Tuesday, January 22, 2008

When puffy baked goods go all Battle Royale...

Morning everyone.

So my roommate and I are on a bit of a funny schedule. She leaves for work at 5 am every day... and I? I am only just then contemplating maybe going to bed. It's kinda nice, actually - hearing her in the bathroom means I get the whooooole apartment to myself pretty soon, and that usually means some wacked out experiment in the kitchen. Enter, the Coffee Date Muffin. Cute name notwithstanding, it's not an easy flavour combination to wrap my head around. Maybe that's why I picked it. Anyway....

Attempt #1:
I figured cardamom would be a natural choice to tie the two flavours together. And I have a hard time making muffins that aren't all healthy and stuff, so I added oats. It was that or spelt, and I eat oats most mornings with dates in it, so hey, why not. The batter smelled pretttttty interesting....

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup quick oats

1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tbsp instant coffee

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp cardamom

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground flax
1/4 cup strong-brewed coffee

3/4 cup almond milk

1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup applesauce

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

Verdict: Squat little suckers! I tore into one straight away and I think I was hungry cause it disappeared pretty fast. I liked the nuttiness of the oats, the coffee flavour wasn't as weird as I thought it would be, and the dates were, well, awesome. Cause dates are awesome. But it hardly rose at all! I actually went back to bed at this point, mentally switching ingredients around in my head and not really in any danger of falling asleep, no. And then of course I had to get up and try again, cause I'd never actually honestly tweaked a recipe before, and I'm not an insomniac, no... not at all.........

Attempt #2:
I figured going the "cakey" route might get me some decent leavening, which it did. I also wanted to try making all the flavour milder and more, I guess, conventional. Maybe I'd get a real muffin out of it, or something. The batter tasted better! (sweeter!)

(I also left out all the oil just to see what would happen)

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp ground flax

1 1/4 cups almond milk
1 tsp cider vinegar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

6 tbsp applesauce

1/2 cup chopped pitted dates

Verdict? Kind of really gross, actually. I couldn't believe it. They're beautiful and puffy and all that, but biting into one is a gluey experience, and the flavour is bo-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-ring. I made them more amusing by staging little muffin wars while I took pictures of them (I'd post the muffin-war pictures, but it looks a lot more like a stack of muffins sitting on a chair than an actual exciting battle scene, phooey).

Oh, and for the sake of science, both were baked at 375 in a 6-cup tin, for 22-25 minutes, approximately. And both the recipes were halved (thank god, or I'd be drowning in just-ok muffins). I guess if anyone has any ideas for tweakness, that would be cool. I'm really starting to think the first batch was pretty good, I would just need to fill up the tins higher, or use a muffin tin that isn't so very wide and flat (grrr, I can't make cupcakes in that thing at all!). Be a total adventurer and try out the recipe yourself! (if your instant coffee powder is of decent quality at all they WILL turn out better than mine)

Anyway, that's it. I swear I'll try and sleep now. :)

(Bonus Picture! Satchmo the Cat attacking my baked goods! Will they fight back with their tender muffin-bodies? Or will they become kitty toys like so many muffins before them and many a pancake besides? I'm guessing on kitty toys, myself. ;))


Anonymous said...

I love making muffins, but I don't have the inventiveness to create my own, so I applaud your efforts. These look so good. =)

Ashasarala said...

You're still awake at 5 am? Ah, I remember those days. I used to work 6-midnight. I was a night crawler and in my glory! Now I work the soul-sucking 9-5 and I have to say, I am not very happy. It leaves very little time for cooking and baking!

I envy your muffin experimentation time! At least I can live vicariously. Oh, and I have to say, that kitty-attacking-the-muffins picture is adorable. Though your kitty looks like he/she has no eyeballs. Hmm...

Rural Vegan said...

I have no words of wisdom about perfecting your muffins, but I would love to see pics of muffin wars! =)

Anonymous said...

I hate it when things don't come out quite right, but good things come to those who wait... At least I think so, at least. When you finally do perfect them, they'll be 100x more amazing because you worked so hard on them!

Liz said...

I think you should go back to the first recipe- even if they weren't as pretty, it sounds like they taste better! I agree that we Lizzes seem to have very similar taste in cooking/blogging. Do you know what I'm going to make next? Can you already sense it?

Theresa said...

I like the name, coffee date muffins. It sounds like a muffin that you eat when you're meeting someone for a coffee date.

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

yep, that was the idea! except it might be weird to eat coffee flavoured muffins while drinking coffee-flavoured coffee. so maybe it's what you eat when you want to coffee date but you can't? ha, I don't know. but yes, the name was intentionally like that!

Liz Ranger (Bubble Tea for Dinner) said...

and Liz, I sense..... strong flavours and creative spins, yes? :D