Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sometime in the Morning - Granola-Topped Breakfast Muffins

 Sometime this morning, I developed an unusual ear worm, the obscure "Randy Scouse Git" by the Monkees.  Besides the fact that the lyrics make no sense, this particular ear worm drew attention to another annoying, but inevitable fact - that I am a lady of mature years.  Sigh.  In my head I am still 18 years old, while in the mirror - well, I try not to look in the mirror too often.  Ear worms, however, have no such mercy, and can evoke age-old memories.  In 1967, the year "Randy Scouse Git" was released, the Monkees were in their second season on TV, and I was between my freshman and sophomore years in high school, finally finished with the year-long planning leading up to my brother's delightfully overblown bar mitzvah, where I wore the worst dress ever. Adolescence was not just creeping up on me, but smacking me repeatedly upside the head.  

Being now of mature years, I occasionally try to adopt a healthy life style, which explains the bag of granola in my desk drawer at work.  Fiber, you know.  I eat dry cereal without milk (gag if you must) and carry this bag between car and office.  It's quite good, with raisins, chopped dates, and pecans.  In one of my adult ADD moments, I kept staring at it until it occurred to me these would be a fine addition to breakfast muffins.  So I shlepped the bag home to work out a muffin recipe that would successfully incorporate my granola.

One small problem, however - I have no luck with muffins.  I can bake almost anything, and when I was younger I even decorated cakes, but muffins are my Waterloo.  They alway seem to come out too small, too dense, and too boring.  But if I could teach myself to make really good spaetzle at the age of 61, I could give muffins one more try.  Or so I reasoned.

I have a couple of muffin cookbooks in the house, but they have generally led me down the path of muffin failure, so I took to the internet, using search terms like "granola topped muffins" and "fluffy muffin recipes."  Within 10 minutes, I was suffering from cognitive overload.  I skimmed about a dozen recipes like I was briefing a case for my Federal IncomeTax Law class (fast and dirty) and came up with this recipe.  I was quite pleased with the light, even crumb of the interior, the attractive muffin top, and of course, the taste.  Oh, and the moistness.  Amazing.  Almost as amazing as the spaetzle.

Granola-Topped Breakfast Muffins

3/4 cup cake flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon each of salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon1 extra large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup applesauce (I used Musselman's chunky, because that's what was open in my refrigerator)1 cup of your favorite granola (I used Post's Great Grains Cereal with Raisins, Dates, and Pecans)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spray 6 of the wells of a standard muffin pan, including the top, and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon.  Combine well, using a small whisk.  Make a well in the center and set aside.

In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, use the small whisk to beat the egg till smooth.  Add the oil and the applesauce and use the whisk to combine them all.  I also used the whisk to mash or break up the apple chunks.

Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the flour mixture, and using a rubber spatula, gently combine wet and dry, just until the white flour is no longer visible.  Don't worry about lumps in the batter, they are normal and desirable in muffins.

Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pan wells.  The batter will fill 5 to 6 cups, depending on the depth of the well.  Fill close to the top of each cup.   Now with a lavish hand, sprinkle granola over the top of each muffin.  Place the pan into the preheated oven and bake for 18 minutes, watching the granola so it doesn't burn.

Remove the muffin pan from the oven and place on a rack to cool for 5 minutes.  While cooling, carefully brush the excess granola from around the edges of each muffin.  Then, with the tip of a sharp little knife, remove the muffins from the pan and place them on the rack to finish cooling.

These are rather good with a little butter.  Or a lot of butter.  Or Temp-Tee whipped cream cheese.  Eat over a plate, because granola will fall.  These are going to make a really good (and nominally healthy!) breakfast.

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