Cooking with Annie: Episode 7 – Maine Blueberry Muffins (with and without eggs)

So you’re jonesing for a baked good, but you don’t have any eggs (or couldn’t get them at the grocery store this run).  No problem.  There are some handy substitutes for eggs that work almost as well as the eggs themselves.  If you are a vegan, same goes.  No need to go without baked goods, there are some pretty great substitutes out there which will have your non-vegan friends fooled.

To be sure, there’s a decent amount of talk around substituting ground flax seeds or chia seeds, but to my taste, these always end up tasting “healthy”.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  However, when I want a seedy breakfast muffin, I’ll ask for it, not make it by default.

The other direction when substituting for eggs in baked goods is some kind of mushy fruit – either mashed bananas, apple sauce, or stewed prunes.  All of which work wonderfully for making moist baked goods, but don’t do so much in the leavening/rising department.  These subs tend to make for flatter baked goods without that nice dome on top.

There are two substitutions which I’ve used consistently over the years which work beautifully and are nearly imperceptible from the baked goods with eggs.  They are either carbonated water OR a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.  Both create a wonderful rise and crumb without taking away any level of moisture.  That said, this substitution works best in quick breads, muffins, and cakes.  Not so much with say, eclairs or some other egg dependent confection.

In the latest episode of Cooking with Annie, I make Maine Blueberry Muffins with both of my favorite substitutions and show you the difference in the end result.  As they come out of the oven, the lighting in the video begins to change (thanks so much Maine weather) so it may be a little tough to see 100% clearly, but the carbonated water muffins have a perfect dome and are a little lighter in color.  The baking soda and vinegar muffins didn’t rise quite as much but have a more golden color.

Substitutions for eggs in baking
1. 1/4 cup carbonated water to 1 egg
2. 1 teaspoon baking soda and 1 tablespoon vinegar to 1 egg
3. 1/3 cup mashed banana, apple sauce, or stewed prunes to 1 egg

Maine Blueberry Muffins  
This recipe is actually my basic muffin recipe from which I make dozens of different kinds of muffins.  On the Riggin, to save time in the morning, I make a huge batch of dry ingredients and then measure out what I’ll need for that morning’s muffins.  Each day is a different muffin with dried or fresh fruit, different toppings, and/or spices.  It’s excerpted from the Red Book, At Home, At Sea: Recipes from a Maine Windjammer.

2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon table salt
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs OR 1/2 cup carbonated water OR 2 teaspoons baking soda and 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2/3 cup whole milk
1 1/3 cups fresh (or frozen) Maine blueberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan or line with paper liners. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the oil, eggs, and milk. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. Fill the muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Remove the muffins from the pan to cool on a wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins

Variations
Pumpkin, Honey, and Walnut
Reduce the milk to 1/3 cup, add 2 tablespoons honey, and 1 cup pumpkin puree with the other liquid ingredients. Stir in 3/4 cup chopped walnuts instead of the blueberries.

Other Variations
Replace the blueberries with dried cranberries or apricots; raisins; or chocolate chips.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with granulated or coarse-grain sugar.
Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with streusel.