Saturday, June 13, 2015

Pineapple Muffins

I guess it's no secret that we quite like muffins around here. But there is a distinct hierarchy in the recipes I use. For dinner, usually to go with soup or salad, I range freely among all types of muffins. But for breakfast, only the quickest and easiest of recipes will do. I do love a baked good for breakfast, but I don't want to dirty a bunch of dishes or take all day about it. That means I prefer recipes that use oil (rather than melted/softened butter) and that can be mixed in one bowl (unlike these). 

Those criteria eliminate most of the muffins that are more cake-like (the ones with sugar and butter that have to be creamed together), but there are plenty of good options left. In fact, for breakfast I prefer a muffin that's more…muffin-y. The fat in muffiny muffins (usually canola oil) is used for delicacy and moistness and tenderness, rather than for an assertive flavor. I think it's just right to go with a fruit-and-yogurt smoothie or a cup of hot chocolate.

The special mixing method for muffins (combine dry and wet ingredients separately, then stir together as little as possible) is quite different than for cake-masquerading-as-muffins (combine fats and sugars and incorporate air, then add wet and dry ingredients alternately). Since I only like to use one bowl, for most true muffins I whisk the dry ingredients together in a big bowl first. Then I measure the milk into a big measuring cup, drop the eggs into the measuring cup too, and beat the mixture up with a fork. Next I make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the eggs/milk, along with the oil and vanilla or other flavorings, into that well. Then I stir it up with a spoon until it's just barely combined, and still lumpy. This makes for very tender muffins, and all I have to wash afterwards is a bowl, a spoon, a couple measuring cups. (And the muffin pans.) I can have these mixed in 10 minutes, into the oven in 5, and on the table in another 15—easily within my acceptable weekday breakfast parameters. :)

Because we have muffins for breakfast a couple times a week, I'm always looking for recipes that meet the above criteria. I adapted these pineapple muffins from a couple different fruit muffin recipes, and now they are one of our favorites! They're yummy with coarse sugar sprinkled on top, but they don't need the sugar to be good. And the pineapple adds a moistness we really like.

Pineapple Muffins

4 1/2 C. flour
1 3/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 T. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
3/4 t. salt
1 20-oz. can crushed pineapple (Drained; reserve juice)
3/4 c. canola oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 C. pineapple juice + milk (use juice from can of pineapple and then add milk to make 1 1/2 C. total)
1 t. vanilla
Coarse sugar for sprinkling, optional

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk until well-mixed. With a large mixing spoon, make a well in the dry ingredients.
3. Drain can of pineapple over a large measuring cup. Pour drained pineapple into the well in the dry ingredients. Do not stir yet.
4. Add milk to the measuring cup to make 1 1/2 c. of liquid. Drop three eggs into measuring cup as well, and mix with a fork until well-combined.
5. Pour egg-milk-juice mixture over the pineapple in the well in the dry ingredients. Pour canola oil and vanilla on top.
6. Mix dry and wet ingredients together with a spoon until just-combined, making sure to mix in all flour from the bottom of the bowl. Do not overmix. Batter may be lumpy.
7. Fill greased muffin cups to three-fourths of the way full.
8. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes or until top of muffin springs back when lightly touched (about 10 minutes for mini-muffins).

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