The holiday season is over, over by a long shot by now, and I think it's far enough in the rear view mirror that it's okay to say things about it now. It's supposed to be a time of joy, and to some extent it is. I love seeing family and friends, and the look of delight in my daughter's eyes truly brings joy to my spirit. That said, for many people it is also a time of great anxiety and frankly I'm one of those people. It's not that anyone creates that anxiety in me - no, I do it to myself. I have these grand ideas of what I want to do and how I want things to go. No set of plans survives first contact with the enemy of course and I find myself feeling vexed that my grandiose plans just didn't come to fruition. Let's take Christmas morning for example. My plans - laid out in October - were for the relatives who were joining us to join us for a leisurely breakfast, after which we would delight in gift opening followed by Christmas dinner and possibly smores.
This was stupid, and had I encountered myself I would have pointed out that this was stupid. The plan was that I would make a selection of breakfast-type baked goods ahead of time and possibly make some hot dishes that day, allowing me to stretch some culinary muscles that I rarely use since we don't really do breakfast in this house. A sober-minded, rational person - me, when it doesn't relate to me - would have observed that our actual planned attendance consisted of four adults and one toddler, where two of the adults are exceptionally abstemious eaters and the toddler has the dietary attention span of ... well, a two-year-old on Christmas morning. My plans would have fed half of the town. Furthermore, our daughter is even less of a morning person than we are. She had every intention of getting up early to open her presents. Early means ten o'clock. My guests are morning people, and eat on a very strict schedule. They would have already eaten by ten o'clock. Furthermore, my bout with the Boston Death Cold of 2012 meant that I got almost nothing prepared ahead of time. The week before Christmas was spent coughing, not cooking.
I got one thing made ahead of time that entire weekend. This was it. Don't get me wrong. It was good. It was very good. And I'm not displeased with my relatives for not being prepared to devour heaps of baked goods and French toast and pancakes and whatever else my demented brain thought was a good idea at the time, only a few hours before eating a Christmas dinner complete with cake. I'm disappointed in myself for not having accomplished my goal of having it ready. Even though it would have been a tremendous waste. Even though it would have been sky-high on the stupid meter.
Here's my New Year's resolution: I resolve to set realistic goals for myself in 2013, that make sense for everyone involved. I'm sure I'll have already broken it by the time that this gets posted, but at least I've made the resolution, right?
Two-Chocolate Muffins (makes 12 muffins; approx. $0.65/serving)
7 tablespoon butter
3/4 cups raw sugar
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
4 tablespoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups 2% milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cups white chocolate chunks
3/4 cups dark chocolate chips
- Cooking spray
- Muffin tin liners
- Stand mixer with paddle attachment
- Ice cream scoop
- Rubber spatula
- Preheat your oven to 375︒.
- Prepare your pans. I usually spray the cups of the muffin tins, then line the tins with the liners, then I spray the liners. This may be an indicator of insanity, but some kind of lubrication should be used somewhere in the process. Use your judgement.
- Cream together the butter and sugar in your stand mixer.
- Add the eggs to the mixture one at a time. I like to scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl in between additions. Again, this may say more about me than I know.
- Combine the dry ingredients - flour, baking powder and salt.
- Add the dry ingredients to the mixer in thirds, alternating with 1/2 of the combined milk and vanilla. You should start and end with dry ingredients.
- Fold in the chocolates.
- Use the ice cream scoop to portion out the batter evenly between the muffin tin cups.
- Bake 20 - 25 minutes. A tester should come out clean unless you hit a chocolate chip.