Tuesday, August 9, 2011
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.)