Sunday, June 21, 2009

Muffins for Music, Part V~Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

~Lemon Poppyseed Muffins~

Cream together:

1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract
1 cup sour cream
Mix together and add to creamed mixture:
2 1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Mix well and add:
2-3 Tablespoons poppyseeds

Fill muffin cups and bake at 400 F. Makes 10-12 muffins depending on the size of your muffin cups.

Tayta's tip: watch carefully and rotate muffin tins if necessary.

After they cool, glaze muffins with Lemon Glaze:

1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
(adjust if necessary)

Of course, you can double or even triple this recipe, which is what Tatya did when she made these each week for her bake sale.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Muffins for Music, Part IV: Finally, the Muffin Recipes

~Pumpkin Chai Muffins~

Well, I hope that no one will think we were trying to be deceitful, but the truth of the matter is that since we always substitute mashed sweet potatoes for pumpkin pack in all our baking recipes, these were actually sweet potato chai muffins; from a marketing standpoint we just weren't sure that would fly. But, you could reverse substitute pumpkin pack for our sweet potato substitution and then they would truly be pumpkin chai muffins. And, no, there is no chai tea in the muffins (people asked); the chai refers to the spiced glaze. These muffins were the moistest, the all around best sellers, and a particular favorite of the moms and dads. To make about 32 or so muffins Tayta used this recipe.

For perfectly formed muffins, fill muffin cups nearly to the top and bake in a 400 F oven.

After the muffins cool, glaze them with this:

Chai Spice Glaze
1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch of ginger
pinch of ground cloves
pinch of ground cardamon if you'd like and if you have some.

Tayta says you may have to add just a wee bit more milk if your glaze is too stiff.

(I'm off on a trip in the early morning so I'll have to post the Lemon Poppyseed Muffin recipe when I return.)

Muffins for Music, Part III: More Recipes

~Monster Cookies~

Tayta used my mom's beloved Oatmeal Cookie Recipe for these and we added colorful M&Ms.

Beat/Cream together:
2 cups butter (4 small cubes)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1-2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs and beat until well mixed
Add Dry Indredients:
6 cups oats
3 cups flour
2 tsp each, salt, cinnamon, baking soda
Mix Well

Tatya used our trusty Pampered Chef cookie scoop, making each giant cookie from two scoops of dough. She added the M&Ms purposefully and decoratively after pressing down the cookie dough a bit into a round form. Bake about 10 minutes in a medium(350 F) oven but follow Tayta's baking tip: "Keep an eye on them until they are done the way you like them."

Variations: This is the same basic recipe I use for the giant cookies I make for my guys when they run the Dead to Red marathon relay. They can be made more healthful by and substantial by additions such as flax seed, walnuts, wheat germ, millet, raw sunflower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, etc. Be creative!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Muffins for Music, Part II: The Recipes

Seven Minute Frosting

For all the baking I've done through the years I am surprised that I never discovered Seven Minute Frosting until now. It was perfect for the chocolate cupcakes (thanks, Betty Crocker) and held firm even in warm weather. Making the frosting was my small weekly contribution to the bake sale effort.

1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup water
1/4 tsp. cream of tarter

2 egg whites at room temperature (important)
1/4 vanilla extract (optional)

If you have a stand alone mixer you can make this frosting easily and quickly, beating the egg whites while the sugar/water mixture is cooking. If not, beat the egg whites first, until firm, almost stiff. Cook sugar, cream of tartar, and water in a heavy bottom pan over medium heat, stirring. When it comes to a boil and 'froths' up, cook, still stirring, for about another 30-60 seconds. Remove from heat. At this point I put the mixture into a spouted cup so that I can pour it into the egg whites slowly in a narrow, steady stream, as the mixer is going. After you have added the syrup, continue to beat the mixture for about seven minutes, though sometimes less ( I have a strong Bosch mixer and maybe that makes a difference.)

The first few times I made this recipe I had a couple of failures but now it works every time. Make sure your bowl and mixer is clean, clean and your egg whites are at room temperature. Once when my frosting didn't beat up firmly I added about a third of a cup of whipping cream and kept beating. The frosting tasted more like whipped cream but the syrup stabilized it and it didn't melt.

Variations: I have substituted lemon juice and orange juice for the water to make flavored frosting. For the lemon juice, I think I used half lemon juice (fresh) and half water. Subtle and very nice.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Muffins for Music

A few months ago Oldest/Violin daughter called from college to tell us that her new and beloved Czech violin teacher wanted her to attend a particular strings master class
in the Czech Republic for three weeks this summer. A wonderful opportunity, we all thought, for Oldest daughter to work on her music under world-class instructors. Wonderful yes, but costly. We've long since resigned ourselves to the fact that the pursuit of musical excellence is not an inexpensive endeavor, but helping Oldest Daughter finance her first year of college left very little in the budget for such classes no matter how wonderful they might be. As we have so many times before, we encouraged Oldest Daughter to pray and ask God to provide the funds needed if this class was something she should pursue.

And we prayed too. How might the money be raised, even bit by bit? Baseball season was approaching and I suggested to Tayta (youngest daughter) that she might try doing a bake sale to help her big sister raise some money. Tayta, with a large servant's heart, a great love for her big sister, and a passion for baking thought it a great idea. I helped her the first week develop her product line, organize, and shop for ingredients, but after the first week she baked, glazed, and frosted almost single handedly (with very minor help from me, Artist Son, who artistically frosted the chocolate cupcakes, and Active Son, who loaded the van each Friday morning.) Each week Tayta baked about 200 items: a mix of giant cookies, chocolate cupcakes with seven- minute-frosting and sprinkles (oh so tantalizing--the little T-ball players really went for these!), Pumpkin Muffins with Chai Spice Glaze, Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Lemon Glaze and Strawberry Muffins with Strawberry Glaze. Cookies were baked and frozen early in the week, extra schoolwork was done (well, sometimes) on Wednesday, and on each Thursday afternoon for 10 weeks the baking began in earnest.

We had no idea how well Tayta's fine baked goods would sell! By the end of the season she had a faithful following, some people waiting for her to arrive at the ball field so that they could buy their breakfast muffin. Tayta learned so much about marketing/human nature as well as honing her baking skills; she decided to let customers choose their own muffin and reported that everyone, even the adults, chose the biggest, best-looking muffin. And when business slowed down in the club-house, she loaded up a tray of her wares and with the help of some friends, took them to the stands. This sales suggestion, from a friend of ours, helped her to sell nearly every item, every week.

A couple weeks into the season, people began to ask Tayta how much money she was making: Tayta's profit was an average of $100 a week, for a net total of $1000 for the season~a third of cost of Oldest Daughter's class, including international airfare! This effort definitely qualifies Tayta for a place in the Little Sister Hall of Fame. Another third/plus was raised through a small garage sale--though we don't have a garage--, a little photography by mom, a gig or two, and an outside scholarship. The last bit, well, we don't really need to replace the dryer as it is always sunny in Jordan until October or November : ) We are thanking God for his perfect provisions~ never too little, never too much. And many thanks to all Tayta's faithful and encouraging customers; requested bake sale recipes to follow soon...