I was busy working on some school work last week and well how long can a foodie dedicate herself to just books. Since the weather was bad I was at home for most part of the day too and the hall where I sit to study overlooks the kitchen !! Now it takes a loooot of will-power to sit there and not get into the kitchen to dish something out right !! So finally one evening I decided to make a few muffins. I was craving for some warm simple vanilla muffins, so I went into the kitchen and getting all the stuff I would need onto the counter and poooofff the power went out !!! Yes, the power !! It was 6 in the evening and the whole place went into pitch darkness... :-( I was alone at home and ......and......well......and....ummm....well..... I am a lil scared of the dark u see.... :-(
So I called my brother and my friends and well...they did come to the rescue. I immediately rushed to a friends house 2 blocks from mine and we were around 6 of us huddled in their hall. They had a gas stove and not the electric one and the leftovers came to our rescue again. We heated up a few tortillas a bowl of sambar, a bowl of rasam and a cup of cauliflower curry were all wiped clean ! The power outage lasted for about 6 hrs !! But it was fun, we all sat down and exchanged stories of how wonderful the power cuts were to us as kids in India. It was the official play time for us. The best part being that in summer the power cut would follow a routine...so the homework schedule would be built around it and it would be a lot easier to play hide n seek...hehe
Can u see the nicely browned, smooth base..Well I think I have digressed enough, so the next day I had all the ingredients ready. I wanted to try something different. Like many might already know I don't use eggs in my dishes, I had some leftover cream cheese+sour cream+heavy cream mix from my Tiramisu that had to be used. I intuitively felt that if used in muffins, it would make them fluffy and light as the heavy cream was whipped well and the cream cheese was also beaten to incorporate air. And the sour cream would give me the acidity that the baking soda will need to act on the batter and help it rise. So that was fixed, I also made another change, I wanted to see how using the buttermilk biscuit /scone making method of rubbing cold butter into the flour work for muffins. I wasn't disappointed with either of these changes.
So here goes the recipe:
- In a bowl combine your dry ingredients(first 6 in the list) and mix well.
- Pre-heat your oven to 300F.
- Now add the cubed chilled butter and rub into the flour mix. It will slowly turn into a crumbly mix.
- Grease a muffin pan with some butter and have it ready so that once the wet ingredients are added you can send them into the oven as quick as you can.
- Now add the cream cheese mix, required amount of milk and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and fold them in to combine.
- Add in the chopped strawberries and incorporate it well without beating/mixing the mixture too much.
- Transfer the batter to the pan to fill 3/4th of each cup and rush it into the oven. Look at how well it rose in the oven :-) yayyyyyy
- Send it into the oven and bake for about 20-30mins based on your oven and until the muffins turn a light brown on the top.
P.S: The batter for this muffin is not a flowy one, it resembled more like a chapati dough gone bad due to extra water. It was all sticky and mushy, I had to use two spoons to fill the muffin cups, one to scoop and another to help me drop them into the muffin pan.
The amount of butter was how much it took me to get a slight crumble texture to the flour.
You can play around with the flavorings, probably almond extract or rose essence would be good too. You can use any fruit, fresh/dried berries and even nuts. I prefer a smooth & soft cake and don't like nuts in mine and so skipped them. but you can add what ever you like, probably even chocolate chips.
I liked the way my muffins rose in the oven and would totally attribute it to the sour cream and beaten cream in it.
Baking powder: It is a a mix of baking soda & some kind of acidic agent like cream of tartar and can be used by itself in any dish.
Baking soda: It needs a moist acidic environment to work in. And so you will see recipes calling for ingredients like buttermilk or lime juice or vinegar and in this case sour cream. You should combine them just before the dish is ready to be cooked as they react almost instantaneously to create CO2 bubbles that help is rising.
Read more here and here.
Enjoy your muffins with some nice warm tea or milk !