Today’s forecast: a fierce southwesterly, piles of cookbook edits, earaches all around coughs that won’t quit. On the upside: a batch of warm muffins. Welcome to spring break in Tofino.
We’ve run out into the storm twice for essentials – coffee, Pringles (I’m easily convinced when under the weather) and meds – and both times had to retreat out of our wet clothes back in to PJs upon walking in the door. The second time I cranked the oven on first, before taking off my yellow rubber rainjacket, craving the warmth and comfort of a working oven plus a buttery, crunchy-topped muffin to go with my rained-in coffee. Generally I make muffins with grainier flours and healthier oils, but have you seen it outside? It’s a day for cupcakes passed off as muffins.
And yes it’s pouring and blowing, but things are green and growing…
In the freezer there was a flat of blueberries left over from last year – the very best kind for baking, I think, versus the bagged kind that come already frozen and with ice crystals that can turn your muffins blue-green. And so when W asked if I could PLEASE JUST MAKE SOMETHING NORMAL THIS TIME.. WITH NOTHING WEIRD IN IT? I promised to make muffins of the Tim Horton’s variety.
This is a pretty basic muffin formula – the cupcakey kind, really, with a buttery crumb and crunchy top made even crunchier by a sprinkle of sugar before going into the oven. You could make a rubble of butter-flour-sugar for streusel-topped muffins, or use other berries or chopped fruit in place of the blueberries, or sub in some tweedier flour for the all-purpose. I had a lemon on the countertop and so grated some zest into the butter and sugar; this is entirely optional, but very delicious – you could instead add a big shake of cinnamon, or orange zest, or whatever else you like in your blueberry muffins. (PS: This is also a great way to use up milk or yogurt that’s heading past its prime, or that half & half you stashed in the freezer that’s perfectly fine, but separated enough that no one wants to put it in their coffee.)