Happy New Year, friends!
This year's festivities were slightly out of the norm. For starters, I cashed in the alcoholic bubbly for more baby-friendly sparkling apple cider. In addition, we stayed in and ate the west cost Norwegian holiday favorite, pinnekjøtt, instead of the home-delivery pizza I grew accustomed to in the states. And lastly, it began to finally really set it that this will be the very last New Year's where I'm responsible for no one other than myself. That's kind of a heavy thing for a girl to realize. But also kind of neat.
But let's break away from all this non-alcoholic, non-pizza eating, new-responsibility seriousness and talk about a damn fine recipe to welcome in a new year AND a new decade.
Not every recipe I post about excites me. Some are amazingly tasty, but also quite time-consuming. Others are pretty good, but not 100% perfection. Today's little cuties? Why, they're naturally both quick and perfect.
This is really just an all-purpose muffin recipe that I've become fond of playing around with. As I don't believe in eating faux-cupcakes for breakfast, this isn't the sugariest of all muffin recipes around, but will satisfy every sweet tooth in the house just the same. I've made many a version of these muffins, often times with fresh blueberries or strawberries, if they're in season (frozen ones work fine too, of course), but what I've really taken a liking to is a simple scoop of jam in the middle. This morning's selection included not only muffins made with blueberry jam picked up on the side of the road during our July road trip to Hardanger, but a few with lingonberry preserves, and some with ruby grapefruit and vanilla marmalade. Now, if you're really clever, maybe you can guess how many muffins I ate for breakfast.
It'd be a shame not to sample every flavor...
Jam "Surprise" Muffins, my recommendation for your 2010 breakfast table.
"Syltetøy Overraskelse" Muffins
Makes one dozen standard-sized muffins
2 cups (280 g) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
1 stick (4 oz/115 g) butter, softened
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
+ your favorite jam, jelly, gel, or marmalade
1. Preheat your oven to 375F/175C.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt (if using) into a bowl.
3. In a large bowl, beat the softened butter and sugar well. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla extract. Mix well.
4. Stir in half of the flour mixture to the creamed butter mixture. Mix in the milk, then add the remaining flour mixture. Mix well.
5. Scoop 2/3rds of the batter into your 12 muffin cups, so that the batter fills up the cups about half way, maybe a little more. Create small pocket in each center with a spoon. Dollop a full teaspoon or so of jam into the pockets. Top with the remaining 1/3 of batter. If crunchier, pretty muffin tops are desired, sprinkle the tops with a little more sugar.
6. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins just start to turn golden, but not yet brown. Eat warm or at room temperature. Freeze any that you do not eat on the day-of.
***If you would like to use berries or fruit instead of jam, you'll need about 1 cup of berries or diced fruit and a tablespoon or two of flour to toss them in before incorporating into your muffin batter after everything else has been properly mixed.