Making something out of nothing

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Kitchen Adventures food column by Becca Owsley

By Becca Owsley

I know this situation probably happens to everyone who likes baking.

Often, on cold and dreary gray-skied days, I get in the mood to bake something. Doesn’t something fresh out of the oven sound perfect on these kinds of days?

But usually I’m not in the mood to go to the store for ingredients, partly because these days are also perfect for staying in your pajamas.

Instead of looking for recipes and being disappointed because you don’t have the supplies, it is best to take another approach.

Do an ingredient recon before deciding what to make. Search the pantry for things you can use as the starting point of something to bake. Check the fridge for things to use. The door shelves, where the jams and other flavor-filled items often sit, is a good place to look. 

In this case, I found a jar of apple butter, perfect to use in a yummy muffin.

After finding your base, check your baking supplies. Most items will need flour, sugar and eggs so make sure you have enough before looking for a recipe.

Once you find what you are going to use as the base flavor, then search for recipes.

Take your time and find one that includes the ingredients you have on hand.

My search led me to an apple butter muffin recipe from “Taste of Home” magazine.

When you look at a recipe and don’t have an item, decide if it’s critical to baking success or if it could be left out. For example, this recipe requires baking powder, not something you really want to leave out of the mix.

In my case I didn’t have allspice or pecans. These two items were not critical to baking the muffins and were OK to leave out. The pecans were supposed to be used for a topping but I mixed the sugar with cinnamon instead, which worked out fine.

There was just enough apple butter left to complete the recipe, which I at first thought I was going to mix in with the batter. Looking closely to the recipe, I saw it was going to be placed between the layers of batter for a nice gooey center.

The other perk of baking something with so many seasonings and apple butter is the delightful smell that fills your home.

Combining taste and smell, this dish provides a delight to the senses.

Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or bowsley@thenewsenterprise.com.

Apple Butter Muffins
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup thick apple butter 

1/2 cup chopped pecans
3 tablespoons sugar

In a small bowl, combine the first eight ingredients. Combine egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with a rounded tablespoon of batter. Top each with a rounded teaspoon of apple butter and remaining batter. Combine topping ingredients; sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack. 

Makes about a dozen muffins. 

Nutritional Facts: 1 serving (1 each) equals 211 calories, 9 g fat (1 g saturated fat), 20 mg cholesterol, 130 mg sodium, 29 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 3 g protein. 

Source: “Taste of Home”