Saturday, March 5, 2011

Muffin Madness: Brie and Beer Muffins

I like beer. That’s not a shameful thing to admit. I don’t believe in the philosophy “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” (after all, why wait for 5 o’clock?). Just because I like beer doesn’t mean I drink 40s out of brown paper bags or pound back the beer and whiskey shots with the union boys after a day on the docks. No, no, no, the image of beer is changing with growing interest in craft beer and home brewing. This is a great thing as it raises the taste/quality bar for the mass produced golden fizzy water producers. I like this trend and would enjoy seeing craft beer lifted to the heights of artisan wines. I heard that scoff wine aficionados!

Ingredients, just hanging out waiting to become delicious muffins.

What does this have to do with muffins? Well, this week’s Muffin Madness is focused around beer and using it in non-traditional ways in muffins. While perusing through beer muffin recipes I noticed the most common accompaniment to beer in muffins is good ole cheddar cheese. Cheddar is fabulous if done right and you can have artisan cheddar, but I wanted something different. My lactose-deprived mind wandered through the cheese section of the grocery with delight. It was decided that the cheese of choice would be brie. No real reasoning or logic, just brie. Also, it does have nice alliteration, Brie and Beer Muffins.

If these were really to be savory muffins I needed more than brie and beer. So I took out my spices, gave them a good sniff and settled on a combination that suited my senses. I chose a combination of rosemary, sage and garlic powder. If you’re not satisfied with those options, come up with your own! It was actually quite fun to figure out what I liked.

This is what it looks like when you make your own wheat flour. Add some wheat berries to your mill and...

with a little elbow grease you get flour!

Remember how this mad month of March is meant to be a challenge? I will make 2 batches of muffins a week (sweet and savory) and I will also come up with the recipes myself. Well, after the success of the Chocolate Chip Porter Muffins, my ego inflated a bit - OK, a lot - and I was certain all recipes would turn out the first time around. That’s not quite how it works in real life. Though these muffins turned out delicious, they are not quite ready for mass consumption.

Batter with cheese chunks.

Seeing the cheese bubble in the oven was really enticing and a certain Official Muffin Taster hovered around as the muffins were taken out. For whole wheat muffins they ended up being fluffy and light, and the pockets of cheese were really satisfying. With that said, they ended up a bit too sweet for intention to be savory. Also, they only made 10 muffins, ten! That’s no good. A clean dozen or more is required for decency. My next go around I will increase the flour, amp up the spices and work out the leavening.

Only 10 muffins?! This is socially unacceptable.

Despite the muffins not turning out perfectly right, this is the fun part. Tweaking a recipe, taking a bite and asking, “What could be better?” My Official Taster and I even got into the existential question, what is a muffin truly? Even though I don’t have a recipe for you do not despair. It is currently written out with many revisions and changes for the next time. I’m actually quite excited to try them out again.

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