Wednesday, December 4, 2013

French Onion Muffins

What's better than caramelized onions? MORE caramelized onions!

I have just enough love for raw onions as a cat towards a bath. But when caramelized, we’re talking about Gone with The Wind passionate love.  It’s a matter of simple science, actually. The chemical process that occurs when you are caramelizing onions, or baking, is called Pyrolysis. You have Pyro; fire and Lysis; to separate. What are we separating here? The sugars from the onions. So basically, we use the heat to break down the sugar contained in onions into smaller units of sugar and the reaction caused by breaking down larger sugar molecules into small singular ones causes the onions to brown, soften, and develop a subtle sweeter flavor. Very neat, right?

I reckon that is another reason why I love cooking. It’s simple but it allows curious minds to dive deeper and try to find the core of its magic which indeed is explainable.

But let me not put the burden of boredom on your shoulder and get to the recipe straightaway. I’ve been making these wonderful muffins when (1) I want French Onion Soup but the weather is too hot for soup or, (2) I’m going to a potluck or, (3) I just feel like having savory muffins. I like cupcakes but I love muffins more and these muffins, though they contain cheese, taste very light. Just like French Onion Soup should be.

Recipe adapted from the book Muffin Magic
Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients:
2 Onions, caramelized
1 cup milk
2 eggs
Fresh thyme from 1 sprig (or 1/2 tsp dried)
100 gr cheese, shredded
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats/quick cooking oats
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbs baking powder
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
-Preheat your oven to 200C
-Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, and oats. Set aside.
-Mix the caramelized onions, eggs, milk, thyme, a dash of  freshly ground black pepper, and 80 gr of cheese. Keep the rest of the cheese for topping.
-Mix the dry and wet ingredients until just combined.
-Fill your muffin liners with the batter, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and some freshly ground black pepper.
-Bake for 20 minutes


Mmmm... Mmmmuuffiinnss...

A single rosemary leaf put on top does give a lovely finish. Bring these muffins to a potluck party, pack some for breakfast or lunch, but be sure to share because the real joy is the unbelievable sweetness yet mellow taste given by the combination of simple and humble pantry staples. 

Or we can also put some Italian twist on this French inspired treat..


-----Put a teaspoon of pesto sauce inside the muffin.

So instead of filling the muffin liners with just the batter, fill it with a little batter, a teaspoon of pesto sauce, and cover it with more batter. If you decide to use the pesto, you might wanna skip the thyme in the batter to let the basil in the pesto shine.

Another note from me is use yellow onion. Not only because it's cheaper than the red but also because the yellow ones contains more lachrymator which produces a more complex flavour when caramelized. What's a lachrymator? Oh, it's only a compound of non-importance that makes you cry when you cut the onion. 

Lacrima.. tear.. Oh whatever, Have fun baking:)

Amy   

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