Wednesday, February 13, 2013

McLovin' Muffin



 English Muffins and eggs:  a perfect love match.  I like to add caramelized onions, apples and garlic with a touch of maple and a hit of heat.  Melting cheese on top of the egg is also very encouraged in our household.  And I won't make a move on my breakfast treat until I top it with at least 2 crispy slices of Applegate Sunday bacon.

And let me assure you, not only is making a completely from scratch McLovin' Muffin for Valentine's breakfast easy, it's pure love.





 McLovin' Muffin

INGREDIENTS

For the English Muffin

(makes 10 muffins, seal those you don't use in a tightly sealed plastic bag and freeze)

3 cups all purpose flour, I use King Arthur
1 1/2 cups luke warm water
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
1 package instant yeast, I use Red Star's platinum yeast

To assemble

1 small yellow onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 small firm, tart apple, cored and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon maple syrup
chili flakes, to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Sharp cheddar cheese

Eggs, cooked sunny side up in a heart ring mold

Bacon, crisped to your liking.  I use Applegate's Sunday Bacon

salt and pepper to taste

Procedure

For the English Muffins

Preheat oven to 350º.

•In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the batter is smooth and no lumps of flour remain.  Remember, this is a high hydration dough, it's more a batter than a dough.  It shouldn't hold it's shape and should be relatively spreadable (you're developing gluten, so it will still have some resistance but will be sticky and gloppy).

•Cover the bowl with a damp towel and allow to rest for 30 to 40 minutes.

•When the resting period is up, heat a large, heavy skillet or stovetop griddle and spray lightly with non-stick cooking spray.  Place as many heart molds as you can fit on the griddle and spray them with non-stick cooking spray.  Fill the molds half way using a cookie scoop and with damp fingertips, VERY GENTLY spread the dough to completely cover contours of the mold (you can also use traditional muffin molds, you can use tuna cans that have had their tops and bottoms removed and clean).  Don't press too aggressively on the dough as you want to maintain all the air bubbles in the batter for those gorgeous nooks and crannies.

•Place a sheet pan on top of the cooking muffins and "bake" over a medium-low flame for about 10 to 15 minutes.  Carefully put a spatula underneath the mold, making sure that it remains around the cooking muffin, and flip the muffin to bake on the other side for another 10 to 15 minutes.  Both sides should be golden brown.  Remove the rings with tongs and check the sides of the muffin.  If they appear slightly moist on the sides, place on a parchment lined sheet pan and bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

For the onions, etc:

In a skillet, warm the olive oil and butter until the butter is melted.  Add the onions and garlic and sauté over medium-low heat until the onions are translucent.  Add the apples and chili flakes and continue to sauté until the apples soften.  Salt and pepper to taste.



 •Thoroughly clean the heart rings and spray with non-stick cooking spray and place on the griddle again and crack an egg inside the mold.  A bit of albumen may escape but leave it be.  You can cut it off easily before you remove the ring.  Cook until set (if you like over easy, place a baking sheet over the eggs to steam the tops during the cooking time.

When you flip the muffin, be careful to keep the muffin in the mold so that it holds its shape.


•I assemble the McLovins by first "slicing" the muffins in half using a fork to poke all long the perimeter and then gently pulling the halves apart.  Make sure that the muffins have completely cooled otherwise the interior won't be fully set and you won't see all those lovely nooks and crannies.

•Place a few tablespoons of the caramelized onion mixture on top of one muffin half.  Carefully transfer a warm egg atop the onions and then top with cheese.  Season with salt and pepper, top with bacon and finish off with the remaining muffin half.

For the sourdough version, click here.