Rookie mistakes

KA muffins

At first, I wanted to blame King Arthur Flour and whoever posts the recipes on their website.  (I may have even been a bit snippy in my recommendation of the recipe- shame on me. I will go back and fix that.  I promise.)  I have been baking for many, many years. Not a rookie.  Yesterday I had leftover buttermilk in the refrigerator and some blueberry and cherry infused Craisins in the cupboard.  Baking muffins first thing in the morning is one of my hobbies/favorite past times/joys/reasons for living.  I had a meeting at 9:00 am yesterday (our division’s tech committee- you can teach an old dog new tricks, my friends) at school so I thought I would take some to my colleagues.  And leave a few for the Ex-Ex, of course.  I tied on my Arles apron (if you are new to the blog and have the time, click on the link and read about my sabbatical), read through the recipe, turned on the oven, sprayed the muffin tins, and assembled the ingredients.  Only dirtied two bowls, one whisk, three spoons, one liquid measuring cup, two dry measuring cups, and a teaspoon measure. I had plenty of time to bake two tins of muffins and clean up the mess.  I put the first batch in, set the timer, and set about washing up.  Soon, heavenly smells were coming out of the oven.  About 15 minutes in, I opened the oven door for a peek.  Hmm. That’s weird, I thought.  They aren’t rising.  I admit that when mixing them up I thought it was a bit strange that the recipe didn’t call for salt, baking soda or baking powder. However, I confess right here and now that I am not particularly curious about the science of baking (or anything else except how teenagers’ brains work).  I thought that perhaps buttermilk has magic powers and would provide whatever was needed.  I used to have Harold McGee’s book, On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, but I gave it to the BFF because she is actually curious. (But she doesn’t bake.) Anyway, back to my muffins.  I brought the recipe back up on the computer and, well, if you bake, you may have already guessed where I goofed up.  I only buy King Arthur’s all-purpose flour.  Sister Moo gives me a lot of grief about this (but she doesn’t bake much either).  The recipe calls for self-rising, which already has all of the other stuff in it.  My bad.  The muffins looked like lumps. Albeit warm, nice smelling lumps.  I tried one.  Not bad.  Should I take them to school?  I am not, never have been, and never will be a perfectionist.  At times, my motto/mantra is Done is Better Than Perfect.  That could be the title of my memoir. I did end up taking some to school.  I told my story.  A few were eaten.  The rest came back home with me at the end of the day.  By the time I walked in the door around 5:00 pm, the Ex-Ex, having had no lunch, had eaten five of them and pronounced them very good.  As a matter of fact, he likes them better than “normal” ones.  Go figure.  “I like the texture of the density more than I like the fluffiness.”  Voilà.

inside muffin

Before posting the recipe, a quick French lesson…  Merci, La Brune, for coming to my rescue via Facebook.  I don’t just like technology, I love it.  I embrace it. I asked for the French equivalent of “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” and promptly got this:

On n’apprend pas aux vieux singes à faire des grimaces.  You can’t teach old monkeys to make funny faces.  Hilarious!


These little guys are part of the Ex-Ex’s childhood possessions. Speak no evil, hear no evil, see no evil.

As you can see, I didn’t bother to read the name of the recipe yesterday morning at 6 am…

Self-Rising Soft and Tender  Breakfast Muffins

makes 12

  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar (this could be cut in half if you don’t like too much sweetness)
  • 1 cup Craisins (or other dried fruit, nuts or chips)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I doubled the recipe and added a teaspoon of almond extract)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin pan; or line the pan with paper muffin cups, and grease them.
  2. Whisk together the flour and sugar, then stir in the fruit.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, vanilla, buttermilk, and melted butter.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until combined; the mixture should be slightly lumpy. Don’t overmix.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full. (I now use an ice cream scoop- so easy!)
  6. Bake the muffins for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re lightly browned. Remove them from oven, place pan on wire rack, let them cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove them from pan.

Bon appétit!  Keep baking and keep learning.  Every day is a new adventure.




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