Sunday, January 30, 2011

Figuring Life Out - One Thousand Gifts

I shared with all of you earlier in this month that I had selected the word BLOOM to be my
One Little Word. Now I am tempted to say that I "stumbled" on this book and website today, but I know better, so I will say I "found" this website and book, but what I really believe is that I was led to it. I have been mentioning to my friends for sometime now, that I would like to have a book club. This morning, this book found me, One Thousand Gifts. Then I discovered that there is a book club aptly titled bloom that will be discussing the book! I am so excited! The book is about enjoying and recognizing the small everyday gifts we are given. That has always been my goal, to find the divine in the everyday. Check out the following trailer for the book and I hope some of you might even join me in reading the book. It would be great to discuss it over the kitchen table!

Comfort Food

D Bear's basketball team lost their first game last night. he didn't get home until nearly 12:30. Like most teenage boys, he is quite fond of sleeping in when he has a chance. I am by nature an early riser, but even I slept in this morning,..... until all of 6 a.m.. It's a shortcoming I have, getting up early. Anyway, I was trying to be quiet, so as not to disturb D Bear. I use that as an excuse anyway to be lazy and look for new and amazing websites. I did find  one; A Holy Experience. But back to D Bear. After awhile I thought I should make him some breakfast, for when he did eventually resurface from his cave. I am a huge believer in comfort food, so I wanted to make something special. Earlier in the week he had asked me to make "those amazing muffins" again. he muffins in question are The Pioneer Woman'sFrench Breakfast Puffs. They truly are amazing, but if you are going to worry about the butter clogging your arteries you should pass this one by. D Bear actually got up relatively early, and I do believe he was pleased to get these babies fresh from the oven!

French Breakfast Puffs

Bonjour! Como cavasldfkjwaoiet sdfnsd;lfj;sdlfj dsfjklsfjs. Whatever that means. I can’t speak French. Spanish, yes. French, mais NON! But there was something good that came from my 9th grade French class with Madame Smith: the recipe for French Breakfast Puffs.
I loved French class with Madame Smith, despite the fact that I didn’t learn anything. And in her defense, the fact that I didn’t learn anything had nothing to do with Madame Smith’s teaching abilities, which were quite good. It had more to do with the fact that I was flighty and clueless and in a classroom full of tenth graders who seemed hellbent on distracting me with their coolness. In particular, I latched onto Dawn and William. They were smart and savvy and the three of us wrote notes back and forth the whole year long. And I learned to say mais non. And that was it. But toward the end of the year, Madame Smith passed out a mimeographed (yes. I said mimeographed) copy of the recipe I’m about to share with you today. And I’ve been making these little darlings ever since.
French Breakfast Puffs, oh Lordie. Truth be told, there’s really nothing French about them. You start by baking a delectable, moist, tinged-with-nutmeg muffin, and they’re good enough on their own. But what happens then is really quite shocking. And quite delicious. Using your hands, you literally plunge the muffins into an obscene amount of melted butter, taking your own sweet time to ensure ample absorption. Then, as if that weren’t evil enough, you roll the buttery muffin in a cinnamon-sugar mixture, coating it with delicious sweetness. The result is a flavorful muffin with a buttery-cinnamony-sugary-crusty-decadent outer layer and 750 more fat cells on your bottom. But who’s counting? Not me, that’s who.
Let’s make ‘em, shall we? They’re positively delightful.

The Cast of Characters: Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Nutmeg, Sugar, Shortening, Egg, Milk, Sugar, Cinnamon, and…oh, yes…BUTTER.

Begin by stirring together 3 cups of flour, 3 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teasoon salt…

And 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Set aside. Get excited.

In the bowl of a mixer (not necessary, but makes it easier) combine 2/3 cup of shortening…

And one cup of sugar.

Mix to combine, then add 2 eggs and mix again. Add flour mixture and 1 cup of milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.

Pry your muffin pan out from under all your iron skillets like I did, then lightly grease the muffin cups, either with butter…

Or, even easier, something like this.

Where has this stuff been all my life? It’s made everything more beautiful around here.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full, then bake in a 350-degree oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden.

Mmmmm. Hello, my darlings. Now, these are nice little muffins on their own, if you like simple little breakfast muffins. But I’m not stoppin’ here. You know me better than that.

In a glass container, melt 2 sticks of regular butter. In another container, combine 1 1/2 cups sugar…

With 3 teaspoons of cinnamon.

Stir to combine.

Now it’s time for assembly! First, ask God for forgiveness. Then, roll a muffin around in the melted butter.

Take your time, making sure you roll the muffin around to adequately coat every last inch.

Don’t rush this step; give each muffin a good 20-30 seconds in the butter. You want the butter to begin to seep into the top layer of the muffin. Just trust me on this one.

After the muffin has been adequately bathed in butter, begin rolling the muffin in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

And rrrrrrreally coat the muffins. Roll ‘em, sprinkle ‘em, shake ‘em around—just do what you have to do to get that cinnamon to stick. Again, don’t rush this step. It’ll take a little time for the cinnamon sugar to soak into the butter layer, and that’s what makes the delightfully light crust. So take a chill pill, forget about the Christmas gifts you need to wrap (it’s only the 15th, for goodness sake), and take your time. Your bottom will thank you later.
Actually, your bottom won’t thank you. It will curse you. But don’t think about that now. You can think about that tomorrow.

If you have a punk closeby, you can task their cute little hands with the dunking and dusting job.

Just make sure you explain the importance of taking their time. Punks can be so Type-A sometimes.

As you go, place the finished muffins on a serving plate. Mmmm…don’t they just look divine?

Marlboro Man picked out this serving plate.
Ha! Gotcha, didn’t I?

Mmmmm. Look at the cinnamony-sugar-buttery goodness.

If you can stand to wait, these store (and freeze) beautifully in a large Ziploc bag.

Warning: You MUST eat these warm. Must, must, must. Must. Have I mentioned you must eat them warm?

Oh my. I’m really sorry I’ve introduced you to these. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I realized I’m going to have to answer to my Maker for spreading this corruption around the world.

But the happiness you’ll feel when you take your first bite makes it all worth it to me.
French Breakfast Puffs—they’re perfect for Christmastime breakfast. Go make ‘em now and see what I mean!
Pioneer Woman

Recipe: French Breakfast Puffs

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  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3 teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • ½ teaspoons Ground Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • ⅔ cups Shortening (Crisco)
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1 cup Milk
  • 1-½ cup Sugar
  • 3 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 sticks Butter

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups.
In a large bowl stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a different bowl, cream together 1 cup sugar and shortening. Then add eggs and mix again. Add flour mixture and milk alternately to creamed mixture, beating well after each addition.
Fill prepared muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until golden.
In a bowl, melt 2 sticks butter. In a separate bowl combine remaining sugar and cinnamon. Dip baked muffins in butter, coating thoroughly, then coat with cinnamon-sugar mixture.