar, 4 g fiber


Anonymous said...

i think i'd rather not know the nutritional info, unless it's really good news. i ate mine, but...this one would have to be like 1g fat and 23 calories to be worth it. besides, seeing these moderate stats on the "healthy" recipes forces me to work harder at not thinking about the stats for the "regular" recipes. what i dn't know won't hurt me :) -jb

Mira said...

i have to say, these muffins do not make for good food porn...

then again neither does your banana above! :P

biscuitpusher said...

interesting perspective JB -- I figured knowing was better than not knowing, but then again, when I don't know I tend to have the tiniest little taste, and when I do know that it's supposedly "healthy" I have more. *shrug*

Ben said...

yeah... gotta go with mira on the food porn comment... esp re bananas... i'm all for suggestive photos of bananas.... but not when they're gross-looking like that... euw.