Tuesday, 12 August 2008

coney island muffins

Two weeks ago I found myself padding around New York with my good friend Julie B. We survived some epic adventures like: standing in the long line at the Shake Shack for 'sroom burgers and fries, being mistaken for prostitutes while waiting for our 'spa castle' shuttle in Queens, and trying to find wireless internet at the main Public Library (shame on them, by the way). We traveled to Boston (from Manhattan) in a luxurious Peter Pan Bus, then a Greyhound bus. While in Boston we walked miles and miles to find the best raw food restaurant, the best clam chowder, and then found ourselves sickened by the combination of the two cuisines in our stomachs.

One of my last nights there Julie and I decided to go to Coney Island. It's one of those things I've always heard and read about, but never really imagined myself going. Why?, you may ask. Why not? Is what you should be asking yourself.

After a 30 minute train ride we had officially scared ourselves shitless of the Cyclone on Coney Island. We had read the death toll, the thousands of horrible and scary reviews, and I had to listen to Julie's first hand experience of this truly painful rollercoaster. I am scared of heights, not fond of amusement park rides- but mainly scared of riding an old wooden roller coaster that is missing half of its tracks and doesn't have a waiting line. After opting not to get the $3 pina coladas served from large plastic vats by a woman with 2 teeth and what seemed like a permanent cigarette in her mouth, we went straight for the cyclone. By the time I paid my $8 ($8 dollars!!!) to ride this monstrosity, and walked up the rickety ramp I realized the deathly situation I was putting myself in. There was no line- a scary wonk-eyed man hustled us into our seats, and then a boy at least half our age eagerly pulled the lever with a dark, evil laugh- and we were off with a thud and a shove. Julie and I ducked our heads together and immediately stared involuntarily sputtering curse words. After two minutes of pure exhilaration/hell, we were done and had survived the cyclone! It took several beers and a couple of awkward encounters with some Turkish men to forget the unmentionable hell we had been through. By that time, the Cyclone seemed like a dream.

Upon my return home to my humble abode my dear friend Chris (pictured above) surprised me with a welcome home gift! One of those gifts included sprinkles from the impulse dollar bin at Target. I was immediately reminded of all the bright colors at Coney Island and knew right away that I had to make a worthy dessert to commemorate this beautiful memory. Of course, I realize that a true tribute to Coney Island would probably not be vegan, contain whole wheat flour and would most likely involve hot dogs in ways I don't want to imagine. But here in sweet-tempered land we like to keep things nice and hot dog free.....so here is a super easy recipe that even a Coney Island employee could make!

(In case you can't see the picture clearly, in the corner it says, "Bump your ass off")

Coney Island Muffins. Adapted from "Vegan Feasts" by Rose Elliot, using the vegan sponge (layer) cake.

you will need:
2 mixing bowls
2 muffin tins
mixer/wooden spoon

dry ingredients:
2 1/2 C all purpose flour
1/2 C whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 C organic cane sugar

liquid ingredients:
1 C neutral vegetable oil (i used light olive oil and it worked great)
2/3 C tonic water or orange juice
2/3 C soy milk or water
1 tsp vanilla extract or the seeds from one vanilla bean

the most necessary ingredient:
brightly colored sprinkles!

-pre-heat oven to 325

-grease muffin tins

-sift together the first 5 dry ingredients until combined. add sugar and set aside

-in a separate bowl whisk together the liquid ingredients until well combined

-pour liquid mixture into dry mixture until just combined- add sprinkles and give another stir, restraining from over mixing, please

-divide into muffin tins and bake for 25-30 minutes

-makes 2 dozen absolutely fabulous muffins!

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