Good morning! I hope that spring has treated everyone nicely so far. This past month has been very hectic, and it’s only bound to get busier now that concert season is starting up. Within the next 3 weeks, I have my senior recital, my final orchestra recital, my chamber recital (with my group at MSM), my final orchestra recital (at my high school), and plenty more that I’m sure I’m forgetting to mention here. I love the spring, but it doesn’t leave me much time to actually get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.
This weekend was especially wonderful to me because it was my last gymnastics meet in the USAG program. At states at the end of March, I qualified to my 3rd consecutive regional team for CT and had the opportunity to compete in Boston this weekend. It was such a fun meet, and I still can’t believe that after all of the hours of work I’ve put in, that this weekend was the end of my competitive career. It was by no means an easy road, but I wouldn’t have traded my experience for the world. I love gymnastics, no matter how much beam and I don’t get along. 🙂
Even though I was in the heart of training for regionals and preparing for the endless recitals coming up, I wanted to make sure that you guys weren’t left in the dark, and made these lovely springtime muffins to share with you. I love meyer lemons, but since they aren’t available very often I try to make the best of it when they’re there. These muffins are a lovely, light way to start off your day, with the slight tartness of the lemons and the crunchy turbinado sugar on top adding wonderful texture to the otherwise soft muffins.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick cooking spray 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups. Set aside.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the egg, buttermilk, oil, Meyer Lemon juice and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and lemon zest. Gently fold in the berries. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Fill each muffin cup almost full of batter, using two spoons or an ice cream scoop and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
These past few weeks have been action packed, stressed beyond belief, seemingly endless waiting, but that time is over! I am so happy to say that this coming fall, I will be a Northwestern University Wildcat as a part of the class of 2018, majoring in Viola Performance. It’s such a relief knowing that all of my hard work has paid off these past few years, and after visiting and auditioning in January, I couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else. And don’t worry, I’m already stocking up on purple and white merchandise!
One of the questions that I get the most after I mention that I run a baking blog is what do you do with all of the things you make? Well, while I do taste everything I make, it’s rare that I make something just because I want it. While I love a good muffin, these were not made for me- they were made with my aunt in mind. She’s a sucker for coconut, but recently asked me to make something healthier, and that’s where these muffins came in.
Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day, and if I am going to have a muffin, it better be one that can sustain me from 6:45 am until lunch, which can be upwards of 5 hours. These muffins are not the cakey kind, and filled with wheat bran and raisins, they’ll keep you going for awhile. I loved it toasted with a shmear of peanut butter, but I’m sure they’re good straight out of the oven. 🙂
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1 cup sour cream or yogurt
1/4 cup dark molasses
1/2 cup raisins, cranberries, or other diced dried fruit
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miller’s bran (available at natural foods stores, specialty foods shops, and some supermarkets)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter or oil and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (will be far less light or fluffy if oil is used), beat in the egg, the sour cream or yogurt, and the molasses, and stir in the raisins or other dried fruit.
In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, the salt, the cinnamon (optional) and the bran, add the mixture to the sour cream mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.)
Spoon the batter into 12 well-buttered 1/3-cup muffin tins and bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool.
Happy New Year everyone! I just realized that this is my first post of 2013, even though it’s almost February! Life really started to pick up the pace, with midterms and new semesters and preparation for lots of concerts, it’s been a busy few weeks. Not to mention, that I unfortunately was a victim of this year’s flu epidemic, so I spent quite a nice amount of time with a bottle of Tylenol and a box of tissues by my side, barely willing to get up out of a chair, and much less make delicious baked goods. Thankfully, I’m all better now and able to return to everything as usual, but I’m very happy that I conquered the sickness!
I’ve made tons of muffins for RTTC, and it’s because they’re one of my favorite ways to make breakfast better, especially on a school morning. It’s so much nicer to wake up on a cold, snowy, Monday morning (not that I ever like doing that) to a plateful of homemade muffins than it is to have to grab a bar from the cabinet on my way out the door. I made a few adjustments to the recipe that really make it stand out among the others. My favorite adjustment was to the crumb topping. I had used up all of the butter making the muffins, and I obviously couldn’t leave out the crumb topping to I used roasted almond oil! I know it’s not an ingredient that’s found in most kitchens, but as you probably know by know, our kitchen is far from normal. Did I mention that I found it next to a bottle that did not have a single word of English on it? What can I say, that’s how we roll. Back to the oil, it gave the crumb a wonderful, warm, nutty flavor, and especially with the apples and the cinnamon and nutmeg in the muffin, it was just delightful. I would use butter if you don’t have this in your kitchen, because using a plain flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable, won’t give it much of a flavor. But try new things! Don’t be afraid to branch outside what a recipe is saying, you never know what you might get!
Preheat oven to 375º. Grease or line a 12 cup muffin tin with liners. For the topping, mix all ingredients in small bowl with a fork until combined; set aside.
For the muffins, mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and all spice in a medium-size bowl; set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
Beat in one third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the sour cream. Alternating between dry ingredients and sour cream, repeat until all ingredients have been incorporated. Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, stir in the diced apples.
Evenly divide batter into the muffin-tin cups. Sprinkle tops evenly with the crumb topping. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and toothpick inserted comes out clean.
What a wonderful morning pleasure. I’m happy just thinking about it!