27 March 2011

Once a quarter I volunteer to provide after-service treats at church. I used to do a variety of different things, but then I discovered that the easiest thing to do is muffins. I can make them the day before and they are easy to serve. I am slowly building a collection of muffin recipes. I am not much of a baker, so this is kind of new territory for me.

Our church has recently adopted a church in Siberia, part of the Siberian Evangelical Lutheran Church, which we are in fellowship with. Today we had a guest speaker during the Bible Study time from the Siberian Lutheran Mission Society. I thought about doing some kind of a Russian muffin to coincide with the day's topic. Turns out that muffins aren't traditional Russian food, but I found out that the combination of raisins and walnuts is a traditional combination in Russian baked goods. I found this recipe on food.com and decided to try it out. I made a few changes and this what I came up with.

Apple Raisin Walnut Muffins

½ cup canola oil
¼ cup applesauce
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large granny smith apple, peeled and grated
2 cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
½ cup raisins
½ cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 400°. Spray 12 muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, beat oil, applesauce, and sugar together for 2 minutes. Add eggs and vanilla; beat 1 minute. Add apple. In another bowl, stir together flours, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Fold in raisins and walnuts. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Stir just until combined, being careful not to overmix. Fill muffin cups.

Bake 20 minutes or until done. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then cool on wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins.

To be honest, they were just okay. Certainly not the best muffins I have ever had. But acceptable. They were more dense than other muffins I have made, and since I'm not a baker, I don't know what causes that or how to fix it.

I made a test batch last week (I always do that with a new recipe if I'm making it for a large group of people), and they were good, but the got super dark. Not burned, but really dark brown, kind of like the color of pumpkin bread. This surprised me because there are no dark ingredients in them, like brown sugar. Then I remembered that baking soda promotes browning in baked goods. This recipe called for 1 tsp, which seemed like a lot. I looked at another muffin recipe that I had and it only called for ½ tsp baking soda. So I decreased the baking soda and they didn't get so dark.

The other thing I changed is the apple. It called for chunks of apple instead of grated, but since it already had raisins and walnuts, I didn't want big chunks of apple, so I grated it instead. That gives the muffin moisture without changing the texture. You can't even really tell the apple is in there.

People at church complimented me on these muffins, so I will keep this recipe in my collection.

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