Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Baking!

It's Christmas Eve, and the oven has been cranking out the goodies, with help from my little band of elves. We've rolled gingerbread, roasted pears for tomorrow's bread pudding, and baked egg bread for sandwiches, as well as for the bread pudding.

Even the ordinary breakfast muffins have gone festive. Instead of 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips, I added extra cinnamon to the batter, and used a scoop of the green and red swirled white chocolate chips.

I've spent the last couple months tinkering with the recipe. Milk from the carton. Plain yogurt. Vanilla yogurt. Buttermilk. Evaporated milk. Condensed milk. Sour cream. Since I don't buy prepackaged breakfasts, and the kids get tired of waffles (make extras on weekend & freeze for easy toasting), I make a batch or two each week, so have had plenty of opportunities to use my children as test subjects.

This is the winner, according to them:
1/2 cup Sour Cream
1 cup Milk (evaporated or whole)
1-1/4 cup Rolled Oats (not quick cook)
1 Egg, beaten
4 Tbs Butter, melted
1/2 cup Dark Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Semisweet Chocolate Chips*
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Bread Flour
4 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp Salt

Mix sour cream, milk and oats in a bowl; let oats soak for 15-20 minutes.
Add beaten egg, melted butter and brown sugar. Let it rest while you mix dry ingredients in separate container, and start oven preheating - 400 degrees.

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chocolate chips. Combine with wet ingredients. Let rest for five minutes. Prep muffin tins with butter, cooking spray, or use paper liners.

Scoop batter into muffin tin. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes, depending on your oven. Makes 12 muffins.
*I often toss in a 1/4 cup of dried cranberries, raisins or cherries, as well as a handful of chopped walnuts or pecans. The presence of chocolate chips makes everything I do which would be considered "good for you" still yummy. Even my child who has an almost irrational aversion to dried fruit will scarf down a muffin without complaint. After all, it's chocolate for breakfast. (The actually chip count per muffin is pretty low, but I'm not ever going to point that out to him.)

If you use quick rolled oats and plain all-purpose flour, you'll want to reduce the amount of milk by 1/4 cup, to avoid ending up with a chewy cupcake consistency. Also, these are great made with vanilla yogurt in place of the sour cream. I reduce the amount of sugar to keep it from being too sweet, though I have occasionally left them sweet and used them as desserts in lunchboxes.

It's been a marvelous day of family prep today. We're tired, flour coated, and in a post-board-game, cookies-and-eggnog, sugar coma. And tomorrow, we'll be doing it again. With wrapping paper scraps in place of the flour, and extra relatives for the board games. Looking forward to it.

Whatever holiday you're celebrating, enjoy!

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