I was recently asked what is the best flour to buy in China. When I first moved here I would buy 5 lb Gold Medal Flour for a whopping 58RMB (nearly $10!). That’s expensive when you bake as much as I do, but I bit the bullet and paid this extortion price because I didn’t know what else to buy.
Then I took an Italian cooking class where the instructor brought out the flour that she used. It wasn’t Gold Medal. It was a Chinese brand all-purpose flour that she found at City Shop for a mere 9RMB ($1.50). How do I know it’s good for cake, muffin and all other Western goodies? It shows a picture on the back of everything from dumplings to bread to cake. Since then I’ve found all-purpose flour at Carrefour as well for 16RMB ($2.50) for 2lb bag. It’s quite the price difference and I’ve been really happy with the quality.
Muffins are delicious and when they’re homemade you can really limit the amount of sugar that you’re putting in it. For example, the recipe I found for Apple Carrot Muffins called for a whopping 1 1/4 cups of sugar!! For heaven’s sake! The apples, raisins, and coconut flakes are already awfully sweet. I decided to decrease the sugar amount to 1/2 cup. I didn’t want the muffins to be overly sweet but at the same time, a little bit of sweetness means the kids are more likely to devour them. I thought they were perfect. Kids wanted them a bit sweeter. Since I’m baking my preference wins out.
Apple Carrot Crunch Muffins (makes 20-24 muffins)
- 2 cups Flour
- 2 t Baking Soda
- 2 t Cinnamon
- 1/4 t Salt
- 1/2 cup Sugar
- 1 cup Shredded Carrots (1 medium carrot)
- 1/2 cup Pecans, chopped
- 1/2 cup Raisins
- 1/4 cup Sweetened Flaked Coconut
- 1 T finely minced Ginger
- 3 Eggs
- 1 cup Vegetable Oil
- 2 t Vanilla
- 2 cups finely diced Apple
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cupcake tin with cupcake paper.
- Into a large bowl sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt and whisk in sugar.
- In another bowl add carrots, raisins, pecans, coconut, ginger and apples. Add flour mixture and toss well.
- In a bowl whisk together eggs, oil, and vanilla.Stir into flour-apple mixture to combine.
- Divide batter among muffin cups and bake 15 to 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean..
- Cool muffins in cups on racks 5 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely. Muffins keep in an airtight container at room temperature 5 days.