I don’t remember how I originally stumbled across this website and this recipe, but I printed it out a million years ago and have had it filed in my “try soon” recipe folder. (Yes, I’m a hoarder, but I’m obsessively organized and can usually put my hands on the EXACT piece of paper that I’m … Continue reading “Blueberry Lemon (Almond) Muffins”
I don’t remember how I originally stumbled across this website and this recipe, but I printed it out a million years ago and have had it filed in my “try soon” recipe folder. (Yes, I’m a hoarder, but I’m obsessively organized and can usually put my hands on the EXACT piece of paper that I’m looking for in a minute flat…it’s a disorder, I know, but I usually use it to my advantage…) I happened to have all of the necessary ingredients on hand this morning, so decided to give these a try.
This recipe calls for Penzey’s Baking Spice, which I thought would be easy to concoct on my own. I mean, why bother with buying some blend of cinnamon, mace, cardamom and anise, when I already have those things in my spice cabinet? I can figure out how much to mix in, right? The problem was, as I soon discovered, that I only had anise seeds in my spice cabinet, not ground anise, which I thought would be better for sprinkling into baked goods. Undaunted, I just figured I’d get some the next time I went to the store. I tried my regular grocery store. No luck (it’s a smallish store, in the suburbs and not terribly specialized, so I wasn’t shocked). So, I decided to try the health food store and the local gourmet foods store. Still no luck. OK, I was starting to think that was really weird. They finally opened a new gigantic foods store in my neighborhood (for my East Coast buddies, the new store is VERY much like a Wegman’s: you can buy your upscale olives, imported cheeses…they have an in-store sushi bar, even….but you can also buy Tide and 7-Up, unlike at the health food or gourmet store) and so I decided to try there. Still no luck.
Well, when we passed through Houston recently, one of the places that I wanted to go was to the Penzey’s Spices store. They have great prices on bulk spices and they have some delicious-sounding proprietary spice blends (about 4 different kinds of curry powders alone) that I was nervous about buying from the catalog (I wanted to be able to smell, etc.). Well, wouldn’t you know it…they had ground anise, so I ended up getting some there. I should have just ordered the Baking Spice from them in the first place.
10 packets (one packet was plenty for all of the muffins) for about 50 cents…
I found the vanilla sugar recently on a field trip to the Hong Kong Supermarket, which is odd because the sugar is from Germany. I think it’s made with artificial vanilla flavoring, but it’s still good. If you want to make your own, just chop a vanilla bean into 1/2 inch segments and place it in a sealed, plastic container with 2 cups of coarse sugar and let it sit for a few weeks, giving it a shake to blend every couple of days, or whenever you think about it.
These muffins were absolutely delicious. The polenta gave them a delicious crunch; the buttermilk made them very rich and moist and the batter was thick enough that the blueberries didn’t all sink to the bottom of the muffins (I hate that).
If you’re not as
afflicted with OCD single-minded and determined as I am, feel free to substitute Chai Spice blend or Cinnamon Spice blend or just a couple of shakes of cinnamon to this recipe, instead.
Or just leave it out altogether.
That wouldn’t bother me at all.
Really. Not a bit.
Well………maybe just a little bit.
Well, how ’bout if you don’t use the Baking Spice, you just don’t tell me about it, OK?