Thursday, September 8, 2011

Finding the Muffin at the End of the Rainbow

Lately, I've been doing more reading than writing. Which is not an entirely bad thing, with the small exception, of course that I’m not writing. I also haven't been cooking as much. I've been reading, both about cooking and some good fiction.
Recently, I found myself lost in the food blog world. It is a hard place to escape from, and I can't say I want to escape. Amazing writers, ideas, and deliciousness abounds on the internet. I have joined groups and sites. I am learning tons from your experience, made lists of future projects, and am find the passion that we share comforting and encouraging.

Last weekend was Labor Day (as I’m sure most of you know), and I did not cook. Not because it was a holiday, but just because I was l-a-z-y lazy. As nice as that was, to just lay around and read, I did miss the kitchen. I can see the kitchen from the couch, but I still missed it.

Yesterday, I got motivated again. I wanted – no, needed – to get back. I went back and forth about what to make for dinner. I read recipes I had been saving for the last week. I wanted something new, something yummy, something I had not made before. I found what I wanted to make for dessert – Peanut Butter and Jelly muffins, that I found on the Eat, Drink, and Be Merry blog. Not only dessert, but a good breakfast to bring for the office. (Which, by the way, I did, and they were a big hit!)

I made bacon pancakes and the muffins. I made a waffle for my roommate and her mom. Breakfast for dinner. I can't help but think of Paulie Bleeker's mom in Juno, “...we're having your favorite, breakfast for dinner!”
A beautiful bacon pancake.
Sans grease.
As the bacon was finishing up on the griddle, I began to move things around, to get ready to make the pancakes and waffles. I very carefully removed the bacon from the griddle.  (Bacon being the delicacy that it is, you must be delicate.)  As I was wiping the griddle down, CRASH!, the drip tray landed on the floor. Bacon grease everywhere! All over the floor, my jeans, shoes, shirt, and left arm. I made a noise, and dove into the sink to rinse off my burning arm. Kelly jumped into action with the burn spray. (I bought the burn spray when I started cooking, knowing it would be the first of many, many cans. I am proud to say this is the first time I have actually had to use it!) After a few seconds, I realized that, although the grease was hot, it wasn't as hot as I had originally thought. In our minds, we know what something is supposed to be. And that seems to override reality at times. Do not get me wrong, the grease was hot. But thankfully, it had been sitting in the drip tray for a while, it was not the grease from the top of the griddle. So nothing severe. Nothing life-threatening or disfiguring. Just a nice red mark on my arm. 
A muffin.
In all its glory.

I forged on. I cleaned up the mess and continued to cook dinner. And after dinner I made the muffins. I love muffins. I do not know what it is about muffins, but they are so good, every kind. I have never met a muffin I didn't just absolutely fall in love with.

I think I love muffins more now that I am making them. Again with the process. It feels so good to start with flour, eggs, butter, and other ingredients and end with something solid and delicious. It is the joy of cooking. The pride of the end result in the enjoyment of getting there.

As I was winding everything down from cooking, wiping counters and starting the dishwasher, I began to think of perseverance. Following through. Moving forward. This whole year in the kitchen has been about just that. Obstacles, no matter what they may be, have the capacity to keep us from our dreams and goals. If I choose to stop when the unexpected happens, I never get to the end result, to that yummy muffin.

Today, as I did last night, I will choose to move forward and get to the yummy muffin. Or whatever the dream or goal I set for myself is for today.

All the muffins.
In all their glory.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins
adapted recipe by Sabrina W. for eat.drink.and be merry.
original recipe by Paula Deen
makes 12 muffins or 6 large muffins

    2 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
    2 tablespoons baking powder
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon creamy peanut butter
    1 cup buttermilk
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    3 tablespoons butter, melted
    1/4 cup thick jam, such as seedless raspberry
    1/3 cup peanuts
    1 teaspoon honey
    1 tablespoon brown sugar
    1 stick butter at room temperature
    1 tablespoon of your favorite berry preserves 
    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
    Spray a 12-cup muffin tin with cooking spray or line with paper muffin cups.
    First make the compound butter: Mix together the 1 stick butter that is at room temperature and a tablespoon of your favorite berry preserves. Refrigerate.
    In a food processor, pulse peanuts, honey, and brown sugar a few times until they are chopped.
    Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. With electric beaters, mix in the peanut butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the buttermilk, egg, and butter and beat until combined. Gentle mix in jam with a spoon.
    Spoon mix into muffin pan and top with the chopped peanuts. Bake until the muffins are light golden, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or allow to cool completely. Spread on compound butter.


  1. thanks for the shout out! Im so happy you enjoyed these muffins! They look beautiful! great post!

  2. So how do you make the bacon-pancakes? Are they as easy as they sound? I'm a bacon fanatic.

  3. Thanks, Sabrina! I am so happy you wrote about them! (as are my co-workers and roommate!)
    Christy, Not hard at all! Make the bacon, wipe the griddle off (without burning yourself, hopefully!), pour batter on griddle, place bacon on top of batter, and flip when needed. That's it! :) Delicious!
    No butter, just maple syrup. yummers...


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