Usually, when people order muffins at a bakeshop, they normally expect a fairly straightforward texture. They expect something soft. Maybe, they would meet a little resistance thanks to a crusty top, but for the most part, they expect something that they can take apart fairly easily and quickly. This is the kind of experience most muffin recipes deliver. It is a fairly soft straightforward affair. However, the problem is after you have enjoyed a few muffins, they get old really quickly.
I remember I was at a meeting, and they were serving delicious chocolate chip cupcakes, muffins and cookies. The cookies went away very quickly because they were topped by awesome macadamia nuts from Hawaii. After that, the cupcakes also disappeared. What were left were muffins, but the problem is after you have eaten your share of cupcakes, the muffins can get quite boring very quickly. There is really not much in terms of differentiation. Even the muffins with chocolate chips were being ignored. That is how bad things got.
To top it all off, my co-workers kind of looked at each other with a nervous look in their eyes. They did not want to offend the co-worker who baked the cookies but they were definitely signaling to each other that they could not have another bite. It’s not like they were all full. It’s not like they were fully satiated by the muffins. Instead, the look as well as well as the body language signals they were giving each other indicates that they simply burned out from the muffins. Again, these little pieces of baked goodness were flavorful. They brought lots of flavor to the table. Still, they laid there-uneaten, unappreciated, and oh so neglected.
I kind of felt sorry for the coworker who brought these baked goods to the potluck. I was also feeling quite happy that I chose to make salad instead. Believe me, if you spend any time in the kitchen, and you take pride in what you produce, it is somewhat a blow to the ego to see people ignoring the stuff that you slaved over. There are no two ways around this. I really cannot dance around this because it strikes too close to home.
Finally, I talked to Stacy, the woman who prepared the baked goods, and in as gentle of a way as possible, and I told her, “Maybe you should mix things up by adding a bit of texture to your muffins and cupcakes.” Sure enough, there was another potluck in the office and this time, Stacy showed up with muffins that had all sorts of toppings. In addition to nuts, which was probably easy to predict, she also mixed in some carrot gratings and raisins. The end result, I am happy to report that the muffins basically got vaporized overnight. People just could not get enough of them.
Interestingly enough, people also had lots of store-bought bread before. So, it is not like they were just hungry. There was only something significantly different with this batch of muffins. Of course, the nuts had a lot to do with it. Let us face it. When you put nuts on any kind of baked goods, and people can see it at the top of the cookies, bread, muffins, cupcakes, people would want to pop one in their mouth.
You have to understand that when you are serving stuff out of a muffin pan, a bread pan or a cookie sheet, optics count for a lot. The stuff that you have baked may be the best thing since sliced bread, but people would not know if they are intimidated by its appearance. Paying attention to presentation could go a long way in making sure that your stuff gets the respect and attention it deserves.
Moreover, Stacy’s carrot gratings really did the trick because people cannot quite put their finger on it, but they just kept going back to the muffins repeatedly. The great thing about carrot gratings is that they do not really hog the spotlight as far as texture is concerned. It is not like you are biting down on some very firm strands of fiber. Instead, they release flavor and bulk up as you eat them, and this is why it is always a good idea to put a little texture when baking delicious muffin recipes or any other normally soft baking recipe. Again, before you whip out those bread pans, the best muffin pan and what have you, pay attention to texture. Texture goes a long way.
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