Author: Luisa Perkins
•11:38 AM

I'm working away on the novel, but I thought I'd take a break for a few minutes and post a recipe, since I haven't done that in a long time. It's a little intimidating when one of your best bloggy pals is a food genius. I have to keep reminding myself that we two women lead very different lives. With that in mind, here's a homespun but infinitely versatile recipe:

Mother of Invention Muffins

1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 cups Substance A*
3 eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup Substance B**
3 cups Substance C***
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (or 1/4 freshly grated nutmeg, much better)
1/2 tsp. cloves
1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup raisins or other dried fruit (optional; chopped into bits, if need be)

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine sugar, Substance A, eggs, melted butter, and Substance B. Sift together Substance C and other dry ingredients; add to first bowl and mix well. Fold in dried fruit and/or nuts if you like. Scoop into buttered muffin tins. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen. OR pour batter into buttered loaf pan and bake 50-60 minutes, until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean and dry.

*Substance A can be any of the following: fresh cooked or canned pumpkin or other winter squash; applesauce; grated fresh carrots, apples, and/or zucchini; one cup grated unsweetened coconut + one cup canned crushed pineapple, very well drained; one cup peanut butter + one cup frozen blueberries (sort of a PBJ option).

**Substance B can be: buttermilk (best); milk (yummy); water (just fine). UPDATED: the fabulous Annette Lyon reminds me that sour cream is also a winner here.

***Substance C can be: all white flour; 1/2 white, 1/2 wheat; or all whole wheat. All versions are delicious. The all whole wheat version takes a bit more liquid and needs a little longer to bake.

We make these muffins a lot. They keep well, but usually get eaten too quickly for you to really find out for sure.

I first started monkeying around with this recipe when I needed an appealing yet filling breakfast for Sunday mornings. I had a couple of pokey eaters, and I got tired of trying to hustle them through breakfast so that we could get to church on time. Our ride is 30-35 minutes one way, so one day I realized that if I had the kids eat in the car, we could have a nag-free morning. It worked beautifully.
It's a handy way to use up zucchini or winter squash. I grate the zucchini and cook the winter squash, then freeze them in two-cup portions. I came up with all the variations out of (laziness) a desire to use what I had on hand rather than make a trip to the store. Now I know this recipe so well I can practically make it in my sleep. Literally, since at 6:00 a.m., I am often dragging around the kitchen in a dazed stupor.

Let me know if you try any other exciting permutations of the Substances. We are always up for a new variation on the theme.
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On 8/5/07 , PEZmama said...

I needed a little something for the kids to bring to the sitter tonight... I think I just found it. Thanks!

On 8/5/07 , Jenna said...

I can vouch for the deliciousness factor and easiness factor of this recipe. You pretty much can't mess it up.

On 8/5/07 , rjlight said...

I always like a recipe with ingredients like "substance A and B" --that way it's more like a science project than baking! :) I need to try this one thanks!

On 9/5/07 , PEZmama said...

I did made the recipe with applesauce for Substance A, milk for Substance B, and whole wheat flour for Substance C. I also added walnuts.

They were delicious. One of my children is enjoying one right now, as a matter of fact.


On 9/5/07 , Luisa Perkins said...

Pez, I'm so glad they worked out! Thanks for letting me know.

On 10/5/07 , Adriana said...

I love flexible recipes like this! And I always need breakfast ideas. That's when I'm at my dullest.

Intimidating??? Um, you're a NOVELIST! Talk about intimidating...

On 4/9/07 , Annette Lyon said...

I tried this recipe with my overflowing zucchini supply, making bread. Mmmmmm. Turned out great. Even my uber-picky eater liked it.

One change I made: for Substance B, since I almost never have buttermilk around, I used what I always do as a substitute for it in my banana bread: sour cream.

On 31/10/07 , Josi said...

I'm six months behind but finally made these--I used applesause for A, sour milk for B, and all wheat flour for C. I also added 1/2 cup bran flour, chopped fresh cranberries and white chocolate chips--delicious! Thanks Louisa.

On 24/11/07 , Gunfighter said...

Anyone who references Mr Franklin in a recipe must be a genius.

I'll give this a try.