35 muffins line our kitchen counter. Half of Muffin 36 is in my belly; half is in my hubby’s. Paula Deen says that baking is a science, which by the way, I never liked.
Cooking, on the other hand, I love.
It resembles my life – learning as I go, creative problem solving, adding and mixing flavors to taste, making something out of nothing, expressing love in a dish – it comes natural to me.
To Paula’s point, too much flour, baking soda, egg, sugar, butter, or anything not precisely in the formula, has the potential to ruin the results of baking. Unlike my cooking experiences, the basics of baking are not in my skill set. I have less freedom with recipes because I don’t have the techniques down.
In a strange way, this reminds me of our faith journey. God has boundaries for us to live by, kind of like recipes, and once we understand His boundaries, we experience a new level of freedom. We live by the formula, if you will, but are not bound by the formula. On the other hand, God’s grace is not a license to do or say whatever we want, nor is it an invitation to live by every creative whim or intense emotion we have. God invites us into His boundaries, learned through daily disciplines.
The only real freedom I’ve ever experienced has come out of obedience. King David said it best in Psalm 119:138, “Your laws are perfect and completely trustworthy.”
So, since I’m getting back to the basic disciplines of my faith, I decided to give the slightly annoying formula of baking a go. It was divine. Scrumptious. And I owe it all (per usual) to Lucinda Scala Quinn.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, whisk 2 cups of all purpose flour, 1 tablespoon of baking soda and half a teaspoon of salt. (I also added flax seed meal because it is incredibly healthy for us!) Add 1 cup of blueberries (this keeps them evenly spread in the batter). In another mixing bowl, beat together 2 large eggs, 4 tablespoons of maple syrup, half a cup of sugar, half a cup of safflower oil (I just used melted butter), and 1 and a half cups of milk. Stir in 1/2 a cup of wheat bran or wheat germ.
Coat the muffin tin with butter and then fill the muffin cups 3/4 of the way full (or a little more for that perfect muffin top we like in Starbucks that only happened accidentally on 2 of my 36 muffins). Bake for 25 minutes (our oven only took 20 because it is terrifyingly unpredictable and requires our complete reliance on our nostrils as if we are wild dogs hunting prey) or until golden brown.
While baking, I whipped up some homemade whip cream in our Kitchen Aid. Just pour heavy whipping cream and start mixing at a high speed. Add vanilla (we prefer Mexican vanilla) and a little powdered sugar and voila. The recipe suggested we serve with apricot jam (I bought preserves from Trader Joe’s. We’ll save jelly making for later in life), so I thought whip cream would be a fabulous addition.
‘Twas heaven on a plate. The fruit of a formula is not so bad.