Wednesday, October 21, 2009

How to Do Clark Gable

I don't know what it is. I think you have to have been born somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line to eat pecan pie with impunity. I do love it, you understand. Really. It's just that it's so utterly, irredeemably, impossibly rich. I can't think of another thing, right off the top of my pointy head, that contains such intense, concentrated sweetness. And I don't handle that degree of sweetness well.

My tummy is such a wuss. This is the same tummy that thrives on any chili pepper that makes it past my taste buds and begs for more. But offer it something really, really sweet and it throws up its little hands and whimpers, "Don't hurt me." It's just pitiful. That's why, much to my dismay, I have to limit myself to a small portion of pecan pie once in a very great while.

Until today. Today I may have stumbled on the perfect solution, allowing me to have my pecan pie and eat it , too, just as if I owned real estate on Bourbon Street and had a season pass to Dollywood. There I was, browsing around the Tasty Kitchen section at the Pioneer Woman site and I found this deceptively simple recipe for Pecan Pie muffins. Muffins! Who'd a thunk it?

I urge you to click over there and look around but, for future reference, here's a quick take on the recipe. First, you set your oven at 350 degrees fairy height. Then you whisk together 1 cup of chopped pecans, 1 cup packed brown sugar and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Lightly beat two eggs and add them to the butter. Stir the liquid mixture into the dry mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring. Fill six muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes. (I did the full 25.) Remove from pan immediately.

EDIT: I forgot to say (because this particular recipe source didn't mention it) but be sure to grease your muffin cups! Your mileage may vary but, personally, if I suspect a potential for serious "sticky," I use solid shortening instead of nonstick spray. If you wait too long to decant the muffins, just pop them back in the oven for a couple of minutes and they should drop out easily. As for using paper liners, I'd suggest not. From what I've read, most folks feel too much of that nice, crunchy crust gets lost when you peel the liners away.

Well, folks, I had a batch of those bad boys whupped up almost before you could shout, "Memphis, Mobile and Baton Rouge!" That's assuming, of course, that you'd even want to wander around your kitchen shouting the names of southern towns like you were practicing to be a train conductor.  It's just that they have such a great magnolia-scented sound to them, don't they?

As you can see, the recipe makes a tidy half-dozen muffins, which is just fine for me. Just the perfect size for one to give me a great pecan pie hit without making my tummy snivel and whine. In fact, my tummy insisted I give it a second muffin before it very politely said, "Thank you, that will be sufficient."

Just look at that tender, moist interior, will you? (If you left-click on the photo, you'll get a larger version to view.) I promise you, there is absolutely nothing you need to put on these muffins to enhance them. Nothing. The crispy-crunchie outside and the soft, caramel-like inside are perfect just as they are. Perfect, I tell you. And if anyone around you complains that you're getting the lion's share of the muffins, you'll feel southern enough by then to do a Clark Gable and say, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."


John Bailey said...

I do believe you've discovered the acceptable face of the pecan pie, Dee! :-)

Stephanie said...


kate et jim said...

My stomach agrees with yours - this is probably a more acceptable dose of sweetness that it could handle.

Bex said...

Do you also suppose that making this recipe into a bread form (using a meatloaf type pan) would be OK, as well? With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I thank you for one less thing I'll need to search out to make. They look so good.

Dee said...

John, Stephanie and Kate: yes, yes and yesindeedy!

Bex, I don't know but it's worth an experiment, especially since the basic recipe is a small one. Mini-loaf pans, perhaps? Adjusted baking time, say, 30 minutes? I'm going to freeze some muffins and see how they fare when thawed and reheated. I'll let you know.

bonnie said...

Sounds fab! Looks even better.

Dee said...

Oh, Bonnie! While cruising other sites with the same recipe, I noticed one commenter said she used 3/4 cup of Splenda and 1/4 cup brown sugar successfully.

Maggie said...

No extra what am I to do.

Like the new format. :) Like that you are writing more often.

Dee said...

No extra butter? I'm not sure how you mean that, Maggie. Did you mean it in the sense that you have to get more at the store or in the sense that you get only a certain amount in your diet? Or were you commenting on the fact I insisted nothing need be added to the finished muffin? Anyway, thanks for liking the new look. (grin)

~ Sil in Corea said...

I don't believe I could find a pecan in Korea if my life depended on it, so could I substitute another kind of nut?
Oh My Gawdiness! I's hankering for muffins too much, now.
Hugs from Corea, ~ Sil

Bex said...

OK, I tried making these today. I used muffin cups (paper) in muffin tins, sprayed them with Pam. They are very sticky. I may have left them alone too long after they came out of the oven. I pried them out of the muffin tin and got rid of the paper, and just plopped the whole mess into a bowl. My plan was to spoon a few spoonfuls in a bowl with plain Greek yogurt (or vanilla ice cream would be great too), as an added ingredient.

I did that tonight and OMG, that is the best stuff I have EVER had - even better than a pecan pie! No kidding.

I'm going to bake the stuff in a cake pan next time though. And maybe add some minutes to the cooking time.