So y’all already know how I feel about baking snobbery. I’m not a purist when it comes to recipes, I just want them to be accessible to all, and I’m just as comfortable scaling ingredients as I am using a set of measuring cups. That being said, of late I’ve been enjoying tinkering with the mathematics of baking using Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking.
The book teaches the fundamental ratios of cooking that, once learned, promise to free you from being chained to recipe books. Not that there is anything wrong with cooking or baking from a recipe, but if you’re interested in the idea of creating your own recipes, this is useful stuff.
Much of the knowledge in the book I’ve already learned through years on the job as a baker, but it has been fascinating to learn the why behind many of the things that just come naturally to me now. I never went to culinary school, never got any technical training. I’ve learned from a series of mentors who often showed without explaining, leaving me in the position that I can immediately distinguish a good recipe from one that is lacking, and can often make tweaks without thinking that produce a better end result, but can’t always explain the process. My geeky side demands to know why, though, and for anyone interested in digging deeper into the science of cooking and baking, this book is a great resource.
One caveat is that Ratio is entirely in imperial measurements, so my very metric brain is constantly having to calculate the conversions. This book is not for the math haters.
As always, I’m going to cut to the recipe quickly, since that’s what you’re here for, not my life story. I give you a moist and delicious take on a classic, the Morning Glory Muffin. Filled with fruit and veggies, and customizable with any combination of nutty/fruity add-ins that your heart desires, this is the breakfast champion of all muffins.
The Muffin Ratio:
2 parts flour
2 parts liquid
1 part egg
1 part fat
1 part sugar
Morning Glory Muffins
- 230 g (1 1/2 cups) flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground cloves
- 230 g (1 cup) crushed pineapple with juices
- 2 eggs
- 125 mL (1/2 cup) vegetable oil
- 115 g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
- 2 medium carrots, grated
- 57 g (1/2 cup) shredded coconut optional
- 70 g (1/2 cup) raisins optional
- 70 g (1/2 cup) chopped walnuts optional
- Combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves in a large mixing bowl.
- In another mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, and oil. Add crushed pineapple.
- Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and stir gently until fully combined, without overmixing.
- Add in grated carrots and coconut, raisins, and walnuts if desired.
- Fill lined muffin tins ¾ full. An ice cream scoop is super helpful to get all the muffins the same size.
- Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Check for doneness by gently pressing a finger on top, if the muffin springs back, they’re done. If it leaves a slight indent, bake for 2-4 more minutes.
Makes 12 hefty muffins.
Raisins can be substituted with dried cranberries or blueberries. Walnuts can be swapped out for sliced almonds or chopped pecans. If you don’t have carrot on hand, try grated zucchini instead.