You’re nuffin’ without a muffin (or three)

“You’re nuffin’ without a muffin.” That was something Pete said a few years ago as he was about to tuck into a blueberry muffin. That kid loves food, and muffins are one of his all-time favorites. So he was most pleased about the results of February’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, which was to whip up some quick breads. I had big plans to make tons and tons of breads and muffins, such as a mocha bread with chocolate chips, a lemon-blueberry muffin with a streusel topping, and a cheese and onion bread. Alas, February went by terribly quickly and I ended up only making three batches of muffins: PB&J, apple-cheddar and blueberry crumb.

The blueberry crumb muffins were a composite of a few different recipes, and I didn’t write anything about it down when I made them. Which is a shame, because they were good. And I’m positive I took a picture of them, but I can’t find it. So now I’m wondering if maybe they were only a delicious dream.

Happily, I do have photographic evidence of the PB&J muffins. Peanut butter is a major staple of Poppy’s diet, so this muffin was the first thing I thought of when I saw the challenge. I followed Baking History’s Peanut Butter Quick Bread recipe pretty closely. I altered it every-so-slightly on half of the muffins — because Poppy won’t eat jelly — to make them PB&J Muffins. That kid is missing out; these guys were scrumptious.

Peanut Butter & Jelly muffins

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins
revised from Baking History / “Twentieth Century Club War Time Cook Book,” 1918

1 cup flour
1/2 cup peanut butter mixed with 3/4 cup 2% milk
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
12 teaspoons jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat sugar and egg until light, then add peanut butter well mixed with milk, finally the flour sifted with salt and baking powder. Mix well, then fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full. Dollop a teaspoon of jam in the center of each muffin. Bake in a preheated oven 12 to 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins

Next I wanted to do something savory, to have with the world’s best potato soup. I had some dried apples that needed to be used, and I thought a cheesy-apple muffin would be just the thing. And lo and behold, Better Homes and Gardens had just the recipe! I altered it a little, replacing the oil with applesauce and using heavy cream in place of milk (because I also had some cream that needed using). These weren’t out-of-the-ballpark great; I think they needed some extra salt, a change reflected in the following recipe.

Cheddar-Apple Muffins
revised from Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup quick-cooking rolled oats
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup finely chopped rehydrated dried apples

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cheese, oats, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture; set aside.

In another medium bowl, combine the egg, cream and applesauce. Add egg mixture all at once to the dry mixture. Stir just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Fold in apple.

Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Bake 18-20 minutes or until golden. Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.

Someday I will try to make that mocha bread, because it sounds like it would be wonderful. Until then: What’s your favorite muffin?


The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

Here’s what happens when I halfheartedly apply Pinterest to my head

Pinterest is full of easy and adorable hairstyles. For most of them all you need are a flat iron, a curling iron, some bobby pins, hairspray, scrunching gel, straightening serum, sculpting clay, glue, a small squid, a purple bell pepper, youthful good looks, a stylist, a penguin, four brushes, a good comb, the stamen from a freshly picked Himalayan lily, four extra hands, a second flat iron, a hair dryer and long, thick, straight, flaxen locks. Yesterday I had an hour of free time (thanks, “Sesame Street”!), a handful of ponytail holders, my unruly shoulder-length hair and my trusty mismatched Spin Pins. So I thought I would try out some new ‘dos.

First I tried the Maiden Braids from A Beautiful Mess. Elsie says that “braids are the perfect casual style. They’re easy to style at home.” I think what went wrong here is that I forgot to wear my skinny blue belt. And also Elsie’s idea of “casual” is my version of “the president is coming over for dinner.” I wish my “casual” were more Elsie and less Costanza.

Next I decided to tackle the Twisted Sister from The Beauty Department. It’s a very pretty “updo” that would also be perfect for attending the Golden Globes or for picnicking with Ryan Gosling in a soft grassy place next to a gently bubbling stream. Unfortunately it requires bobby pins and long, smooth hair, neither of which I have.

(And also my camera died when I was trying to take pictures of this particular follicle failure — which upon second glance maybe has potential, if I bought some bobby pins and dropped the illusion that it would make me look like Lauren Conrad — so photos henceforth were taken by trying to hold my computer behind my head and pressing the Take The Picture button.)

I began to realize that The Beauty Department is the source of lots and lots of those Pinterest ‘dos, so I thought I’d just stick around their site for awhile. This one is called The Piece-y Pony. It is also meant for girls with long hair. I was beginning to think all of the Beauty Department’s hairstyles are meant for girls with long hair.

But then I finally found one style meant for “shorties.” It’s called the “Quick Twist for Medium and Short Hair,” and it proves once and for all that is isn’t the hair length that’s cramping my style. I’m simply inept at styling my coif.

I learned a few things from this exercise:

  • My hair falls out like crazy when I monkey around with it.
  • I need to grow my hair out if I want to do any fancy Pinterest styling with it.
  • Watching me mess around with my hair bores my cat, as evidenced by his frequent yawns.
  • My cat’s breathe smells really, really heinous.

And so I henceforth will brush the cat’s teeth and stick with my usual “updo.” I call it The Frazzled Schoolmarm Who Does Not Even Dry Her Hair Much Less Put Bobby Pins In It.