August 22, 2010

Earl Grey Yogurt Muffins

Yummy muffins.

A perfect breakfast treat or a simple-yet-elegant dessert to serve when entertaining, these muffins are excellent served alongside a pot of tea.

They have a satisfying texture: chewy on the outside and moist on the inside, compliments of the plain yogurt. They have a surprising, delightful creamy citrus flavor--an Earl Grey tea distinctive.

These Earl Grey Yogurt Muffins are pleasantly sweet. As-is, I think they could multitask as a light dessert cupcake. One could reduce the sugar amount slightly, thus reducing the sweetness, though such a reduction isn't necessary.
Prior to inventing this recipe, I had been toying with ideas for such muffins for several weeks. I once saw a recipe on a British blog for a cake that used Earl Grey tea leaves (the small particles, or fannings--which are typically what you find packaged in tea bags--or loose leaf tea ground into small particles resembling fannings). Neat idea! I also often came across recipes for yogurt muffins in my many Internet travels. Another neat idea! Why not combine both neat ideas?
One day, I finally decided to try it.
Happily, I found that the proportions I chose were right, and the muffins not only held together and didn't burn, but they also were really tasty and pleasantly aromatic. (Not all my culinary inventions have wonderful results, though they do tend to be edible, regardless.)

Have fun trying this recipe! Let me know what you think. :~)

Removing the muffins from the muffin tins: When using nonstick bakeware, one has to be careful not to scratch the nonstick coating. Sometimes it's tricky to get anything done (like removing muffins from nonstick tins) when exercising such caution. Even though baked goods don't strongly adhere to a nonstick surface, they do tend to stick just a bit, even when the surface is greased. Plastic knives can scratch the coating, so...
Idea: Use a small rubber spatula.
How: Carefully loosen all around the sides of a muffin.
Then slide the spatula underneath the muffin. Press downward against the pan, so the end of the spatula will bend underneath the muffin.
Rotate the spatula in a circle beneath the muffin, then pull up and pop it out. This technique worked well for me. The muffins stayed intact, and very little baked batter was left in the pan.
Note: My pictures depict a small spatula removing a mini muffin from a 24-cup muffin tin.

Well, anyway, on to the recipe...

Earl Grey Yogurt Muffins
Estimated time: 40 minutes (about 20 minutes prep time and 15 to 20 minutes baking time)
Makes 2 dozen regular-sized muffins (or 1 dozen regular-sized muffins plus 2 dozen mini muffins)

Ingredients
  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon Earl Grey tea leaves* (about 3 teabags worth) 
    • *The tea should be the size of small particles
  • 2 cups plain (unflavored) yogurt (low fat)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons imitation vanilla extract
  • 1 cup granulated sugar

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Grease 2 regular-sized 12-cup muffin tins (or 1 regular 12-cup tin plus 1 mini 24-cup muffin tin).
3. Cut off the tops of the Earl Grey tea bags and empty the tea into a small bowl. Measure the amount to ensure it is approximately 1 tablespoon (a little more or a little less is fine). The tea should resemble small particles, similar to coffee grounds.  
4. Measure the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda into a medium bowl.
5. Add the tea leaves, then stir the dry mixture thoroughly. Set aside.
6. Into a stand mixer (or a large bowl with which to use a hand mixer), measure the plain yogurt.
7. Add the unsweetened applesauce.
8. Add the vanilla extract.
9. Add the eggs.
10. Add the granulated sugar.
11. Cream those ingredients together on medium speed for about 1 minute.
12. Add 1/2 of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Mix on low speed for about 10 seconds.
 13. Add the rest of the flour mixture and mix well for about 15 seconds on low then increasing to high speeds.
14. Scrape down the insides of the bowl with a spatula.
15. Mix the ingredients on medium speed for about 5 seconds.
16. Spoon muffin mixture into prepared muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full.
17. Bake as close to middle of the oven as possible (ideally on the same rack, if they will fit side-by-side) at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out mostly clean.
18. Carefully transfer muffins to cooling racks.
19. Serve the muffins warm or cooled, and freeze some of them to savor later.

Enjoy!

5 comments:

Rudy Baga said...

It was only a matter of time until Brian's influence showed up in these recipes. I'm sure he approves of the Earl Gray addition.

abigail said...

Yup, he certainly does. As I composed this recipe post, I was drinking some delicious tea he made today (a favorite of mine): a mixture of "Earl Grey de la Creme" and Darjeeling teas. Really good stuff. :~)

Danielle said...

Mmm, these sound so interesting!

lisa said...

Cant wait to try these and several other interesting offerings! Thanks

abigail said...

Lisa,
You're welcome! I hope you enjoy them! :)
- Abigail