Sunday, March 22, 2009


It was high time to discard some old metal tins and venture into the era of silicone bakeware. Who would have imagined putting floppy, rubbery pans into a 400 degree F. oven? True to the label, the freshly baked muffins just popped out of these flexible, cranberry red pans. So, out with rusting pans and those scallop-pressed muffin papers that were designed to make removal from pans easier. How many times have I seen someone burrowing their teeth in the bottom of those ruffled papers to retrieve the bottom quarter of a muffin stump. 

What I discovered in buying new pans was that styles can change as they have over the past centuries. The American muffin appeared in the 18th century as quick breads made in individual molds. Muffins were already popular in England but in were white and flat without dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, whole grains and other yummy additions as in the American recipes.
Originally, muffins were made small enough to fit in the palm of an adult hand and were intended to be eaten in a single sitting. With the  'bigger is better' mindset  in the 1970's and 80's we were inundated with muffin mania and the traditional, small, round, cup cake shaped quick breads exploded into jumbo mushroom tops. Coffee shops featuring a variety of muffins became popular places to visit with friends. Not to be outdone was an American big box store that continues to sell mega sized, sugary, caky muffins by the case.  
So here I am with my new silicone pans, and surprise! - the sides of the cups are straight and tall. LIKE I MEAN TALL! I am thinking of renaming these muffins but can't decide what it will be. In spite of the change in shape they are as delicious as ever, and no one in this household is minding it a bit.

I have often sung this nursery ditty with my children, and now to my grandchildren, unbeknownst to the story behind the lyrics.
"Oh, do you know the muffin man,
the muffin man, the muffin man,
Do you know the muffin man
who lives in Drury Lane-O ?"
Over hundred years ago the muffin man walked the city streets of London, ringing a bell as he knocked on doors of Victorian homes, selling his freshly baked 'English Muffins' at tea time. 
Oh sigh, wouldn't that be a treat!
Since that won't happen here, I'll keep baking my wholesome, tall muffins (they really are easy and quick) and share them if you drop by for tea.
( recipe adapted from the Rogers Porridge Oats package)
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 
1 Omega 3 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup granular SPLENDA
1/2 cup milk
1 cup mashed banana
 ( add applesauce if you don't have enough banana,
1/2 cup small semi-sweet chocolate chips ,
1/2 cup dried cranberries)
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
Beat together egg, oil, Splenda, milk and banana.
Add liquids to dry ingredients and stir until just blended,
Spoon batter into NEW muffin tins and bake 18 minutes.
POP out of NEW pans and enjoy.
( x   1 1/2 to make 12 tall muffins)

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