Wednesday, August 18, 2010
Do not fill the wells until heaping full; the batter will spill out of the tin and onto the oven floor, infusing your kitchen with forest fire scent. If you don’t have raisins, you can easily substitute any dry fruit such as apricots, cranberries, or blueberries with equally delicious results. Be careful to toast bran until just fragrant, and not let it burn.
Bran Poop Muffins
2 cup (125g) wheat bran
1 cup (120g) dark raisins or other dried fruit
1 cup, plus 1/2 (370ml total) cup water
1/2 cup (120g) plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 tsp of fresh orange zest (unsprayed)
1 banana, mashed
1/4 cup (50g) packed light brown sugar
1/4 cup (60ml) vegetable oil (canola works well)
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/2 cup (65g) flour
1/4 cup (35g) whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick spray.
2. Spread the wheat bran on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring every 3 minutes so it cooks evenly. Be careful not to let the bran burn; remove bran after you smell a lovely toasted aroma. Let cool for 5 minutes.
3. While the bran is toasting, heat 1 cup (135g) of the raisins with 1/2 cup (120ml) of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a measuring cup with an immersion blender (food processor or blender work too) until smooth.
4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted bran, yogurt, 1 cup (250ml) water, then mix in the raisin puree, orange zest, brown sugar, and mashed banana.
5. Stir in the oil, egg and egg white.
6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and pour into wet ingredients. Stir gently with rubber spatula until the ingredients are just combined.
7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, filling the tins all the way but not mounding the batter (batter may overflow onto oven floor and burn). Because muffin tins can vary in size, don’t try to make exactly 12 muffins; just fill the tins to the top. Sprinkle the tops with chopped walnuts, if using.
8. Bake for 21-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in one of the middle muffins comes out clean (a few tiny dry crumbs are okay, but no mushy stuff).
White Chocolate Chunk Almond Cookies (adapted from "Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies" from Cook’s Illustrated May/June 2009)
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
14 tablespoons (1¾ sticks) unsalted fresh organic butter
½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar (we forgot to add this and it was still delicious)
¾ cup (5¼ ounces) packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1¼ cups white chocolate chunks
¾ cup chopped almonds, toasted (optional)
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Line 2 large baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour and baking soda together in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Heat 10 tablespoons butter in 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat until melted, about 2 minutes. Continue cooking, swirling pan constantly until butter is dark golden brown and has nutty aroma, 1 to 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and, using heatproof spatula, transfer browned butter to large heatproof bowl. Stir remaining 4 tablespoons butter into hot butter until completely melted.
3. Add both sugars, salt and vanilla to bowl with butter and whisk until fully incorporated. Add egg and yolk and whisk until mixture is smooth with no sugar lumps remaining, about 30 seconds. Let mixture stand for 3 minutes, then whish for 30 seconds. Repeat process of resting and whisking 2 more times until mixture is thick, smooth and shiny. Using rubber spatula or wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just combined, about 1 minute. Stir in chips and nuts (if using), giving dough final stir to ensure no flour pockets remain.
4. Divide dough into 16 portions, each about 3 tablespoons (or use a #24 cookie scoop). Arrange 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheets, 8 dough balls per sheet.
5. Bake cookies 1 tray at a time until cookies are golden brown and still puffy, and edges have begun to set but centers are still soft, 10-14 minutes, rotating baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer baking sheet to wire rack; cool cookies completely before serving.