Hey Batter Batter Batter!

That will probably the first and last sports reference you will see me make on this blog.  As anyone who reads the DCfoodblog knows, I am a big fan of Ina Garten, otherwise known as the Barefoot Contessa.  She lives this fabulous life in the Hamptons without being all snooty about it.  On top of that her recipes are crazy reliable.  The only one that didn’t work out were her brownies, but that was my fault.

One thing she is really good at (which some people find annoying) is to make a zillion variations on one recipe. For example, she does roast chicken over and over again.  Sometimes with butter underneath the skin.  Sometimes covered in bacon.  Sometimes stuffed with lemons.  While people may get annoyed watching this on TV.   The real life implication is that you have several recipes for a relatively small number of ingredients.

This is especially true of her muffin recipe.  In one of the Barefoot Contessa episodes, she makes the basic batter and tell you to add anything you want to the batter.  It’s a really flexible batter that accomodates a zillion variations.  Every single time I’ve made these muffins, they come out perfectly, no matter what the variation.  On top of that, they stay moist for days and freeze beautifully.

Here’s the basic batter: 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 extra-large eggs
3/4 cup whole milk

In the Breakfast episode with Eli Zabar, she made a banana crunch version that I made and found delightful.  She added:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas)
1 cup medium-diced ripe bananas (1 banana)
1 cup small-diced walnuts
1 cup granola
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut
Dried banana chips, granola, or shredded coconut, optional

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.Line 18 large muffin cups with paper liners. Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Add the melted butter and blend. Combine the eggs, milk, vanilla, and mashed bananas, and add them to the flour-and-butter mixture. Scrape the bowl and blend well. Don’t overmix.

Fold the diced bananas, walnuts, granola, and coconut into the batter. Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each 1 to the top. Top each muffin with dried banana chips, granola, or coconut, if desired. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly, remove from the pan, and serve.

A month ago I had blueberries that were about to go bad so I made a blueberry struesel one.  I added:

2 cups of blueberries
1 cup streusel inside the muffin
struesel sprinkled on top

Here my streusel recipe:  Using a pastry cutter, mix together 6 tablespoons of cold butter, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of brown sugar until it’s kind of a cornmealy texture.  Add a cup of oats and mix.

Two weeks ago I made a peach-almond variation where I added:

2 cups of diced peaches
substituted almond extract for vanilla
1 cup of sliced almonds

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