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The Art & Soul of Baking

Recipe Photo 1 Recipe photo pie Recipe Photo 3


Author Photograph of Cindy Mushet About Cindy Mushet

Cindy Mushet has been a pastry chef and culinary instructor for nearly 20 years, beginning her career at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, CA. She has since headed pastry kitchens in restaurants and bakeries from Napa to San Diego, and has taught professional training courses at Le Cordon Bleu, the Culinary Institute of America, and the New School of Cooking, among others. She has also taught hundreds of recreational classes across the country.


For five years she wrote and published the highly regarded "Baking With the American Harvest," a quarterly baking journal with subscribers nationwide. She also is the author of Desserts: Mediterranean Flavors, California Style and was a contributing writer to The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookies, and The Baker's Dozen Cookbook. Cindy's recipes and articles have been featured in magazines and newspapers across the country, including Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Gourmet, Country Home, and The New York Times. In addition, her recipes were among the few to be chosen for The Best American Recipe books.


The Art and Soul of Baking

For a detailed description & pricing info click here.

The Art and Soul of Baking guides readers through the world of baking, where alluring aromas of chocolate, vanilla, and cinnamon fill the air and tempt the palate. Culinary authority Sur La Table teams with professional pastry chef and baking instructor Cindy Mushet to create the ultimate book for bakers.


From tantalizing tarts, decadent cakes, and delicious cookies, to more complex creations like crusty breads and flaky pastries, to melt-in-your-mouth more...


Step by Step photos 1 Lemon Mascarpone Step by Step photos 2


Feta, Roasted Pepper, and Basil Muffins

Feta, Roasted Pepper, and Basil Muffins

MAKES 12 MUFFINS

Who says muffins have to be sweet? These are a great savory accompaniment to eggs or bacon on the breakfast table, and just as good alongside soup, salad, or roasted chicken. Do not substitute dried basil, because it just doesn't have the punch of flavor these muffins require. If fresh basil is unavailable, substitute a tablespoon of fresh thyme or a teaspoon of dried thyme instead.


INGREDIENTS
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached
       all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
¾ cup (3 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
½ cup (4 ounces) jarred roasted
       red bell pepper, patted dry and chopped into ¼-inch dice
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
1 cup (8 ounces) buttermilk
¼ cup (2 ounces) olive oil
1 large egg


EQUIPMENT

Standard 12-Cup Muffin Tin, Whisk, Large Bowl, Medium Bowl, 2-Cup Liquid Measuring Cup, Silicone or Rubber Spatula, Large Ice Cream Scoop or Two Soup Spoons, Parchment Paper, Thin Knife or Spatula, Cooling Rack


WHAT THE PROS KNOW

To use parchment in the muffin pan instead of the traditional pleated paper muffin liners, cut twelve 5 by 5-inch squares of parchment. Fit one into each muffin cup in the pan, pleating the sides slightly where they overlap so they lay flat against the pan walls. The parchment will extend above the top of the muffin cup. Put a spoonful of muffin batter into each liner to anchor it in the pan. Adjust each paper, as necessary so they are centered and even. Finish filling with the muffin batter. Bake as directed.


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F and position an oven rack in the center. Lightly coat the muffin tin with melted buter, oil, or high-heat canola-oil spray. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in the large mixing bowl. Set aside. In the medium bowl, stir together the feta cheese, roasted bell pepper, and chopped basil. Set aside.


2. Pour the buttermilk into the measuring cup. Add the olive oil and the egg and whisk together until well blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well and stir gently with a spatula. Mix only until there are no more streaks of flour or pools of liquid and the batter looks fairly smooth. A few small lumps scattered throughout are fine—they will disappear during baking. Gently fold in the feta cheese mixture until evenly distributed in the batter.


3. Use the large ice cream scoop or 2 soup spoons to divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until the tops feel firm and a skewer inserted into the centers comes out clean. Transfer the muffin tin to a rack and let cool for 5 minutes. Gently run a thin knife or spatula around each muffin to free it from the pan, lift out the muffins, and transfer them to a rack to finish cooling (careful, these are tender while hot). Serve warm.


STORING When completely cool, the muffins can be stored at room temperature, wrapped in plastic or sealed in a resealable plastic bag, for 2 days. Reheat, wrapped in foil, in a 325°F oven for 8 to 10 minutes, until warmed through.

The muffins can also be frozen for up to 1 month, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap and then sealed in a resealable plastic freezer bag. Thaw, still wrapped, for 30 minutes before reheating.


Copyright © 2008 by Cindy Mushet. Reprinted from The Art & Soul of Baking with permission from Andrews McMeel Publishing.


Click here to download this recipe.


Also by Cindy Mushet:

Dessert Mediterranean Flavors, California Style