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The Return of the Muffin : Can It Replace Chocolate Chip Cookies as the Snack of the '80s?

April 05, 1987|BETSY BALSLEY | Betsy Balsley is The Times' food editor.

Muffins may seem a strange item to find on a list of trendy foods, but right now they are the chic munchie for breakfast, lunch or a coffee break.

Jose Rodriguez, manager of The Muffin Oven in the Beverly Center, says the most popular muffins are fruit-flavored: "Of the fruit-flavored muffins made with sugar, blueberry and blueberry-bran muffins, banana-nut and apple-cinnamon are the most asked for." Fruit flavors also rank high with those who prefer sugar-free muffins, according to Rodriguez, who says that high-fiber multi-grain muffins are the most sought after, followed by apple-spice and blueberry flavors.

The next time you feel like being trendy, try one of the following recipes. They don't take long to make, and they'll make wonderful companions for a cup of coffee or tea, or a glass of milk. APPLESAUCE SPICE MUFFINS

2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 egg

2 tablespoons oil

1 1/2 cups unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup dried apricots

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Sift flour with soda, baking powder, nutmeg and cinnamon into bowl. Combine egg, oil and applesauce. Add egg mixture to dry ingredients all at once, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in raisins, apricots and nuts. Fill paper-lined muffin tins full. Bake at 350 degrees 20 to 25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins. BANANA-MINI-CHIP MUFFINS

1 egg, beaten

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup oil

cup milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Beat egg in bowl. Add bananas, oil, milk and vanilla. Stir together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in mini-chips. Stir banana mixture into dry ingredients just until well moistened.

Fill greased mini-muffin cups about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with additional chips, if desired. Bake at 400 degrees 12 to 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan. Makes 24 to 30 mini-muffins. PRUNE MUFFINS

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons rolled oats

3/4 cup prune juice

cup milk

5 tablespoons brown sugar, packed

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

cup melted margarine

1 cup coarsely chopped pitted prunes

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In large bowl, mix 1/2 cup oats, prune juice, milk and 4 tablespoons brown sugar. Set aside about 10 minutes. Stir in eggs, then flour, baking powder, nutmeg and salt to blend thoroughly. Stir in margarine, then prunes and nuts. Spoon into 12 paper-lined muffin cups. Sprinkle evenly with remaining sugar and oats.

Bake in lower third of oven at 425 degrees 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned and springy to the touch. Cool on wire rack. Cooled muffins may be securely wrapped and frozen, if desired. Bring to room temperature before serving, or cover lightly with foil and heat in 325-degree oven about 10 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.



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