Thursday, January 17, 2008

Art With Food

Yeah, you can do art with food, too. And I don't mean just gluing beans to a canvas in pretty patterns or stringing macaroni on a ribbon to make a necklace for your Mommy either. Cooking is an art all unto itself. What you add to a bowl can create something beautiful or something ugly. Food can be beautiful to look at, but nasty to taste, or visa versa.

Me, I'm a walking food allergy. I'm allergic to anything that comes from an animal and fruit (of all things). Needless to say, I'm pretty much vegan. In order to keep from starving to death or boring myself with the same thing all the time, I get creative and create 'art' (or science experiments, if you prefer honest accuracy). More often than not, I'll hit upon a real winner of a recipe I just can't kill, destroy, or mess up. This recipe is one of those. The original recipe comes from 'Secrets Of A Jewish Baker, Authentic Jewish Rye and Other Breads' by George Greenstein, copyright 1993. I was in the mood for something different for breakfast, so out came the muffin recipe, appropriately renamed by me as, 'You Can't Kill 'Em Muffins'. No matter what I've done to this poor recipe, the muffins are fantastic! If you're brave enough, give it a try. The original recipe is typed out with what I did to it this time or at sometime, in parenthesis.
Peach Muffins with Streusel Topping (the original name of this recipe)

1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour this time, but have mixed wheat and white or plain wheat flours before)

1/4 cup granulated sugar (I used brown sugar this time, it also works with Splenda and nutrasweet substitutes)

1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar (also works with all white sugar and sugar substitutes)

1 1/2 tablespoons skim milk powder (I use powdered soy milk)

4 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt (not necessary, I use salt if the mood strikes me and I can reach it- which isn't often)

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (use another spice if you wish like orange peel for cranberry orange muffins, or don't use at all)

1/2 cup shortening, butter, or margarine, at room temperature (I normally use the Earth Balance vegan margarine, but was out today and just used vegetable oil instead)

1 egg, beaten (the Ener-G Egg replacer works great in this recipe and is what I used)

1/2 cup water (try fruit juice instead, which is what I do when I make these for hubby)

1 1/4 cup coarsely diced peaches (fresh or canned) (you can use whatever fruit you wish and add 1/2 cup chopped nuts in, too. I haven't found a single fruit that didn't work with these muffins (hubby likes them with fruit). If you opt not to use fruit, like me, add an extra 1/2 cup of water instead. I've also used 1/4 cup honey plus 1 teaspoon vanilla instead of the fruit before, too.

Butter or shortening for greasing muffin tin (highly recommended to use those paper cupcake cups as sometimes these muffins come out moist, but crumbly and will disintegrate when removed from the muffin tin without the paper cups)

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugars, milk powder, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon ( ignore the salt if you're not using it and replace the cinnamon with whatever your spice of choice is, or ignore it, too). Cut or rub in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the egg and water (or fruit juice) and mix only until absorbed. Fold in the peaches (skip if you're not using fruit, or add the nuts here, or raisins, or dried cranberries or whatever you're using) . Drop our into greased or buttered muffin tins, making each cup about two thirds full. Spread with streusel topping (I often omit this, but used 1/4 brown sugar mixed with 1/4 cup honey as a topping this morning--see streusel recipe below). Bake in a preheated 375 degree F oven until browned and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. For normal standard sized muffins bake for 15 to 20 minutes. I use jumbo muffin tin, which makes 6 muffins and they take 30 minutes. Cool for about 10 minutes before flipping out onto a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way.

Streusel Topping
2/3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, cut up
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (I just use more vegan margarine instead)
In a medium bowl mix or rub together, do not cream, all the ingredients until the mixture resembles peas sized or larger granules. If the streusel appears to be too moist, rub in several teaspoons flour. Sprinkle on top of the batter and bake as directed in recipe.

Hope these muffins make your tummy as happy as mine.


Dianna said...

This looks delicious. Good to find another vegan recipe. Happy baking!

LoveMeKnot Creations said...

oohh they sound great!
i love streusel topping...

Anonymous said...

That sounds so good. Just what I need right now. Thanks for sharing.