Muffins for the Rest of Us

chinese pincushion

Snow falls, and the craft bug bites.

I have visions of linocut Christmas ornaments for everyone on my list, a runner for the table, pillows for the sofa. While I create, I'll turn on twinkling music and let the roasting squash fill the house with sweet warmth. I'll make a little den here under the snow, a cheery, snow-lit den.

But it really is a bug. No matter what crafting looks like in my fantasy world, where mornings unfurl before me, clean and bright, and I have an endless supply of fabric, paint, lumber, hot cocoa, and talent—in my real world, I always get started late in the day and I don't have the tools and sewing projects run into the night when the thread tension is never right and the only product of the project is tears.

Otherwise known as Sunday.

presser foot

It started off on a strong foot: muffins, sturdy if squat, and a head full of ideas. A trip to the fabric store, and then an afternoon of figuring, measuring, figuring again, cutting, checking the figures once more, pinning, adjusting the tension—that alone took nearly an hour, with a little online tutorial, and it still wasn't right—and sewing. Finally.

I was determined, and I had a good breakfast in my belly. So I persevered. Just a few stitches left now, and I will give some homemade gifts.

lemon blueberry muffins

Hale and Hearty Lemon Blueberry Muffins

adapted from The Laurel's Kitchen Bread Book

Lemon blueberry muffins usually make me think pillowy, sugary, delicate. These ones are anything but. They're dense and short (try half white flour next time?), almost tart, and hardy enough to get you through a long day of crafts. You can make them with lemon juice from a jar, but you'll be glad you went out and bought the lemons. In fact, go do yourself a favor and buy a whole bunch of lemons. Whenever a recipe calls for the juice alone, zest the lemon first and freeze the zest in a bag. Then whenever you want to add another dimension of lemon to a recipe, you'll have tablespoons and tablespoons of zest at the ready.

1 cup blueberries, rinsed
1/4 cup spelt flour

1 cup spelt flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup brown sugar
zest of 2 lemons
3 Tbsp. butter

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup lemon juice (from 2 small lemons)

sugar for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375ºF, and grease a 12-cup muffin tin.

Rinse your blueberries and pat them dry. If they're frozen, bring them back to room temperature in a bowl of warm water, but no need to thaw them thoroughly. Then pat them dry and toss them with the 1/4 cup of flour.

In a small bowl, combine the one cup of flour, baking powder, salt, and wheat germ.

Into a medium bowl, measure the brown sugar. Rinse two lemons, dry them, and grate their zest over the bowl. Rub the zest and sugar between your fingers to impart the lemon oils to the sugar. Cream the butter and the sugar.

Beat in the egg, add the yogurt and lemon juice, and then stir in the flour mixture. Just before it has come together completely, add the blueberries.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups so each one is nearly full, then dust the tops with a sprinkling of sugar. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. When a toothpick comes out clean and the house smells of heaven, they're done.

(This post is one in a November series for NaBloPoMo, National Blog Posting Month. You can find the rest here!)

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