Push Push appreciated that Nosy Neighbour had simply left the sugar out when he made American pancakes (or piklets, the name she knew them by). She never would have dared to alter the recipe, but he was right, it didn’t change the texture at all. She devoured them with a topping of mixed fruit and yoghurt rather than jam. Nosy Neighbour told her that when he was in America he ate them with real maple syrup, but this is far too expensive here. “And the production of maple syrup is environmentally questionable” added Foxy Lady who was passing by. She glanced at Nosy Neigbour’s recipe and said, “Blimey! That looks very similar to my muffin recipe, except there is less liquid in my muffins and they’re baked in a muffin tray in the oven.”
Push Push pricked her ears up as she loves muffins too, though like every other elephant she has to watch her weight. So can’t have them too often. “Can you simply leave out the sugar in muffins as well?” she asked excitedly.
“If you want to have them sweet and not savoury, it’s not that easy. With pancakes you have sweet toppings, so you don’t realise where the sweetness comes from. But you usually eat muffins without anything on them, so the sweetness needs to be inside. However, if you want to avoid sugar you can replace it by mashing up a banana or two and mixing them into the batter. They are sweet and you also get some vitamins and additional flavour.”
“We don’t want to have sugary recipes” said Mouse “When I eat refined sugar, my joints hurt.”
“Everything in moderation” answered Foxy Lady. “You are right, sugar is poison for the body as it depletes it of vitamins and has absolutly no nutritional value. But with your home cooking at least you know how much sugar you put into your food. Half a cup of sugar in eight muffins that you share around won’t hurt. That’s less than what’s in a glass of the fizzy drink people like so much!”
“Come on then.” Mouse held her hand out to Foxy Lady. “Give me your muffin recipe.”
As Foxy Lady handed over the sheet of paper she explained the importance of thoroughly mixing all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet ingredients in a separate bowl. Once the content of the two bowls are combined you need to work fast and resist stirring too much.
“Yes,” confirmed Mouse. “Professor already explained why when he did his scones.”
While Foxy Lady’s recipe was for simple plain muffins, she admitted she never makes the plain ones. She adds all sorts of things she finds in the cupboard to the dry mix, like cocoa or a pinch of chilli pepper and a dash of ground allspice. When she leaves out the sugar and adds banana or other fruit instead, it has to be added to the wet mixture. “I hope it all makes sense and it gives you an idea about what you can try to suit your own taste” said Foxy Lady finishing her speech.
“If you have never made muffins before, make the simple ones first” recommended Mouse. “And when you know what the batter should look and feel like, you can start replacing and adding.”
To make it easier to get the muffins out of the muffin tray in one piece, Foxy Lady places folded up squares of baking paper in the tray first.
2 cups of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of Baking Soda, half a cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk (or mixture of water and milk), 1 egg, 20g melted butter. Baking paper.
Preheat the oven to 2200C. Place a ramekin with the butter in the oven and it will melt nicely while you mix the other ingredients.
Line the muffin tray with baking paper.
Place all the dry ingredients in a big bowl and mix well using a fork. (The bowl must be big enough to accommodate the wet ingedients later as well)
In a different bowl, whisk the egg lightly, mix in the milk and finally stir in the melted butter.
Then pour the wet ingredients into the bowl that contains the dry ingredients and mix it with a few turns of the spoon. Make sure all the dry ingredients are wetted through without overdoing it. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tray. Fill each mould up 2/3. The muffins will rise when baking.
Bake in the oven for 20 Minutes.