Wednesday, December 3, 2008

What's Cooking Wednesday: Apricot/Chocolate/Pecan Muffins

Please go to Shan's place for more What's Cooking Wednesday participants.

So I think Anno felt sorry for me. I've been having a rather rough time with some family issues lately and I was reading this post and pressing my nose up against her blog window like a dispossessed orphan.

I can be whiny like that.

But happily, she loves me anyway, and when Monday rolled around, it was the last day of classes at the place where we both teach, and her charming daughter, m, brought me a plate filled with the kind of Christmas baking I was whining that I had no time to do.

And it was a truly lovely plate, and if I'd had my act together I would have photographed it, but ... um... no such luck.

It had all sorts of goodies, but I was particularly struck by a bread that contained apricots and chocolate and nuts of some type. So, given that my whining had worked so far, I whined at her for the recipe. And she pointed me in this direction. She told me that actually, she was trying to reproduce a recipe that her mother made, and that she might get the real recipe this weekend, so maybe she'll have her own post on this combination.

She also said that the bread she'd made seemed very crumbly and that a full tablespoon of baking powder seemed like a lot.

I agreed. And as I looked at the ingredients and saw mounds of butter, etc., I decided that I was going to have to make major modifications on this one. And that muffins would be better, because if I'm going to splurge with these sorts of ingredients, a whole, big, lovely muffin is so much better than a little slice of a 12th of a loaf (and they're the same serving size in terms of recipe portion). So I got up this morning, and made these muffins, as per D's request from his sick bed, and also experimented with the "Food of the Gods" recipe. And yeah, it's pretty darned good.

Apricot/Chocolate/Pecan Muffins


2 eggs
1 cup lowfat butter milk
1/2 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp rosewater (Marye has made me a big fan of rosewater in baking)
1 TBS canola oil - (take THAT 1/4 lb. butter!)
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat bran
1/3 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup pecan pieces (the original recipe called for walnuts, but what I had was pecans)
1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 heaping cup chopped dried apricots (these can most easily be chopped using a food processor if you have one)


1. Preheat oven to 400
2. Beat eggs, stir in other wet ingredients.
3. Pour dry ingredients into the bowl, stir together (minus the "goodies")
4. Stir in pecans, chips and apricots
5. Spoon the batter into a greased muffin tin.
6. Bake for 20 minutes.
7. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes before removing muffins.

Post-mortem. I love Marye, but I think I'd use a TBS of Grand Marnier next time rather than the rose water, and if I'm really feeling ambitious, I'd zest in some orange rind. Other than that, these have gotten thumbs up from the fam.

Nutrition Info:

Fat: 6.4g
Carbohydrates: 27.4g
Protein: 4.1g

Nutritional info provided by


glamah16 said...

What a great friend. I love the sound the sound of the apricot and chcolate together.

glamah16 said...

Oh and BTW, hang in there!

Jen said...

Anno is, indeed, a great friend! And I am hanging in there... just sort of loopy these days.

Núria said...

♪ Oh I know
That the music's fine like sparklin' wine
Go and have your fun
Dance and sing
But while we're apart don't give your muffin to anyone
And don't forget who's bakin' at home
And in who's kitchen you're gonna be
Oh, darlin', save the last muffin for me ♫

Be happy Jen ;D

Jen said...

Nuria - that was hysterical! Your creativity knows no bounds!

Momisodes said...

I'm so sorry it's been a rough few weeks. I'm sure the traveling and lack of sleep has been brutal. Anno is so sweet!

Leave it to you find fabulous alternatives in a recipe. :)

Luisa Perkins said...


I cannot WAIT to try this! Thanks!

anno said...

And I can vouch for all your excellent modifications -- these were delicious! Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...

Momisodes - it'll all shake out. I took some time this weekend and that helped.

Luisa, I thought you might like these. ;-)

Anno - I was so delighted to share them with you, and it was so good to see you!

Grimm said...

The pictures you take of these things are so good they look like they would ooze right through my screen!

Now I'm hungry.

Alex Elliot said...

Sounds delicious! I had apricot pie for the first time the other night.

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are so darn ...scrumptious!
They almost make me want to bake. Almost. Maybe next weekend.

Jen said...

Grimm... you have no idea how happy that made me. I think my photos suck. They really drive me crazy.

Wow, Alex, that sounds wonderful! What was in it?

Oh, I never was a baker before my DH lost his job a few years ago. Fortunately, he got another one after a few months, but basically, it was an easy way to make my family happy for not much time or money.

Anonymous said...

LOL! I can see where gran marnier wou;d be the better choice here..they look awesome

Liz Dwyer said...

I want to eat these right now! They look delicious. I'm going to save these to make when my boys are on winter vacation. Plus, I need a new mixer.

Family issues are a doozy for me too lately. Thinking of you.

Korie said...

I'm so sorry to hear that things have been difficult. And it's good you have someone around to hlep cheer you up.

Betsy said...

I'm sorry to hear that you're going through a tough time. Am sending a big virtual (non-creepy) cyber hug your way.

Jen said...

Marye, they were a lot of fun. I thought I'd taste the rosewater in a Middle Eastern/North Africa kind of way, but I just didn't taste it and I wanted the orange flavors to be a bit brighter.

Los Angelista - I'm lucky enough to have a mixer, but these are done by hand. When I see "beat" the eggs - I just whisked them. This is a great "kid" cooking project, except for chopping the stupid apricots. Also, I'm sorry you're going through some family stuff, too.

Lilac - they'll get there... it's a blip. We all have blips. And thanks!

Thanks so much, Betsy! It's appreciated!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

These look amazing, and yes, Anno sure is sweetheart :)

Unknown said...

I think baked goods are a fine indicator of friendship!

JillEBean said...

Looks delicious! Would it work without the nuts...we have a nut allergy in the famile :(

Jen said...

Michelle, they're both great - the muffins AND Anno!

Greg - I agree. BTW... C is now reading The Things They Carry. Thought you might be interested.

Jill - absolutely. I cut down on the nuts from the original recipe. I think these would be fine without.

Virtualsprite said...

Sounds absolutely delicious... and I'm a total sucker for Grand Marnier in anything.

Hope things get better soon!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

what a great flavor combo.

hope things get better soon.

Anonymous said...

Hugs on the rough time.

Those muffins look AMAZING. If only I could cook with milk and nuts.


Jen said...

Virtual - thanks, and me too - I could really develop a habit if it weren't for the price/calories.

NYC - it's a good combo. I was actually thinking Italy in terms of the apricots/chocolate.

Amy - you don't have to do the buttermilk - use canola oil and one more egg or some more orange juice. That's the great thing about muffins, you can always make alterations. And I'm not even going to put the nuts in next time.

w said...

Your recipes always make my mouth watery :)

Mae Travels said...

Apricots, chocolate and nuts sounded so great -- I finally got to it, and some blondies with those 3 ingredients are in the oven right now.


Jen said...

La Del - thanks!

Mae - please let me know how they turn out - that sounds like a lovely combination!

Mae Travels said...

They were delicious! It's one of my faithful recipes that I make all the time, and the combination wasn't untried: the flavors just sounded so good... and were. (Two weeks ago, I made them with fresh cranberries and chocolate. Also good with apricots and candied ginger.)

Jen said...

Mae, I love those kinds of recipes. That's sort of how I am with my muffins. I made eggnog/rum raisin muffins this morning. The muffins are sort of my "base" for flavors.

Jeanie said...

Yum! I come to you from Anno's blog, down the road in East Lansing. These sound wonderful! I'm eager to visit your other posts!