January 28, 2011

Cooking Lesson #101...Baking Muffins while Hibernating!

 Many hibernating animals seek insulation from excessive cold!
Yes, that would be me!

 Certain animals spend part of the cold season
 in a more or less dormant state!
Yes, that would be me also!

Hibernating animals store enough food in their bodies to carry them over until food is again obtainable and
all body activities are reduced to a minimum!
Oiy Vey.... me again!! 

A Maine House Mosaic

The snow continues to fall! Mounds and mounds of snow! We have had a total snowfall of 45 inches thus far!  So....I decided what better way to spend this winter day, than in the kitchen...baking! Imagine the smells of sour cream coffee cakes and yeast breads baking in the oven! Transfer the love of family into the art of baking! Isn't it in our kitchens where we feel our happiest, most creative and adventuresome? I love the ritual of an afternoon cup of hot tea and a little something sweet. So when you find yourself "hibernating" on a winter afternoon, one of these little muffins will delight you with some of "The Gift Horse" Lemon Tea!

Estelle's Love Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sour cream
1 large egg
1 1/2 t. vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup toasted pecans

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease the muffin baking pan. Carefully mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl, lifting and "fluffing" the dry ingredients with a fork.
Melt the butter in  small bowl. Whisk together the melted butter, sour cream, egg & vanilla. Stir butter mixture, chocolate chips and pecans into the dry ingredient mixture, jut until combined. Do not overmix.
Divide the batter among your muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes.

Snickerdoodle Muffins
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tarter
¾ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 ¼ cup sour cream
2 ¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup sugar + 2 T. cinnamon (combined)

Cream the butter and sugar until soft about 3 to 5 minutes. Add in the vanilla. Add in the eggs one at a time and mix until each is incorporated.
In a separate, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder and cream of tarter.
Add the flour mixture and the sour cream alternately to the egg-butter mixture in the additions. Start with the flour and end with the flour. Scrape the bowl occasionally.
 Using an ice cream scoop, scoop out muffin batter one at a time and drop into a shallow bowl filled with the cinnamon sugar mixture. Roll the muffin around in the mixture until it is covered completely in cinnamon sugar.. Place muffin into a greased muffin tin.. Depending on the size of your tins, you should get about 12 to 14 muffins. Bake them for approx. 20-22 minutes in a 350F oven or until they are golden brown.

Carrot Cream Cheese Muffins
1 8 ounce package of cream cheese
1/4 cup sugar

1 3/3 cup flour
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 t. baking powder
3/4 t. cinnamon
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 t. orange extract
1/4 cup orange juice
1 T. grated orange zest
1 3/4 cup grated carrots
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. To make the filling, place cream cheese in a small bowl, add sugar. Mash with a fork (soften cream cheese at room temp for 1 hr) and combine until well blended.  Cover and chill in freezer 10 minutes.
To make the muffins, sift together the flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Cream butter and brown sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer (hand mixer does fine) and add eggs one at a time while mixer is running on slow speed.  Add orange extract, orange juice and orange zest. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Fold in carrots, raisins and walnuts. Place batter in each greased muffin tin, about 2 tablespoons. Add a dollop of cream cheese into the center of each muffin. Cover with remaining batter until muffin cup is 3/4 full. Bake 20-22 minutes. Cool prior to removing from the muffin tin!

The Gift Horse Restaurant Lemon Tea (Monroeville, Alabama)
6 quarts water
4 quart-size tea bags
1 cup sugar
2 12-ounce cans frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed

Bring water to a boil. Add tea bags. Remove from heat and cover, let steep for 20 minutes. Add sugar and lemonade concentrate, stirring until dissolved.

"The tea hour is the hour of peace. Strife is lost in the hissing of the kettle.
 A tranquilizing sound second only to the purring of a cat!"
Agnes Repplier

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