You know how something can happen one way, and always happen that way, and then when you try to point it out to someone, it doesn’t happen that ONE time, and you just look ridiculous? That’s kind of what has gone down here. Over the past 6 months, I’ve been taking on baking projects and photographing their results with seemingly no effort, no trouble, only deliciousness. When I blogged about how I was doing these cooking things, and proceeded to bake my next recipe, it did not go as planned.
I had some lemons leftover from a sudden craving of lemon shortbread cookies last week. I thought I could make some sort of lemon roasted fish or chicken, but lacked both. When you work for a grocery store, the last thing you want to do on the weekend is go grocery shopping, so I decided I’d use what I had on-hand. I'd make another sweet – this time more on the breakfast-y side of things: Lemon Poppyseed Muffins.
I pinterested and compared quite a few recipes, and decided to go with this one. You’ll notice it calls for sour cream, but you see, I did not have any sour cream. I know from baking cakes that this is to add moisture, so I didn't want to skip it, thus began a painstaking search for sour cream substitutions. I watched this video with wide eyes, and I ransacked my pantry and refrigerator for anything on the line up. I had lemon juice, and I had milk that was dated 4 days prior, and I had half-and-half and butter, and that was it. No buttermilk, no whipping cream, nothing that anything actually called for. I decided I’d try two options: first, I’d try the whipping cream with lemon juice method…except I only had half-and-half. After 5 minutes, I gave up on that ever thickening. So, I decided I’d use the ridiculous amount of butter with aged milk.
I carried on with the recipe. When it came time to add the "sour cream," I realized that I didn’t know how to add it. Did I need to melt the butter? Cream it? Softened or chilled? In a very split-second decision, I put the milk in a bowl and then put the whole softened stick of butter in the milk and turned to mixer up to full speed. What the heck was I thinking? I know what I was thinking. I was hungry, and I had stalled for far too long regarding the sour cream already. The result was a clumpy weird cottage-cheese-looking liquid, because duh, fat doesn't mix into liquid like that. I dumped it into the batter anyway. It didn’t seem to matter much. “It’ll just make clumpy pockets of butter if anything!” Into the muffin tins and into the oven they went!
While they were baking, I was getting creative. I always like to jazz up a recipe. Sometimes something is perfect just the way the recipe card says, and if you tweak it, it doesn't taste like Momma's, but always doing everything by the book would be quite dull. Usually, if a lemon poppyseed muffin is topped, it’s with a simple sugar lemon glaze. That is so last week (...literally, I put lemon glaze on my shortbread cookies last week). I had some mascarpone that was dying to be used up, so I decided to make a vanilla mascarpone glaze – a delicious stroke of genius! I used this mascarpone icing recipe, (again with the whipping cream! I used the half-and-half, but I'll have you know that there is now whipping cream in my fridge, sheesh) and put it on the muffins as they were just out of the oven so that the icing would melt immediately, making a glaze instead. I set them back in the oven for the icing/glaze to get a little crunch to it (and I didn’t want the muffins getting soggy). It worked!..with one set-back. Side story:
At home in Alabama, as with anywhere, Spring bounces into season and with it, a not-so-thin dusting of pollen. You suffer through the yellow coating on your car, your shoes, your porch, because there is no other option, and when the dusting has passed, you hose down all the things. Whenever we hose down the back porch, the waterproofing causes the water to bead up on the planks of wood, and each liquid bead holds up this gross, thick film of yellow.
The muffins were so yummy and delicious with this slight crunch from the glaze on top, but the combination of colors of the yellow lemon muffin with the black/gray poppy seeds and the tan icing, had given the muffins this look like they were topped with that weird pollen-water from the back porch.
Ok, so they don't look that bad, but you're talking to a perfectionist here. I thought I’d just broil them a tiiiiiny bit longer to give the tops a toasty brown color to mask the yellow.
And then I forgot about them.
Dinner starvation was creeping up on me. While cooking a delicious Niman Ranch Apple Gouda Sausage, those would-be adorable creations were getting quite black. I tried to mask the black with my mascarpone icing-glaze that had now gotten to be a weird mashed-potatoes consistency.
I really gave up at this point, and I messaged my coworkers that they were going to eat a lot of burnt muffins in the morning. The mascarpone is really what burned, so the muffins below were fine. Nonetheless, this perfectionist apologized profusely to each coworker as they took one to eat it.
All of that being said, I promise to deliver inspiring kitchen stories at some point, but you have you start somewhere! I'll usually include recipes at the end of my posts, but I don't really feel like I have the right to instruct you on this one, so follow the links if you wish.
As I said, I'm not perfect :)