almost muffins

I say almost because I kinda forgot an important ingredient.

See, when you make muffins – even awesome muffins born from the cinnamon walnutty goodness of last post’s cookies – it’s kinda important to have some sort of ingredient that works together with the other ingredients and does some sort of scientific thing that not only helps it to taste awesome but makes it rise and makes the texture fluffy and lovely.

It’s a leavening agent. Yes, ladies and gents, I forgot the baking powder AND the baking soda. I am a very smart cookie.

But I’m a nuff nuff muff muffin.

They taste really really good, don’t get me wrong. They taste just as good as the cookies. (maybe even better. I don’t have a direct comparison. We ate all the cookies already.)

I get this feeling I’m missing something in my life. Flour one day, baking powder the next… I don’t know what’s going on. Baking still calms me down and makes me happy, but I think I need to … re-evaluate or something. Journal more. Be more. Just be.

This is why it’s a good thing that holidays are around the corner. This is also why I’m trying not to freak out about the fact that I’ve got two exams in the next two days, and I’ve been procrasti-baking and procrasti-cleaning and procrasti-tooling around on the internet for the past week. Or so.

It’s ok. I have almost-muffins. And hot chocolate. And Glee.

I’m ok.

And I’ll be even more ok when I visit my Oma on Friday for her birthday.

It’s a pretty special occasion. She’s turning 21! No, that’s me next year. She’s… thirty! No, no one needs that freak out again. Or do they?

40? She is looking pretty good for her age.

Keep going… Ok, no, we’re actually going to stop there. Let’s just say that it’s rude to ask a lady her age, and my Oma is grand and wonderful and mature and sometimes giggles like a schoolgirl with me and my sister and our mum.

And her party is going to be so much fun! But I can’t think about it until after my exams.

Well, after these two anyway. I do have another (yep, I chose four subjects that have exams in my first year of university) but it’s not for a couple of weeks and I’m going to smash it out of the water. Just like I’ll smash these and the one I did today.

Ok, time to stop talking about [exams] and tell you about these muffins you absolutely have to make.

Just don’t forget the baking powder. And soda.

P.S. Please tell me about them! I was totally going to make a new batch but I’d run out of walnuts. And dates. And there weren’t any apples. And my nose is cold. And this blanket is warm.

Make these.

Date-Walnut Muffins

125g butter, softened

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup white sugar

1 egg

1/2 tsp vanilla bean paste

1/2 cup greek style yoghurt (I’m sure other plain yoghurt would work just as well)

1/2 cup milk

1 cup walnuts, chopped

about 3/4 cup dates, chopped

2/3 cup flour

1/3 cup ground almonds

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Beat the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the vanilla and scrape down the bowl, beating until fluffy again. Stir in the yoghurt and milk.

Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients (you can sift ’em first if you want to … or not…) and the walnuts and dates. Scoop tablespoonfuls into patty cases lining muffin tins (I have a feeling these would be brilliant in the kind of huge, Muffin Break-esque texan muffin incarnation. Try it. I dare you.) Bake… in a 180 degree oven… well, mine took about twenty-five minutes but I don’t know how leaveners change the baking times. So, check them regularly. Then eat them.

I know what I’m having for breakfast.

date muffins and a confusing life

It’s been a while, I know.

I’m sorry. It’s been a busy few weeks. Uni, work, SURRENDER:11, home life… and to be honest, it’s kind of taken its toll. I’m happy, but my life is stretched out over so many different spheres of living. Or rather, existing, at the moment. It’s hard to admit that I may be doing too much, stretching myself too far, but when I’m almost in tears because of the exhaustion it’s obvious even to me.

And so. It’s time to take things a little slower, enjoy what must be done. Dive into my studies. Reach out to a few close friends. Have proper conversations with people. Enjoy cooking for its own sake. Reflect on everything.

And eat cake. Because cake makes things better, especially when it’s in miniature form. Like muffins.

Muffins are the perfect university snack. They’re sturdy, they don’t mind being squashed or shunted around in bags. They can be savoury or sweet, but because they’re cakey and full of carbohydrates, they give you a boost of energy and really do help you study. And since I’m off chocolate for Lent (more on that later) I made date muffins last night.

I like to make up recipes, to just throw ingredients in a bowl and see what comes out the other end. Unfortunately, this time was a little too sweet for my liking. And I’m a sweet tooth. So I’ve modified the details a bit, although I haven’t tried it out with this new one yet.

Date muffins

This recipe was made to the soundtrack of How I Met Your Mother. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Please don’t judge me.

1 ½ cups self-raising flour

¾ cup sugar

2 eggs

40g butter, melted

1 ½ cups Greek-style yoghurt

1 ½ cups dried, pitted and chopped dates

Preheat your oven to 180°C and place the oven rack in the middle slot. Grease and flour a twelve-cup muffin pan (a spray with cooking oil does the trick well, then just scatter some plain flour in and tap it out). Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl, whisk together and make a well. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix together; don’t worry about how lumpy it gets. Divide the mixture into the muffin pans and place in the oven. Mine took about 25 minutes but my oven runs a bit cooler, so I’d suggest 15-20 minutes. When they’re done, they should be golden brown on top; take them out and let them rest for a few minutes, then place them on a rack to cool. Eat with butter while still warm, or take to uni/work/school and devour to the envy of your friends.