Monday, February 7, 2011

snow days are for ...

... baking!

Last week when we got more than 30 cm of snow over a couple days, and Husband got two days off school, so I handed him the baby and dove into the kitchen. When it's chilly outside, I love warming up our home with delicious smells wafting from the oven.

Muffins are one of the easiest things to whip up on a moment's notice. We always have the basic ingredients — flour, milk, eggs, sugar — and just about anything works for a mix-in. This time I used frozen blueberries. Sometimes I use mashed bananas, chocolate chips or cinnamon topped with streusel crumble. A friend brought cranberry orange muffins over last week, which was a really tasty combo, too.

I caught an episode of Eat, Shrink and Be Merry the other day all about muffins. The ladies made Little Miss Muffin Tops using special pans. These are definitely on my list of must-try recipes.

Hungry yet? Here are a couple tips for your next batch of muffins:

— Fill the cups nice and full. The recipe I use is supposed to make a dozen muffins, but I only make six. I like nice, big, crispy tops.

— Not sure if the muffins are done? I have that problem with pretty much everything I bake because our oven has really weird heat. The trick: poke the muffin top with your finger. If your finger indent stays, they're not ready yet. If the muffin bounces back, they're om-nom-nom ready.

— Don't mix too much. Over stirred muffin batter makes tough, chewy results. Combine your wet and dry ingredients gently until just moistened; it's OK if it's still a little lumpy.

— A little tip from my Mum: If you're using a 12-cup muffin pan to make six muffins, fill the remaining cups half full with water. This will keep the empty cups from scorching in the oven and will help the muffins bake evenly.

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