Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Adventures with a toaster oven

Even in Minnesota, this summer was crazy hot. I live in an apartment that has two little room air-conditioners, which try really hard but have difficulty keeping the place really cool. Moreover, when they chug along they are noisy and not very energy efficient! After receiving a huge electric bill for the period from June 15 to July 15, I realized I needed to get things under control.

One way I decided to do that was to avoid the oven like the plague! My oven is at least 25 years old, usually takes 20+ minutes to pre-heat, and creates a lot of heat around it. The electricity to create all of that heat, plus the electricity to cool it all away definitely adds up. So, I've decided to get creative with my toaster oven. Here's my first little experiment: Muffins!

I have a silicone muffin pan, but it wasn't quite the right shape to fit into my toaster oven. I considered simply filling the paper cups, shoving them in there, and seeing what would happen. DO NOT DO THAT! At first, I didn't believe the online research I read that indicated this was a bad idea. I decided to line up my muffin liners inside a loaf pan for some extra insurance.

Next, I mixed up the batter according to the package directions. I used the stuff where all you have to add is water, since I don't usually keep cow's milk or eggs in the house. The reason I decided to make muffins in the first place was because I had some blueberries left over and wanted to use them up. So, I added some fresh blueberries to the mixture!

Next, I poured the batter into my prepared liners!

and then into the "little oven" (as Mom always called it when I was growing up) they went!

and here's the finished product! Looking at this picture, you probably would never believe that these muffins are completely done, through and through. The addition of the fresh fruit, because it contains its own juice, and because I didn't dry it very carefully, requires some extra cooking time. But trust me, even though these muffins look like a runny mess, they're totally solid on the inside. Though I didn't believe this would happen, the batter completely overran the muffin cups. But, I have to admit, I thought this scone shape was actually pretty cool!

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