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Oat milk has been gaining popularity in a big way, in part because so many formulations are made especially for baristas, with extra additions that help them foam and froth, and the slightly nutty, grainy flavour pairs well with coffee. We talked about the increasing number of options out there and tasted a few non-dairy milks on last week’s Eyeopener. But if you want to make your own oat milk, it’s easy: simply blend a 1:3 ratio of rolled (old-fashioned or quick) oats to cold water in a blender, add a pitted date (for a bit of sweetness that mimics the lactose in milk) and a pinch of salt if you like, blend for 20-30 seconds, and strain. Don’t let them soak, or your milk could get gummy — and the same thing can happen if you over-blend. Just put the oats and water in the blender and go. (Don’t try steel cut—they’re too hard to blend.) I like to double strain — pour itContinue reading

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This was the trickiest of the lot, but perhaps the most satisfying to crack. The cheddar Mmmuffins had a slightly sweet, cakey texture, and were brilliant orange. My initial tests were tasty but missing the mark… it wasn’t until a CBC listener messaged me with a tip: back in the eighties, working at a different chain eatery, she used powdered cheddar when making the muffins. I added about half a pack of the cheese mix from a box of KD and voilà—extra cheesiness, but also that intense orange colour that acts as a visual cue, making them taste even cheesier. You could, of course, use extra-old white cheddar here—and you could omit the powdered cheese… just expect them to look a bit different.

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Here we go!!! I decided, after seeing my friend Caitlin Green lament the Marvellous Mmmuffins of her youth, to try to recreate them in my own kitchen. Mmmuffins kiosks brought mega muffins to the masses from 1979 until peoples’ tastes for muffins started to wane around the turn of the millennium – they were in their heydey in the eighties, when malls were also the place to be. The taste and texture of the chocolate chip, butterscotch-pecan and cheddar varieties are burned into my consciousness. I started with chocolate chip. Peoples’ memories of these seem to differ – many recall them having a crunchy, sugary lid, and I remember them being pale-ish and sticky on top. My theory (and I don’t know this- I haven’t seen the actual formulation) is that a high fructose sweetener was used in the batter – fructose has humectant properties, and draws moisture from its surroundings. (It could also have been that they were a bit underbaked at the locationContinue reading

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I haven’t made a batch of Phantom Rhubarb Muffins (from the Best of Bridge-so named because they’re so delicious they tend to disappear) for years, and keep meaning to. I love tart bits of rhubarb in my muffins, and this recipe doesn’t produce too big a batch – I know you can freeze them, but who ever needs 2 dozen muffins at a time? 8 is perfect. I made these one recent morning when we were packing up the car for a road trip, in order to avoid the mostly disappointing $2 highway muffins with our very necessary coffees. Note: because I was distracted (and am, in general, imperfect) I wasn’t thinking and used more butter and sugar in the simple crumble topping than necessary, which resulted only in more caramelly bits on top – nothing wrong with that. And though the recipe calls for pecans, I had almonds – use any nut you have in your baking cupboard, really.

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Hey, hi! So I’m in the middle of the craziness that is the Calgary Stampede, and have 8 shows down on the grounds this week – partly because I’ve been asked to do cooking demos for Bush’s Beans, sponsors of the Kitchen Theatre for the past 5 years. As you know, I’m a bean enthusiast, and always happy for an excuse to cook with them – and this time, I challenged myself to come up with something unique using their small pull-tab cans of baked beans, which are being handed out at the kitchen and at pancake breakfasts across the city. I do love baking with beans, and canned varieties make a particularly smooth puree, so I started experimenting with muffins and came up with these. I pureed the whole batter in the blender (or food processor), so you only have to clean one “bowl”, and can pour the batter right into your muffin cups. And because the beans themselves have some fibre and starchyContinue reading

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Back in the nineties, cranberry-orange everything was all the rage in coffee shops – and when we went to those first few that began taking over our Saturday mornings, Mike always ordered cranberry orange in muffin and loaf form. Although it’s not as common a flavour combination these days, it came to mind on Sunday morning as I puttered around the kitchen and although I didn’t really need to bake anything, slush was falling from the sky outside and I wanted to warm up with the smell of something baking. Also: second coffee.

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I don’t have many photos of these, but I’m sure you’ll agree that’s OK – most of you likely know what muffin batter looks like, and these were spur-of-the-moment muffins made to a) utilize the glut of blackberries currently taking over our kitchen, and b) convince some of us to stop spending $3 per so-so muffin at the coffee shop down the road every morning. A muffin recipe may seem a bit too obvious, but I’m always surprised at how few good ones I come across out there in the wild. Although stir-together muffin batter is as simple as you can get, they can also be tricky – I like a nicely domed top with a crunchy edge and tender crumb, berries evenly dispersed throughout. When I posted this photo, I had half a dozen requests for the formula within five minutes – a good, basic recipe is a good thing to have at this time of year, when berries and juicy stone fruits areContinue reading

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Have you ever had a banavalanche? A mass of frozen bananas unloading from your freezer each time you open the door? Fortunately I have a drawer freezer at the bottom of my fridge now – which means the bananas overflow into the ice cube tray, making all our ice taste like banana. Which is a sign it’s time to bake something. I toss a few whole (solid) bananas in a bowl of warm water to thaw, then squeeze them out one end (like milking a cow) until their super soft innards slither out into the mixing bowl. But I feel as if I’ve finally hit my banana bread quota, and the two of us have to take a break for awhile – and so I dug out a recipe for muffins sweetened with honey that I made out in Tofino one time, and (possibly because we’re typically out there at this time and my subconscious self is homesick for the place) made a batch.

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Growing up, when our dog (a bearded collie named Sundance) was getting old, I remember my horror when I realized why my mom was buying smaller and smaller bags of dog food. It feels a little like that here… we’re in the final stages of tweaking the back end of the new website and moving everything over, at which point most of the photos won’t fit the new layout, and so posts are getting fewer and further between – more stuff means more to move, and resize. And I’ve been in Edmonton all week – I just got back – but I did bake a batch of muffins on Sunday night before I left, to bring with me in the car on my pre-dawn drive out to Viking, Alberta, and for Mike to tuck into W’s insulated lunch fish (it’s a fish) to relieve some of the guilt I always have over going away. These are good muffins – ones we used to go toContinue reading

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