Any challenge is going to have its ups and downs. I was down last week because I was up in Minnesota and laying down due to a back problem. Not down as in sad, no no no, I was quite happy. Just busy, and hurt, and unable to make my second batch of muffins for the week. I tried though! My plan was to impose on my hostess, make muffins and use her Internet to post a blog. I even brought vital gluten up with me in a zipper bag so I wouldn’t have find more, and because bringing a fine powder along with you in a carry on isn’t suspicious at all. At any rate, I apologize to the diligent followers of my blog (hi Mom!) and I’m back in action.
Action indeed! My my, these little beauties are delicious. I believe that without my break to Minnesota I wouldn’t have let this recipe marinate in my mind for as long and I probably wouldn’t have made them as delicious. I’ve learned my lesson by now and played things safe by basing my recipe directly from 500 Best Muffin Recipes. Except I noticed there wasn’t enough flour, and I switched it to wheat flour, added some vital gluten, chocolate chips, swapped the vanilla extract for almond and added a peanut butter topping. So maybe it’s not so directly from the book anymore. This recipe made me the happiest because I’d used what I learned, followed my instincts and things turned out delicious. And to be honest, I don’t really like peanut butter.
One thing I did this time that I haven’t done for awhile is use muffin cups. It’s silly for me to be against muffin cups, but I find them pointless and wasteful. With the frequency of my baking and use of sticky ingredients, muffin cups have become a better and better idea. Much to my delight the muffin cup section at the grocery has expanded! You can get pastel cups, heart cups, tin cups, Norwegian cups, and in honor of recent air strikes in Libya... fighter plane cups!! Also, they were on sale.
Who doesn't want their baked goods to be in fighter mode?
Are you ready for the recipe yet?
Locked and loaded.
A couple of notes first. I used all whole wheat flour (instead of half whole wheat and half white) because I had vital gluten which creates elasticity and softens the muffin crumb. Don’t be afraid of vital gluten (unless you have a gluten allergy, then be very afraid)! I found it in the bulk section of Whole Foods, but Bob’s Red Mill also sells it. If you’re serious about making things with whole wheat I whole-heartedly recommend using vital gluten. If you are afraid of vital gluten, you can make a combination of white (unbleached) and wheat flour. I used a natural peanut butter with only one ingredient: peanuts. I can’t guarantee the taste, texture or deliciousness of your muffins if you use something with added sugar or odd preservatives. If you don’t want random crap in your muffins, don’t buy a product with random crap in it. Last, don’t skimp on the buttermilk. I think it gives the wheat muffin a little kick that regular milk would not. We made our own buttermilk (and butter) but that’s for another post.
2 cups whole wheat flour
⅓ cup brown sugar
2 tsp vital gluten
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¼ cup buttermilk
½ cup peanut butter
½ tsp almond extract
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tbs peanut butter
2 ½ tsp brown sugar
2 tbsp unbleached flour
½ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp salt
Enough warm water to make the topping the consistency you desire
Extra chocolate chips to press into the topping
Go for it!
- Whisk together the wheat flour, brown sugar, vital gluten, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In another bowl beat the egg, then add the peanut butter, buttermilk, and almond extract.
- Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and add the chocolate chips. Stir carefully until well combined. Divide into 12 (lined!) muffin cups.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Stick a toothpick in the to make sure they’re good and done.
- To make the topping stir together all ingredients (except water and chocolate chips). Add the water a little at a time until you get to the consistency you like. It may take awhile. It wasn’t easy to spread so I piped mine on using a plastic bag with the corner cut. Press chocolate chips into the top and admire your greatness!
Look at the power in that wrist! You may want to do some wrist warm ups prior to performing this culinary technique.