Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cooking the Beach: Malibu Mango Muffins

Picture yourself on a secluded beach, a cool citrus drink in hand. Underneath your toes is soft, warm sand. You hear only the swelling of waves, rushing the coast. A cool ocean breeze wafts scents of mangos, coconut and spiced rum. Above you a sunset is painting streaks of deep purple, brilliant orange and soft hues of crimson, gold and rose across a dimming sky. Now, make that description into a muffin.
This week, as the temperature climbs and the sun shines, I long for the beach. Unfortunately, I have not yet found the opportunity this summer. Instead of wishing and longing, I made proactive motions to bring it to me. Through cooking, I have unlocked the secret of the senses: I have made muffins that taste…like the beach [with less sand and no sunburn].
I found a recipe for mango muffins, in which few had faith [surprise, surprise]. It does seem an odd fruit for muffins, but that is only because creativity and cooking seldom go hand and hand in corporate, mass produced muffin mixes. This recipe was not so different. The depth of the flavor was barely below sea level, so I had to cast out the recipe and swim out to sea with my own wits of cooking about me. What emerged from the oven in just 20 minutes was blissful sunshine for my belly.
Although the batter gave smelled like tooty fruity, it was not as I expected once I tasted the finished product. These muffins were perfectly moist, sweet and beachy. Piping hot from the oven, they soaked up the butter with we soak up sunlight, and their soft, warm consistency melted in my mouth. Everything is worth eating nearly straight out of the oven, even on a hot day like today. Now the beach is only a grocery store away.
Malibu Mango Muffins
½ c whole wheat flour
¾ c all-purpose flour
2 T ground oatmeal
2 T brown sugar [heaping spoonfuls], and some for sprinkling on the top
½ t baking soda
1/8 t salt
¾ c mashed mango
2 T sugar
1 T and 1 ½ t canola or vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
3 T milk
1 t rum
½ t coconut extract
½ t almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 350˚.
2. Meanwhile, mix together the first six ingredients in bowl.
3. Mash mango with sugar in a food processor. Then mix in bowl along with the oil, egg, milk, rum and extracts.
4. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry, mix batter to a sloppy, wet consistency [should be much runnier than cookie or bread dough].
5. Pour batter into about 8 large muffin cups or well-greased muffin tins; about ¾ full. Sprinkle with a pinch of brown sugar.
6. Bake muffins for about 20 minutes, or until golden brown. When pricked with a toothpick should come out clean. Cool.
7. Eat these muffins when they are hot with some butter :)

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