Since the pantry is just a different sort of stash, I find I get the same satisfaction when I can prepare an entire dish out of on-hand foods alone, just as if I’d knit a gift out of yarn that’s been sitting in the closet.
Since finishing my batch of brownies, I’ve been woefully devoid of breakfast foods here. Muffins—the perfect straddler of the dessert/breakfast food worlds—seemed a good choice, so I turned to my trusty muffin cookbook, which I swear no one else in the world owns, but which I got as a gift and consistently turns out reliably good muffins, Mad About Muffins, and looked to see what I might be able to make without leaving the apartment.
I was lucky that the Asparagus Wild Mushroom Bread Pudding had called for milk and that it was still good, because otherwise I really never have milk in the house, and I wouldn’t have been able to throw these together so quickly. And it’s true that the recipe actually calls for chopped dates and I didn’t have any, so I just upped the quantity of raisins and used the dried apricots I had on hand. (Dates may well make this muffin moister, so I’d like to try it with them.)
All in all, I’m pretty pleased. They definitely tend toward the dry side, but when served warm with some butter, they’ve got that kind of scone/muffin quality that’s really nice. They’re nothing like the cream scones I made a few weeks ago, which were heavy and moist and absolutely decadent. These are the type that’s dry but studded with flavorful dried fruit, sliced almonds, and the key ingredient, coconut flake. I had only unsweetened coconut flake on hand (the recipe doesn’t specify), so the flavor is light—and because I’m not overly into sweet things (despite what posts here might indicate to the contrary!), I didn’t add any additional sugar. But if you make them, know that they are not very sweet. Some other suggestions for upping moisture and adding flavor include: soaking the raisins in rum beforehand to plump further; using cream instead of milk; using packaged shredded coconut rather than dry coconut flake.
There are definitely better recipes in this cookbook, which perhaps I’ll share with you the next time I cook from it, but these were great, if only because I made them without having to leave the house—and now I have breakfast for the next 11 days!
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons coconut
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup chopped dates (Note: I used diced dried apricots)
1/2 cup milk (Note: I would use cream in the future—or—ooh!—coconut milk!)
1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons firmly packed brown sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Heat oven to 375. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Stir in the 1/2 cup almonds, 1 cup coconut, raisins, and dates. In another bowl, beat the egg, milk, 1/4 cup brown sugar, and 3 tablespoons of the melted butter. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until just moistened.
Spoon the batter into greased muffin tins. Sprinkle with a mixture consisting of 2 tablespoons almonds, 2 tablespoons coconut, 2 tablespoons melted butter, 2 teaspoons brown sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. (Note: I would recommend more of this, and pressing it into the muffins before baking, otherwise it all falls off.) Bake for 25 minutes (Note: I would go only 20) or until a tester comes out clean. Makes one dozen muffins.