cranberry lime muffins

This is what I did today.

I browned some butter.

Zested a lime.

Listened to some Eminem… yeah, I did.

I buttered a muffin tin.

Whisked together some eggs and milk and vanilla.

Whisked together some spelt flour and baking powder and plain flour and salt. And sugar. Can’t forget the sugar.

I took photos without the flash because they look less harsh that way. Maybe a little fuzzier and retro looking. That’s ok.

See my blue fingernails? I don’t usually paint my nails because I work in hospitality but my two week (almost – had to work yesterday:) break meant I could. Hence. The green and red tea towel matches the cranberries and limes. My favourite apron, complete with pocket for my camera, and the moccies I always cook in.

I opened the curtains and was glad the heater worked.

I stirred the contents of three bowls and a saucepan together – and then I washed those dishes while these muffins baked.

I made myself a cup of coffee. Mmm… coffee…

And then I ate me some muffins.

Sometimes, I forget that I have to look after myself, forget trying to fill other people’s holes, and let God fill mine. Sometimes, I have to remember that I have something to offer as well, but I have to take time to be me and do stuff for me otherwise I’ll lose it. Sometimes, you just need to make some muffins and some coffee and sit down and eat them. Because it’s good.

Sometimes you just need to bake for you. Not for anyone else, to get anyone’s attention or friendship or love or acceptance or gratitude. Just for you, because you love to bake, the physical action, the ingredients, sights, smells, tastes. Just because.

Brown Butter Cranberry Lime Muffins

Adapted fromĀ Joy the Baker

100g butter, unsalted

2 eggs

1/3 cup milk

1 teaspoon (or capful) vanilla extract

zest of one lime

1 1/2 cups plain flour – I used 1 cup wholemeal spelt and 1/2 cup plain white. Good.

1 teaspoon salt

170g dried cranberries (or 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, if you have them)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Butter and flour a 12 cup muffin pan (I never usually do this but I was out of paper cases. By all means, use them if you’ve got them.

If you’re using dried cranberries, pour them into a bowl and cover them with 1/2 cup water. Set aside.

Place the butter in a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Melt for about ten minutes on medium-low heat. Keep a close eye – you want the butter to be brown, not burnt. Swirl the pan every few minutes. It’ll get frothy and emit a beautiful nutty smell. Take off the heat.

Whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and lime zest together.

Whisk the sugar, flour(s), salt and baking powder together.

Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour all the wet ingredients in (not the cranberries!) and stir together.

Drain the cranberries and fold them in thoroughly. Scoop into the prepared muffin tin and bake 18-20 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in the tin, then invert and cool on a rack or board. Eat at once, or when at room temperature.

sour cream lime biscuits

It’s cold. Really cold. The wind is whistling, the rain is falling, I’m all snuggled up in bed with the blankets pulled up and the heater on, writing this. It’s total soup weather. I should get on that.

Oh, but hey, biscuits.

Winter is one of the best times for baking. You get to warm up the house a little more, move around and get warm and you also can eat more without feeling guilty because you have to be in a bathing suit in the next few months. Unless you’re a swimmer.

I’m not really a swimmer. I love the beach, but my favourite season is winter. Hot chocolate, snuggling up, rugging up in layers of tights and socks and skirts and forgiving clothes. Long walks and pretty leaves, and when the pretty leaves are gone, the stark trees into the grey sky. It’s black and white picture weather, it’s swirling in the street weather, it’s scarves and beanies weather. It’s my kind of weather.

And yes, up here in the hills, the wind whistles. I never had doubts that the wind whistled, it’s just that I always thought it happened at night, when it’s dark and stormy and you’re snuggled in bed under a mountain of blankets, warm and safe. I heard the wind whistling yesterday morning, at around ten o’clock. I was in the kitchen, getting myself that hot chocolate to go with my blanket and pyjamas, and I heard the wind whistling through the trees, and I shivered.

Then I got my hot chocolate and curled up on the couch. Then I made some cookies.

I think I like these better than the lime melting moments I told you guys about before. They’re heartier but somehow not as rich. Smooth, a little crumbly and with a sweet little glaze on top. Limey but not too acidic.

They would be a good biscuit to take to a party, or to your neighbour’s house to say hello. They add a splash of lime green brightness to a grey winter’s day. Make them, and smile at a stranger today.

Sour Cream Lime Biscuits

Adapted fromĀ Indulgence Cookies

250g butter, softened

2 cups caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste, or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

3 tablespoons finely grated lime zest

3/4 cup sour cream

4 cups plain flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

For the glaze:

juice of 1 lime

about 3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted – you could need more, depending on how you like your glaze.

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line two baking trays with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy. Add the zest and sour cream and beat until just incorporated, then stir in the sifted dry ingredients.

Form tablespoon sized mounds of dough into rounds, and place them on the trays, about two inches apart. Flatten slightly, and bake 18-25 minutes, until nicely browned.

Cool on a cooling rack, then glaze.

Stir together the lime juice and the sifted icing sugar until you have a stiff but still workable glaze.

Drape over each cooled biscuit, and share with your friends.