You remember beer bread, don’t you? Periodically it is all the rage – nowadays it makes the rounds on the internet, but in the past it would be the recipe passed around at work, church dinners or supper clubs. You stir up self-rising flour, or the equivalent, beer, sugar and sometimes butter and bake it until done.
I saw a tweet about beer bread yesterday that made me want some. It was almost dinnertime and I didn’t want to wait for a big loaf to bake and cool. I decided to make beer muffins instead – shorter baking time and easier to serve hot. I have made the muffins in the past, but not for a few years.
We didn’t have any beer, since we really don’t like to drink it. And our beer knowledge is sketchy for the same reason. The wall of beer at the grocery store was a just a little bit dizzying. Rich was with me and we finally decided to buy hard cider, since we do like to drink that, and see what it did in the beer muffins.
The hard cider worked beautifully, lending a slight apple flavor to the muffins. I cut back on the sugar just a bit, since the cider was sweeter than beer. And I did my usual replacement of half the flour with white whole wheat flour to up the fiber and nutrition a bit. It also added a nice nuttiness. I skipped the butter in this batch, since we planned to spread them with butter at the table. They were a success all around, with just a few left over for today’s breakfast.
I am still hankering for plain old beer muffins, with their clean maltiness. But I am also inspired by the success of the hard cider. Now I am intrigued by the possibilities of using different beers in the muffins. Maybe a dark beer, with some rye flour in the mix. And I am toying with using pumpkin spice ale and maybe a little canned pumpkin to make something truly different.
Once I make my plain beer muffins, with ordinary beer, I am going to start experimenting now that the proverbial wheels are turning. I think it’s time for this non-beer drinker to pick up a few different varieties and start baking.
From The Cook’s Life
Makes 12 muffins
Be sure to measure your flour by stirring it in the canister and lightly spooning it into your measuring cups. Level the top with the back of a knife. If you scoop your cup into the canister to fill it, or if you pack the flour, you will have too much flour and end up with dry, crumbly muffins.
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1½ cups white whole wheat flour*
3 teaspoons baking powder
¾ teaspoon salt
¼ cup sugar**
12 ounces beer or hard cider of choice
2 tablespoons butter, melted (optional)
*You can substitute all-purpose flour for the white whole wheat, if you prefer. **Reduce the sugar, or even leave it out, if you want less-sweet muffins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups and set aside.
Mix flours, baking powder, salt and sugar together in a large bowl. Add beer and melted butter and stir to mix. Do not beat and do not try to get rid of all the lumps. You just want to get all of the flour wet.
Divide dough evenly between the greased muffin cups.
Bake 15-18 minutes, or until the tops are have a few golden brown spots and the edges are golden brown. Do not over bake or they will be dry.
Serve warm, when they are at their very best. Store any cooled leftovers in an airtight container. Leftovers can be split and reheated in the oven, toaster oven or very briefly in the microwave.