I can think of no better way to bring smiles to your family’s faces than to greet them in the morning with a basket of freshly-baked muffins.
If you enjoy experimenting with new recipe ideas, muffins are a good starting point. You might be surprised at the number of new and exciting muffins you can develop simply by taking a look in your food pantry and refrigerator for whatever ingredients you have on hand.
Many years ago, there was a recipe for a “mock” apple pie made with crackers. When I was in a creative baking mood, I decided to see if I could make a new muffin recipe by using this cracker idea. I cooked the cracker mixture until it was the texture of applesauce, which was perfect for a flavorful muffin with a cake-like texture.
No doubt about it — we Southerners also love peaches, and a combination of peach preserves and sour cream makes a wonderful muffin.
PEACHES AND CREAM MUFFINS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 tespoon salt
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup peach preserves
1/3 cup oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Stir to mix. In a medium bowl, beat together the eggs, sour cream, preserves and oil. Add to the dry ingredients and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into center of muffin. Remove from pan immediately and cool slightly on a rack. Makes 12 muffins.
APPLE MYSTERY MUFFINS
2/3 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 cup firmly-packed light brown sugar, divided
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled Ritz crackers (about 14 crackers)
1/2 cup raisins
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter softened at room temperature
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons apple juice
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup (1/3 cup capacity each) muffin tin. Combine apple juice, 1/2 cup brown sugar and cinnamon in small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Add crackers and reduce heat to medium. Cook until the consistency of applesauce. Remove from heat and stir in raisins.
Combine flour, baking soda, salt, butter, egg and remaining brown sugar. Beat until smooth. Stir in cracker mixture. Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake 18 to 20 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into muffin. Remove from pan and place on rack to cool slightly.
To make glaze: Combine sugar and apple juice. Beat until smooth. Drizzle over cooled muffins.
— Prudence Hilburn of Piedmont, Alabama, has won more than 30 national cooking awards and written several cookbooks, including, “Simply Southern and More.” Write her at email@example.com or visit www.prudencehilburn.com.