I used to get a muffin in my lunch box as a kid. It was part savoury recess treat and part dessert. To be honest, I think I was more interested in the cool lunch boxes than the food back then. I remember my mom and I would head out minutes prior to Labour Day to pick up school supplies and grab a fancy lunch box and backpack. The boxes back then came with lithographed images and had all your favourite comic book heroes on them. They also should have come with a warning that the image on your box may get your ass beaten at school.
I used to love getting to school and at the first lull in the day reaching for my lunch box and rummaging through it. Peanut butter and jam. Check. Juice box. Check. And a cupcake. Sweet. Oh wait, it was a muffin. I never knew the difference. I did know that if it was a muffin stuffed with jam or chocolate or other sweet goodies, I could break it in half and use one half as a midday snack and the other half for dessert in the cafeteria. Seriously, how cool is that? A cupcake is what you think it is. Nothing more. A one-trick pony.
I don’t have a child yet, but if I did I would make these muffins for them. I’d want them to open up their lunch at school and see these and think the same things I did when I was a kid. Somebody out there cares about me. There isn’t a warming feeling when you may be having a bad day. If somebody is picking on you and you open your lunch and see all your favourite foods, you know that everything is going to be ok. It is ok.
Sometimes simple is better. This is a simple recipe with a little extra flavour and touch. A classic muffin that’s moist and tasty and some jam floating inside to give it an extra zing. These are really light and fluffy because during the prep process the ingredients are mixed just until blended together. If you overwork the batter, they won’t end up airy and light.
I made these this early morning for my wife and I. I love sitting down with her on a Saturday morning with a cup of Joe and a savoury treat. Something like this to connect with and converse about. Something to get the day rolling. And although I don’t have recess anymore, my mid-afternoon break today will be enjoyed with one of these.
And when I get home from work and escape from the storm above me, I’ll brew a pot of tea and heat up a muffin and slather on some butter and finally unwind. And let my train of thoughts take me back again.
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 cup jam
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Whisk in the sugar, oil and eggs and continue to whisk until well combined.
- In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add to the milk mixture and stir until blended and just worked together. Do not overmix.
- Grease a muffin pan with butter and fill with 1/2 of the batter. Stir the jam until softened and add a dollop of jam to the centre of each batter. Top with the remaining batter and put it in the oven.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Serves 12 muffins.