"Kitchen Sink" Muffins

I have learned SO much about cooking from my mom. And whenever I have a question about anything I know I can call her and she will probably know! She e-mailed me this recipe two years ago after we visited for Thanksgiving, and I still use it frequently. It is really easy to customize these to your tastes! Below I have copied her recipe, with my notes in italics. She writes:

Well, here are instructions for my "Kitchen Sink" muffins. Success will be achieved by making them enough and observing the quality of the batter and the resulting muffins. I don't think muffins are a critical sort of thing like a cake, they are pretty forgiving, so don't be afraid!

Dry Ingredients:

FLOUR -- I always use 1/2 cup whole wheat, 1/2 cup white, and 1/2 cup oat flours. This seems to make enough batter for six muffins most of the time (depending upon other ingredients I guess).
LEAVENING -- I use about one teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon soda. I don't know why I don't use a set amount of soda, I just put in what I think is right at the moment. (I use 1 tsp soda)
SALT -- not a major ingredient but I think you should have some in there for flavor, say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon.
SPICES -- These will depend on your other ingredients. You can leave spices out, or you can put in a lot of different ones. I almost always use some cinnamon, but you can use nutmeg, allspice, cloves, ginger, cardamom, etc. Say about a teaspoon of cinnamon if you are using it, and somewhat less of any others, except if you are making sort of gingerbread muffins use more ginger.

Mix the dry ingredients together in a smallish bowl.

WET MIXTURE -- not all the ingredients in this mixture are "wet," but the mixture is. Mix in a medium bowl.

I always start with a portion of bran cereal like All Bran. I never measure it, but I think it is between 1/2 to 1 cup of it. I think one cup is a safe amount. (One thing that makes really great muffin base are the crumbs in the bottom of cereal boxes. I save mine in a bag to use for things like this. Frosted shredded wheat and granola crumbs are my favorites. I either use 1 cup of bran cereal, or 1/2 cup bran and 1/2 a cup of that mixture.)

Put the bran cereal in the bowl and add YOGURT or BUTTERMILK, probably about a cup. Stir them together to start the cereal getting soaked so it will break down.

I put the SWEETENER in the wet mixture. I don't use a lot because I usually use some kind of fruit and that adds sweetness. Say no more than 1/4 cup of sugar, brown sugar, honey, molasses, syrup, jam, jelly (melted) or some other thing. It depends on what your overall flavor goal is what kind of sweetener you use. (Apple butter is really good for this, especially if you make your own.)

Don't forget to put in ONE EGG, and some OIL or MELTED BUTTER, about 2 tablespoons.

Mix these things together.

Add to the wet mixture any kind of fruit puree like mashed banana or applesauce, or any kind of dried fruit like raisins or chopped prunes or apricots or peaches, or dried berries. I started out making these muffins when I had some hard dates in the cupboard; I soaked them in hot water until they were soft and added them, water and all, to the wet ingredients. You will very likely need to add more moisture in the form of water or milk or juice, so I will often soak dried fruit (if I am using it) in water and add this. If I don't do that, I usually add some water when I mix the batter and can see what I need. This really is the part you need to learn to get a feel for; that is, how much liquid ingredients to add, how moist/runny you want this "wet" mixture to be. It all depends on what you are using. (See? Very customizable!)

You may also add chopped nuts or chocolate chips, depending on what you want.

So once you have your wet mixture, you can stir in the mixed dry ingredients. Stir gently, and add more water or something liquid until the batter is mixed. THE BATTER should NOT be RUNNY, NOR HEAVY and STIFF. The reaction of the acid from the yogurt/buttermilk and/or the fruit will make the batter sort of puff up, so it will be kind of light and fluffy. Don't stir it down or you will make it flat, and the muffins will be tough. Mix lightly but thoroughly.

Fill large muffin cups nearly to the top. Since the muffin batter is fluffy, it will not rise a great deal more in the oven, so you don't want to under-fill the cups. You should have enough batter for six or sometimes five muffins.

Bake for about 25 to 30 minutes at about 375-400 degrees. You might like to test them with a toothpick to see if they are done, or check earlier to see that they are not over-browning. Again, it depends on what the ingredients are so you have to sort of watch.

I hope this helps you to make your own yummy muffins!

Thank you, Mom!! I love you! :D

April 2nd, Additional note: I made a version of these for our 13 month old! I baked them in a mini muffin tin so they were a nice size for him, and the extras freeze really well. I used pureed squash, shredded carrot and zucchini to give him some veggies and applesauce, prune juice and raisins for fruit. I used a little honey as sweetener, and added wheat germ and oats to the dry mixture. I used plain greek yogurt and butter. He LOVES them, especially with some peanut butter on top. Here they are:


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