Laissez Faire

Letting Life Lead

Diary of an Inconsistent Cook #3: Apple Cinnamon Muffins Kid Style

I’ve made many muffins over the years, both terribly delicious and terribly awful. Throw in “help” of the small variety and things get really complicated. I needed to find a recipe that was forgiving. Very forgiving. It needed to be suitable for whatever fruit was in season and cheap (blueberries and apples mostly). In addition, it was an absolute must that the recipe accommodate changes in the dairy depending on what happened to be in the fridge which is usually homemade yogurt (Minion #2 would be happy eating his way through a Olympic swimming pool full of it).  Sometimes it  might be sour cream if we’ve had a recent use for dip, leftover whey if I screwed up and had to strain a pathetic batch of yogurt, and dried buttermilk if none of the aforementioned options were available.

Wait, there’s more. Since Minion #1 (age five) is of the stage where she wants to offer a lot of constant assistance and Minion #2 (age 2  and 11/12ths) must do whatever it is his sister does, the recipe needed to hold up to inconsistent mixing and rough handling. The recipe needed to work even when Alton Brown’s famous Muffin Method has to be exchanged in favor of the Kid Method.

Believe it or not I have found such a recipe!  I have it written on an envelope. Where I got it, I knew not when I started writing this tidbit. Just for you I dove into the horrid mess of my bookmarks and found it fifteen minutes later. It is Perfect Blueberry Muffins from Smitten Kitchen.

Here is a little video with our morning adventure.   I hope you will forgive the lack of fanfare and video pizzazz.    The best stuff happens when you turn off the camera.  It was  Minion #1 who totally saved these muffins by reminding me that I forgot the baking powder!   She measured it herself, and I was impressed with her skills.  If it were not for her, this post would have pictures of muffin rocks.   And now I will never be able to cook in peace again, since she now thinks she has the skills to make a souffle’.

Whoa, wait a second.  Those don’t look like blueberry muffins!     I told you I tend to alter recipes a lot, even ones I probably shouldn’t.   I have altered this recipe to our tastes.   I like this recipe particularly because it can survive my tinkering, and a good beating.   It’s simple.  It has weight measurements.   I do so love a recipe with weights, because I get better results even with my fumbling attempts.  Below is the alternations I’ve made.  It is not the full recipe listed because it is not mine.   Visit Smitten Kitchen for the original.  It makes ten muffins (fill the cups right to the top).     If you do any sort of muffin baking and hate cleaning the pan you really need to invest in silicone baking cups.   I bought mine last year and I can no longer live without them.  Okay, I can, but it would be a life full of more drudgery and darkness.   The less I have to clean, the more I like to cook.   I’ll post a separate product review on them.


Minion #1 usually has the job of putting in the silicon cups, but was able to put in the thick batter by herself today. She’s had practice with cookies. She was very proud. Minion #2 was displeased.

My changes:

  • 4 tablespoons butter, softened   (I find that five tablespoons is too much for our taste).  I’ve used substitutes, but find the butter the best especially since I don’t usually butter our muffins when we eat them.
  • A little less than 1/2 cup (70-90grams) sugar depending on what fruit I am using.  The full amount is not overly sweet, but I like a more subtle sweetness.   You can probably easily substitute other sugars.  I did do honey once with blueberries, but it didn’t taste how I prefer.
  • I interchange the 3/4 cup sour cream or yogurt with buttermilk, dry buttermilk, yogurt whey, and even add some regular milk/water if I feel the batter is a bit too dry depending on the consistency of the yogurt or buttermilk.
  • I’ve used dried lemon zest with very good results, but often leave it out.  If I use apples I go cinnamon.  If I use peaches or pears I might go cardamom or allspice.  Bananas I’ve done vanilla.
  • This is a recipe for blueberries, fresh or frozen (you don’t even have to thaw).  But I’ve used many different fruits with happy results.
  • Too give it a fighting chance to rise, I heat blast it to 400 F for ten minutes before turning it back down to 375 F.   That works well with my temperamental oven; adjust to yours.
Because of the Kid Method of mixing, this came out quite rustic looking.   Looks do not have an impact on taste.

Because of the Kid Method of mixing, this came out quite rustic looking. Looks do not have an impact on taste.

Try these and see if you like them as much as we do.   Got kids?   I think this is a pretty good recipe to let them have a go.

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This entry was posted on January 23, 2015 by in cooking, kids, muffins/quick breads and tagged , , , , , .

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