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The Food Processor

Muffin Mania: It's Here to Stay

August 20, 1987|JANE SALZFASS FREIMAN | Freiman is a New York-based food writer

Muffin-mania began several years ago and has lasted long enough to be called a mainstream change in breakfast eating habits. Their rise in popularity can, in part, be attributed to the presence of fruit, vegetables and even some whole grains in muffins and, for many people, they have at least partially replaced less-healthful doughnuts as morning food.

These moist orange-zucchini-whole wheat muffins can be made from scratch in 20 minutes. They keep well overnight in a plastic bag and freeze well for weekend breakfasts.

Cooks who think that baked goods are not at their best when made in the processor will be won over by the light, tender texture of these muffins and their fine crumbs.

Cool Foaming Method

The fine texture is achieved by using the cool foaming processor method for making the muffins. This cake-making technique calls for processing the eggs with sugar until the mixture is thickened. Then oil is added to the mixture in a very thin stream within 1 minute. The slow addition of oil gives the base of the batter a tight structure that helps yield a good texture.

When the base of the batter is combined, dry ingredients, shredded zucchini and walnuts are added to the mixture in two batches and incorporated with half-second pulses. The brief pulsing not only mixes the batter, it simultaneously chops the zucchini and nuts to a perfect texture. As a result, it is important to use brief or half-second pulses--do not let the processor run continuously.


2 medium zucchini, trimmed

1 medium orange

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/4 cups oil

2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground cloves

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour

1 cup shelled walnuts

Line muffin tins with 18 papers, then set tins aside.

Insert medium shredding disc in food processor. Insert zucchini upright and shred with gentle push. Set aside.

Change to metal blade. Strip off peel of orange with vegetable peeler, allowing strips to fall into processor. (Reserve fruit of orange for other use.) Add 1/2 cup sugar and process until peel is finely minced. Add eggs, vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Process 10 seconds. With motor on, add oil in thin stream within 1 minute.

Add baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cloves to batter and process 15 seconds. Place half of whole-wheat and unbleached flours, half of nuts and half of reserved zucchini in machine. Process with half-second pulses just until ingredients disappear. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Do not overprocess.

Divide batter among prepared muffin cups, filling each cup three-quarters full. Bake on lowest rack of oven at 375 degrees 20 minutes, or until cake tester inserted in center of muffins comes out clean. Cool to room temperature before serving. Makes 18 muffins.

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