Well. It's here. Thirteen. I needed a few days to find my center of gravity. New years always bring in a bit of dread. The numeric implications of 2013 is not lost on me one bit. I am very superstitious. I held a ritual burning of last year's calendar and sage incense burning was included. I completed a sort of "work on these things" list in my journal. I don't live and die by my lists. But a few of the items would place me in the company of Mother Teresa were I to complete them.
Baking up a batch of these muffins helped nullify a bit of this number thirteen anxiety. Half a muffin in the morning with my coffee (I baked them in giant muffin tins), the other half at four in the afternoon with a cup of hot chocolate. It may be a new year, but some things will never change.
I adapted this recipe from my Bouchon Bakery cookbook. I have read through the entire book once. What I am now doing is picking recipes to try here and there--making necessary vegan adaptations, while also testing out other slight of hand changes to modify some extremely precise measuring requirements outlined in the directions. Some of which are to the tenth of a gram! The two most glorious aspects of this coffee crumb cake muffin: almond flour crumb topping and the deep chocolate ribbon running through the middle: Oh happy day!
The holidays were . . . well they were The Holidays. Filled with anxiety inducing people interaction--the likes of which I won't be putting myself through again any time soon. I had one day where I swear everything I ate came out of one of four cookie/cake food groups I had prepared and stored throughout my kitchen. (Then I'd wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat--craving MORE of the same!) Was I sick? Delirious? Diabetic? Maybe a little of all of them.
I'm trying to set aside time every morning for journaling/reflection/meditation. I fell off my journal writing wagon toward the end of January last year. I picked it up again in the middle of July when I thought we were living through hell and the Second Coming may have been upon us, noting the day's temperatures in bold print across the top of the page--with either an angry sun drawn in or a slightly happy sun sketched in. Depending upon my mood, the entries tended to swing mostly toward angry when we'd suffer through over one hundred degree days. Then journal writing tapered off when things simmered down some in September and cooler weather prevailed, then begin again after Dr. Thyme's car accident in October, then tapered off, then picked up when the holidays rolled around. You see the pattern here.
I have another batch of these muffins to bake on the horizon--maybe adding blueberries. But the crumb topping was so divine, I've stored the rest for next time.
This is our 2012 Christmas card to anyone who didn't get one in the mail. Oh wait, I didn't send any Christmas cards! We had a beautiful snow. It was perfect. Except for one small detail--it fell AFTER Christmas. My rule is that no snow before Christmas means no cards. Dr. Thyme is sporting his new hat (thank you L.L. Bean). I am sporting my basket weave cowl. The dogs are being dogs.
Here's to a Happier New Year. And dear spirits, let's ix-nay the ama-dray, okay?
Coffee Crumb Cake Muffins with Chocolate Swirl
*Adapted from Bouchon Bakery by Thomas Keller and Sebastien Rouxel
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 cup spelt flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seed (*optional but totally healthy!)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted vegetable margarine
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk mixed with 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
3 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer mixed with 1/4 cup warm water (equiv. of 2 eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Almond Crumb Topping
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons unsalted vegetable margarine
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Chocolate Swirl Mixture
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
3 tablespoons Hershey's Dutch Process Cocoa
Preheat oven to 325. Spray six extra large muffin tins with non-stick baking spray. Mix together the almond crumb topping first. Using your fingers or a pastry blender--incorporate the butter into the flour and sugar until pea-sized pieces appear. Set aside.
Measure out your coconut milk and add a tablespoon of the vinegar to allow the milk to curdle a bit while you prep the rest of the ingredients. In a medium bowl, sift together all dry ingredients. In a large bowl, mix butter with sugar until creamy. In a small bowl, mix together the egg replacer and add it to the butter/sugar mixture. Blend well. Now add the vanilla extract to the milk mixture. Mix the dry ingredients to the wet like so: a third of the flour mixture added in to the butter sugar mixture, then a third of the milk mixture--repeat this three times, beginning and ending with the flour. Keep the blender speed on low--you don't want to over mix the batter. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins only 1/4 of the way full. Sprinkle in a layer of the chocolate swirl, then top off the rest of the muffin tin with the batter so tins are 3/4 full. Finally, sprinkle the almond crumb topping over the batter--be sure to fully cover the batter. Bake for 35 minutes. Remove muffin tin from oven, allow muffins to cool in tins for ten minutes, then remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Store in airtight container for a couple of days if not eating right away. These muffins freeze well, too.