Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Ratio application: muffins

Did you know that the batter for banana nut bread is the same as it is for muffins?  I didn't know that for a long time, and until recently I had not eaten muffins that were not either store-bought or made from a store-bought package of ingredients.

There's no mystery to this.  This is a little more complicated of a ratio, but a ratio nonetheless.  Think of it as 3 parts:  wet ingredients, dry ingredients, and additives.  You can hand mix it, or do it in you stand mixer, if you'd like, using your whisk attachment.

2 parts liquid
1 part egg
1 part fat.

For my liquid I used milk, for the fat I used melted butter.  4 oz of eggs = 2 large eggs.

2 parts flour
Sugar to taste (about 1 part)
Leavening agent
Good pinch of salt.

For my flour, I  used regular AP flour, the sugar was regular granular sugar, the leavening agent was baking powder about 1 tsp per 4 oz of flour (you knew that was the ratio of flour to baking powder, right?).

1 ripe about to throw away banana, diced
1/4 cup of chopped pecans.

Mix the wet ingredients first until well-combined.  You can sift your dry ingredients in, mix them separately then combine slowly, or throw caution to the wind and just dump the whole thing in.  The quicker you can combine the ingredients, the less tough your finished product will be (thanks, gluten).
Cook them on 325 convection bake (350 regular) until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Variations on the theme
  • For the muffins I substituted Splenda for half of the sugar. Remember that Splenda does not substitute 1:1 for granular by weight, but is intended to do so by volume. That means you need to figure out the volume of your sugar.  Sugar isn't part of the ratio, but added at 1 part is a good start.
  • Other additives can be dried fruits like cranberries, cherries, figs, apricots, candied orange peels, etc.
  • Blueberries go great, classic combination!
  • You can sub a little oil for half of the butter if you'd like without major failure.  I did it on the muffins because I ran out of butter.
  • Especially for things with nuts, think about adding brown butter.  How to make, you ask?  Just add heat to your melted butter, don't burn it! 
  • Why not chocolate and chocolate chips?  Raspberry and white chocolate?  Bacon and asparagus? 
  • For a different texture, try varying gluten flours such as cake flour vs bread flour.  Find your balance of lightness vs texture/crust.

1 comment:

JW said...

Thanks for the reminder...I plan on re-reading "Ratio" and working through some of these things. Made banana bread this weekend with some "ripe" bananas...sliced then sauteed with butter...mmmm!