Andrea Maunder, locovore, wine expert and pastry chef, is the owner and creative force behind Bacalao, a St. John's restaurant specializing in "nouvelle Newfoundland" cuisine.

Pantry Muffins

I love the challengeof using up the last bits of groceries or poking in the pantry to create something delicious on the fly – plus it’s a personal pet peeve to see food wasted.

Single-serve flavoured yogurt cups are one of the things that tend to languish in our fridge at home, at or just beyond the expiration date. And I tend to keep a tin or two of fruit in the pantry because I love the nostalgic treat of eating canned fruit with cottage cheese or Fussels cream.

Now you know that food doesn’t magically become lethal at the stroke of midnight on the date printed on the package, right? It’s a guideline. Yogurt, sour cream, salad dressings, condiments, canned vegetables and fruits, and many other foods are good for weeks – or longer – after the date. As long as the package is not broken or bulging, there is no mould or fermentation, and it tastes and smells fine, most food can be safely consumed.

A couple of weeks ago, on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I was craving muffins. I had no intention of trading my slippers for shoes to make a trip to the grocery store, so I shuffled to the fridge and pantry to see what I could use. There is always a bit of flour, baking powder and sugar in the house, but what else? I found a tin of peaches in the back of the cupboard and a couple of cups of vanilla yogurt in the fridge (nobody’s favourite in our house), so I had my inspiration – Vanilla Peach Muffins!

If you’re a longtime reader of my column, you may have seen my recipe for streusel topping – I always make up a large enough batch so I can keep some in the freezer to top cake or muffins easily. And it’s a twofer, because you can add rolled oats and use it for topping a fruit crumble. I’ve included it for you again, because it made my use-up-thepantry muffins extra good.

You might notice that there are no eggs in the muffin recipe (we seldom have eggs in the fridge at home), but don’t worry, my recipe compensates for that. I used canola oil, though any light flavoured oil or melted butter/margarine would work. If you are out of white sugar, use brown. Or you can substitute 2/3 cup honey or maple syrup for the sugar, but reduce the water to 1/2 cup.

I had peaches, but you could use any canned fruit – or if you have some fresh fruit (anything but melons, citrus or grapes) needing to be used, that’ll work, too! You’ll need about a cup of fruit or berries (if frozen, thaw and drain). Feel free tomix and match to make up a cup. And leave on the skin of any fruit whose skin you would eat – simply cut away any bruised or overly soft bits. My recipe is for sweetened regularstyle yogurt.

I used two 113-gram single-serve cups, which is about a cup of yogurt. If you are using unsweetened plain yogurt, add 1/2 cup sugar (or use a full cup honey or maple syrup and reduce water to 1/4 cup). If you are using Greek yogurt, add another 3-4 tbsp water. I always have muffin liner papers on hand.

If you don’t, spray/butter each cup well. If you happen to have parchment paper, a handy trick for stick-proofing is to cut 12 rounds the size of the muffin cup bottoms, grease and place them in the bottoms. You can run a butter knife or offset spatula around the sides of the muffins when cool and the paper takes care of the bottoms! If you’d like to top them with streusel, make the streusel first and let it chill while you prep the muffins. Then sprinkle a tablespoon or so on top of each muffin before baking.

Vanilla Peach Muffins

 • 2 cups flour
 • 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
 • 3/4 cup sugar
 • 1/2 tsp baking soda
 • Pinch salt
 • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
 • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
 • 2 single-serving cups flavoured yogurt (about 1 cup total)
 • 1 tsp vanilla
 • 2/3 cup water
 • 1 small tin fruit – drained, chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (or one cup fruit of your liking, fresh, frozen or canned)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Prepare muffin pan. Whisk together dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add wet ingredients except fruit and stir just until combined. Stir in fruit and spoon evenly into muffin cups. Top with streusel (if using). Bake 25-30 minutes until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Streusel Topping

(double this recipe to have plenty to freeze for later)

 • 1 cup flour
 • 1 cup brown sugar 1 tsp cinnamon
 • 1/2 tsp baking soda
 • Pinch salt
 • 3/4 cup butter (out of the fridge 10 minutes or so, just to take the chill off), cut into cubes

This is easiest in a food processor or stand mixer (with paddle attachment), but can be cut in by hand using a fork or pastry blender. Place dry ingredients in food processor bowl or stand mixer and pulse/paddle to combine. Add butter and pulse/paddle on low until it starts to clump together. You want random-sized clumps from pea to dime sizes. Spread this on a parchmentlined pan and chill while you get the muffins ready. If you’d like to use this for crumble topping later, add one cup rolled oats to one cup room temperature streusel topping and crumble-squeeze it between your fingers to incorporate.
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