Sep 19, 2007

Weaving friendship through Cranberry-nut upside down muffins

It arrived at my door with love, packed with some delicious brownies. The brownies were packed with utmost care. Enclosed was a card in a beautiful writing and an instruction sheet.

It weaves friendship in a unique way by stinking. The day it arrived I greeted it with love. I placed it on the kitchen counter with care. Every two hours, I would pay a visit and stare at it lovingly, making sure that nothing’s wrong in its growth.

The next three days I ruthlessly mashed it. On the 6th day, I again changed my avatar and fed it some flour, sugar, and milk. It got confused seing the change. It hoped things have changed for the good. But I proved it wrong again. For the next 3 days, I again mashed it. By the 10th day, it was clueless and scared. So, when I poured it in a bowl it had no clue what would happen next.

Ever since Bee announced that she was sending some scary, smelly things in the mail, I was anticipating their arrival. Wondering what I should bake with the special batter, I paid a visit to the local library. My hand fell upon a book that's a gem for amateur and professional bakers. As I turned page after page, delicious recipes for cakes, muffins, pies, tarts, and cookies greeted my eyes. The book I am talking about is Better Homes and Gardens: Old Fashioned Home Baking. There were so many recipes to choose from that I soon got confused. As the 10th day for processing the batter approached, I finally settled on one recipe. For all those who have received the starter, Nupur has provided the schedule to be followed. Here's my little experiment with the Amish Friendship starter.

Cranberry nut upside down muffins
(Adapted from Better Homes and Garden: Old Fashioned Home Baking)
Yields: 12 muffins
Original recipe

  1. Grease twelve muffin cups or line them with paper bake cups. Set muffin cups aside.

  2. In a small covered saucepan, cook 1 1/2 cup cranberries and 3/4 cup sugar over low heat just till the mixture starts to form juice. Stir frequently. Uncover and heat to boiling, stirring from time to time. Boil gently, uncovered, for about 5 minutes or till the berries pop. Stir in 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg (I didn't have nutmeg. I added 1/4 tsp cardamom powder). Divide the cranberry mixture evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Set the muffin cups aside.

  3. In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup sugar, 1/3 cup chopped nuts, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.

  4. In another bowl combine 1 beaten egg, 3/4 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel. Add the egg mixture all at once in the dry mixture. Stir till just moistened. Batter should be lumpy while making muffins. Spoon batter on top of the cranberry mixture in the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

  5. Preheat oven to 400degrees.

  6. After pre-heating, bake the muffins at 400degrees for 20-25 minutes.

  7. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes.

  8. To remove muffins from cups, invert them into wire rack or a dish.

Recipe using Amish Friendship starter

  1. Step 1 and 2 are same as above.

  2. Step 3: In a medium mixing bowl stir together 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour, 1/3 cup chopped nuts, 2 tsp baking powder, and 1/4 tsp salt. Make a well in the centre of this mixture.

  3. Step 4: In another bowl combine 1 cup Amish starter, 1 beaten egg, 2/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup cooking oil, and 1/2 tsp finely shredded lemon peel. Add the egg mixture all at once in the dry mixture. Stir till just moistened. Batter should be lumpy while making muffins. Spoon batter on top of the cranberry mixture in the muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

  4. Steps 5-8 remain the same as above.

Verdict: Super tasty! Super moist! Delicious. Warm. Perfect. We soon ran out of words to describe them. We savoured each bite, filled with different tastes of cranberries, lemon peel, nuts, and the sweet batter.

As for the Amish friendship starter, it sure is weaving friendships all across blogosphere. Jai and Bee's special way of sending the batter moved me to tears. For a minute I wondered why did these people send me so much love? They hardly know me. But then I smiled and thought, there are still some people who go out of thier way to treat others special.

Passing the starter: I am passing this starter to:

  • Shilpa: For her enthusiasm in baking and taking her decorating skills to a new level.

  • Sharmi: For doing an excellent job with the JFI: Rice round-up.

  • To a local friend B who loves cooking and baking.

  • To my Wilton cake decorating class instructor, Veronica for being an excellent guide and mentor:)

Fellow blogger's outstanding experiments with the Amish Friendship starter:

If you have baked something using the Amish starter, please leave a comment in this post and I will update the list.


Rajitha said... looks delicious..nice idea on the upside down muffin..yumm

Laavanya said...

You've written so well Swapna and explained it all so beautifully. Your muffins look great.

bee said...

that is so brilliant. i guess this recipe would work with any jam or preserve. a question: shouldn't that be 1/3 cup of milk you used with the starter?

Swapna said...

Rajitha: I was so delighted when they turned out so delicious:)
Lavanya: Thanks for your kind words.
Bee: The original recipe calls for 3/4cup milk. I tried substracting 1/3 from it as per your instructions.But, my Maths is bad. So, I just substituited original with 2/3 cup milk.

Tee said...

Delicious looking muffins, Swapna!

Tee said...

btw , what happened to your new blog, Aamhi Marathi?

musical said...

They are really pretty, Swapna!

Sharmi said...

Thanks a lot for the dough, the links, a beautiful recipe and a very careful writeup. Will keep you informed.

Roopa said...

wow those are such delicious looking muffins :) BTW what is the cup measurement you used it came up to exact 6 muffins ?

Manasi said...

Wow!! looks so delicious!!! Super!!!

bhags said...

nice thought of making upside down muffins with the friendship batter

Suganya said...

Very creative, Swapna! A perfect accompaniment to tea. BTW, I baked Pineapple Cherry bread.

Srivalli said...

They look swell swad...excellent..

Sia said...

LOL... i pity that poor starter who had to go through ur ruthless mashing;) loved ur recipe. i guess we can use any fruit jam here.

Nags said...

lovely muffins. i love the color of cranberry!

Siri said...

Nice Yummy Muffins swapna..:D and I didn't know about "Amish Friendship Starter" untill now... such cute concept..:)

Pooja V said...

These are such delicious looking muffins.

Asha said...

Stinky thing is spreading it's aroma everywhere!!Looks great S!:))

Swapna said...

Tee: Thanks girl. I shifted the Amhi Marathi blog on another gmail account.
Musical: Thank you.
Sharmi: I am waiting to see what you make with the dough. All the best!
Roopa:This recipe yields around 12-16 muffins.
Manasi and Bhags: Thanks for the comments. Glad you liked the muffins.
Suganya:Sorry dear. I will update the list.
Srivalli and Nags:Thanks girls. Do try out the recipe.
Sia:Yeah, that batter is going thru lots of travelling and mashing. You shud see the USPS guy's expression when u show them the bag:). You can use any jam or sauce.
Siri:Thanks for the comment. I hope the starter reaches u soon thru someone.
Pooja: They sure are delicious. do give them a try.
Asha:You bet. Aroma is spreading everywhere.

Nupur said...

Awesome post, Swapna. Those muffins are too tempting with that jammy luscious look! Thanks for the links to all variations using frienship starter.

TheCooker said...

The carmalised jam looks wonderful as do the muffins.

Sandeepa said...

Looks lovely S. It didn't get confused after all :)

Shweta said...

What a 'warm' post! The muffins look great! I have begun to blog recently. I just added a link to your blog from mine, hope that is okay :)

Swapna said...

Nupur,TC,Sandeepa: Thanks for the warm comments about the warm muffins.
Shweta:Welcome to food blogging and thanks for the link to my blog.

Happy cook said...

This really looks delicious.

Linda said...

Hi Swapna, this recipe has me seriously considering cranberries for something other than Thanksgiving. Looks delish! :)

Puspha said...

Wonderful muffins & a lovely write up.

Swapna said...

Happy cook and Pushpa: Thanks for your kind comments.
Linda: This was the first time I made something using cranberries and I totally loved the outcome:)