THEY’RE SO MUCH BETTER THAN THEY SOUND, REALLY. And Phoebe loves them. Every morning this week I’d ask, “do you want a muffin?” She’d nod as emphatically as someone can without being hauled off to an institution, start saying “mmm, mmm, mmm” and jamming her finger into her empty plate so hard I thought it might be injured. So, she likes them.
This could be because they include half a pound of butter. But as Julie Powell of Julie and Julia fame says, can anything be better than butter?
But don’t stop reading yet because they only have half the sugar, plus tons of dried fruit and wheat germ. Yes, wheat germ. It’s another adaptation from my favorite butter fan, The Barefoot Contessa. I didn’t have the heart, or the applesauce, to take out the fat in this week’s playgroup baked good. Plus, apple sauce really only works in place of oil. So, butter it is.
Or I should say, was because the muffins are gone. Gone without a trace, or a photo. But I can say this: the moms ate them, the kids ate them. I ate them and yet another friend with a new baby ate them. There isn’t a crumb left in Rome, which must mean good things.
CRANBERRY WHEAT GERM MUFFINS
Adapted from The Barefoot Contessa
I split this batter into two parts: one dozen full size muffins and two dozen mini-muffins. I also added nuts to the larger size for a quick protein boost. They freeze beautifully inside a Zip-lock bag for two to three weeks.
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup wheat germ
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons fresh ginger
- 1 1/4 cups whole milk
- 2 extra-large eggs
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
- 1/2 cup diced prunes
- 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Line mini-muffin and regular muffin cups with paper liners. Put flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl then stir with a whisk. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the milk, eggs, and melted butter. Stir quickly just to combine. Add the cranberries, ginger and brown sugar and stir just until everything comes together.
Spoon the batter into the paper liners, filling each one to the top. For mini-muffins, bake for approximately 10 minutes. For regular muffins, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until browned on the top and a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.