Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pistachio Muffins

Happy Belated St. Patty's Day! I wanted to have this post up yesterday, but I have school all day on Wednesdays and wasn't able to even make these muffins until last night. So I have them today, albeit a little late. I wanted to make something green for St. Patty's Day, and I've been meaning to make some homemade pistachio muffins, so it worked out perfectly. The inspiration for these muffins came from the jumbo muffins they sell at one of my local grocery stores. All of them are absolutely delicious, but my favorite is the pistachio! Of course, whenever I come across something great, I always like trying to recreate it at home. So I went in search for a recipe on Allrecipes...and lo and behold, yet AGAIN, all of the recipes I came across were the same! I can't imagine why they let people submit the same recipe over and over again and yet put them under a different name as if there's something different about the recipe. I wanted a recipe that used pistachio pudding mix in the batter, and all of the recipes did...except they also all used cake mix, something I didn't have on hand and I didn't feel like using. I wanted a from scratch recipe.

So instead I thought that if I could just find any muffin recipe that used pudding mix in it, no matter the flavor, I could change it to accommodate the pistachio pudding instead. And by a happy chance, my google search led me to one of my favorite blogs, Cookie Madness. The recipe was for lemon poppy seed muffins, so I changed it just slightly and ended up with a wonderful pistachio muffin recipe. I was afraid that my muffins might come out tough being as I kept stirring the batter, adding a little bit of almond extract at a time, to taste, but surprisingly, the muffins came out wonderfully soft and fluffy and were still just as great today as they were yesterday, most likely thanks to the pudding mix. I was also a little apprehensive being as the recipe called for the muffins to be baked at 425 degrees F and I thought that might be too high as I've never seen a muffin recipe that went above 375 degrees. When I peeked at the muffins throughout the baking, they seemed to be browning fast. But all was totally fine and they came out with a wonderfully high-raised, crunchy muffin top, and soft insides, just like a great muffin should.

Pistachio Muffins (adapted from Cookie Madness)
Anna, the author of Cookie Madness, stated this recipe makes 10 muffins, but I made half the recipe and got 6 with a tiny bit of batter left over, so assume this recipe will make 10-12.

  • 1 (3.4 oz) box instant pistachio pudding mix (This is almost exactly 1/2 cup...if you'd like to make the half recipe like I did, measure out 1/4 cup of pudding mix)
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (I accidentally just used all-purpose, and they were still great!)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon almond extract (I like a strong almond extract flavor, so I ended up using more than maybe someone usually would. You can just add a little bit and then taste the batter to see if you want more)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • couple drops green food coloring, optional
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together pudding mix, flour, both sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, almond extract, oil, and food coloring. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until combined.
  4. Divide the batter between the muffin cups. Bake in preheated oven for 17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes and then remove to wire rack to cool completely.
I think it's funny that pistachio flavored things are actually predominantly almond flavored. Pretty much anything pistachio I try, I always get the wonderful taste of almond extract. I often wonder if you could discern an actual pistachio flavor if you were to leave out the almond extract?

I totally forgot that I had these green-colored sugar crystals until I started taking these pictures. If I had remembered, I so would have sprinkled them on top of the muffins before baking to make things even more festive looking. Colored sugar is my favorite type of sprinkles, even more than jimmies or nonpareils. If you have any green sprinkles or even pistachio nuts, feel free to sprinkle those on top of the muffins before baking to give them a prettier finish.

Even though it's passed St. Patrick's Day, give these muffins a try. I promise they won't disappoint!

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