Can we talk seriously for a moment? No?
How about a hot second? Okay.
I was given the opportunity to read and review Harold McGee's new book "Keys to Good Cooking." Folks, there's so much useful information in this tome that I don't even know where to begin. There are chapters focusing on safety, kitchen tools, and basic cooking methods. There are pages and pages about meats, fruits and veggies, breads, and, my favorite, sweets. It's written in an easily-understandable fashion, with each chapter beginning with a simple introduction followed by bullet point after bullet point of practical factoids. I'm not exaggerating when I say that it's a reference I'll be keeping within reach from now on.
Seriously. It's sitting on the desk beside me right now.
Fluffy. Fluffy like my hair on a humid day...but much more attractive.
In honor of the book, I made some cranberry pecan muffins. I know, what a way to celebrate, right? Handy tip #1: Cranberries stay fresh in the fridge longer than most fruits because of their high acidity. Handy tip #2: It's important to sort through the berries before using them in a baked good, as one sour gem can spoil the whole thing. Handy tip #3: To get a "shapely peak" (Harold's words--catchy phrase, yes?), avoid overleavening, fill the cups nearly full, and bake at a high temperature (400-425F).
Ah. I love science. And food. Ya done good, Harold.
Scientifically Superior Cranberry Pecan Muffins
1 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
Preheat oven to 400F. Line or spray 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients and stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold in cranberries and pecans. Bake 15-20 minutes.