Advertisement

Muffies: They’re the Tops

Who eats muffin bottoms? Just about everybody prefers the tops. Which is why I invented “muffies.” They’re baked on a baking sheet instead of a muffin tin and have no bottoms.

The muffie has a lot going for it: Two cups of muffin batter, which customarily makes four to six muffins, is enough for 16 muffies. And they take much less time to bake, usually less than 10 minutes (you don’t want to overbake them). I prefer them just lightly browned so they stay a little moist and soft inside. They require no special equipment--no muffin tins, just baking sheets--though a one-eighth cup metal measuring cup with a handle makes it easy to measure out the batter.

Almost any thick muffin batter will work, but space the muffies at least two inches apart because they spread a good deal, especially if the batter is not chilled. The way to get a puffier muffie is to refrigerate the batter until it is very chilled. Bake the batter right after it’s mixed and all you’ll get is a flat, soft cookie.

Muffies should be enjoyed warm, right from the oven. To reheat, wrap them in foil and warm gently in a conventional oven. To store muffies, arrange them in a single layer on a baking sheet and freeze them. Once frozen, place them in an airtight plastic bag, then in another airtight plastic bag to stave off freezer odor. Defrost as needed.

Advertisement

Muffies make good sandwiches too; just put the flat bottoms of two warm muffies together with butter, cream cheese or fruit preserves spread in between.

The following muffies will get you started. The Currant-Bran Muffies and Orange-Poppy Seed Muffies are deliberately low in cholesterol. The Blueberry-Apple Muffie is not low, but not excessive, either.

Here, the typical flavorings of bran muffins are mixed into a low-fat batter. Currants are used instead of raisins, however, because smaller fruits work better; if raisins are your choice, snip them up a bit and substitute one-half cup for the currants. If you want a crunchy finish, sprinkle the tops with a little more All-Bran before baking.

CURRANT-BRAN MUFFIES

Advertisement

1 1/3 cups All-Bran cereal

1 1/3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

2 large egg whites

Advertisement

2 tablespoons safflower oil

1 tablespoon molasses

1/2 cup currants

Combine cereal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar in 1-quart mixing bowl. Mix well. Add buttermilk, egg whites, safflower oil and molasses. Stir to combine (disregard any small lumps). Stir in currants. Chill, covered airtight, at least 4 hours to thicken.

Drop 2 tablespoons thickened batter, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets. Sprinkle with more cereal, if desired.

Bake in center of 425-degree oven until tops have taken slight tinge and edges are very lightly browned, about 8 to 9 minutes, rotating pans if browning irregularly. Do not overbake. Cool on racks. Makes 16 (3-inch) muffies.

Each muffie contains about:

88 calories; 97 mg sodium; 8 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 16 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.3 grams fiber; 20% calories from fat.

Advertisement

Poppy seeds give a nice crunch to these muffies. With orange marmalade they would make a perfect orange muffie sandwich for breakfast. To get the most intense flavor from the orange zest, mince the strips of zest with the sugar in the food processor or blender until they are as finely granulated as the sugar. Be sure to wash the orange well and dry it with a paper towel before removing the zest with a vegetable peeler.

ORANGE-POPPY SEED MUFFIES

2/3 cup whole-wheat flour

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons poppy seeds

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1/2 large orange

1/2 cup sugar

2 large egg whites

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

1/4 cup orange juice

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons unsalted butter or margarine, melted

Orange marmalade for muffie sandwiches, optional

Combine whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, poppy seeds, baking soda, allspice and salt in 1-quart mixing bowl. Mix well. Process zest with sugar in food processor or blender until sugar-fine.

Add orange sugar to mixing bowl with egg whites, buttermilk, orange juice, vanilla and melted butter. Stir to combine (disregard any small lumps). Chill at least 1 hour or overnight to thicken.

Drop 2 tablespoons chilled batter, 2 inches apart, onto greased sheets.

Bake in center of 425-degree oven until very lightly browned around edges and lightly colored on top, about 7 to 8 minutes, rotating pans as necessary if browning unevenly. Cool on racks. Makes 16 (3-inch) muffies or 8 muffie sandwiches.

Each muffie contains about:

75 calories; 87 mg sodium; 4 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 14 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams protein; 0.1 gram fiber; 21% calories from fat.

Blueberry muffins are hard for me to resist, even harder when they have chopped apples in them. If you use frozen loose blueberries, do not thaw them before mixing into the batter and do not chill the dough--the thawing blueberries will weep and thin out the batter.

BLUEBERRY-APPLE MUFFIES

1 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup sugar

1 large egg

1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted

1/2 cup minced unpeeled tart apple (best minced in processor)

3/4 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and sugar in 1-quart mixing bowl. Mix well. Add egg, buttermilk, butter and minced apple to bowl. Stir to combine (disregard any small lumps). Gently stir in blueberries.

If blueberries are frozen, bake batter immediately. Otherwise, chill batter until thickened, at least 2 hours or overnight. Drop 2 tablespoons chilled batter, 2 inches apart, onto greased baking sheets.

Bake in center of 425-degree oven until lightly browned around edges with just tinge of color on top, about 7 to 8 minutes, rotating pans as necessary if browning unevenly. Cool on racks. Makes 20 muffies.

Each muffie contains about:

60 calories; 75 mg sodium; 15 mg cholesterol; 2 grams fat; 9 grams carbohydrates; 1 gram protein; 0 fiber; 31% calories from fat.


Advertisement