Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The “Nelson County Muffins”

Written by the folks that ran the Kitchen of Krishna “in a little house in a small town in Virginia”, this book came into my hands at the Chicago Lit Fest in Printer's Row a few years ago. I couldn't resist, as it is full of character and was written by hand instead of using typefaces.

While I don’t exactly know where Nelson County is (somewhere in Virginia, most likely) I've grown attached to its muffin recipe. See the photo above for a helpful note in the recipe introduction, regarding the best approach to making them. Ahem.

These are not the biggest, sugariest, most impressive variety of muffin—rather, they are (at least somewhat) nutritious, humble, and can be grabbed in the morning while running out the door. The best part, I think, is that the recipe is extremely versatile and forgiving.

Note: While the original in the photo notes that it makes two dozen, it has yielded one dozen regular (not giant or mini) muffins for me.

2 cups flour (whole wheat is best, but white or a mix of both is ok...)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1/2 cup sweetener (honey, brown sugar, raw sugar...)
Liquid (water, some kind of milk, fruit juice...)

Mix the first six ingredients together, and add liquid to make muffin-batter-like consistency. Grease muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes (or until done).

*As for the goodies, almost anything is possible. Keep in mind that the more goodies added in, the heavier they get. I don't measure these ingredients, but throw in a handful or so of whatever is around. The following combinations have worked well for me:
  • Chocolate chips, flaked coconut, walnut pieces
  • Shredded carrot, slivered almonds, dash of cinnamon
  • Raisins, substitute 1/4 cup quick oats for 1/4 of the flour
  • Berries (if frozen, thaw and drain first)

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