When I started baking, it was out of necessity. It was the winter of 2005, just after Christmas, and I was battling terrible insomnia and slight depression. It was awful. I would spend hours sitting, staring at my computer, updating Facebook, lying on my carpet wishing that I could sleep. One night, I wandered down to the still-set-up Christmas tree and started sifting through the gifts that I'd received. One of those gifts was Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe, still one of my favorite cookbooks today. After everyone else was asleep, I would sneak downstairs and, as quietly as possible, bake the easiest things from the cookbook with whatever happened to be around in the kitchen. Invariably, after each recipe was finished, I would crash immediately upon my bed, or the couch, or the rug in our kitchen... whatever happened to be easiest. A love of baking was born, alongside a coping mechanism.
To this day, I can tell when I'm verging upon emotional instability when I start itching to break out my pans. It's not only something to do to pass the time; it's also one of the few times when I don't let the opinions of others dictate my actions, when I have overwhelming self-confidence and a can-do attitude, and when, even in the midst of emotional quicksand, I can dance around the kitchen, singing into a whisk and everything is right in my life. The process takes as long as it takes; I can't speed it up or slow it down, even if I wanted to. And, best of all, my friends love me for it. When these muffins came out of the oven, my roommate Beth came into the kitchen and said, point blank, "I could kiss you right now. But I think you'd be weirded out."
Sugar and Spice ("Everything Nice") Muffins
Adapted from Gourmet
- 1 c flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/3 c sugar
- 1/4 c butter
- 1 egg
- 1/3 c milk
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line 6 muffin cups with liners.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. In another bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in egg. Add dry ingredients to wet ones and beat until combined. Add milk and stir until just combined.
- Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in small bowl.
- Spoon batter into cups half full. Sprinkle some of the brown sugar and cinnamon on top of batter. Spoon more batter into cups (until 5/6 full) and top with remaining brown sugar/cinnamon mixture.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Next time, I will sub brown sugar for the white sugar in the batter.
- Also, next time, I'm going to make extra sugar/cinnamon mixture and put more inside the muffins.
- These muffins are not overwhelmingly sweet, but I like them that way.