Saturday, January 5, 2013

Engine 2 Semi-Disaster - Mighty Muffins

For many years when I made muffins I had to forgo the use of those cupcake liners, because fat-free baking and paper don't get along. I usually sprayed my muffin pan or, for a short while, used those single-sized silicone cups.

Well, Dr. McDougall, among others in the field, say NO OILS, not even to spray the baking pan (although Mary McDougall does say to do it in some of her earlier recipes), and those silicone cups  (no matter what brand I used or how well they were scrubbed) would turn tacky to the touch after a few months, so what's a person to do? Non-stick pans are a thought, but even they say to spray/oil them in the directions that come with them, and besides, they still stick.

I usually go against the gurus and spray my non-stick muffin pan and use parchment paper for other baking purposes and it's worked out well all these decades. There's no McDougall Police coming around to arrest me.

The recipe for Mighty Muffins in the Engine 2 book said to pour the batter into sprayed muffin tins. Rip already uses some ingredients his father, the doctor, says to avoid so I just chuckled when I read this and turned the page, since I never had 3 cups of oat bran or 6 ripe bananas sitting around. Then the recipe appeared on the Engine 2 web site and the directions were changed - it now says to pour into lined muffin tins. I just got a fresh delivery from Amazon of a case of Bob's Red Mill oat bran, and even though it's the end of the week still had the required 6 bananas nice and ripe sitting in the kitchen, so I could finally make them! I looked the recipe over again to double check needed equipment and ingredients. Hmm, it does say to use the paper liner cups, so I guess this isn't one of those recipes where, under the cover of darkness in the oven, some alchemy happens that causes the dough and cupcake paper to merge molecules and become one, unseparable forever, even after a nuclear holocaust.

A word of caution - it still is.

No matter how hard we tried, even with my husband chewing the paper, he couldn't get the outer layer of the muffin off of it. 

This morning I went and double-checked the recipe on-line and sure enough, the muffins in the photo do NOT have cupcake papers on them. I've been shennaniganed

So people, if you want to be able to eat ALL of these otherwise delicious muffins, PLEASE either spray your pan or use those silicone muffin cups, if you still have them laying around and they aren't tacky.

Here's a photo of the batter freshly poured into the muffin pan with papers. The recipe said it makes 6 large sized muffins, and even with these filled almost to the top of the papers I still had enough dough left over for a seventh, so I put a jumbo sized paper liner into a little Pyrex custard cup and poured it into there.

A word about the liners. I looked for months around my area and any mall I went to looking for the size that would fit my large muffin tins, and nobody had them. I finally found some on Amazon at this link. Amazon has others that had ridiculous prices, like $45 for 40 papers, and people were actually buying them at that price because they, too, were desperate and couldn't find them where they lived. So they're plain white papers, not those cute ones with all sorts of graphics, like butterflies or Stars and Bars or fractals, but they are what is needed if I ever want to make cupcakes using that jumbo muffin pan.

And the finished product. As you can see, these didn't rise at all.

Photo taken by the Kid using the iPod he got for Christmas

The first thing you notice is the weight of these things. Each muffin is heavy! One of these bad boys will probably fill you for 6 to 8 hours for a hearty breakfast or snack. My husband and I each ate half of one (Well, what was left of one after taking the paper off) and knew there was no way either of us big eaters could ever finish a whole one by ourselves. The muffin top was a bit crusty and hard, but not inedible. They look nothing like the photo on the recipe's web page, as you can see. My baking powder is fresh, so I don't know if it's the heaviness of the fruit or what that makes them so different in appearance. 

But all kidding and complaints aside, they do taste good. This time I made them with frozen blueberries, skipped the walnuts because my husband is allergic to them and used 2 tablespoons of a combination of flax seed and slivered almonds instead. I used honey for the sweetener but next time I may use plain old sugar.

And you can bet your bippy that next time I make these, I'm not using paper liners but will spray my jumbo muffin pan!


  1. I have been making these muffins in my "pampered chef" stoneware muffin pan. My pan is well seasoned and they come out easily. I still need to use the cooking spray. I feel the people who write the Engine 2 recipes are obviously not cleaning their own pots and pans, therefore they don't worry about the sticky mess left in the pan!

  2. To each his or her own, I guess. We love these muffins, and even my kids eat them.