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Muffin mix-off contest and cookbook giveaway

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Laura Edwins/The Christian Science Monitor

(Read caption) Can you out-mix Joanne Chang's vegan vanilla-mixed berry muffins? Enter Stir It Up's muffin mix-off contest!

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Have you had the perfect muffin? Whether it was blueberry, lemon poppy seed, or banana nut, chances are it was made from a well-worn recipe, baked in a much-used muffin tin, and served warm from the oven.

Muffins might just be the greatest breakfast food ever invented. You can pop the top, you can eat the whole thing in three bites (and then have another), and you can take them to go. It's hard to find a wrong way to eat a muffin. 

This spring a new cookbook arrived on the desk of Stir It Up!, "Flour, Too" by Joanne Chang. Here in Boston, we're big fans of Ms. Chang and her chain of bakeries, Flour, where muffins aren't the only breakfast stars (think brioche, croissants, homemade pop tarts, and out-of-this-world sticky buns). Ms. Chang's first cookbook "Flour," which highlights her baked goods, left our hands itching for some dough. "Flour, Too" is organized more like a traditional cookbook with sections for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and party ideas. 

The breakfast section of "Flour, Too" is divided into sweet and savory chapters, and has two versatile muffin recipes. We tested Chang's vegan vanilla mixed-berry muffins and found the recipe simple and unfussy, and the muffins moist, dense, and packed with fruit. Substituting regular milk for soy milk and skipping butter or eggs makes this recipe vegan, but doesn't compromise the taste or texture. They may just be the perfect muffins. (Try them yourself by following the recipe below.)

But we are wondering: Is it possible that somewhere out yonder an even greater muffin recipe is waiting to be discovered and shared with the world? So we turn to you, dear readers, for your best homemade muffin recipes. Follow our guidelines to submit your recipe. Stir It Up! will narrow down submissions to three finalists, and the folks here in CSMonitor.com newsroom will vote on the winner. The winning recipe will be featured on Stir It Up!, and the baker will receive a copy of "Flour, Too" signed by chef-author Joanne Change.

The muffin mix-off contest: How to enter

Send your favorite homemade muffin recipe to food@csps.com. Please include an ingredient list, step-by-step numbered instructions, along with your name, hometown, and e-mail address. Please submit your recipe by August 1. We will contact the winner. (To keep things fair and unbiased, this contest is not open to employees of CSMonitor.com or their families. But if you want to bake for us anyway, we do accept care packages.)

Show us your creations: We also love food photos. Pictures inspire readers to try something new. So be sure to submit your mouth-watering muffins artfully displayed. (Hint: natural light works best. For reproduction on the web, photos should be 600 x 400 DPI.) Pin your photo on Pinterest or tweet your Instagram picture using the hashtag #muffinmixoff. Follow us on Pinterest and Twitter for contest updates.

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We look forward to hearing from you! If you have any questions, please feel to be in touch: food@csps.com

Vegan vanilla-mixed berry muffins
Reprinted with permission from "Flour, Too," by Joanne Chang 

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, such as canola

1-1/3 cups plain soy milk

2 tablespoons distilled white or cider vinegar

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and place a rack in the center of the oven. Line the cups of the muffin tin with paper liners or generously oil and flour them.

2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the sugar and stir until well mixed. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, soy milk, vinegar, and vanilla. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the middle of the well. Stir with a rubber spatula until well mixed. Add the raspberries and blueberries and mix until the fruit is evenly distributed.

3. Spoon an equal amount of batter into each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.

4. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins are pale gold and the tops spring back when pressed gently in the middle. Let cool in the tin on a wire rack before popping them out. The muffins taste best on the day they are baked, but any uneaten muffins can be stored in a covered container at room temperature for 2 or 3 days. For the best results, refresh them in a 300 degree F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. 


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