Wheat and Lime Muffins: In Search of the Perfect Commuter Food

If I have to, I can bring myself to pay $1.75 for a muffin, but it still annoys me.

Bagels are pretty cheap, but for some reason in our section of NYC's financial district there are no fresh bagel places--I can only find tough, day-old bagels (hmmmm--business idea?). In any case, a bagel, fresh OR stale, isn’t really energy-dense enough to last an entire morning.

Also there’s what they call a New Yorker's breakfast: coffee and a cigarette. Unfortunately, I need a few more calories than that to get me through to lunchtime.

So I’m always on the lookout for the perfect commuter food that I can make at home and eat at the office.

The perfect commuter food is something you can make in volume over the weekend and eat during the week. You should be able to take it with you on a train or bus or other mass transit without it getting smushed beyond recognition. It should be easy and convenient to eat while you're getting started on your workday. And it's best if you DON’T need a utensil to eat it.

One solution that works for me is perfectly boiled eggs, but I’m not a fan of eating eggs every day for weeks on end. Maybe once or twice a week.

But the commuter food I'm going to share with you today passes all of these tests. I've modified a muffin recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cook Book into what I call Wheat and Lime Muffins. I know, the lime part seems a bit unusual at first, but trust me, it works.

I'll cook up a batch of these guys on Sunday afternoon (of course I'll also eat a couple right out of the oven), and then bring them to work on Monday morning. They'll keep for four days (at least) in an airtight container in my desk drawer here at the office.

If you are interested in seeing another example of recipe modification in action you can email me for the original recipe, which is “Honey Wheat Muffins” on page 61 (at least in my edition, from 1989) of Better Homes and Gardens.

Wheat and Lime Muffins
Heavily modified without permission from Better Homes and Gardens

Dry ingredients:
1 cup white flour (unsifted)
1/2 cup wheat flour (also unsifted)
2 teaspoons baking powder
a dash of salt

Liquid ingredients:
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I usually use corn oil here)
1 teaspoon (roughly) of finely grated lime peel

In one medium bowl, mix the dry ingredients (white and wheat flour, baking powder and salt)
In another medium bowl, use an electric mixer to combine egg, milk, honey, oil and lime peel. Add liquid ingredients all at once to dry ingredients and stir with a large spoon or rubber scraper until just moistened (make sure the batter is still somewhat lumpy, don't overstir).

Grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or use paper bake cups. Fill each muffin hole (jeez that sounds sort of off color, doesn't it?) about 2/3 full.

Bake at 400F for 18-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown. Best if served warm.

What do you eat for your commuter’s breakfast? I'd love to hear any additional ideas you have out there.


Bethany said...

I think they're called "muffin cups"...

Anonymous said...

These muffins sound delicious. Paper cups seem like a sensible idea. GP

Anonymous said...

Yes, please use the paper liners so we don't have to hear about "greasing muffin holes" and breakfast in the same sentence. :)

I commute with bananas (and three fruitcakes), but you might like the recipe for Oat Bran Muffins on the red Quaker Oat Bran box. Same idea, more fiber. Add your choice of raisins, blueberries, apple chunks, applesauce, mashed bananas, etc. You will get crumbs all over your car, so be sure and take the bus that day.

And if you do wish to be off-color, it's fun to pull up at a red light and wave at the guy next to you, then peel your banana down and stick it in your mouth...

Taylor said...

Just made a batch of these, and they turned out great. Thanks for another excellent recipe for the "rotation"!

Since I didn't want to break the "make it once via the recipe" rule, have you tried making these with more wheat flour? I am not sure what the difference is for baking, but if I could turn these into more whole-wheat muffins with 2/3 or 100% wheat flour, that would be excellent.

Daniel said...

Hi Taylor, thanks for your question.

They come out well with 3/4 cup white and 3/4 cup wheat flour (50/50 ratio).

I've done it with 1 cup wheat flour and 1/2 cup white flour too, but the muffins tend get a little bit tough at that point. It's not like they turn out terrible though, so if you're really crazy about wheat flour, try it and see what you think!


PS: Muffin cups. Riiiight. Got it. :)