A month ago, I baked confetti cupcakes, the bright specks of color provided by nonpareils or sugar sprinkles. Today, I baked savory confetti muffins, subtly sweet, light and moist, that wonderfully burst with the colors and aromas of salami bits, herbs and vegetables.
If you’re wondering why I call them muffins rather than cupcakes, the difference between the two is NOT the absence (or presence) of icing or frosting. And it isn’t about how dense the baked product is either. I remember reading a blog once where the blogger claimed that to tell if he had a muffin or a cupcake, he’d throw it against the wall and if made a rather big noise, then, it was a muffin. I almost died laughing because a cupcake can be just as dense as a muffin. And a muffin is not even necessarily dense.
Muffins are essentially breads while cupcakes are — naturally — mini cakes. If you’ve had any (correct) experience in baking, you’d know that there is a huge difference between the process of baking a bread and the process of baking a cake.
There are cooks though who point out that the difference between muffins and cupcakes has blurred somewhat over the past decades. Might be right in some ways. Traditionally, muffins included yeast among the ingredients. Not true anymore as most modern muffin recipes use baking powder or soda or both. Still, there are marked differences. Visually, muffin batter is lumpier than a cupcake batter. Procedurally, a cupcake batter generally requires more processes (like creaming and sifting) than a muffin batter. The amount of mixing varies hugely too. In fact, one cardinal rule in baking muffins is to never overmix — mix just enough to moisten the ingredients then stop.
That said, these are muffins. Savory. Light, not dense. And not totally lacking in sweetness as most muffins tend to be. Based on a recipe from Allrecipes.com.
- 3/4 c. of chopped salty sausage (I used salami)
1/3 c. of chopped onion
1/3 c. of chopped red bell pepper
1/4 c. of butter
3/4 c. of all-purpose flour
1 tsp. of baking powder
1/4 tsp. of salt
1/4 tsp. of baking soda
3 tbsps. of sugar
1/3 c. of chopped assorted fresh herbs (I used, tarragon, parsley and basil), but only half as much, or even less, if using dried herbs
1/2 c. of cream
1 tsp. of mustard
1 large egg
Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with paper cups. If not using paper cups, lightly grease seven of the holes of the muffin pan.
Heat the butter in a pan. Add the chopped sausage, onion and bell pepper. Cook gently over medium heat until the vegetables start to soften. Cool the mixture while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda, sugar and chopped herbs.
In another bowl, lightly beat the cream, mustard and egg.
Add the sausage mixture to the cream mixture. Stir to combine.
Add the sausage and cream mixture to the dry ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Do not overmix.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.
Let the muffins cool in the pan for about five minutes.
These muffins are great when served still slightly hot.
Cooking time (duration): about 45 minutes
Number of servings (yield): 7 muffins