I had to make something for an office breakfast. You know, the kind of office breakfast where each employee takes a turn on a Friday morning to bring in bagels and cream cheese, or three dozen Krispy Kremes (Hot! Now!), or if they’re cheap, Winchell’s (Warm n Fresh!). Of course, there’s always that brown-nosing, ass-kissing, I-want-everyone-to-like-me schmuck in A/R who brings in cardboard boxes full of Egg McMuffins and hash browns. Everyone hates him, but they love him for two hours on Friday morning.
It wasn’t my doing a favor for JP, who could just as well have stopped at Amandine on the way to work and picked up croissants, danishes and other pretty little French pastries. It was JP doing a favor for me. I was itching to make something. Anything. But it’s difficult for me to bake just for the hell of it. I need purpose. I need a goal. So he did me a favor and said I could bake something for his Friday breakfast.
There was no way I was going to top Mr. Promote-me-EggMcMuffins by scrambling 5 dozen eggs, grilling two sides of beef and wrapping enough steak, egg, and cheese burritos for the office breakfast. They’re not difficult to make, but transporting steak, egg, and cheese burritos three uphill downtown blocks from the parking garage to the office isn’t easy, especially if JP is hauling his laptop, his filebox, and his after-work gym bag. JP is like that. He works out.
As I started sifting through my recipe notebooks, paging through cookbooks, surfing the usual internet recipe sources, I started to fret. What the hell? I fret. I am a fretter. But why the hell was I fretting over muffins for a group of people whom I would never meet in an office where I don’t work?!?! And yet, suddenly it became very important to me to make promote-me worthy muffins. I had to impress with my muffin-making prowess. Suddenly, I wanted to bake a dozen each of blueberry streusel, lemon poppyseed, apple crumb, banana nut, and cranberry orange to flaunt my flavor repertoire. I wanted to include healthy raisin bran muffins and very unhealthy cream-cheese filled chocolate chocolate chip muffins to showcase my nutritious-to-delicious range.
I finally talked myself down from fretful obsession. I did not make seven different kinds of muffins – What am I? The muffin man opening my own damned muffin man bakery?!? I made two kinds of muffins. Overachieving obsessive preparation for underachieving execution. The story. Of. My life.
But still, I was strangely obsessive in making both the Whole Grain Raisin Nut and Chocolate Chocolate Chip muffins. I huddled with a ladle full of batter over the bowl, poking through it with a tablespoon, counting. Eight. Nine. Ten. The Sun Maid couldn’t have counted them out more accuratly herself. Then with a self-satisfied smirk, I shifted my weight to hover even closer over the muffin tin to make sure there was an equal number of big, fat, juicy raisins in every muffin.
Do you know how long that’s going to take?
I don’t care how long it takes. I put an equal number of raisins in each muffin!
Same thing for the chocolate chips (though that was slightly more difficult because the chocolate chips and the chocolate batter are the same damned chocolate color).
God, I’m a freak.
A muffin-making, Casino-quoting freak.
But I did hear from JP that they were delicious.
Whole Grain Raisin Nut Muffins
Preheat overn to 400; line muffin pan with paper liners.
Sift together 1¼ c. flour, ½ c. sugar, 1 Tbsp. baking powder, ¼ tsp. cinnamon, and ½ tsp salt.
Soak 1 c. raisins in enough hot water to cover them. Allow to plump for about 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, pour 1 c. cream (or milk, if you’re afraid of fat) over 1 c. multi-grain cereal flakes. Stir and allow the cereal to soften for about 10 minutes. Stir with fork, and do your best to mash up all the flakes. Add ½ stick melted butter, 1 large egg, and stir to combine. Stir in the 1 c. raisins and ½ c. chopped pecans, walnuts, or whatever nuts you like.
Stir flour mixture into cereal/cream mixture until just combined. Pour batter into muffin pan.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
** a year ago today, matzo brei counted as “eggs on toast” **