This is a post about baking so I think it’s only fair to say, I’m not a baker. I can cook pretty well, but when it comes to baking, well, that’s a horse of a different color.
I believe the reason I’m not a baker is because baking always seemed to be a fine art. You must measure the flour, eggs, milk, etc. If you have a disproportionate amount of a certain ingredient, you can ruin the baking outcome. Baking always seemed to have strict rules which felt confining and therefore I didn’t do it.
Seeing the Light
I guess I closed myself into a self-imposed baking box. I decided to free myself from the shackles of rules and learn the basics. Once I learned the basics, everything else is fair game.
A few basics on baking as I see them are:
- If you want things to rise you need a rising agent like yeast or baking powder (baking powder is my rising agent of choice because I just don’t understand how to use yeast). Rule of thumb with baking powder is 1 teaspoon per cup of flour.
- If you want your mixture to stick together and not fall apart, add eggs.
- Milk isn’t always necessary. I’ve used water in some mixtures with great results.
- The difference between a muffin and a cookie is the amount of liquid.
- The difference between a cake and a muffin is the type of baking pan
- The difference between a muffin and a pancake is an oven and a stove
- Measurements are overrated
- Taste the batter.
Stepping onto the Baking Battlefield
Armed with the above basics, I went about making apple muffins. Since they were muffins and not cookies, I had to make sure I added adequate liquid (soy milk) to make the batter loose enough to pour into a cupcake tin. That being my only requirement (plus to use up my large supply of apples), I went about making apple muffins as follows (all measurements below are approximate, I don’t use measuring cups or spoons):
- 1 ½ cups (approx) Organic whole wheat baking flour
- 1 ¼ tsp Baking powder
- ½ to 1 cup Organic cane sugar
- 6 Macintosh apples
- 1 dash Vanilla extract
- ½ stick Butter (not margarine)
- Soy milk to reach the appropriate consistency
- 2 to 3 dashes of Cinnamon
- 1 egg (free range)
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt
What I did:
- Mixed all the dry ingredients in a bowel
- Peeled and ground 5 apples. Ground them until they reached the consistency of applesauce (I used the Magic Bullet).
- Melted the butter.
- Added the wet ingredients, including the applesauce, to the dry ingredients and mixed.
- Added enough soy milk to get the consistency of a thick cake batter.
- Tasted the batter to see if it was sweet enough. Added a little more sugar and 2 more dashes of cinnamon.
- Peeled and rough cut the last apple and tossed it into the batter (I wanted to have a few visible apple chunks in the muffin).
- Baked it in the oven on 400 degrees for about 20 minutes or so (or until done).
My off the cuff recipe yielded 18 muffins. I guess I could have filled the tins more and made 12 larger muffins, but I wasn’t quite sure how far they would rise so I chose to err on the side of caution. Remember, I’m not a baker. 🙂
If I can do it without a measuring spoon or cup, you can too. BTW, the family loved them.