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Make use of that lonely box of ice cream in the corner of the freezer. This easy muffin recipe is quick, simple and surprisingly good.
1-1/2 c flour
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
slightly more than 1/4 tsp baking soda
2 cups melted (or very soft) premium ice cream
(Optional - 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chocolate chips, raisins, or chopped nuts)
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin cups by greasing the bottom and bottom edges only of 12 muffins cups. If you use pan spray, such as Pam, then spray, aiming for the bottom, and then take a paper towel and clean the sides of the muffin cups. This is an important step. Muffins rise by "clinging" to the sides of the muffin pans. The rising process will be restrained if the sides are too slick to properly "cling" to.
2. Scoop ice cream in a 2 cup pyrex measuring cup. Microwave in 10 - 20 second increments until it is thick and melted and is smooth and stirrable with the consistency of a milk shake. Check to be sure the melted ice cream measures 2 cups.
3. Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Be sure these dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed before the melted ice cream is added. You don't want anyone to get a lump of baking soda when they take a bite of baked muffin.
4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Pour in the ice cream. With as few strokes as possible, stir until mixed. If adding optional chips, nuts, or raisins, add them when almost through stirring and fold in gently. The less you can stir the muffins, the more tender they will be.
5. Fill each muffin cup 2/3 to 3/4 full. . Do not overfill, or you will have odd-looking, flat, mushroom-shaped muffins instead of muffins with nice high rounded tops. Overfilled muffins also tend to be hard to remove from the pan and batter baked onto the pan is harder to clean.
6. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. When done, a knife in the center will come out almost clean with perhaps a soft crumb or two clinging to the side.
7. Cool in the pan for two to five minutes. While muffins are still very warm, run a rubber spatula (or gently use a table knife) around the edge of each muffin and gently loosen the muffin from the cup. If it wants to stick or crumble, let it cool another couple of minutes and try again. I like to loosen the muffin and tip it slightly sideways in the cup without removing it and then let it continue to cool.
Makes 10 - 12 muffins.
Approximate nutritional information, using premium vanilla ice cream, per muffin: 126 calories, 5.9 grams fat, 15.9 grams carbohydrates
If you like a sweeter muffin, try adding about 3 Tbs of white or brown sugar to the flour mixture, mixing well before adding the ice cream. Alternatively, you can drizzle on a glaze (mix powdered sugar and milk to desired thickness) or sprinkle powdered sugar or cinnamon sugar on the top of the freshly baked muffins.
Note: Nearly any flavor ice cream can be used. Premium is recommended because it will have eggs and milk in the ice cream. Reduced fat ice cream works fine.
Be cautious of using reduced calorie ice cream - some artificial sweeteners should not be heated. If your ice cream has artificial sweeteners it may not be appropriate for baking. Some artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame, are not heat stable and will not only lose their sweetness but may change into undesireable chemicals when baked. In general, sucralose is considered heat stable, as is saccharin. Try a google search on the artificial sweetener in your ice cream if you want to be sure.
For a super easy recipe that even the kids can make, substitute self-rising flour for the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. One caution with self-rising flour: it only lasts on the shelf for 2 - 3 months before beginning to lose it's leavening power. If the flour is more than 3 months old, you may still need to add the baking soda and baking powder (the salt would not be affected).
If you are using vanilla ice cream, then try adding 1 to 1-1/2 cups of blueberries and make delicious blueberry muffins.
With chocolate ice cream, try adding 1/2 to 3/4 cup of chocolate chips.
I consider these muffins almost "free" since the main ingredient is ice cream that I would normally end up throwing away. The flour in this recipe costs about $.21 for 1-1/2 cups, assuming a 5 lb bag is $2.75 (yes! the cost of flour has risen!) The baking soda, baking powder, and salt add an additional .$10 to the total. The energy for the oven will be about $.25 to $.30. With this perspective, you can just have fun experimenting.