A Little Bit of Sunshine

It's been freezing ass cold again this weekend. During the storm on Friday I decided to bake something for tea-time. This is a Friday afternoon tradition the Monster and I have. Usually we walk to a nearby coffee shop and she has a smoothie while I savour some carrot cake. Too damn cold this week. Instead, we baked.

Hmm, but what to bake? I have a decade worth of cooking magazines (Gourmet, Martha Stewart, Bon Appetit, Fine Cooking, Cooking Light...) I also have about 40 cookbooks. Lately I've been turning to the Community cookbooks. You know the ones. The church, the hospital, or community association put together recipes from members and the same publisher puts them together in a coil-bound book with white paper and standard pictures to divide the Meats and Main Courses from the Desserts and Pastry. But these are always filled with people's go-to recipes. The daily eats, the ones that make them happy. Sure, we can make fancy stuff, but this is the stuff that gets made and eaten every day.

The one limitation to these cookbooks is that the recipes aren't usually written very well. The contributer assumes the cook just know what they are talking about. You really have to read and understand what you have to do before you start, especially as additional ingredients are often put in the directions, not the ingredients list. And once you decide whether you are for or against the amount of pre-packaged food that these recipes can often contain, you can mine the books for new favourites. This is definitely one of ours.

I strongly recommend the coconut and raisins. The Monster loves these, and will happily spend her tea-time destroying the muffin to selectively eat the raisins. Next time I'm putting in more.

Sunshine Muffins

1 orange
1/2 cup orange juice or milk
1/2 cup oil (I use canola - no trans fats)
1 egg
1 1/2 cup flour (white or 50/50 white and whole wheat)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar (I always have vanilla or vanilla/orange sugar on hand - extra tasty)
1/2 coconut or nuts (optional)
1/2 cup raisins or cran-raisins (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin or line with muffin papers.
2. Chop up orange, discarding stem thing (if attached). Puree entire orange, peel and all.
3. Mix together all wet ingredients.
4. Sift together dry ingredients, except coconut/raisins.
5. Add wet ingredients to dry, with coconut/raisins (if using). Stir until JUST blended. Overmixing will result in a tough muffin.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake 15-20 minutes.