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Sunday
Feb142010

Snickerdoodle Muffins

snickerdoodle muffins

Remember yesterday when I said there wouldn't be any schmaltzy Valentine posts?  That was before I had a day off.  And time to make muffins.

My Mom used to make these "French Breakfast Muffins" for special occasions growing up. They were from a Junior League cookbook of hers. I can still see that recipe on the page--green font, butter stains around the edges. And there were lots of special occasion breakfasts in our house. Birthdays, of course, but also St. Patrick's and Valentines Day, first day of school, May Day. She is a master ambiance creator.  I don't share that talent, but at least I clear the clutter off the table (you're welcome, Yancey).

v-day breakfast

This morning when Yancey got off shift, the kids had been waiting by the door for an hour, anxious to open their gifts. Wyatt got a graphic novel, and Loretta, a ladybug umbrella. I started reminiscing about past Valentines Days, which precipitated a string of storytelling. The kids were enthralled.

In third or fourth grade, I was smitten with a pair of shoes at Hilton's Shoes. Most our clothes came from thrift stores or KMart (pity mothers 30 years ago who didn't have Target!), so these shoes were out of my league. They were varsity.  Rainbow canvas, covered toe and heel, with ties up the ankle. I drew them, imagined myself making an appearance at school, and was certain they would make me feel beautiful forever. Unbeknownst to me, my mom saved up some extra money and rode her bike downtown to make the purchase. When she got to Hiltons, the cash had fallen out of her pocket somewhere along the way, and I never got my shoes. I teared up recounting it, and Yancey said, "Why did your Mom even tell you that story if you never got the shoes?" I said I didn't know, but that I had always been glad she did. It's one of the many, many things in my life that's told me I'm loved.

Emily always says that Valentine's Day is a time to celebrate love in all its forms. Though she's been single for much of the time I've known her, she's always the one sending pink cards or calling to say she loves me. I'm soaking it up today, from every little nook and cranny. I hope you are, too.

P.S. Soaking it up from my sweetheart, too. Sarah Murphy, Yancey Kangas, Junior Prom, 1991. If it's true that all you need is love, we've been very rich for a very long time.

junior-prom

Snickerdoodle Muffins
I got so carried away with nostalgia that I've forgotten to talk these up properly. Every mother should have these up her sleeve. One bowl, pedestrian ingredients, but a child's delight. I almost made a cranberry Irish soda bread this morning, but remembered that my goal was so see the kids wolf something down. If your children are anything like mine, they're not big on texture. These are buttery, sweet, yielding pillows--nothing to get in the way of appreciative grunts. This recipe makes only 8 muffins, which I like. If you're serving a crowd, though, you'll want to double it.

1 1/2 c. + 2 Tb. flour
3/4 c. sugar
2 ts. baking powder
1/4 ts. salt
1/4 ts. nutmeg (freshly ground, if possible)
1/2 c. milk
1 beaten egg
1/3 c. melted butter

For topping:
1 ts. cinnamon
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted butter

Preheat oven to 400.

Combine first five ingredients.  Add milk, egg, and 1/3 c. melted butter, mix gently to combine. Butter a muffin tin, and fill muffin cups 1/2 full and bake for 15-20 minutes, until tops are light brown and springy to the touch.

While muffins are still warm, dip in butter and roll in cinnamon and sugar.  Serve warm.

Reader Comments (40)

Psst. Naomi ... The need for a muffin tin just got tripled.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpds

My goodness, you have a way with a story. I love this. And now I wish that I had gotten my kids Valentine's day little somethings. I am making them ice cream instead. I LOVE that photo!

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDana

Good news. America's Test Kitchen says cheaper is better when it comes to muffin tins. Ecko is the supermarket brand that they recommend. Probably ubiquitous at Goodwill, too...

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersarahmk

Just found your blog - very nice! I am a sucker for anything sweet at breakfast, so I'm going to bookmark this one!

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlly @ Sweet & Savory

so much to love abou this post. love you. love those muffins. LOVE the photo of you and yancey - love the matching satin on your outfits, love to imagine how long each of you took to get ready for that date, love that there has been enough love to live on. happy valentine's day. xoxoxo

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbethany

How cool is that?
The junior prom? I don't really know you except for your blog photos, but your daughter Loretta looks just like the chap in the prom photo! How cool is that! I guess we know who the dad is!
I guess I should start posting my photos when I was 21, dating my husband. Yikes! What a fright I was.
At least you don't have that high hair and bad makeup, like the Jersey girls (me)!
Happy Valentines day!

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey Snacks

Oh, so sweet in so many ways! This is my favorite blog of yours so far! Your mom losing the $ on her bike; the high school prom pic; making muffins for your kids. I love this.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermaija

Sarah, what a lovely story and a lovely photograph. And I am so going to make these muffins.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLynn

Every mother AND FATHER (and non-parents!) should have this recipe. These muffins sound delicious! Great photos and story.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMemoria

Really? Do you remember why? That is fascinating.

February 14, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpds

If I had it to do over, I would have robbed a piggy bank, and paid it back later. Your disappointment made me cry. I wish I would've gone a step farther. What you didn't know was how sad I was all day,and how I bawled all the way home.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermfm

My step-son would be all over those muffins - he loves all things cinnamon. What a lovely story and I am sure from your Mom's comment above, that she was just as crushed as you were. You are loved - that lasts longer than any pair of shoes! :D

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiz

And your hair was gorgeous!! While I had long hair in 1991, it was thin and I envied every girl with thick hair!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBiz

Sarah - I just made these muffins for my kids for breakfast and they are in love! I love the sweet crunchy tops and the nutmeg inside has such an amazing aroma and flavor! Thanks!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulea Ivancovich Sanders

Sarah! These are just lovely. My kids think I'm a goddess thanks to you.

I love the story of your mom, doing her best to attempt to meet your heart's desires..quite beautifully. May we all take such efforts to know and love our children so tangibly.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterjackie

Oh my goodness, the muffin has died and gone to heaven ... Dipping them in melted butter and cinnamon sugar? Oh, yum!! If I wasn't leaving for travel tomorrow morning I would bake up a batch right now! Snickerdoodles were classic cookies in my family; this recipe link is getting emailed to my mom asap...

Great Valentine's Day story, too ... that photo is fantastic!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKatherine @ NightOwlChef

That phrase "it's the thought that counts" which can be so trite is coming to mind, but I'm meaning it. I LOVE that story, Peg. Your desire to fulfil a desire of Sarah's is so strong...saving money, riding your bike, PAYING ATTENTION to what she was longing for in her little girl heart.

I'll let you claim your own growing edge with the one step further comment, but I'm going to claim the big love I hear in that story and the bittersweetness of coming home empty handed and sad.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Sister! Thanks for the shout out. I love to be able to report here that my church loves LOVE in all it's various forms and several people were wearing red or pink, the sermon was awesome, and I got to read love poems for the welcome. I had a whole congregation to bring chocolates to and I asked them to greet each other with "you are loved" before passing the peace. Blissed out? Yes. I hope everyone had a loved filled Valentine's Day, partnered or not. xoxo.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEm

I can't decide which I adore more, the muffins or the photo! Love squared, for sure!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermolly

I was imagining your mom riding her bike and getting to Hilton's and knowing & feeling only what a mother would feel at a moment like that. Thanks for the photo (don't you love those) and the muffins are simply delicious (although I haven't made them, I'm tasting the mixture of the butter & cinnamon-sugar--I love cinnamon toast for all the same reasons).

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKamille

Beautiful post, Sarah. And totally awesome photo. The purple cumberbund is killing me.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMegan Cooley

P.S. LOVE that picture of you and Lloyd Dobler and the sweet, long reality of your love for each other.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEm

Never mind. Bought a cheap one today. I loved the feel of the heavier ones, but I bought the cheap one. Hopefully these will be baked sometime this week!

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterpds

I'll have to make these muffins. They look so good.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterHélène

One of my favorites too! Always have the ingredients and super quick to make. That is a sweet story about our Mama...had never heard that before. xoxo.

February 15, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNaomi Cox

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