florafloraflora posted a link to orange muffins.
They tasted (and still taste) lovely, but I didn't get them right.
I read--and immediately forgot--florafloraflora's note about thoroughly scrubbing the orange. The recipe calls for a whole orange. I used a whole, peeled orange. I've been back and checked my bag of oranges and it has a note about the pesticide and food-grade wax--very tiny print--so it's just as well I peeled the orange. (And you'd expect a warning on the recipe about the need to scrub the orange.) I've written up the recipe to have it handy in the kitchen (rather than on the laptop), and I've added a note about scrubbing the orange in the future.
I pre-heated the oven to 375F. Because the last time I used it (a year ago?) to heat a frozen pizza the pizza cooked in the expected time, I didn't check the oven thermometer. That will come back to bite me.
I got the wet ingredients (sans orange peel) blended in my old Oster; I used oil rather than butter. I got the dry ingredients mixed in a large bowl. I started folding the wet into the dry and things fell apart. Literally.
My trusty rubber spatula broke. I retrieved the pieces from the bowl and reassembled them on the counter to be certain they were all there. I tossed the pieces in the trash and immediately made a note on my shopping list. I did the rest of my stirring with a spoon. Deenbat, I saw your note about making sure my new spatula is rated for high temperatures. Will do.
I added the wet ingredients to the dry slowly, but I seemed to have an awful lot of wet stuff. Is that simply because of the lack of orange peel? Because my results didn't look anything like her photo (on this blog--down just before the raisins); mine looked like a pourable cake batter.
And I discovered that my old blender container leaks at the bottom, where you screw the glass onto the spiky part. I'm pretty sure I had it tightened properly, so I may need to get a new rubber gasket. (A new gasket after 30 years doesn't seem unreasonable.)
So I dribbled my "batter" into paper liners in my old muffin tin. (I used to use the tin to sort tiny items--beads or buttons or stamps.)
You know how bad things go in threes? Spatula broken, blender leaking. It's time for number 3.
I opened the oven and popped the muffin tin in quickly, then closed the door right away to keep the heat from escaping. I set my timer for 15 minutes. Since I was moving quickly, I didn't stop to check the oven thermometer. I got the door closed without the red light coming back on to indicate the oven needed to reheat.
I washed my dishes, and resisted the urge to peek in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, timer went off, and I opened the door to slightly risen batter. Another five minutes on the timer didn't help.
I took the muffin tin out and got a good look at the thermometer. Under 300. (Where the thermometer hangs in the oven--it's hanging from the top rack, dead center--you can't really see the temperature while there's a pan in the oven. Is there a better location? I've always been reluctant to hang it at the front of the oven or over to the side because then it doesn't reflect the temperature where you're actually cooking.) I let the tin sit on top of the stove while I reset the temperature. I finally wound up with the dial set at nearly 450, and the thermometer crept up to 375. I put the tin back in for another five minutes. When I took it out, I didn't have tall, fluffy muffins, but they at least were cooked through (knife came out clean). They're very moist and taste wonderful. They just aren't right.
I'll take another stab at the recipe, probably later this week. (I've still got oranges.) I might try butter rather than oil this time. I'll make sure the temperature is right, which might help the muffins get taller. But any ideas why my batter was so wet? Any other recommendations for this recipe?
Question: When a recipe calls for brown sugar, do you usually get dark brown? Or light? I got dark, but I might try Demerara on my next attempt at this recipe. (I love the sound of that name: Demerara. In Mrs Miniver, isn't that what the air warden cum grocer--Mr Foley--is trying to sell the family in the basement during the first black out? --That, and Italian sardines?) Anyway, I bought some Demerara recently to have as an alternative to white sugar for sweetening.
Question: Are there guidelines for choosing which oil you use in a recipe? I used Vigo extra virgin olive oil since that's what I have, but now I'm seeing bad on-line reviews for it. (Vigo makes most of the beans-and-rice packages I've bought, and of course they recommend their own oil. Maybe I should use it on savory but not sweet dishes?) It's not as if anyone sells something labeled "cooking oil". Also--I do have coconut oil. (I bought it for the dogs--it's good for them--but I always forget I have it.) But maybe I should use butter?
Question: And when a recipe calls for butter, do they mean salted? Unsalted? Or does it matter?
Question: Why do the makers of kitchen canisters not make a canister that will hold a 5-pound sack of flour? I have a full canister--and a left-over half-bag.