Harper's favorite part is mixing in the berries. And eating them, naturally.
I thought I would share this recipe from the excellent cookbook Real Food for Healthy Kids
because it was such a big hit at a recent co-op play date. It is reported that one small child ate up to four of these muffins in a single day. They are normal-sized muffins, by the way.
Baking has always been a stress-relieving activity for me. I loved that great scene in that annoying movie about Sylvia Plath
where she’s supposed to be working on poems and the camera just pans over, like, 15 pies cooling in her kitchen. When I’m in the knotty throes of a piece of writing (as I am now, trying to kick my way through yet another round of novel revisions), baking is just so much more satisfying. The rewards are immediate, the merits obvious, the product enjoyed by all.
And baking with Harper feels like such a sweet homey activity, despite its many grave dangers — the hot oven, the contact with raw egg, the ensuing glut of baked goods. I think it teaches some sort of vague chemistry lesson, right? I like that it produces something she’s very eager to share (unlike, oh, everything else in the universe) — she loves delivering plates of cookies to our neighbors and friends. And also it’s a known fact that pregnant ladies must eat many, many baked goods or their babies will turn out weird and grumpy. I’m doing it for the child.
So anyway, the recipe. I’ve made these a couple times, and the most recent time I used a frozen mixed assortment of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries (hence, quadberries). The result was berrylicious and very moist and yummy, although I learned that too many strawberries can lead to some structural unsoundness. I recommend letting a toddler mix in the berries. Kid saliva is a delicious addition to any recipe.
Bursting Berry Muffins, from Real Food for Healthy Kids.
Prep: 10 plus cooling
Baking: 30 minutes
Makes 1 dozen muffins
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole milk
2/3 cup whole-wheat flour, preferably King Arthur
1/3 cup unprocessed wheat bran or additional white whole-wheat flour
1 (10-ounce) bag frozen blueberries (do not thaw) [or mixed berries]
1. Arrange an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375. Lightly grease the top of a 12 (1/2-cup capacity) muffin pan. Line the cups with paper cupcake liners and set aside.
2. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric mixer at high speed until fluffy, at least 3 minutes, scraping down the side of the bowl as necessary. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating until fluffy after each. Add the baking powder, vanilla and salt and mix at medium speed to blend. Add the all-purpose flour and the milk and mix at medium speed until just incorporated. Add the whole-wheat flour and bran and mix just until blended. Add the frozen berries and stir in.
3. Spoon the batter, piling high, into the muffin cups. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden on top and springy to the touch. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.