Tuesday, August 9, 2011

TWD: Carrot Spice Muffins

These muffins. I opened to the page for them late last week, only to realize that this might be the second most splattered and sticky page out of the entire book. (The cream scone recipe wins for dirtiest and most well loved.) There are actually two reasons for this - one is that I love carrot cake, and the other is that the facing page feature my favorite muffin recipe in the book. And it's those coffee break muffins that gave me an idea, three years ago, for how to make carrot spice muffins even more morning glory-ish. Coffee.

Now, I have to be honest. The reason for this substitution? I barely ever have milk in my fridge. We just don't drink it. I'll buy little 8 oz bottles for baking, but the only dairy that's always in the fridge is cream. And I'm not quite brazen enough to make my muffins with cream. But I'm a mere five minutes from good, hot, strong coffee at all times. So for the last three years, I've been making these carrot spice muffins with coffee in them. And guess what? No one ever realizes it. So for those of you who are dairy-averse, that's my suggestion. I mean, you could always use orange juice instead of milk too, but I'm much more of a coffee person than a juice person. Basically, coffee is god for me. Not because of the caffeine, more because I just absolutely love the taste of coffee. I love the smell. I love the ritual of grinding the beans, weighing them out, and carefully steeping.

What, I haven't mentioned my overwhelming addiction to one particular roaster? It's true. One fateful day, five years ago, I was walking around downtown Chicago waiting for the Art Institute to open. I needed a place to sit and read, maybe have a cup of coffee. And god forbid if it was Starbucks, because that stuff tastes like burnt tar. Shitty, shitty burnt tar. Lucky me, I chanced upon one particular Intelligentsia outpost. At that time, they only have their roasting location and two cafes. I was hooked. The baristas were friendly and knowledgeable, and the coffee? There are no words.

So for the next four years, I would stop into their coffee shops to pick up my coffee, developing a love for Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Honduran La Tortuga. Even now, half a country away, I send friends and acquaintances bean orders whenever they happen to pass through Chicago. And let me tell you - it is so worth it. So have a muffin. Develop an expensive coffee habit. And start the day off right.

Last Week: Cocoa Almond Meringues
Next Week: Tropical Crumble (this... did not go well.)


Marcela said...

After reading your blog for a few months, I have just added the book to my amazon cart, everything looks so yummy!
(BTW, I'm @celebr_girl, from twitter)

Flourchild said...

ha ha...loved the description of Starbucks coffee..thats exactly how I feel about it! I won't drink there coffee :)
Your muffins look good! I loved the moistness of them and they did not last a day in my house!

Nicole said...

We usually don't have milk either. (Or have milk that is past its date!) I liked these a lot, especially all the spices.

Jessica said...

Adding coffee to muffins? Now that's the kind of sneaky cooking I can get behind (forget sneaking vegetables - I'd rather sneak caffeine). They look delicious and peppy.

I haven't been to a Starbucks in over a year and miss it not at all. On the other hand, we just got a bakery in town that serves French press Stumptown coffee...on my to-try list this week.

spike. said...

I love that coffee muffin recipe too. I didn't have milk so I used water which actually worked nicely but coffee sounds very interesting

TeaLady said...

Coffee!!! Really!! Huh!! Well, I will have to try that sometime.

And I don't even drink coffee.

Megan Gordon said...

Nice! These look like my kind of muffins--so funny how random substitutions based on what you've got laying around or personal preference have so much to do with new recipes/ideas. These are on my list--thank you!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

coffee in this muffin--that is super-interesting. i agree that the smell of good coffee is absolutely intoxicating. do you like counter culture? i am thinking they are based in your area.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

I'm going to have to remember that coffee trick the next time I bake these muffins - I'll bet they add a mysterious deliciousness. Love your muffins; thanks for baking along with me.