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Muffins - Scones

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A muffin in a loaf? A soda bread with attitude? Just darned good!

What to do with garden surplus? A moist, spicy, divine muffin that does double duty as a quick bread loaf. This is one of those quietly popular recipes that gets hit on alot. In a totally good way.

When I first began baking I brought samples of my early efforts to my office at McGill University where I worked as an administrative assistant. Can you imagine me in a real office in a real job ? At that time, zucchini bread was considered novel so when I brought this gorgeous, moist, lovely loaf in, no one would touch it! Finally, the guy in the office that ate everything gave it a try. As he dove in for his third slice, the rest of the office caught on; The cake became an urban office legent.  People say zucchini quick bread was invented to get rid of excess zucchini. I think it is the other way around. This great loaf is packed with flavor and also makes very fine zucchini muffins. You can switch cranberries or dried cherries for the raisins and/or frost it with a carrot cake cream cheese frosting if you like but it's super by the hunky slice.

Two types of dairy ingredients, both acidic, cream and sour cream, make these special. Once you make blueberry muffins, you might as well make lots and freeze them. Or, make half as muffins and the other half of the batter as a quick bread, which also can be frozen or given as a gift. No mixer necessary for these gems –the hands and a whisk is all you need. 

These are tender and delicate and bursting with blueberries in every bite. These are really miniature coffee cakes actually. You can make these oversized, or spoon them out as muffin tops but they present, and bake up especially nicely in this version of a mini loaves or ‘baby cake’. Wilton also sells mini-Bundt pans that would work (but result in fewer cakes overall).

These are tender and delicate and bursting with blueberries in every bite. These are really miniature coffee cakes actually. They are bake in mini loaf pans you can find at most cooking supply stores. Wilton and Nordic Ware also sell mini-Bundt pans that would work (but result in fewer cakes overall) Either way, you get a tender, little blueberry muffin-cake that melts in your mouth.

I love scones on day one. I still love them days 2 and 3 but I rather wish they would not dry out quite so much. This method of brushing them once, as soon as they come out of the oven, and then twice, about 15 minutes later, with a syrup of butter and honey solves the problem in a very sweet way. The scones stay wonderful and flavorful for a good 4 days and the sweetened crust is irresistible. Double berries make these special as well as using soured whipping cream. You know how you add lemon juice to milk to sour it? So that you get the benefits of a buttermilk vis a vis an exceptionally high rising scone? Ok…now you know how whipping cream makes scones extra tender? Now, imagine both attributes: high-rise and extra tender, flaky scones. That is what souring some whipping cream does. Almost any fruit would do in these, but this mix of blue/black fruit, not to mention the taste, is exceptional.

These are tender and jammed with blueberries. Miniatures of these are heavenly.

These are delectable but nutritious scones, scented with orange, sweetened with halvah and honey and studded with dried fruit or the new nutritional wunderkind’: blueberries. The halvah is optional but offers a taste of the past, updated in a contemporary treat. These are wonderfully rustic in absolutely delectable to every last crumb – the hue of their baked crusts is pure art. If you prefer, use canola or light olive oil instead of butter. The butter is a natural fat and considering that this recipe makes 12-14 scones, the end result is a mere trace of butter per scone but unrivalled flavor. Just in case: halvah comes off the block or in cans, available in deli's and Middle Eastern Food stores. Halvah is essentially ground of sesame seeds and honey and is just an awesome confection on its own -it is like....exotic fudge (for lack of a better description).
If you really want to up the nutrition of these, use heart-healthy Omega eggs or you can opt for their organic or free range eggs. But alas, this incredible, wonderful recipe made it to the recipe Hall of Fame and now resides in A Passion for Baking, Marcy Goldman, Oxmoor House 2007.

These are more like little coffeecakes than muffins. An amazing buttermilk and vanilla batter is home to toffee chips and then anointed with a butter-pecan streusel. Lock these up at night!

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