It’s no secret I’ve made a LOT of canned items in the last year. I currently have in my “larder”: three different kinds of marmalade, five different jellies, five different conserves, one preserve, two kinds of curd and three jams (not to mention the pickles, pickled peppers, and the savory sort). Pretty nuts, although not as nuts as it would be if I hadn’t given so much away, if I had more room & if I preserved to actually get through the winter/for sustenance as opposed to just for fun. I started canning last June and I’ve done a ton of canning since then. Maybe too much- Jay actually mentioned the other day that the last time there were ‘actual cupcakes’ posted on Cupcake Rehab was back in early February. Uhm. Yeah. I do apologize for that, but you understand that I’m trying to expand my repertoire, right? By trying new things like making my own salsa & jelly. That means I’ve bought a lot of jars, which in turn translates to having a lot of lids/rings. Or bands, if you prefer that term.
And that’s not even all of them. There’s plenty more. If you’re a “canner” or preserver, you know that those rings/bands can be reused; so long as they aren’t rusty or there isn’t anything impeding them from doing their job. Lids are a one-off thing, so you never end up with extra boxes of used ones laying around. But rings? I have an assload. I can’t bear to just toss them, so I save them, and then I end up with way more rings than jars or lids. They’re tucked in plastic jars, in drawers, in boxes. What to do with them? Well.. how about make English muffins?
I’m just crazy about this idea. Talk about recycling! I don’t even like Alton Brown & yet between the amazing canning ring idea & how easy these were to make, I’m reconsidering my hatred. I enjoyed making these (and eating them) immensely. I’d like to make them again, perhaps this time using a little cornmeal to mimic Thomas’ English muffins. Also, a word to the wise: make sure you let them cook enough. They’ll seem like they’re fine, but the inside will still be a little undercooked. Be 100% sure about them but don’t let them burn!
ALTON BROWN’S ENGLISH MUFFINS MADE IN CANNING RINGS (adapted by Dishing the Divine)
- ½ cup non-fat powdered milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- ⅛ teaspoon sugar
- ⅓ cup warm water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- Non-stick vegetable spray and oil for brushing
- Wide-mouth canning jar rings
- In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water; stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and ⅛ teaspoon of sugar in ⅓ cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes (longer = more holes!).
- Preheat the griddle to 300° degrees F and brush the bottom of skillet with a thin coat of oil. I don’t have an electric griddle with a temperature gauge, so I just cooked my muffins on the stove-top with the heat set to low. If you are in the same situation, I recommend cooking one muffin as a tester muffin before filling your skillet with as many rings as you can. Because the muffins cook for 5 minutes per side, they are easy to burn. You want a temperature that will allow the outsides to brown nicely while the insides are just cooked.
- Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Coat the metal rings with vegetable spray and place them on the griddle. Using an ice cream scoop, place 1-2 scoops of batter into each ring and cover with a lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve. Note that these must be split open with a fork. If you cut them open with a knife, you can kiss all those beautiful holes goodbye!
I personally like to make English muffins in a White Zombie t-shirt. Doesn’t everyone? No?
Anyway, not only does this make use of those extra rings, but it helps you use up some of those opened preserves, jellies, jams, curds & conserves you have in your fridge! Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve mentioned this before, but my fridge is jam-packed (pun intended!) with a crazy amount of preserves. So I made up some muffins and I had a little brunch-type thing, and I served thee muffins with a spread of various preserved items I’d made, and of course some delicious salted butter. There was Guinness jelly, Meyer lemon curd, two kinds of conserves (the cherry/cranberry/dark chocolate/almond & the fig/plum/walnut), vanilla-brandy chestnut jam, candy apple jelly, that blood orange marmalade from the other day, Meyer lemon-cranberry jelly, orange/lemon marmalade, c-lemon-tine marmalade (clementine/lemon) & lemon-orange whiskey marmalade at everyone’s disposal. But the option to have them plain was there, too.
If you don’t have canning rings, you can use muffin rings or mini-tart rings or cans that used to house tuna fish; just remove the top as well as the bottom and make sure to clean them thoroughly. You don’t want English muffins with the scent of tuna. As a matter of fact that’s kind of nauseating. And if you use the rings for this purpose, do not use them for canning again. Clean ’em off and keep them for doing this, or toss ’em.
And I do promise that very soon… there will be cupcakes!