Friday, December 16, 2016

Blender-Enabled Muffins and the Harley Pasternak Blender

Sooooooo ...

I recently got the book Turbo Blender Desert Revolution and it says that you need a high-powered blender that can grind grains and heat foods. Shortly after I got the book, the folks at Salton asked if I wanted to test their Harley Pasternak Power Blender.

*taps fingertips together menacingly*

Why yes, yes I would ...

Bwaaa haaaa haaaa!

I already made one recipe from the book, but this time I decided that I would make a recipe that required grinding some grains. Which I happened to have. The book called for soft white wheat berries, and it just so happens that I bought those recently, too.

I messaged one of the authors of the book to ask whether he thought the Harley Pasternak blender would work for his book. He wasn't sure. The book requires blenders that spin so fast that they heat ingredients, and that are powerful enough to grind grains.

So ... did it work?

First, I put some water in the blender, started at low, and cranked the power up to top speed. And ... the water got warmer and warmer and warmer and then it was actually hot. It passed the first test.

But how about turning grains into flour? The first challenge is the ability to make flour. The second is the ability to grind evenly. You don't want to have some flour and some chunky bits. I put 2 1/4 cups of soft white wheat berries in the blender, set a timer for a minute and watched in complete fascination.

Not only did it turn wheat berries into flour, but it did it without needing me to stop and shake the blender or stop and scrape the sides. It was fun to watch, and kind of magical. Wowza.

So, yeah, obviously it can make your morning smoothie.

The controls on this are simple. The lever on the left is for on and off. The lever on the right is for pulsing. And the dial in the center is the speed control. There are no numbers or set speeds - it's just a smooth transition from the slowest to the fastest speed.

As far as the muffins, these were supposed to have a lemon glaze, which I'm sure would have been lovely. But I decided I wanted basic and somewhat savory muffins that could go with dinner. They have a bit of sugar, but they're not super-sweet. No sweeter than some cornbread muffins I've had.

Buttermilk Muffins
Adapted from Turbo Blender Desserts by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough

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2 1/4 cups soft white wheat berries
5 tablespoons granulated white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 2/3 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
3 large eggs at room temperature
5 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Note: I ended up making 18 muffins instead of the 12 this recipe should have made. I probably could have filled the muffin cups a little more, but since I live at high altitude, I'm always skittish about things rising out of control. These kept their shape nicely, so I probably could have filled them more. It's also possible that other pans have deeper cups than the pans I used.

Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Butter at least 12 cups of a muffin pan. I used baking spray instead of butter, but use what you like.

Put the wheat berries in the blender container and blend at the highest speed until you have a fine flour. This should take about a minute.

Add the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cover and pulse a few times until the mixture is blended, then transfer the flour to a large bowl.

Add the buttermilk, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla to the blender. Cover and blend at low speed until it is smooth.

Pour the buttermilk mixture on top of the flour mixture and stir until smooth. Divide the batter to fill the muffin cups.

Bake at 400 degrees until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 12 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan set on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then turn the muffins out and let them cool completely.

I received the Harley Pasternak blender from Salton at no cost to me.