Muffins for the Masses

This weekend I had the opportunity to “cater” a party. My brother-in-law and sister-in-law celebrated their birthdays (which occur on the same day, a factoid that continually tickles me) and because it was the bro-in-law’s big 4-0, his lovely wife wantd to celebrate in larger-than-life fashion. She planned a party with their friends to mark the occasion, and somehow over the course of the week, while she and I discussed food options, I offered to prepare all the food for the party for her. Remembering that it was her birthday too, and knowing that she was going to be working her tail off to get everything ready, it seemed like a good idea. And, I can’t lie: I’ve secretly entertained the idea of catering an event, despite the reality of not having the kitchen or the supplies for such a job (without even delving into the lack of training). In any case, she jumped on the offer, and the deal was set.

Because I’m both a creature of habit and a creature who avoids trying new things almost at all costs (ask my husband how I dealt with the strange food choices while we lived in Korea), I stayed close to the foods I’ve made before, mostly for my childbirth class. I knew roughly how much everything would cost and approximately how long every dish would take to prepare. On Friday night, Todd and I went grocery shopping for all the ingredients. Beginning at 9:00 am on Saturday until I had to take a shower at 4pm, I worked continuously, realizing that my time management left something to be desired. Ben jumped in and asked to help several different dishes, however, so that saved quite a bit of time. At one point, Todd remarked that “if you were on the Food Network, I think you’d receive a negative comment about how you’re not keeping your station clean….” It was true. I was moving from project A to project B and wasn’t taking too much time to clean up after myself. Clean up would come later, I figured. It would have been helpful to have two dishwashers and several more cooking bowls throughout the day, but it worked out just fine.

All in all, somehow everything got done and the party seemed to go off without a hitch. The food received positive reviews and my only regret of the night was that I made too much of one dish and should have doubled another. We shall see if I ever get the chance again, but it was definitely fun for me! I don’t even remember snapping at my family throughout the day of cooking, so perhaps it was enjoyable for them too.

This short story is all prologue to the recipe below. I woke up this morning and went about my day, feeling as if I only had the usual prep to do for my Monday class at the homeschool co-op. Then I remembered I had volunteered to make some blueberry muffins for our open house. Even though it had been totally out of my mind, whipping up two dozen treats seemed like a cake walk (ha ha, get it? cake walk?! Sleep deprivation has come to my house!) after feeding close to 30 the night before–actually, it was probably 27…I should have counted. I have been anxious to try this recipe all week, especially since the reviews were so glowing. I was also out of eggs for a good portion of the week, so they had to wait until today. I think they turned out rather delicious. I changed the recipe only slightly and did half whole wheat flour and half white flour. For ease of preparation they get 5 stars and 2 thumbs up. The one I tasted almost straight out of the oven was heavenly. Maybe you’ll feel the same way…

First, you need a cute helper. This was mine. She constantly asked if she could taste the batter and told me repeatedly that it smelled good.

Cream a respectable amount of softened butter and the root of all evil, sugar, together, and then add an egg and then a fair amount of milk. At this point, the batter was almost alarmingly runny. Because of the positive reviews, I continued on, mostly unfazed.

After adding the flour, baking soda, and an eyeballed amount of salt, the batter stiffened up considerably. In fact, I started second-guessing myself and wondered if my helper had distracted me from correctly adding the proper amount of flour. Still, we carried on.

Once I folded in the blueberries, it was downright difficult to stir. I had frozen blueberries, so it really chilled the batter quickly. Be prepared to spoon the thick batter into your muffin tins, rather than pour it.

I doubled the recipe and it made enough to amply fill 24 tins, which I lined with paper covers. By this time, I’d lost my helper’s interest–and my helper. “I’m gonna hop down from my chair, Mama, and go see what A-drew’s doing!” That’s OK; filling the tins is pretty much a one-person job.

After baking for a little more than the recipe called for, here is the finished product.

Blueberry Muffins

3 T. butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten like you mean it
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cups flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups blueberries

Cream together butter and sugar. Beat in egg, then add milk and mix well.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix into creamed mixture.

Fold in blueberries. Turn batter into greased 12 cup muffin pan or line with muffin paper liners.

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

While still warm from the oven, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse sugar. (I opted not to do this)

Makes 12 regular sized muffins, as you expect since that was all we were asked to grease or line.

Muffin heaven.


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