Saturday, August 30, 2008

For the Muffin Lady in Whole Foods

I love helping people in the baking supplies aisle at the store. Call it the teacher passing on her passion in me if you will.

Tonight, I stopped by Whole Paycheck to pick up some honey for a dish I'm baking with Sara, some milk for a throw down with friends tonight, and some more of those addicting chicken sausages for the Labor Day weekend (I know....). While I was trying to see if they had some orange water to add to the dish I'm baking with Sara, a clerk came into the aisle with all the baking supplies with a woman in tow to show her several muffin mixes.

While they were talking about the pros and cons of different mixes and asking each other and another shopper in the aisle as conversation was struck up and come to find out, she was going to be making muffins for about 30 people. She would have had to purchase six boxes of muffin mix to accommodate that many people as the mix she was looking at only made 6 - 8 good sized muffins (planning on 1 1/2 muffins per person). It was decided she was going to do apple cinnamon muffins. I gave her a short cut to having to peel and dice apples by using a large jar of apple pie filling and a small container of apple sauce.

We discussed a few tips and I handed her my baking card with the offer of if she had any questions email me and in fact, email as I would give her my master quick bread recipe. I then thought on the drive home, she can't be the only person who faces large scale baking issues.

When you reach numbers like that, you are much better off baking your own from a recipe versus a then thought box, especially when you are talking about something as easy to put together as muffins. Especially since by the time you put together six boxes of mix you could have put together one or two large batches of batter from scratch. Muffins are just about the easiest things to put together and they are pretty darn no fail.

Here are a few things you need for large scale muffin baking:

A. muffin tin for 12 muffins. Two is better but one will do
B. cup cake papers
C. large (5 qt) mixing bowl or stew/stock pot
D. 2 cooling racks (you can substitute by taking the insert from the broiling pan and flipping it over)
E. Electric hand mixer is nice if you have it

Here we go with:

Apple Cinnamon Muffins for 30

7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (we are going to cut back because the apple pie filling and apple sauce will contain sugar)
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 tablespoons and 1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon and 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 2/3 cups vegetable oil
5 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
1 25 once jar of apple pie filling, mashed
1 small tub of apple sauce

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Crack eggs into bowl, making sure there are no shells and set aside.

In large bowl, sift together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Stir in eggs, vegetable oil, milk, apple pie filling and apple sauce. Batter should be thick but moist. If it is too dry, add a little more milk until you have a batter the consistency of thick brownie batter.

Using an ice cream scoop or soup ladle sprayed with cooking spray, fill 2/3 full muffin tin lined with cup cake papers and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.

Top each muffin with a sprinkling of granulated sugar to add a crunch to the top and bake for 17 - 20 minutes or until a tooth pick comes clean inserted in the middle of a muffin in the center of the pan. Allow muffins to cool for 2 -4 minutes in the pan and then turn out and finish cooling on cooling racks.

Repeat until batter is gone.