I baked with a friend last week, and she commented, “You’re so confident in the kitchen.” In fact, the kitchen is the place I’m most confident. Once I understand the basic principles behind any type of food, I feel fully capable of just throwing things together. This is not characteristic of my usual Hermione-like commitment to doing research before any endeavor, be it travel, hiking, or hyphenation. My confidence throwing things together leads to weeks of just one type of food as I fall in love with the science behind it.
Yet, one of the things I enjoy about baking in particular is that it breeds humility. Just when you’ve knocked off a fantastic batch of pretzels, you completely blow the quiche. Like, to a gross level. It’s not like quiche is hard; I just blew it.
I brought some of the pretzels to the school board meeting, and a guy who is from Philly told me they remind him of Philly pretzels. I’m choosing to believe he does not mean the ones that come in a large phalanx of stale yet somehow still squishy segments. I’m choosing to believe he means the ones you can get hot with mustard and just the right amount of salt and that are almost worth the price of a plane ticket on their own. It was the best compliment ever and I’m going to start researching the original homes of everyone who attends school board meetings so I can bake things from those places and elicit more such compliments. Ony kidding. Sort of. See: Hermione-like research tendencies noted above.
Today is a snow day, and I begin snow days by putting two sticks of butter out on the counter to soften. The kids asked for apple-cinnamon sugar muffins. We have a lot of apples chopped up in the freezer, so I did this:
1 cup white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp cardamom (because MAGIC)
½ tsp. cinnamon
1 stick butter
Add and cream in:
Some leftover apple butter
½ cup maple sugar (or brown sugar)
¼ cup maple syrup
Mix in dry ingredients, add in chopped apples, top with cinnamon+brown sugar+sugar
Bake at 375 until done.
“Well,” Eldest told me. “They’ll be better than last night’s quiche.”