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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Spicy Melon & Basil Muffins

There comes a time during a day filled with extensive research on various subjects, that I scramble to the kitchen with a desire to make muffins.  It's one of those things that once I decide to do it, there is no stopping me.  Even on days I realize I'm out of flour or eggs or bananas (usually not on the same day), it doesn't stop me.  It's like an urge I need to let be expressed.  These days, the expression lies in  herbal combinations.  I love the way herbs or spices enhance the flavor of fruity muffins, especially basil.  Hmm actually, mint or rosemary do a lovely job as well.  Oh I need to try one with cilantro next time!
And that's how a combination of melon and basil makes its way into a muffin in my house.  I had a half melon perfectly ripe, juicy, and sweet just begging to star in the show.  I was worried about the juiciness of the melon after blending it, so I added some ground almonds and corn starch as thickener.   What I like about muffins is that I'm never 100% sure how they will turn out in the end.. if they will be fluffy, flat, or even if the flavors will go well together.  The first bite is always a surprise.  That surprise notion is covered with the addition of chile powder.  Mine is very strong, so I only used a bit, but oh how it does little wonders in unexpected places!
Yield 15 muffins
1 egg, well beaten
1 tsp corn starch
100g (3.5oz) cane sugar
40g (1.4oz) canola oil
30g (1oz) ground almonds
320g (about 1 1/4 cup or 11.3oz) blended melon
1 handful finely chopped fresh basil
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp chile powder
1/4 tsp salt
150g (5.3oz) whole wheat flour
1.  Beat together the egg, corn starch, sugar, melon, ground almonds, and oil.  Beat it well, then fold in the basil.
2.  Sift together the flour, chile powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Carefully stir in the flour mixture until just combined.
3.  Fill your buttered muffin tins 3/4 full and bake for 22-25 minutes at 175°C 350°F or until a toothpick comes out clean.

The juicier the melon, the longer they will have to cook at a lower temp.  I almost went for 150°C 325°F for 30 minutes, but thought of that too late.  I may have ended up with a prettier shape and avoided the brown tops, but eh.. the muffins were delicious so who really cares how they look?
These turn out very very moist and fragile, so be gentle please..
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