Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The $49 muffin

Driving back from school this morning, I had a hankering for a nice fresh coffee and a muffin. It's a golden time of the day after I get the girls successfully launched off to school, and I feel the need for a leisurely caffeine fix. Frugal instincts kicked in, however, and I thought "Why spend money on a fat-packed muffin and a coffee at a fast-food joint when I could make one at home for free?"

Indeed. Then it occurred to me that when packing for our move, I had tossed all of our ratty old muffin tins and had not gotten around to buying new ones yet. So I popped into a large store which shall remain nameless but by its very existence encourages us all to spend funds on more stuff than we ever need. And then it all went something like this...

Grabbed a shopping cart, never a good idea when you are just there for one thing. Found the muffin tin aisle, but they did not have the silicone one I wanted to try so I just got a regular one and oh, look, a mini-muffin pan, perfect for school snack-size muffins, I will get one of those, too. Wandered into the grocery section, thought maybe I needed buttermilk for muffins so grabbed some of that, and milk is cheaper here so I might as well get a jug, that will save me in the long run. Oh, look, cereal is on sale, and we always need cereal, better get some of that. Walk by the cheez whiz (ewwwwww) but then thought "Hey, Dan mentioned in a very sad tone that we had no cheez whiz so I will get that for him since I have a coupon in my purse for it."

You can see where this is going, right?

THIS is how we end up spending money and are not sure where it all went at the end of the week. About $49 later I exit the store and stand outside the doors, feeling slightly baffled, somewhat guilty and really, really wanting a muffin. It had better be the best damn muffin I have ever eaten.

Orange Date Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour (I use half whole-wheat)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt (skip if you use salted butter)
1/4 cup bran (you can also sprinkle in some flax seed)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
grated zest of 1 large orange
1/4 cup orange juice
1 cup coarsely chopped dates
1/4 cup or so raisins

Of course the recipe doesn't call for buttermilk, but I had to justify buying the buttermilk so I soaked the dates and raisins in about 1/2 cup buttermilk to soften them, then threw the whole thing in at the end.

Combine flour, baking powder, soda and salt if using.
Cream sugar and butter, then add egg, sour cream, orange zest and juice. Throw dry ingredients, fruit and buttermilk in and mix with a wooden spoon until well moistened. Try not to snap the handle off the wooden spoon as I did. It's almost impossible to mess up muffins, but the spoon is wrecked.
Bake at 400 for about 20 minutes, though I found that was a BIT too long. Until golden brown anyhow, and less for the mini muffins. Made 12 full-size muffins and 1/2 doz minis.

They are indeed quite fabulous as muffins go. Went down a treat with my coffee.

Orange date muffins. Really, really good. Worth $49.


  1. Oh gosh. I can so (sadly) relate to this. I think this was how all of December went for me. You just gotta pro-rate the cost of the muffin tins over a lifetime of muffins. I'm good at creative financing, too. :-)

    1. Thank you, Rita! Really, those muffin tins will pay for themselves. Maybe I should start selling muffins, a little side biz. : )

  2. to funny Steph - and Dano - cheesewizz? ewwwwww