Special Chanukah Muffin Recipe
By Bossie Krapfman
O.K., everyone agrees that all Jewish holidays are gastro-intestinal disasters. Well Chanukah is no exception. I don't know about you ladies, but I just can't come up with a potato latke recipe that tastes like my mother-in-law's latkes. Mine are always some kind of greasy mess that always tastes like cooked potatoes that have the chutzpah to remain raw, and the damned olive oil that we tried to cook it in, gives us real indigestion.
Then there is the "sufganiot" phenomenon, that the kids love, with the disgusting over sweetened red jelly that drips on their clothing and on my rug. Just to eat it, one must be ready to give up your life, believe me, only a demented Israeli who has no concept of taste could stomach it.
What I have done for the past several Chanukah's is make whole-wheat muffins! That's correct, they are delicious, tasty, no mess, and easy to make - and I guarantee no stomach aches, no messes on the floor, or on your kids shirts, and they are (don't tell your kids) healthy!
What I do, is prepare it about an hour before the lighting of the menorah, they take 18 - 20 minutes (maybe a tad longer) to cook. After the lighting of the menorah, we each have a muffin as we sit in front of the menorah singing songs (with tasty food in our mouths). Every one really loves them and it is easy to alternate the taste so that each night they can get a different delight!
For a simpleton like me it is very easy to do. Just throw the following stuff into the mixer machine:
2 cups of sifted whole-wheat flour
3 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 heaping tablespoons of brown sugar
Now while that stuff is resting in the mixing bowl, mix well an egg, a cup of luke-warm water, and 2 1/2 tablespoons of oil. (Now you can use regular cooking oil if you like or melted margarine if you prefer, but I use the olive oil because my husband wants it. Really, it isn't so tasty, but he's nuts, not me! My husband says that olive oil is good for the memory, but he doesn't quite remember why.). Mix all of these three separately in a small bowl and heave it into the mixing bowl.
All that above is the basic recipe and to it you add the tasty stuff:
For the always loved Chocolate Chip Muffins add (you guessed it) a lot of chocolate chips. My kids love more than the normal kid does, (if there is such an animal) so I am not telling how much I put in, but put in a nice measure, like a hand full. Add also a tablespoon of vanilla flavoring.
For the Nut Muffins, simply add a large hand-full of crushed nuts. We prefer walnuts, but you can add almonds etc. I add a tablespoon of walnut flavoring also.
I have this secret desire to make a Peanut Butter and Jelly muffin. I have never done it but I might just spring it on the family this Chanukah if I am in the right mood. I plan to mix some jelly in the batter, so that the muffin has a jelly taste and then add the crushed peanuts to it. Sounds wild, huh?
Apple Muffins are nice, just dice one cup of apple and pop it into the batter. Add 1/3 teaspoon of cinnamon and Walla, it is very tasty.
Orange Muffins are simple to make also, substitute orange juice for the water. Then scrape the rinds of the orange and dump it into the mixing bowl.
Sometimes I get into a very healthy taste thing, and so I pop a 1/2 cup of Granola into the mess, but don't let it sit in the bowl for any time, otherwise the granola gets soggy, might as well throw in cornflakes, (yeech!).
To be fancy, you can add some various sprinkles to the top, this seems to turn on the small kids, although the adults may be offended, but when you are cooking you can't please every one.
If you have any leftover, it is a great quick breakfast, and because it is so healthy, (no kidding) you can give them to the kids to take to school and be assured that you have given them something that is good for their bodies. Just don't be foolish and tell the little pishers that it is healthy, that is a no-no word around kids. They will never touch it again!
Every once in a while my husband mentions that the miracle of Chanukah came about because Yehudit gave the wicked Greek governor cheese to eat (I think it was "sufganiot" - and he died from a gastro-intestinal attack) so I use milk instead of water. Just make certain that the milk is luke warm. You can also put some light cheese or yogurt thingy in the mixture too. Gosh, it is so much fun experimenting, and with the basic recipe it is hard to go wrong.
Mix everything nice and gently; don't get carried away with all of the fast speeds that your super duper mixer has. Just mix it well and then stop.
Bake them in a hot oven, that means 350-400 degrees F or 175 centigrade. Make sure that you preheat the oven, so before you begin to prepare the mess, turn on the oven.
Just make sure to grease the muffin tin with margarine. Smear it all over otherwise the mess is going to stick and you will have a cleaning mess, and who needs that! Fill the muffin tin up 2/3 with the batter, the rest is for the beautiful puffy expansion, (mamash, a miracle to behold!)
Like I said, let it bake for 20 minutes, check it once or twice, the whole wheat does not turn the brown that the white crap does, but it is much tastier and healthier. I always set a timer for twenty minutes, otherwise I get involved in cleaning some mess, blabbing on the phone or helping some kid out with his/her problem and I end up with burnt sacrifices.
Have a wire rack to pop the muffins onto when you take them out of the oven. This makes eight tasty muffins. I know that the typical muffin tin is only six, but what am I supposed to do. I did not invent the muffin tin, if I did I would make seven in one tin.
If it does not come out easily, you can try coaxing it with kind words and gentle persuasion. I personally handle problems like this with a knife, (I must have a violent nature 'cause I find talking no avail). Just run it around the muffin and it should pop out.
Let it cool for about 15 minutes before you serve them.
If you are not satisfied, then email the muffin to me and I will tell you where you went wrong. Just add it as an attachment to your email. Lovely!
Bessie Krapfman is a registered housewife, who is writing a book on appreciating housewives, which she hopes to have published, so that she can give it to her husband to read.
from the December 2002 Edition of the Jewish Magazine