Friday, June 13, 2008

baking = therapy

About once a month I have to bake something. Anything. And since I live alone and can't really find an excuse to eat a whole cake/dozen cupcakes/pile of cookies all on my own, I'm getting in the habit of taking the leftovers to work. I figure this'll make me some friends. Here's the latest haul, inspired by on-sale blueberries.

Some of the blueberries near the top oozed out everywhere. Looks gruesome, no? I decided I wanted to make muffins so I started flipping through cookbooks, looking for a nice, basic recipe. I ended up going with Cook's Illustrated - I think I mentioned before I have good luck when I bake with their recipes.

These turned out tasty. I think I would have liked them to be fluffier, more crumbly. But they were quite dense and moist. The lemon zest and yogurt gave them this bright flavor - is there such a thing? That's the only way I can describe it. Anyway, I enjoyed them. I think I'll continue to search for the "all-time best" recipe though. And to be perfectly honest, this was not Cook's Illustrated recipe for "Best Blueberry Muffins." This was their recipe for "Lemon Blueberry Muffins." The "Best" recipe called for frozen blueberries, which I thought sort of odd. And the lemon sounded like a nice touch. I guess I'm on a lemon kick these days.

Anywho, here's the recipe from the January 1997 issue of Cook's Illustrated:
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter softened
1 cup granulated sugar, less 1 tablespoon
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries (or frozen)
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Vegetable cooking spray or additional unsalted butter for muffin tins

1. Adjust oven rack to lower middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl; set aside.
2. Beat butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add lemon zest to butter-sugar mixture. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in one-third of yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with yogurt, until incorporated. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour and fold into finished batter.
3. Spray twelve-cup muffin tin with vegetable cooking spray or coat lightly with butter. Use large ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Set on wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove muffins from tin and serve warm.

Makes 1 dozen large muffins (though it made 14 for me!).

I watched Amelie tonight for the 98734985th time. I love that movie. Every time I watch it, I sit there and consider chopping all my hair off into a bob. And then consider moving to France. This is normal. If I thought Nino Quincampoix really existed, I would do it, just to meet him and ride around on his scooter all day. Wouldn't that be lovely?


Anonymous said...

Love thi spost. Amelie was sucha fantastic movie, I go through the same notions. Cuttign my hair, movign to France. I'm with ya!

Kelley said...

I'm SO with you on your love for Amelie . I'll even put it on for background noise . Love it .