Monday, November 20, 2006

Pistachio & Apricot Muffins, Take Two

Last month I tried a recipe for pistachio & apricot muffins that I didn't like. It was heavy on the flour and the muffins were dry. I liked the combo of pistachios and apricots so I vowed to try again. This past weekend I did.

Rather than go all nuts swapping out ingredients and changing quantities right away, I decided to change the recipe slightly. Instead of superfine sugar, I used honey. I did this to add sweetness but more importantly, moisture. The first batch was very dry and hard to mix together. This batch was still a little sticky but was much easier to fold the ingredients. So here is the changed recipe.

Pistachio & Apricot Muffins
based on the Pistachio & Apricot recipe on page 274 of the 500 Cupcakes: The Only Cupcake Compendium You'll Ever Need by Fergal Connolly.

Makes 16 regular sized muffins

1 1/3 cups (8 oz) dried apricots
4 tbsp. brandy
4 cups (17 oz) self-rising flour
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 teas. + a pinch baking soda
1/2 cup (3 1/2 oz) shelled pistachios

Give the apricots a rough chop and soak them in the brandy for about a hour. Preheat the oven to 325° F. Remove the apricots from the brandy and puree them in a food processor until smooth. Some small chunks of apricot is fine. In a medium sized bowl, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs and then dust with the additional baking soda. In another bowl, beat the eggs slightly to break up the yolks. Add the honey, buttermilk, and the apricots and mix them together. Combine all the ingredients into the bowl with the flour and butter and stir until everything is just combined. Spoon the mixture evenly into baking cups. I use a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop to measure and place the batter in the cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes, checking after about eighteen minutes. These are done when a cake tester or toothpick comes out cleanly.

These turned out better. The muffins rose more while baking and weren't so dense. Still, they are not light and fluffy. You could taste the apricots and honey but it still had a slight flour taste. These were also sweeter than the previous batch. The taste does improve with age. Lorrie mentioned the picture looks like a jalapeno corn muffin and while that definitely doesn't describe the flavor, that observation is spot-on to the feel and texture of this muffin.

But I think I can do better, maybe next time I'll try reducing the flour. Check back after the holiday season for the next episode of what is now becoming a regular series, Pistachio & Apricot Muffins.

Also, I know the name is Cookies, Et Cetera so you'd think there would be more cookies on this site. Well, all I can say is they're coming. I may have been focusing on the 'et cetera' part for a little bit but in December I will definitely be baking more cookie recipes and sharing them here.

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