I hope you are having a fantastic week. It has been painfully cold around these parts, waking up to -21 degrees Celsius is not among my favorite ways to wake up, but I’m making do with cuddly pajamas and freshly washed sheets.
I’m going to ignore what is happening outside of my dining room window (SNOW. SNOW. WIND. SNOW. ugh) and write to you from my happy place: a mild climate town in Europe, with a ton of markets, thrift stores and cafes to busy my days in. Or perhaps I’ll stay in the country and head west to British Columbia and drive through the mountains. It will be more mild and humid, far better than this frigid, dry cold that has fallen over us here in the east.
I went to a local thrift store recently and picked up a few gems that I’m quite tickled with!
– An olddd pot that is so thin, it boils nearly twice as fast!
– An adorable wicker basket with leather handles, it is the perfect size.
– An old (I’m tempted to say vintage, but I don’t know?) sterling silver cake stand and matching cake lift.
– Another cake lift with a pearl handle – definitely not authentic, but it was pretty.
– One of the better finds of the day was a stone wear plate with some beautiful floral detail on it that I am absolutely in love with – I’m not typically a floral design kind of person, but this is so delicate.
– Finally, an old springform cake pan that I paid ONE WHOLE DOLLAR for!!!! 😉
(the tea pot and tray were in my hutch, shhh)
I’m starting to form a collection of “photo props” for this space, which is kind of nerdy, but kind of great all at the same time.
(Recipe after the jump)
I have been baking with a spring-like attitude lately, spitefully including fresh berries and scents into all of my cooking, buying fresh flowers to showcase on my table, with the blustery snow lurking in the background. Even though being cold is what makes me INSTANTLY cranky, I’ve gotta say that I’m not hating the light that the white sky and snow-covered ground pour through my kitchen window. It is the most beautiful, muted white light – the light that all photographers wish for when shooting pretty much everything. My camera and I, we’ve been pretty happy folks this past week.
I made these muffins last week for my dad who was going away for the weekend, with no real expectations. I made them to be more of a breakfast muffin than anything else, packed with blueberries, lightly sweetened, and a boost of nutrition with spelt flour. For an extra little somethin’ somethin’ I added ricotta and buttermilk, as well as orange oil and a pinch of freshly grated nutmeg for aroma. Needless to say, they were a last-minute feat.
A couple of notes:
– If you don’t have spelt flour and want to substitute whole wheat, use a softer wheat if possible, or cut it down to 1/2 cup and increase the all purpose by 1/4 cup.
– It may seem strange, but I used 1/3 cup buttermilk and 2/3 almond milk (you can use regular skim). You may be tempted to use all buttermilk or all regular milk, but I think that this would change the end result both in flavour and texture. The little bit of buttermilk gives great flavour!
– If you don’t have pure orange oil, you can use 1/2-1 tsp of pure orange extract.
– Even though blueberries aren’t in season right now, they bake quite well in this muffin and offer a bit of an extra tang with their subtle sweetness. If you aren’t feeling the fresh blueberries, you can use frozen blueberries. DO NOT THAW BLUEBERRIES BEFORE BAKING THEM IN THE MUFFIN, or else you will have a big blue watery mess!
Blueberry Ricotta Breakfast Muffins
(makes 12 generous sized muffins)
- 1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup spelt flour
- 1/3 cup cane sugar
- 1 tsp baking powder
- scant 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp ricotta
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk or skim milk
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted (can sub. canola)
- 2 tbsp brown sugar + more for topping
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (I used my homemade bourbon-vanilla)
- 1/4 tsp pure orange oil (or sub. 1 tsp orange extract)
- Fold in 3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and grease a standard 12-slot muffin pan.
2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together dry ingredients: flours, cane sugar, baking powder & soda, salt and nutmeg.
3. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together egg, ricotta and brown sugar. Once combined, add your buttermilk and almond/skim milk, melted (but not hot!) coconut oil, vanilla extract and orange oil/extract. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined and then gently fold in your blueberries.
4. Divide batter evenly into muffin tin and top each with a few crumbles of brown sugar. Bake muffins for 25-35 minutes, until lightly golden and springy at their peaks. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean (or with a bit of blueberry juice).
5. Allow to cool in muffin tin for 5-10 minutes and then remove to cooling rack to cool further until just warm. Serve immediately with a pat of butter and a drizzle of honey, or store at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 4 days.