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I fig-ured out some muffins (or, baking at 0-dark:30)

September 6, 2010

Since LM woke up at 4:30 am and wasn’t going back to sleep until her Hour of Power was complete, I figured I’d make some fresh muffins for breakfast when DH decided to get up.  Now, he loves figs but they are so briefly in season and usually so expensive.  Recall his trip into the Costco vortex?  He got a 2 lb box of gorgeous brown figs there, and they don’t keep all that long so I wanted to find a more interesting use for them than oatmeal topping (his preferred use).  I found some great fig recipes on Tastespotting but most everything had at least one ingredient that I don’t have on hand (wtf is a Tonka bean anyway?) but I liked the look of half a fig pushed into the top of a mufin, so I made something up instead.  This recipe is a totally unique creation.

  • 1 cup flour (I used half AP and half WW)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (you could use more flour, ground flax, wheat germ, whatever you like)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used half white, half brown)
  • 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cardamom (I used 1 full tsp but I think they’d be better with less)
  • That one sad brown banana teetering on the top of the fruit bowl
  • 1/3 cup lowfat buttermilk
  • something like 1/2 cup yogurt (I polished of our nonfat European-style from TJs)
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 tbsp melted butter (you could use oil, I’m sure)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract (This is an estimate. I never measure vanilla extract)
  • 5 fresh figs, cut in half

Optional ingredients (all of which I used)

  • balsamic reduction*
  • 6-8 dried figs, diced (you could use raisins or dates)
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I would probably skip this next time)
  • sugar for sprinkling (raw would work best but you could use brown; also optional)

*Balsamic reduction is just what it sounds like: balsamic vinegar + 1tbsp honey/agave nectar simmered until reduced by 2/3 and syrupy.  It keeps forever on the counter, and I’ve been looking for more ways to use it beyond drizzled on salad, tomatoes and mozzarella, and strawberries and yogurt.

  1. Preheat oven to 375F and prep two muffin pans with 10 silicon liners and spray with cooking spray
  2. Mix all dry ingredients, including sugars, into a large mixing bowl and whisk well to combine and break up any brown sugar lumps.
  3. Blend banana and buttermilk in a food processor or blender (you could probably mash and mix the two, but they you’ll end up with a more banana muffin consistency)
  4. Pour that mixture into a medium mixing bowl and mix in the rest of the wet ingredients.  Then pour all wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until just combined (don’t overbeat).  Fold in diced dried figs and walnuts.
  5. Fill muffin cups almost full, then push a half fig into the top of the batter, cut side up…this batter doesn’t rise much, so you want the batter to be right at the edge of the muffin cup.
  6. Put two or three drops of balsamic reduction (or just balsamic vinegar) into the cavity of the fig, and sprinkle the top of each muffin with sugar.
  7. Bake for about 20 minutes or until edges around cut figs turn light brown.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes, and if any balsamic is still pooled in the fig, use a toothpick to poke holes through the fig into the muffin.  Then remove muffins onto cooling rack.  Makes 10 muffins, maybe 11 if you don’t fill them quite so full.

I think they turned out pretty well, and they go great with coffee!  Aside from the optional ingredients, buttermilk may be the only thing you don’t have on hand, but you should consider keeping a quart of it around.  It keeps for a long time, and is great for impromptu pancakes or homemade ranch dressing.  There are lots of ways you could tweak the recipe to make it your own.  I think I will try it again with different fruit (since we got a bunch of sugar plums in our Bountiful Basket), but for now I have to go see how LM is doing with her nap.

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