MyKitchenInHalfCups

Once Upon a time: Cooking … Baking … Traveling … Laughing …


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BBB ~ English Muffins

Holidays … a full house … chaos … something special … make ahead … fun … hassle free … simple but brilliant … food … wait did you say food, as in feed this full house with chaos full strength and make it special.  And you expect to make it ahead, have it be fun, hassle free and brilliant. 
You are living in an alternate universe and not in this one.
No, truly, our Kitchen of the Month, Pat – Feeding My Enthusiasms, at least has a part of breakfast for us.  Even if you don’t have a crowd you can so two small batches over 2 days and have fresh homemade English muffins to be extravagant with honey, butter, maple syrup and jam … maybe even a peanut butter and cream cheese in the afternoon.
You may ask, why corn meal?  Over the years I’ve seen English muffins with corn meal on the bottoms and I’ve seen semolina.  Is one better than the other or more authentic?  A quick internet search I did this morning, didn’t turn up a consensus.  The function of either is to prevent sticking to the pan, griddle or spatula and lend a crispness to the crust and bottom.  I can’t help thinking it may also be to pull some moisture out of the dough while they rise, seems logical that would result.  In different locations corn meal may be more readily available and cheaper than semolina and would so be more likely to be used.  Either will serve the same function and work well.
The only tricky part of these is getting them reasonably done without burning the bottom.  Elizabeth solved that for me because my copy of Rose Levy Beranbaum, Quick Breads, Little Quick Breads, Little Yeast Breads, and Batter Breads, The Bread Bible, p170 is still packed away and I wasn’t bright enough on my own to consider sticking my thermometer  into the center of one of these to see were it was.  Try for 190°.  Elizabeth finished her’s in the oven which I think I’ll try when I finish my remaining six this afternoon but it maybe just turning the griddle down and cooking longer would work as well.

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Recipe from: Pat “Feeding My Enthusiasms”  From:  SeriousEats

English Muffins
Yield: 12 – I got 11

245 grams bread flour
40 grams rye flour (originally this 40 grams was bread flour)
140 grams whole wheat flour
11  grams table salt or (11 grams kosher or 2 3/4 teaspoons)
4 grams instant dry yeast 1 1/4 teaspoons
340 grams ounces cold milk
100 grams honey, I used only 55 grams
1 large egg white, cold
fine cornmeal to cover muffins on two sheet pans with space around them – Elle), don’t skip this
bacon or butter or oil, for griddling

Make the Dough and Let Rise: 
In a large bowl, mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, and yeast together until well combined.
Add milk, honey, and egg white, stirring until smooth, about 5 minutes.
Cover with plastic and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled, 4 to 5 hours at 70°F.

For the Second Rise:  Thickly cover a rimmed aluminum baking sheet with an even layer of cornmeal.
With a large spoon, dollop out twelve 2 2/3-ounce (75g) portions of dough I only got 11 muffins none weighed more than 78 grams or less than 72 grams; it’s perfectly fine to do this by eye.
If you’d like, pinch the irregular blobs here and there to tidy their shape.  My dough was to sticky to do much shaping, I went with what fell on the pan.  They all came out looking like … English muffins
Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.

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Rising on the griddle! Oolala!

To Griddle and Serve:  Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When sizzling-hot, add half the butter and melt; griddle muffins until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a square-end spatula and griddle as before. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by working your thumbs around the edges to pull them open a little at a time. Toast before serving and store leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge).

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Special Equipment:  Flexible spatula,  rimmed baking sheet, griddle (electric or cast iron) or 12-inch cast iron skillet, square-end spatula, wire rack

Seriously easy.  Oh and that photo reminds me: homemade slow cooker apple butter is an absolute winner on these too!

Go for it why don’t you. Bake with us. Check out Pat, FeedingMyEnthusiasms for all the scoop and be a Bread Baking Buddy.  Don’t forget all the other Babes, we all had different experiences.

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Pecan Pie Cake … now please sit down!

Right I am being WILD!!

So sit down and don’t let this unbalance you.

This is not about bread or yeast or the BBB. No this is an honest to goodness … and trust me there is goodness here … an honest to goodness post about CAKE that was once a pie and has some idea of still being sort of pie on your taste buds.  If your favorite pie like mine is pecan pie, then this might just make your heart sing in harmony with mine.

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I saw a post for pecan pie muffins. Since I really think the only pie worth eating … ok along with mince meat pie … is pecan that sounded really fun to me.  So I googled pecan pie cake/muffins and discovered a multitude of recipes for the same.  Most were very similar. I took what I liked that sounded good to me and put together the following.  I was really pleased and my man was pleased as well.

In my present make shift kitchen with no cabinet space, the odd tables used for counters, any thing that I really need/use everyday sits out  with a randomness that defies every cell in my body. I’m not really an excessively organized person and not normally anal either … except in my kitchen. I’ve invested too much money in my tools to not take care of them properly and I’ve learned through the hard knocks that kitchen disasters are much more frequent when you don’t have what you need at hand.  So yes, over time I have brought a fair amount of order to things in my kitchen. Now however order is relative and general chaos prevails. It’s the kind of chaos of clutter that would normally render me senseless and immobilize me. I make do as best I can. It takes a real meditation exercise for me to tackle anything of any account especially a new recipe. Like the new recipe for the BBB’s for December; this recipe is giving me the shakes. There’s no room for my lovely KitchenAid mixer on any of this faux counter surfaces, the mixer sits out on the porch in it’s box awaiting the day when a carpenter has designed and installed the cabinets that float in my dreams for the time being. All that is to say: I’m not about to unpack the KitchenAid for ANYTHING not even Thanksgiving.
Still it was going to be Thanksgiving and I really can not imagine not doing something a little holiday like for the table. I did these with my trusty wooden spoon and my own arm muscles. Don’t feel like you must have a mixer for these; you do not.

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Pecan Pie Cake/Muffins

Yield: 8 regular muffins or 24 mini muffins or4 4-inch springform rounds

150 grams butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar + 1 or 2 tablespoons
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
60 grams all-purpose flour – I used white whole wheat
20 grams flax seed meal
1 cup chopped pecans, upto 1 3/4 cups before chopping

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 8 muffin cups with paper liners.

2. To a medium bowl, add the softened butter and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy.
If your butter is soft, doing it by hand is easy.

3. Add beaten eggs, vanilla, and salt and mix until combined.

4. Mix flour and chopped pecans then mix with wet ingredients until combined.

5. Spoon batter into 8 lined muffin cups about 2/3 full. With no baking powder or baking soda, these do not have much rise.
One whole pecan could be placed in middle and push in part way. Actually I think one on the bottom and one left on the top gives the closest look and feel to pecan pie.

6. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes.
Let cool 5 minutes in muffin pan and serve warm or room temp.

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My first try with these used 1 cup whole pecans measured before chopping. The flavor certainly brought pecan pie to mind. My guess is the more pecans used will get closer to pecan pie but I’m sure there’s a point that too much would alter not just the taste but the texture/dry/moist aspect and it wouldn’t get better then. I will try increasing the amount of pecans to find the best flavor and moistness. More pecans, I will try upping the butter and sugar by a little each time.

With all the molds for muffins and little cakes, this can be an incredibly versatile little bite … and then there’s that scoop of ice cream.

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With no baking powder or baking soda, these do not rise much in the oven.
And because there is no baking powder or baking soda, when I started to bake these, I thought I would try refrigerating half the dough and bake the second half the next day. WOW, worked like a charm!

Now, is it pecan pie? No, there’s none of that custard lovely goo that I truly love. Is it pie? No again, there’s no crust. Do your taste buds get happy? Oh yeah! Do you think pecan pie? A little bit. There is a gorgeously heavy pecan flavor and a little crisp around the edges not really crust but all together it’s just very divine!

Now take a deep breath and stand up, head to the kitchen and bake some Pecan Pie Cake and don’t ponder to hard on the oddity of the cake here. My next post will be back to regular BBB 😉