Snickerdoodle Muffins

posted by Caroline

If you settle Eli for a nap, he’ll want to read a book first.

So you’ll bring out one of his best-loved books.

When you’re finished reading the book, he’ll want another.

And another.

When you say they’re all gone, he’ll ask you for a sip of water before sleeping.

So you refill his water bottle and he has a long drink.

Having a long drink makes him realize he needs to pee, so you walk him to the bathroom.

When he’s in the bathroom, he’ll see his bathtub Titanic, which will remind him of the lake he dug in the sandbox at preschool this morning.

So you talk all about preschool, where his friend made sand-cinnamon muffins. “Speaking of muffins,” he says, “I want to make muffins!”

So you offer to make some, but only after he naps.

So he settles into bed thinking about muffins, and wakes up ninety minutes later saying “Muffins! Let’s make some!”

So you get out the ingredients, and your muffin tins, and less than an hour later you eat muffins topped with your friend’s homemade strawberry jam. Yum.

Snickerdoodle Muffins

Adapted from the Joy of Cooking

Preheat oven to 400; line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with paper cups (this is an excellent job for a preschool helper)

Whisk together in a large bowl (the larger the bowl, the less chance your helper will scatter flour on your floor):
2 c all-purpose flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 t cinnamon
6 T flax seed meal

Whisk together in another large bowl (again, the larger the bowl the better for your  young helper):
2 large eggs
1 c milk
2/3 c brown sugar
6 T melted butter or vegetable oil
1 t vanilla

Add to the flour mixture and stir together lightly, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Perhaps take the spoon out of your helper’s hand now so that the batter doesn’t get overmixed. Divide the batter among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle of one or two muffins comes out clean, 12-15 minutes.

Take the muffins out of the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool. While they’re cooling a bit, put 1 T of butter in a heatproof dish, and let it melt in your cooling oven. By the time the butter’s melted, the muffins will be cool enough for your helper to brush with melted butter, and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Eat with jam, or not.

Unfamiliar Waters

After a week in Paris, we headed south for a week unlike any we’d ever experienced (or likely will again). To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, my parents gathered our family on a barge that toured rivers and canals in the south of France. We were the only passengers, cared for by a crew of five including –most importantly, for this blog’s purposes–a chef named Charlie.

Charlie had his work cut out for him. Among the 13 of us are five vegetarians (two of whom sometimes, depending on the circumstances, eat fish), one vegan, two on low-salt diets, one who tries to avoid chocolate (quel dommage!). We had been in touch about our dietary preferences ahead of time, but in Charlie’s broken English and my faltering French, we spent an hour the first afternoon going over the details, a conversation that resulted in this list:

Later it was simplified to this:

Only Ben and Eli never learned how to eat Charlie’s cooking, and he never quite learned how plain they really wanted their food. By the end of the week, when even unsauced pasta didn’t appeal, I realized it wasn’t his food that they were objecting to; they just wanted home cooking. Failing that, we rationed our one precious jar of peanut butter, spreading it ever-more-thinly on each day’s crusty baguette. The rest of us learned to eat like royalty, trying unfamiliar flavors and combinations, indulging in rich sauces and a week’s supply of wine and cheese served at every meal; the boys stuck with the most prosaic meal of all: pb&j.