Saturday, April 3, 2010

Jam Muffins

Jam Muffins
Originally uploaded by Pictures by Ann

I'm doing a "52 Weeks of Baking" swap on Swap-Bot. Each week, the challenge is to bake a new recipe, and then send the recipe, picture, and review of it to two partners.

During the first week, I made these jam muffins along with green onion drop biscuits and barbecued meatballs. Half of the muffins had strawberry jam and the other half had wild blackberry jam (the blackberries grow on the farm here).

I chose the three recipes from a collection of recipes that I’ve wanted to make for a long time, but haven’t gotten around to it.

Having the 52 Weeks of Baking swap is a great motivator for me – it holds me to a deadline and gives me something positive to work on and towards.

My thought is that it may make a nice recipe book for my daughters...a special gift of recipes that we’ve tried along with pictures.

So, early this morning, I sorted through all the recipes and pulled out all the ones that involved baking. From that, I selected the recipes above because they all had ingredients that I had on hand.

This has been a focus of mine over the past month of so – to use what I have rather than purchasing new ingredients. Of course, there are some items that I need to purchase (e.g., milk, eggs) in order to make other items, but for the most part I’ve reduced the food bill substantially.

In terms of experience gained today, I think the main two things I learned were:

- Be Flexible – although I thought I had all the ingredients for the recipes, in actuality…I didn’t. The biscuit one, in particular, I had to modify 3 out of the 9 ingredients either because I didn’t have enough of something, had run out of it, or it had to be changed due to a dairy allergy (my oldest daughter is allergic to milk/dairy products).

- Remember What Mom Did – having grown up during the Depression, my mom was incredible in terms of being able to stretch the food budget. She would make things small so we could have 2 or 3 of the item.

As a child, I always thought I was getting a lot of something. In reality, it was probably only 1 serving. The barbecued meatball recipe says to make 1 ½ dozen meatballs from a pound of hamburger. By making them half that recommended size, I filled an entire cookie sheet with meatballs.

So, back to the jam muffins...

My oldest daughter wanted to try one of these right after I put the confectioners’ sugar on top of the muffins. “They look really good!” she said.

Cut one open to take a picture, and the jam had sunk to the bottom of the muffin rather than sitting in the middle like the picture showed in the magazine. It’s not a huge deal, but from an aesthetic standpoint, it doesn’t look as nice as the magazine picture.

The muffin is light and tasty. Having the jam right in the center of the muffin will make it much easier in the morning – no need to cut open the muffin and spread it with jam. It’s already done!

I would make this recipe again and continue to try different jams that I’ve canned during the summer.

Here's the recipe. It's from Family Fun magazine:

¾ cup seedless raspberry jam (I used homemade strawberry jam for half of the muffins and homemade wild blackberry jam for the other half of the muffins)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup plain low-fat yogurt (I used dairy-free plain yogurt)
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Confectioners’ sugar

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease the bottoms only of 12 standard muffin cups. Wisk the jam in a small bowl until smooth and set it aside (I didn’t do this).

In a large bowl, whisk together both flours and the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the yogurt, oil, egg, and vanilla extract until well blended. Stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients just until the batter is blended.

Fill the cups halfway with batter and cut a spoon to make a shallow well in the center of each. Fill each well with a rounded teaspoon of jam and then cover the jam with more batter.

Bake the muffins for 12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one comes out clean (I tested the side where the dough was – not the jam). Let the muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before removing them. Dust the tops with confectioners’ sugar.

Makes 1 dozen.

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