Category Archives: comfort foods

Blueberry Muffins with a Song

Perhaps you watched the Disney channel offering of Hamilton released for July 4th, as I did.  I did enjoy it, but was happy not to have spent hundreds of dollars for a ticket.  I also watched an old seventies favorite, 1776, with a young Ken Howard as the tall red-haired Jefferson and Blythe Danner as his wife Martha. Although it may be sacrilegious to admit, I liked the latter better.

My favorite part of the movie is Blythe Danner singing “He plays the violin,” as she dances with John Adams and Benjamin Franklin.  I replayed it several times.

I have a recipe from Blythe Danner, published in one her daughter ‘s (Gwyeth Paltrow) cookbooks.  Since I had all the ingredients, I made the blueberry muffins for dinner.  So delicious – I could have danced all night (but that’s another movie).

Here’s the recipe if you’d like to try it.  All you need to enjoy them is some butter and a fiddle.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1/2cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2eggs (preferably organic)
  • 1/2cup whole milk
  • 2cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 3/4cup plus 1 tsp sugar, divided
  • 2teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2cups fresh blueberries
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat oven to 375°. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.
  2. Whisk butter, eggs and milk in a bowl. Combine flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder and salt in another bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients; fold in blueberries.
  3. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups; sprinkle with remaining 1 tsp sugar.
  4. Bake until muffins are golden brown and a knife comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm.

 

 

Just a Spoonful of Water Makes It Better

In this time of separate and distant, as we try to cope with not meeting our favorite person for coffee and cake, or connecting with a like-minded group to discuss a book over food relevant to the plot, I scurried to find store bought cookies to ease me into comfort.

Ah, but to venture into a store was to risk contagion, despite the plastic screens in front of the cashiers at Whole Foods and the yellow tapes marking six foot distance.  Not many millennials venture in, but when they do, their sense of immortality tends to drive them to ignore science-based suggestions.  I could order cookies from Amazon, but then I would need to wipe down the cartons inside and out, and those handiwipes are precious, better saved for my hands when needed.

A friend, noting my dilemma, suggested I make my own cookies.  I always have a stash of semi-sweet chocolate and sugar.  Recently, I had bought a ten pound bag of organic flour on sale – before I knew I would be housebound.  Why not make the most comfort laden food I knew.  And, I could control everything in the process, in a time when control of anything seems almost impossible, from the dough to the oven to the delivery – without packaging.

Toll House Cookies

If you have made the traditional Toll House cookies lately from the recipe on the bag, you may have noticed the teaspoon of hot water has been omitted from the ingredients.  Originally the water was used to dissolve the baking soda, a step most modern bakers no longer use.  Earlier forms of leavening, including baking soda, were chunkier than now, and a little water helped to keep out the granular specks.

I’m not sure when it disappeared from the wrapper, bu I still add it.  Does it make a difference?  I’ve never tried making the cookies without it, so cannot judge, but if you have, let me know.