(Ha, spellcheck tried to turn ‘streusel’ into ‘stressful’. I can’t imagine muffins being stressful. Really? They are anti-stressful if you ask me. The cure for stress. A couple of these and some tea? Or a glass of milk or even coffee…)
First, Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers, grandmothers, foster mothers, God mothers, and anyone involved in mothering.
Since it was Mothers day, I figured I would make some of my own personal favorite muffins, apple walnut, although I do not have a go-to recipe really, like I do for some other recipes. This one is always hit and miss. So I dug through some of my favorite baking books.
I just had to share this with you (and the future me, in case I forget).
It is only just the best coffeecake I can recall ever eating! It’s a yeasted dough, soft, moist with incredible crumbles of streusel on top.
I just bought, on a whim, a copy of the newest “Cooks Country” magazine. We were browsing the shelves at Barnes and Noble on my dear hubby’s birthday, before going out to dinner. Bookstore exploring is a long standing tradition, going back to our dating years, in the age of the dinosaur (or the age of the used bookstores on every corner).
Wellll, I have to admit, these muffins did not turn out quite like I planned. But they are mighty good. Why write about muffins that did not turn out quite like I planned? So you can learn from my mistakes of course!
I should have called this post “Blueberry muffins before the big one hits”.
I rarely make muffins around here because I have a tendency to eat them. And eat them. And eat them. But after the exhilarating earthquake Friday night and about a hundred tiny tremors since then, I have had a change of thought. If I am going to go down, I’m going down full of muffins.
I imagined these muffins with lots of streusel topping actually on top. But once they started rising, the streusel shifted, like soil moving aside for a sprout to pop out of the ground. (Ahh yes, its spring, when a young persons mind becomes twitterpated and a middle-aged mind thinks about gardening. Or muffins.)
Where was I? Earthquakes. No, muffins, wait, sprouts.
Okay, lets talk earthquakes for a minute. I tell my kids, if you are in bed when an earthquake hits, just stay there and cover your head with a pillow, in case things go flying off the walls or dressers. I hear of more people getting hurt running through the house during a quake than holding still. Unless you are next to a large bookcase or china cabinet or plate-glass window, then dive under a table.
One time we had a quake when I was not home and I hear my older son, who was taking a geology class in college, and had heard a professor talk about quakes, went diving out his bedroom window. Just ‘boom’ kicked out the screen and jumped out. He claimed it was safer than staying inside. Wish I had seen it.
I, on the other hand, had just finished an inspection of a vacant home south of here somewhere, like Lake Forest or some such place. It was a 2 story home, nice. I measured, took my pictures, wrote the notes and headed out the front door, making sure to lock it and replace the key. Suddenly I heard a rumble. Thats strange, it was coming from the ground. Everything, including me, starting shaking.
I heard a couple of screams from down the street and looked around quickly to assess my chances of survival, in case this turned out to be ‘the big one’. It was just me and a little sapling tree. So we hugged each other, to stay upright and rode out the rocking. Nothing really exciting happened though. No wires coming down, no cars jumping around, thankfully. No big cracks with magma appearing in the middle of the rode. Guess I watch too many movies. (Of course I do.)
That was several years ago. I haven’t felt a big quake since then, not that it was that big even then. This one we felt the other night wasn’t big either. But you can’t really tell when you are close to the epicenter. It feels big enough. You just kind of sit there, holding real still and alert, like a prairie dog, waiting to see if you should jump into action. Things rattled and rocked. Would they come crashing to the floor? Would we lose electricity? Would we, God forbid, have to turn off the gas?(That means knowing where the tool is to turn it off with.) Are we in fact, earthquake prepared?
Not so much.
We occasionally go through and make our plans. Put food and water in the trunks of the cars. Make sure there are flashlights under all the beds. The good kids get ones with batteries in them.
Umm, thats about it really. I guess we figure if ‘the big one’ hits, there’s not much we can do for it anyway. Either the house will crash down around our ears or it wont. Its been around for 60 odd years so far, so my bet is its going to hang around a bit longer.
Now, when I say we sit still and alert, I realize not everyone treats quakes this way. Loads of people go running outside, go running for doorways (which I am still not convinced will do any darn bit of good.) Or just go running.
Afterward its nice to either try to call our relatives to share in the excitement, or if that fails, actually go out and make human contact with the neighbors and rehash the experience.
Which brings me back to muffins. Finally.
Lets get this recipe rolling. Only do not use the dinky frozen wild blueberries I used. Use either fresh ones or frozen larger ones that will have a blueberry impact. The dinky ones just didn’t.
Other than that, I am not really complaining. I didn’t complain much through my first muffin. Only complained a bit through the second muffin. And tried to look inconspicuous while I picked at a third muffin. But that is only between you and me.
I didn’t use muffin cups, but just sprayed the muffin tins. You often loose part of the muffin with the paper cups. Besides, then people can count how many you have eaten. (People meaning myself)
I will also give you the streusel recipe. I just sprinkled some sliced almonds on top, almost as an afterthought, to make it prettier and give it a crunch.
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted, or vegetable oil or a combination of the two
1 cup sour cream, plain yogurt (or maybe blueberry?) or a combination of the two.Or half buttermilk and half yogurt…
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, rinsed and waiting in the strainer in the sink, turning your sink purple.
3 Tablespoons each brown and white sugar
5 Tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup all purpose flour
First, mix the sugars and cinnamon for the streusel. Add the flour, whisk with a fork and then pour in the melted butter, stirring with the fork until it is crumbly. Too wet? Add a teaspoon more flour. Too dry? Add a bit of melted butter. Set aside
Preheat the oven to 375.
Oil a muffin pan or two. This recipe that should have made 12, actually for me made 15 muffins.
In one large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together. This means the flour, baking powder and soda and the cinnamon. (Not the sugar).
In another bowl, put the fats (oil and/or butter) the sugar (also considered a liquid) the egg and yogurt/sour cream/buttermilk. (Todays was a matter of finishing off the yogurt and topping it off with a little buttermilk. I had the sour cream on stand-by but didn’t need it.)
At this time, I, using frozen blueberries, mixed them in with the dry flour mixture.This way the flour helped absorb some of the wet from the thawing blueberries. I did not want to add them to the wet bowl because it would turn the batter grey.
Now mix the wet and dry together. Mix just until the dry does not show and the batter comes together. There will be lumps, thats okay. Of course the lumps could be blueberries. Either way, lumps are okay, while over mixing is not okay. Mixing too much toughens up the muffins.
I use a Pampered Chef scoop to dish them into the muffin cups. Fill the cups up.
Then put the streusel topping on top with a small spoon. Pat it a bit.
Top with a sprinkle of sliced almonds.
Pop into the oven and wait about 18-20 minutes. When you can poke a toothpick in and it comes out fairly clean, they are done.
Remove them from the oven and remove as soon as possible from the pan. Best served warm. Then great when cold. Wonderful the next day.
Now that I am thinking on it, why didn’t the dog bark or the chickens act weird? So much for animal intuition.