May 11, 2009

I am the Muffin errr..Mom

Once upon a time, before there were kids in our house, Saturday mornings almost always began with Will taking the dogs out, setting up the coffee and tea and me making a batch of scones - and not the big dry wedge shaped scones every body was eating back then. Proper fluffy, buttery scones that beg to be smeared with strawberry jam and clotted cream. Granted, these morning usually started around 10, or well, maybe more like 11 since there was nobody tapping my forehead at the crack of dawn chanting in a whisper-yell "mommy, I want cinnamon toast, mommy, cinnamon toast! Mommy, are you asleep?"

I loved these mornings. We sat and ate and talked about our week and what we would do that day and generally had a great start to our weekend. I'm sure it wasn't as perfect as I remember, but it was pretty darn close.

Now our Saturday mornings usually consist of one of us shoving the other of us out of bed to go make the cinnamon toast that the small things are badgering us for. The toast maker usually ends up crashed out on the couch between batches with Ni-Ho Kai Lan! chattering away in the background while the non-toast maker get at least a good fifteen minutes of uninterrupted sleep until the small ones invade again because the toast maker cannot be roused and they are still hungry. But you know, it has it's charms.

We actually make breakfast pretty often still in our house, week day mornings are often started with the waffle iron being cranked up (if it's my morning, waffles are so easy, you don't even have to stand there and wait, you just come back at some point after the light goes off!) or the pancake pan getting lubed up (Will's go to breakfast). But it's usually still a rushed thing. No sitting down together while we eat and drink and talk, no bonding over syrup. In fact, I'm usually chanting "Eat, Briton! Eat!" while Will battles to get converse on Briton's feet, I'm making a flying attempt to pack lunch in the lunch box and the lunch box in the back pack while Evelyn tap dances in her room upstairs singing "mommy! come get me." One of us ends up racing Briton out the door just in time to get the bus and then comes home to eat a second shift breakfast of whatever remains from the waffle/pancake making fest.

So I miss the Saturday morning breakfast thing. And I'm trying to get myself organized enough to get back into the swing. And last week, as I browsed my new favorite site I came across a recipe for home made English Muffins.

I love English muffins. I love them with butter and jam and peanut butter and eggs and cheese and, well, with anything because, they are great with any topping you can dig out of your fridge. But, they aren't cheap. And one package last about half a minute in our house. So finding this recipe was like finding a gold mine. I had to try it out.

I don't have muffin rings as the recipe called for and my first attempt using the ring off of a jam jar didn't work very well so I just free formed them. And after a couple I actually got pretty good at making them round and tall and just cooked enough to be bubbly without being dry. Although the recipe called for the batter to rest about an hour to double, I made it the night before, let it double then popped it in the fridge to rest, taking it out about 20 minutes before I wanted to start cooking. And really, it's easier than you might think. It's basically a pancake batter with the addition of yeast and the cooking is much the same, medium heat griddle (or pancake pan if you don't have a griddle) pour them on, let them cook, flip them over.

The only down side was that I had thought I would be making enough to munch on them for at least a few days but they were so good that we ate the whole batch in one sitting. But when your the cook, that's never really a bad thing.

English Muffins

1 tablespoon shortening
1 1/3 cups hot milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 envelope dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour

Stir the shortening in with the hot milk until it's melted in then add the sugar and salt. let it cool a slightly. Combine the yeast and flour in a larger bowl and then add the wet ingredients and stir gently in incorporate. Let the batter rest until it's doubled and then scoop out a dollop (about 1/3 cup) onto the griddle. Cook for about 5 minutes per side on a medium-low setting (the bottom should be golden) before flipping and repeating. Fork-split and serve with butter and jam. Or peanut butter. Or eggs and cheese. Or pizza topping. Or, well, you get the idea.