Level Three Muffins

Sunday, September 19, 2010

In the annals of baking, there are three levels of errors.  Level One errors are minor mistakes.  A Level One error would be putting slightly too many chocolate chips in your chocolate chip cookies.  Level Two errors are medium-sized flubs, like baking your cake in an 8” pan instead of a 9” one.

And then there are the Level Three errors.  The mistakes that are so egregious, so horrifying, that you can only avert your eyes and hope that you didn’t really see them.  The mistakes that you can’t believe someone would actually blog about, leaving a permanent online record.

These muffins were a Level 3 error.

It started so well.  Oatmeal Breakfast muffins are a Dorie Greenspan recipe, which meant they were guaranteed to be delicious.  I have never made a recipe by Dorie that wasn’t superb.  I was baking them for my Aunt Barbara and Uncle Don who were arriving from Los Angeles on the red-eye flight.

The muffins were in their liners, the streusel about to be poured, when a small alarm went off in my mind.  Something wasn’t quite right.  Something was missing.  I gazed at the naked little muffins, and they gazed blankly back at me.

And I realized that in my Oatmeal Breakfast muffins, I had forgotten to add … the oatmeal.

Now here’s where my luck started to change.  The batter had made 16 muffins.  The recipe calls for 1 cup of oatmeal, which is 16 tablespoons.  So I poured one tablespoon of oatmeal into each muffin liner and lovingly stirred it in.  Maybe not the most efficient way of combining ingredients but, hey, it worked.

If you are still reading, I can only assume it’s for my sparkling prose rather than my ability to teach you anything about baking.  So you won’t even flinch when I tell you I substituted almonds for the walnuts, right?

Aunt Barbara and Uncle Don, I am very fond of you, and please don't be offended by my serving you Level Three muffins.  The fact that these still tasted so great is a testament to the quality of Dorie's recipe, and the affection with which I baked them.

Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
(adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From My Home to Yours)

For the topping:
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped almonds (or walnuts)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

For the batter:
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
1 cup raisins
1 cup old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place 16 muffin liners in muffin tin.

To make the topping, toss together the brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.

To make the batter, whisk together the eggs, applesauce, oil and buttermilk until well blended.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, nutmeg and cloves.  Remove 1/2 tsp of the mix and toss it with the raisins, just to coat.  Set aside.  Stir the oats into the bowl.  Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry and, using a large rubber spatula, stir just until everything is evenly moistened.  Scatter the raisins over the batter and stir to blend.  Scrape the batter into the pan and sprinkle over the topping, tamping it down very lightly with your fingers so it sticks.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool to room temperature before eating.

Muffins can be frozen for up to 2 months.

Makes 16 muffins. 


Julie said...

Oh I have had my share of level 3 errors. I've started trying to gather the ingredients prior to starting, helps a lot! They look beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Since you were able to save them, I would call them almost-Level 3. Glad they turned out - this is an awesome recipe!

Jaime said...

haha, we all have our baking moments like this! good job on salvaging them!

Unknown said...

LOL, this post cracked me up!

The Blonde Duck said...

Aww! It happens to all of us.

It happens to me more often than not, actually!

Valerie Gamine said...

No worries, we've all been there. And I think the muffins still look great!

Barbara Bakes said...

I love your 3 levels. I'm not sure your muffins qualify for level 3. It sounds like you saved the day just in time.

Joanne said...

Haha I like your error stratification system. Although I think your level one example is not really an error. But deliciousness that is totally necessary.

We've all been there but it sounds like you made a pretty good save in the bottom of the ninth!

shaz said...

Erm, I have to say I'm pretty much usually operating on Level 2 and quite often on Level 3 then! But I prefer to think of it as showing great ingenuity in producing a passable end product in the face of disaster :) Although in this case it sounds more than passable, well done!

Beth said...

Thanks, everyone, for your support! Joanne, I think you're right about the Level One error. Hard to have too many chocolate chips! And Shaz, I definitely like how you interpreted this as an example of my ingenuity. You're welcome in my kitchen any time!

Leslie said...

If this is a level three error, some of mine must be level 10! I can't tell you how many times I've left a key ingredient out (leavening comes to mind). I'm glad you were able to rescue them!

Sue said...

What a great story, with a happy ending! Thanks for the visit to my blog and your nice comment:) I wish I could have rectified my macarons!

Shandy said...

I love how you salvaged your breakfast muffins! I think everyone who bakes has mishaps in the kitchen. Some we bury under the rug, "never" to be remembered and others we share because the error was a true learning experience, maybe even humorous later in life. Gorgeous muffins!

Hanaâ said...

That was pretty funny. Stuff like that neeeeeeeever happens in my kitchen (ahem, let's not talk about my tuna casserole that didn't have any tuna in it, shall we?). Glad to see that in the end, the muffins turned out fine (so did my casserole) :o)

Beth said...

Great story about the tuna casserole, Hanaa!
In the end, the muffins tasted great, and I guess that's what counts!

Mimi said...

I think you need to down grade your error, since they turned out fine. Save that level 3 for the stuff you have to throw in the trash can and compact quickly before anyone notices.

Post a Comment