Daily Archives: September 3, 2011

when all else fails, make muffins

We are experiencing a sleep strike around here. Our boy is going through some crazy teething, and as a result, he can’t sleep. He tries to wake up for the day before 5am. His naps have gone from two luxurious hours to 45 minutes if we’re lucky. And the boy is a disaster. By 3:30 or so, he is melting down all over the place, and we are doing everything we can to keep him going for another two and a half hours before we can start his bedtime routine.

Today was a beast of a day with only a 35 minute nap, which made BG a little crazed but oddly manageable for awhile. But as the day wore on, he wore out, and we had to do something to stretch him to something close to his bedtime routine. So we decided to make muffins.

I should point out that my son is a muffin connoisseur. He loves muffins of all kinds, and we make them on a weekly basis. He regularly begs me to make muffins, even when a fresh batch is sitting on the counter, simply because he loves the ritual. He goes to the cabinet, pulls out about six different sizes of mixing bowls, grabs the canisters of flour, oat bran, etc., repeating the name of each ingredient as he hoists the canister onto the counter.  He pleads with me to pull down the agave syrup, the cinnamon, the baking powder, and so often, I have to say, “Oh, son, we just made muffins yesterday!” or “I’m so sorry, sweetheart, but we’re out of eggs.”

But today, my wife went to the store for eggs, and as she was about to return, I told our son, “It’s time to make muffins!”  The boy was elated. He readied everything he could, and when she arrived home, and he couldn’t contain himself for all the excitement, she sat him on her lap at the  kitchen counter where they watched while I peeled and cut pears from our tree. We all squealed when I found a live worm, and BG couldn’t wait to stand on the chair next to me and finally help measure out ingredients and dump them into their respective bowls.

This can be a frustrating process. On days like today, he doesn’t have any patience, and he’s convinced he’s an expert (he really sort of is), so the boy can get a bit carried away with measuring extra agave or emptying the baking powder onto the counter or stirring a little too vigorously such that half of the flour flies around the room. Today, I needed to refill one of the canisters, and as I was filling it, BG grabbed me. Whole wheat pastry flour poured all over him, all over the floor, and all over my foot. I was so frustrated for a moment, and my wife said to me, “This is one of those moments you could remember forever. Just take a deep breath.” And I did. I proceeded to paint my son’s face in flour, then my own. Then my wife and I threw it at each other. The kitchen was covered in flour, and we were all laughing.

Those muffins came out beautifully, and they saved the afternoon. By the time they were coming out of the oven, our happy, exhausted boy was seated at the table enjoying his dinner, and we were a mere bath and story away from his bedtime. This isn’t the first time a muffin has saved the day in the Reproducing Genius household, but my wife was right, this is one batch of muffins I will never forget.

**Bonus: Here’s my pear muffin recipe:

Combine in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup oat bran
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch salt
  • 1 Tbs. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ginger

Combine in a separate bowl:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup agave syrup
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 cup of ginger tea (just steep a ginger teabag in 1/2 cup of water for five minutes)
  • 6 Tbs. canola oil or melted butter
  • 1 cup of diced pears

Carefully fold the flour mixture into the wet batter until barely combined. Don’t overmix! Pour into muffin cups (either lined with papers or sprayed with canola spray). Place in an oven preheated to 400 (Fahrenheit). Bake for 18-22 minutes, until golden–and a toothpick comes out clean. Makes about 12.

Note, these are not excessively sweet muffins and won’t give your kids a crazy sugar rush, but they are very tasty. If you like more ginger, I sometimes chop up about a third of a cup of crystalized ginger (or more, depending on your tastes).


Filed under Boy Genius, food