Monday, April 02, 2007

Dining and Sniffing in New York City - Part 0

I just got back from a weekend trip to NY during which I spent my time sniffing perfume and eating. (Often at the same time.) The primary reason for the trip was an event for perfume aficionados called Sniffapalooza - two days of sensory overload.

My friend Andree and I were taking the train into the City, so would miss the planned breakfast at Bergdorf Goodman. To make up for that, I concocted some mighty yummy "carrot" muffins. I use the quotes because the muffins didn't have all that much carrot in them. I had purchased a bag of pre-shredded carrots, but when I went to use them, I found they had become slimy and tossed the lot of them. Alas, all I had left in the fridge was about 8 of those mini carrots, and I needed a cup and a half total. What to do? Fortunately, we had several apples in the crisper, so I peeled and shredded one of those. For extra flavor, I stirred in some grated orange peel. And finally, to gild the lily, I filled them with a cream cheese mixture. What's carrot cake without cream cheese frosting?

Cream cheese-filled Fruity Muffins

1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cardamom

3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter, melted and cooled

1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded apple (peeled)
1/2 cup dried cherries, soaked in warm water or something more alcoholic, if you prefer
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
grated zest of one orange

4 oz softened cream cheese
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.

Sift together dry ingredients; set aside. Beat the eggs and the sugar together until light. Blend in the the melted butter until well combined. Add the carrots, apple, drained cherries, walnuts, and orange peel. Stir in the dry ingredients but do not overmix.

In a separate bowl, combine the ingredients for the filling.

Grease a large 6- or standard 12-muffin pan. Fill the cups about 3/4 of the way, then add a dollop of cream cheese filling. Bake large muffins for about 40 minutes, and regular ones for about 30. They should turn a nice deep brown, and a cake tester should come out clean.

Next: Actual NY dining