Tuesday, January 5, 2010
My first muffins. Lemon poppy-seed style.
I'm warming up to baking.
It's the process that gets to me, really -- nothing like cooking, with its olive oil and garlic sizzling and random ingredients tossed in at the last minute. All that makes sense to me, and when I'm cooking a meal, there's a sort of rhythm to everything I do, a familiar tune that I can hum along to, even though I may not always know all the lyrics.
Baking, on the other hand, is completely foreign. A song I've never sung, in a very different language, played on a crackly radio with a staticky signal. On Saturday, as I laid out the mixing bowls and fumbled over measurements for my very first batch of muffins, more than a few times I asked myself, "Am I doing this right?" "What does it mean to cream something?" and, surveying the flour and sugar that was quickly covering the counter top and floor, "Good God, what have I gotten myself into?"
It's another one of those "Practice makes Perfect" scenarios, and while sometimes I can really get into the practice part -- making omelets, for example, or learning a new camera -- other times I just want to get on with it already. Yeah, it's like that with baking. Can't I just be an expert already, and skip all the mistakes and failures and try-try-agains that come along the way?
No, I suppose not. Luckily, these muffins turned out pretty nice. And when I peeked in the oven and saw them rising like real muffins are supposed to rise, well, I squealed a little. A baker's squeal of excitement, if you will, and one that I'm not quite familiar with. But I'm very ready and willing to get used to it, and if that means I might sing off key every once in a while, well, so be it. Practice makes perfect, after all.
Because baking scares me, there was no adapting or tweaking or altering this recipe for lemon poppy seed muffins, found at Simply Recipes. I followed every step exactly as it was written. And they turned out fluffy and lemony and poppy-seedy. Even today, as I ate one at my desk for breakfast, the burst of little poppy seeds just made me happy.