My sister Ashley is over so I have a victim for my cooking attempts. I’ve had some practice with making muffins which I think are pretty good so I decided to try something that I felt comfortable with while making minor changes to gain more understanding. I created chocolate chip and walnut muffins using Alton Brown’s Old School Muffins recipe (I’m Just Here for More Food: Food x Mixing + Heat = Baking). I started by setting up my work area, pre-heating the oven, and getting out my ingredients when I realized I was almost out of yogurt. I contemplated going to the local store to get more, but decided that if I did not have enough I would substitute milk for the missing amount to see what happened. Luckily I had just enough for the recipe (after scraping the sides of the container for every last drop), so the substitution lesson will have to wait for another day.
I combined my wet ingredients first with my whisk and then immediately combined my dry ingredients in my food processor which is efficient and dramatically adds to the fluffiness of the batter and ultimately that of the end product. I then put the dry ingredients in a bowl and worked the wet ones in with a silicone spatula. This was much easier to do being more comfortable with the process and what the batter should look like. Before filling the muffin tin, I worked in mini-chocolate chips and whole walnuts into the batter. They were easier to work in than the blueberries and it was much easier to get an even mix. Uniformity was something I had a problem with with my previous batches. Once the extra bits were mixed into the batter I filled my tins and placed them into the oven as usual.
The cooking time was about the same for this batch but I noticed a distinct change in the end result. While on the surface all appeared to be the same as my previous batches the, they were not as fluffy and moist. This batch differed in two ways from previous batches. I used vegetable oil instead of corn oil. This is really what the recipe called for, so I wanted to see what effect that would have on taste and texture. Secondly, instead of blueberries
I used mini-chocolate chips as mentioned. Substituting the chocolate for blueberries undoubtedly had an effect on the water content. I can’t say how the difference in oil had an effect. I do feel that the chocolate is a nice compliment to the dough taste and mixed with walnuts is a good combination. I thought using the mini-chocolate chips would create a more uniform batter, and I was right on that, but I think using larger chips would allow more chocolate to come through. This was verified by Ashley and is a change that can be made based on taste.
For my next batch I will try the corn oil again to see if I can detect any difference in taste and texture. This will help me finalize my recipe preference for future batches for myself and others.