Friday, September 11, 2009

The Ghost of Muffins Past

Or, what happens when you are preparing a 'Xmas Carol' audition and baking at the same time; A Short Play.

Dear Mouse,

With my apologies and assurances that this is the last post involving either Maine or Muffins.

Scene: a tiny cheerful kitchen in Queens. The Boo is at her computer, surrounded by baking implements and open cookbooks. She stares at the screen, clicking furiously.

A sudden flash of white light - no, a rolling, salty fog - fills the apartment.

An apparition appears in the window. It looks like, I dont know, a bag of chocolate chips holding a lobster roll.

The Boo: "Are you the spirit whose coming was foretold to me?"
Spirit: "I am."

Boo: "Well, who and what are you then? What are you doing here? And can I have some of that lobster roll?"

MP: "No. I am the Ghost of Muffins Past."

Boo: "Oo, great! So do YOU have the recipe I'm looking for? I made these amazing chocolate chip muffins one night in Maine, from a recipe in a little cookbook that was in our kitchen at the house, and I can't remember the name, it was something like "Maine Attractions", and I've been googling it and there's just nothing out there. I even took a picture of the recipe with my phone and I seem to have erased it. They were soooo good! They had this kind of crackly top and the texture was much more sturdy/substantial and cake/bready than the kind of wimpy, fluffy, 'ooh they're so tender, I just ate ten of them and I'm still not full' version so many people seem to think they like better. But EVERYone loved these. They were like the Dunkin Donuts kind, but smaller and more wholesome. Damnit. I can't believe it."

GMP: "I do not have the recipe, nor the title of the book. Sorry."

Boo: "Well, thanks a lot. On what business have you come then?"

GMP: "Business? Your welfare, your education, your kitchen cred."

Boo: "Spirit, I am too old. I cannot change. I have always worked with recipes when it comes to baking. I just can't believe I can make this work from memory."

GMP: "Shut me out at your peril! You will probably never find this cookbook again. The time has come - again - to trust your own instincts. Come and walk with me, into your past. What do you remember?"

Boo: "Well ... I remember that there were 3 eggs, which seemed like a lot ... and that we were out of regular sugar so I used a mix of Sugar in the Raw we had in the cabinet, and some brown sugar... and just hoped for the best."

GMP: "I see.. so the raw sugar was YOUR idea. And do you remember the title of this recipe?"

Boo: "Let me go, Spirit, I have seen enough!"

GMP: "The title!"

Boo: "Ah -it was - No - Yes - 'Maine Blueberry Muffins".

GMP: "Aha! So it was not even a chocolate chip muffin recipe at all! The chocolate chips were YOUR idea as well."

Boo: "What are you driving at, spirit?"

GMP: "Take heed! You need no recipe book. You remember! You can recreate it yourself! Just find a basic muffin recipe and make it with 3 eggs and raw sugar. "

Boo: "Spirit, I am not the Boo I was! I'll do it!"

GMP: "Good. Just remember to trust your senses. When your kitchen smells amazing and the muffins are brown at the edges, take them out. Don't sit there counting the minutes just because the recipe says to; you'll burn the bottoms."

Boo: "God bless us, every one. "

GMP: "So, what do I, take the 7 to get out of here ? Ok, right, bye."

The Boo's Raw-Sugar Chocolate Chip Muffins:

1 C raw sugar, or mix of raw & brown
3 eggs
2 C flour
1 C chocolate chips
2 tsp baking powder
1 stick butter (1/2 C)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 C milk.

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a muffin pan. With your hands, mash butter & sugar together in bowl til basically creamy; dont really 'cream' it. it's ok if there are some lumps, really. Add eggs one at a time and mix. (ok, you can use a spoon for that part.) In another bowl: flour, baking powder, salt. Mix with (clean) hand. Ok, NOW you can use a large spoon as you add flour mixture and milk alternately to butter/sugar bowl, mixing just enough to blend between additions. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Stick in oven until kitchen smells divine, muffins are golden, puffed, and brown at edges, and fork stuck in one comes out clean. I'm gonna say 20 min but mine were done a bit faster. And the bottoms were black because I didn't believe it. Dont let this happen to you.

The Boo
10-20-09 Ok, my beautiful friend Helena ordered me the cookbook which is called Maine Ingredients, and is pretty much out of print. And it turns out that also part of the magic is in the use of half-and-half instead of milk; I'd forgotten that.

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