Monday, May 26, 2008


This is Sara Maher's $200 winning BH&G Prize Tested recipe from April 2008 -- kind of, except I changed it some. (My changes: I used white whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose, cut some fat and sugar and added a little cocoa to the walnut filling. The original recipe had a frosting made of butter, cream, orange peel and sugar, which I'm sure was good, but would have added more sugar and fat. Instead, I just mixed a little powdered sugar to the remaining nut filling and sprinkled on top of the muffins before baking. Oh, and I always bake my muffins in a preheated 500F oven, reducing the temp to 350F as soon as I put the muffins in. This results in nice, high, tender muffins and more closely simulates a commercial bakery oven.) These muffins are delicious and very different. The nut filling reminds me of bear claws -- one of my favorite pastries. The orange flavor is very subtle but nice. There's plenty of fat and sugar left in my adapted recipe to produce a tender, flavorful muffin. I gave 6 away, ate 2 and still have 4 in my freezer.

Walnut-Filled Muffins, Adapted
Rating: 8 out of 10
Filling: 2 cups toasted walnuts
2 Tbsp. sugar (I used 1/4 tsp. Stevia + 1 Tbsp. sugar)
dash of sea salt
1-1/2 tsp. Hershey's Special Dark cocoa
1 Tbsp. orange juice

Muffin: 2 cups white whole wheat flour, lightly spooned and leveled
1 Tbsp. French vanilla instant pudding mix
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. orange zest
2 Tbsp. melted butter
2 eggs (I used large)
3/4 cup sugar (I used 1/2 tsp. Stevia + 1/2 cup sugar)
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup fat-free Half & Half (I used Land o' Lakes)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

Topping: 2 Tbsp. confectioner's (10X) sugar

Preheat oven to 500F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly grease and flour the cups; set aside. In food processor, finely grind nuts. Add remaining nut filling ingredients and continue to process until mixture is combined. Using level tablespoons, shape most of the nut mixture into 12 balls; reserve remaining nut filling for topping.

Topping: Combine remaining nut filling and 10X sugar in small bowl with fork, pressing out lumps to make a crumb topping.

Combine first 6 dry ingredients; set aside. In medium microwaveable mixing bowl, heat the butter on high till almost melted, about 45 seconds. Let sit in microwave for 2-3 minutes, then remove and beat in eggs and sugar with wire whisk till well combined, about 3 minutes. Add remaining ingredients and beat well with whisk till combined, about 2 minutes. Gradually add flour mixture, mixing only till barely combined with as few strokes as possible. Spoon half of batter into cups; top with walnut balls, pushing them down slightly into cup. Top with remaining batter. Sprinkle each muffin with some of the topping. Reduce oven temp to 350F as soon as you put muffins in oven. Bake 11-14 minutes, or till toothpick inserted in muffin returns with just a few crumbs. Cool in pan 5 minutes; turn out on cooling rack to finish cooling. Yield: 12 standard-size muffins

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