My favorite muffin recipe lends itself quite easily to experimentation, which is why it has long been my most oft-used recipe. I frequently mix and match ingredients, making spontaneous changes to the fruit and nut properties.
While originally calling for zucchini and pineapple with raisins, the recipe has also worked with various combinations of bananas, peaches, carrots, applesauce, strawberries, raspberries, pears, and orange juice. Sometimes, leftover peanut butter, sunflower seeds or wheat bran have been involved.
In spite of all my baking whims, the only time the recipe didn’t turn out well is the time I had altogether forgotten two crucial ingredients… fruit and flour.
Without flour, the end result was more of a brittle than a bread.
What can I say?
I was distracted…very distracted, and not for the first time.
I am a good cook, but I am not a good multi-tasker. I am not able to divide my attention that way. In fact, I recently hung a small sign over the stove-top reminding my family members not to speak to me (and most especially not to ask me any questions) while I am cooking. My high susceptibility to distraction has led to various kitchen calamities and this warning must be heeded, for the protection of innocent foods.
The ever-changing muffins are frustrating for one of my boys. He doesn’t share my appreciation for the element of surprise, at least when it comes to baked goods. He likes a muffin to taste the way he expects it to taste. I know this, but I can’t stop playing with the recipe, so it’s almost never what he expects. The poor kid has to live with disappointment, batch after batch.
I almost accommodated him this week. I was sticking to my basic banana bread formula, the one he likes. Suddenly, I was overcome with a strong desire to add plump, frozen blueberries; I succumbed once again to the sweet temptation of recipe tampering.
As I folded in a big gob of the half-thawed berries, the blueberry juice seemed rather…aggressive. I added another banana to try to balance the color of the batter. No change.
The batter was such a solid, deep blue-green, I honestly feared that these banana-blueberry babies would come out looking like they had been baked from Play-doh. Worse yet, no one had distracted me, so it would be exclusively my fault. Uh oh.
To my relief, the muffins came out a perfectly normal color, and were quite delicious, if a little flat on top.
One of these days, I might try adding pumpkin, or lemon, or dried cherries and chocolate…and I’m sure the muffins will be delicious, as long as nobody talks to me while I make them.