Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sweet Melissa Sundays: Bosc Pear and Blue Cheese Savory Muffins

Today I tried new lighting for photographing my food. It wasn't actually intentional, but the light in the kitchen happened to be streaming in right when I wanted to photograph my results. I use a Nikon D5000 camera and 99.9% of the time I use the "Food" scene setting and usually get pretty good results. It's way easier than actually tyring to figure out apertures and F stops. I think the camera thinks if you are photographing food you are probably in a place with questionable lighting. So when I photographed these muffins with full sun using the food setting it came out with a completely different look then using the indirect natural light. The photo above is bathed in sunlight. The 2 photos below are indirect natural light.

The sunlight photo has a nice warm glow. I will have to play around with this and see if I can capture other treats in this nice light.

On to the muffins! Several months back I tried my first Sweet Melissa muffin recipe. The Sweet Melissa Baking book has a base recipe for both sweet and savory muffins and offers a number of variations on each. This was a sweet muffin--Strawberry. Unfortunately the muffins didn't turn out so hot. They were very dense and doughy. Inedible might be too strong a description but I certainly had no desire to eat them so they ended up in the muffin kitchen trash can. I took some comfort in later learning that other Sweet Melissa Sundays bakers had trouble with base muffin recipe too. I was curious how the savory muffin recipe rated. What better way to find out then first hand?

I made half the recipe and subbed sour cream in place of the heavy cream called for (as suggested by Andrea). I used skim milk in place of whole milk and I added several extra tablespoons of milk to get the batter to the right consistency. The savory muffin recipe has a little kick to it with black pepper (I used white) and cayenne pepper. I love the flavor of pear and blue cheese together so I was excited to try this out. I omitted the walnuts because I just don't care for them. I thought about subbing in pecans but I didn't have any on hand. So my muffins were nut-less.

These muffins are very reminiscent of a tender biscuit. They didn't turn out as golden brown as I would have liked. I did enjoy the cheese flavor, but the pear really got lost. The two peppers make this a spicy muffin. Overall, I wasn't lovin it. Another SMS baker commented that these would go nicely with a bowl of creamy tomato soup....and I agree. Eating them straight up didn't do much for me. However I have 19 more mini muffins sitting in my kitchen with only me to eat them. Hubby won't touch these with a 10 foot pole. I may swing by Fresh and Easy tomorrow and pick up a container of creamy tomato soup and give these muffins a second chance.

Thanks Andrea at Nummy Kitchen for selecting this week's recipe. See other SMS bakers muffins here.


  1. Love blue cheese...


    p.s. send me an email. I'd like to ask you a question.

  2. Yum..and perfect photos.My best photos are when the sunlight is dancing on my food! Im glad the sourcream idea worked for you too. I tried it with the sc and made my muffins sweet!

  3. They may not have been your favorite muffin but they do look quite tasty.

  4. They are so attractive. I would like one right now.

  5. I love how the blue cheese is really noticable in your photos. I love the natural light pictures too. What a soft, pretty effect. I think some food is like wine, not great alone BUT pared with the right food, wonderful. I wasn't overly impressed with the muffins alone either. I think you did a wonderful job!

    Thank you for your wonderful comments on the Bostini. If you would like the recipe, I can email it to you separately but I can not post in the blog because it comes out of Rose Beranbaum's Heavenly Cake Baking book as part of the baking group recipes =). Hugs, Shandy

  6. That was my thought immediately too with these muffins -- they'd go great with a bowl of soup. I did a similar thing with the "wet" ingredients, except I used plain yogurt in place of sour cream. The texture seemed much better. Hope the muffins went well with your soup!