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Mar 29, 2005 07:15 PM

Muffin Challenge -- Muffin #1

  • m

LisaN was kind enough to submit "Oatmeal Apple Nut Muffins" (recipe below) as the first entry in the muffin challenge.

I've decided on two major, and five minor areas of scoring for judging a muffin.

Major #1: Taste -- is it yummy? super-yummy? hyper-delicious? 10 possible points.

Major #2: Texture -- moist, but still fully baked? Does the texture help the overall taste, or detract from it? Crispy outside, tender inside? 5 possible points.

Minors: -- 1 possible point each.

1) Ease of mixing -- is it fussy, or easy?
2) Ease of ingredients -- are the ingredients easy to get, keep fresh, assemble?
3) Ease of baking -- easy to get in and out of the pan, bake well, uncomplicated?
4) Freeze well? Can you freeze or otherwise keep the muffin for about a week, possibly more?
5) Ease of defrostin -- post-freezing quality of the muffin.

Sooooo a perfect muffin would be a 20. HOWEVER, I reserve the right to....

-Even if a muffin scores a zero on all the minors, if the taste is so good, it can override a muffin that gets all five. Essentially, if the muffin is good enough, the baker (me) can through out all the minors and make them meaningless.

I just wanted to find a way to differentiate between these good muffins, assuming I like all of them the same in the taste department.

I also reserve the right to go back and change the score on a previous muffin, if I find, say 5 muffins into the challenge, that I've over or under scored.

The muffins will be tasted in these ways:

Fresh from the oven, just cool enough to eat
Cool, but still fresh (the next day)
After freezing for a few days, defrosted.

Ok! So onto the first muffins. I haven't frozen these yet, so I'll have to write that part up in a few days.

LisaN's Oatmeal Apple Nut Muffin:

A good, relatively low fat muffin. I'd put the taste, fresh out of the oven and at room temperature at a 7. Texture -- good, but slightly chewy from the rolled oats. Don't get me wrong, it's not an unpleasant texture, but the oats do add a slightly different dimension.

The ingredient list is good -- I love the idea of grated apples. However, the apples just add nutrition, moisture, and sweetness. I detected NOOO apple flavor. Which is fine -- it's just interesting that the person who wrote this recipe put Apples in the title. If no one told you, you'd never know there were apples.

I love the idea of both yogurt and maple syrup being in these muffins. The syrup flavor does shine -- it's sweet, but not overly sweet. Much preferable, from a health standpoint, than using white sugar.

The oats add fiber and interest, but I think that there is too little nuts (only 1/3 cup chopped -- I used walnuts for this batch, as walnuts and pecans were both suggested) to add textural interest. If I were making this muffin again, outside the challenge, I'd up the nuts at least to 1/2 cup.

But other than that I'd not change this muffin. It's a mighty fine one.

I'll let the group know when I've frozen and defrosted these. I'm looking forward to another one tomorrow with my morning coffee.

Score Recap on LisaN's Oatmeal Apple Nut Muffins:

Taste -- 7 out of 10
Texture -- 4 out of 5

--Mixing -- 1 out of 1
--Ingredietns -- 1 out of 1
-- Baking -- 1 out of 1
Freezing and Defrosting yet to come.


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  1. Thanks for the review!

    I saw this receipe the other day and had a few questions about the ingredients:

    1. Rolled Oats - Would McCann's Quick Cooking Irish Oatmeal do? (that's the kind that cooks up in @ 5 mins)

    2. Can either corn or peanut oil be subbed for the canola oil? If so, whicj is preferable?

    3. What kind of apple did you use? Iirc, a poster had stated some slight dissatisfaction with using a fuji.

    1 Reply
    1. re: bk

      I found this recipe on the internet, I didn't develop it, so I don't know about substituting, but you could try it. I plan on making a few tweaks next time I make it. I used a granny smith when I made it.

    2. Howdy, Mrs. Smith. I think the great muffin bake is a wonderful idea. Thanks for posting the first results. This will be fun to follow.

      Is your muffin list final? If not, I would suggest the chocolate muffins in the King Arthur flour cookbook.


      1. Hey, Mrs. Smith--nice to see you here again. I hope I can submit a muffin recipe to the Muffin Challenge-it's from my honey cookbook, and now it's also on my blog, The Adventures of Pie Queen. Hope you enjoy it!

        Buzzing Bran Muffins

        First, grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Get out three bowls—a big bowl, a medium-sized one, and a smallish one.

        The goopy mix:
        3/4 cup boiling water
        1 cup wheat bran
        1/4 cup dark, full-flavored honey or molasses
        4 TB canola oil
        1 cup raisins

        In the big bowl, mix together and set aside for 5 minutes.

        The dry mix:
        1 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
        1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
        1/2 tsp salt
        1/2 cup wheat germ

        In the medium bowl, sift or mix together well.

        The wet mix:

        2 eggs, beaten
        1 cup buttermilk

        In the smallish bowl (or a big glass measuring cup) beat together.

        Now, stir dry mix into goopy mix. Stir briefly, then add wet mix. Stir together lightly until just mixed. Fill muffin cups and bake 25 minutes or until muffins spring back lightly when pressed with a fingertip. Let cool in pan 10 minutes, then serve or let cool on a rack. Makes 10-12 muffins


        1. Hello All,

          Thanks dixieday and Miss Sue -- but I'm sorry the Muffin Challenge I is closed for entries. I have 10 worthy looking entries (see the thread below) and I'll have to limit it to these for now. If this one goes well, there may yet be a Muffin Challenge II, so stay tuned!

          And for bk -- I think you might have to consult LisaN on the finer points of this recipe. I love steel-cut oats, but specifically didn't use them in this recipe because the first time I bake any recipe, especially for judging, I do exactly as stated. As for the oil -- you could probably use any mild flavored oil (peanut, even refined peanut, might be a bit too heavy, but I'll bet corn or grapeseed would work okay) -- but again, I used the canola as stated. It's a small amount (2T) so it's probably not as important.

          As for the apple I used, I peeled a Gala and grated it up, which gave me almost exactly one cup packed grated apple.

          Good recipe -- lets see how it stacks up to the other 9 entries in Muffin Challenge I. Stay tuned!


          1. Excellent review, I enjoyed your comments, and am looking forward to the next muffin review!