I should be studying. But I’m not. I’d rather do anything than study. Anything. I went dog food shopping, did some banking, took the dogs to Sharon Dog Park, puttered around facebook, and flipped longingly through cookbooks. Ah, cookbooks. I probably have more than 100 cookbooks, no joke. I love cookbooks. If I had to study cookbooks, I’d study all day, through sleepless nights, on vacation, I would study morning, noon, and night, and I do. Then, I took my procrastination even further. I’ll bake!
While studying my cookbooks I offered Drin a proposition; chocolate chip cookies or blueberry crumb muffins? He said, “Neither, I’m a fat boy.” He’s not, but I figured I’d oblige him. I countered, “Okay, I’ll make the muffins – since I personally am not a huge fan of chocolate chip cookies but love pretty much anything flecked with fruit – and we’ll give half to Ziggy.” Ziggy being our next door neighbor, and a former corrections officer. He agreed. And so the procrastination was supported.
I hit the kitchen in record time, Tuckerman & Layla clinging steadfast to my heels. They know what happens when Mom stands up from a cookbook. I prepared my workstation, which in fancy french culinary terms is called, mise-en-place. Mise-en-place, essentially means ‘everything in its place’. The term generally refers to an entire kitchen and separate workstations, but can also be scaled down to, get your ingredients ready. I’ve found when you’re not in a state of mise-en-place, you can start a recipe, get halfway through and realize that you don’t have any milk, and you’re short an egg. Then the footrace begins, where can I get an egg? Some milk? And where can I get them without getting into my car? Almost always it’s a neighbor. Since living here, I have yet to play knock-knock at a neighbors door, covered in flour, with a timer clipped to my apron. How is this possible you ask? Mise-En-Place.
Blueberry Crumb Muffins
Adapted from: Williams-Sonoma Muffins
1/4 cup flour
2 tablespoons each granulated sugar and firmly packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/4 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or frozen, thawed
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease 12 standard muffin cups with butter.
To make to topping, stir together flour, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender or your fingers, cut or rub the butter into the dry ingredients just until coarse crumbs form.
To make the muffins, in a bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition until blended into the butter mixture.
In another bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture in 2 increments, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Stir just until evenly moistened. the batter will be slightly lumpy. Using a large rubber spatula, gently fold in the blueberries just until evenly distributed, no more than a few strokes. Take care not to break the fruit. do not overmix.
Spoon batter into each muffin cup, filling it level with the rim of the cup. Sprinkle each muffin with approximately 1 tablespoon of the topping.
Bake until golden, dry, and springy to the touch, 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted int eh center should come out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Unmold the muffins.