Muffins…Heavenly treats that everyone loves, no matter what your age is. And how can you not?
So many different flavors, textures and the best part, so easy to make.
Talking to lot of my friends, all of us agree that muffins were probably the first thing we ever baked.
We all remember helping our mothers and grand mothers stiring the mixture and then the best part, licking
Even now, years later, every time I have muffins in the oven – the sweet smell takes me back to those times.
Maybe that’s why to this day, baking muffins is one of my favorite things in the world. And when I bake
with my daughter.
I wonder if she will get that warm feeling later on in life when she is all grown up, baking with her daughter.
Baking is so much more then just making a treat. It is also about creating those memories that last with you
Yes, muffins are magical and like I already said, probably first thing you too ever baked when you decided
to venture into the
kitchen and creat your first “master piece”.
You probably measured all the ingrediants properly and followed the recipe to the T and then set there for
20 minutes waiting for
your creation to be finished. Then with high hopes, you open the oven and there they are. Flat as pancakes
or dry. Flavor is there
but….They are not like the once your Nan used to make. And you are ready to give up on baking forever
because “I just don’t have a gift
for it like my mum does!”
Yep! I have been there. Many times. I have my Nan’s recipes so in theory, they should be exactly like the
onese she used to make. Wrong!
There are little secrets that every baker has. And you know, for a while I actually thought that maybe my
Nan left one or two ingrediants out of her recipes
so that HER muffins would still be my favorits. Conspiracy theory, I know! And yes, I was ready to give up. I
just couldn’t deal with the fact that all women
in my family are amazing at baking and I am not. And then I did give up. For few years, I didn’t even bake
packet cakes. But then something happened.
Talking to my mum, few weeks ago, just about life in general, she opened my eyes.
It all started over a cup of coffee and a cake, as it usually does. I have been having some issues at work and
had to unload.
My mum, quite woman, just set there listening, adding occausional “Hmmm..” or “Oh dear!” It went on for
about half an hour and then I
stopped talking, looked at my mum and asked “So what do you think I should do?” expecting her to come up
with some great advice. She is great at that too.
Her eyebrows raised (never a good sign), head tilted to one side and then small caugh. I know what the
“caugh” means! It always scared me as a kid. There would
be a caugh followed by a looooooong lecture . No matter how old you are, you all of a sudden feel like a kid
and the thought goes through your head “I’m in trouble!”
Like when parent use your full name. Still sends shivers down my spine.
Anyway, to cut the long story short, the words that came out of mum’s mouth opened my eyes to a whole
She spoke softly. “My dear, you really have to let go a bit. See, ever since you were a kid, you always
followed rules and instructions like your life depended on it.
Sometimes that works but sometimes it doesn’t. You just need one small element to be out of place and the
whole thing falls apart. And it might not be your fault.
It is the way this world is. And YOU can’t control it. But what you CAN do is – take a deep breath and try a
different way. YOUR way!”
I was speachless. My mum thinks I am a control freak. And she was right!
I went home that afternoon, her words still echoing in my ears. I set at the ktchen table and thought about
the whole conversation for what seemed like forever.
Yes! My mum was right. And why am I surprised? She is always right (I hate to admit!).
Two people can follow the same plan but both can have different outcome. Like baking!
You and me can use the same recipe and yours might turn out fluffier then mine. It doesn’t mean that one of
us is bad at it. You just need all the start to aligne perfectly and
for the Universe to spread some good vibes onto your oven…..I am kidding! It’s nothing like that. It is
actually simple. And I will tell you how.
So the next day, I rang my mum to let her know that I have been thinking about what she said and that I will
try to change, become less of a control freak. She seemed
happy and then she said “But do baby steps. Less likely to give up.”
God, I hate the fact she knows me so well but that’s a whole other story.
“Baking!” she said. “Try baking! Remember how you used to like baking with me?”
Yes, but my things never worked out like yours – I wanted to say. And then I’ll get annoyed and give up
“I used to give you little tips on how to make great muffins but you would tell me that is not what it says in
a cook book and dismiss my advice? Do you remember that?”
And that’s when my eyes opened!
Once again, my mum was right! I didn’t listen to her advice because I wanted to bake the perfect muffin like
the one on the picture inside the cookbook and to
get there, I had to follow the recipe to the T. And if it doesn’t work out, you give up. Wrong!
If it doesn’t work out, you try again. Your way (or your mother’s way :))!
I was ready to give it another go. I was willing to “just breath” and do it my way. The whole scene from
Karate Kid went through my head “Wax on! Wax off!”.
I will become a master of baking! And I will listen to what my mum has to say and not JUST the recipe.
Few days later, in my mum’s kitchen, magic happened. I felt like a kid again, licking spoons. Once again,
there were three generations of women together in the
same kitchen having fun baking with sweet smell lingering through the room. The only difference was, I
was not the youngest anymore. My daughter was.
Magical muffins were baked that day. Apple and cinnamon, blueberry and of course, my Nan’s sweet ricotta
muffins (my all time favorite).
First thing I have learned that day was – if you love something, it is not hard work. “Love” really is a secret
ingrediant in baking.
And also, there is no room in the kitchen for control freaks. Just let it go.
But just in case if you are feeling like giving up on baking, please think again. Give muffins another go.
That’s where it all starts, isn’t it?
And I will share few secrets with you right now that I FINALLY took on board from my mum. And here it is.
FOR PERFECT MUFFINS:
* Most recipes will tell you to pre heat the oven to 200C. Yes, perfect temperature but every oven is also
different. It might take a while to work it out but what I have found
is, that if you place your oven rack right in the middle of the oven they cook even and don’t dry up.
*You should always use 2 bowls when making muffins. One for dry ingredients and one for wet. That way
you mix wet ones very well and just fold dry ones in. Over mixing muffins
makes them dry.
*Leave muffins in tins for 5-10 minutes after taking them out of the oven to rest and cover them with a tea
towel. That way they won’t go crisp on the outside.
So there you go people. I hope this helps create the perfect muffins. Oh, and whatever you do, do not forget
the most important ingridient. LOVE!
Happy baking! X