Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Fig experiment, take 3: success!

At last, a conclusion: I like the taste of dried figs, but not the texture. The solution? Chopped dried figs!

Combine a little chopped figs, a few chopped apricots (for my husband, who decided after experiment #1 that he disliked figs...), some lemon zest, honey, and goat cheese, and you have the most amazing fig muffins to ever grace your Saturday morning breakfast table.

At this point, some of you are thinking "gee! that sounds too healthy for me," "goat cheese in muffins??" or "still not sure about those figs, Rebekah..."

Well, the muffins certainly are healthy. I found them in last month's edition of Eating Well. Goat cheese, honey, and figs did seem like an odd combination--but odd enough to be intriguing. The goat cheese has a cream cheese-like consistency, but a delicious tang. And trust me on those chopped figs--just chop them finely. I promise you won't lose any of the health benefit.

Honey & Goat Cheese-filled Fig Muffins

3/4 cup crumbled soft goat cheese (you could also use cream cheese)
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup white flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chopped dried figs, apricots, raisins, or other dried fruit. Apricots are especially pretty in this dish!
3 tablespoons turbinado (sugar-in-the-raw) or granulated sugar

1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray.
2. Combine goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla in a small bowl until creamy. Set aside.
3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs and egg white. Add brown sugar and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in buttermilk and oil until smooth.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. At this point, I divided my batter in half and put figs in one half and apricots in the other. Fold in the fruit.
5. Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add 1 generous teaspoon of the reserved cheese filling to the center of each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter. (The filling should not be visible.) My muffin cups were almost filled to the top when I was done, but they baked just fine. Sprinkle the muffins with sugar.
6. Bake the muffins until the edges start to brown and the tops spring back when gently pressed, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.

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