tiptoeing at dawn-
buttering tins in silence
scent of fresh muffins
This morning, I arose very early and decided to bake muffins for breakfast. As the first rays of sun found their way into my kitchen, I eased the fridge open so as not to make a sound, and eyed the contents, choosing possible ingredients. I pictured fluffy muffins scented with lemon, but then the oranges caught my attention. Perfect! Orange muffins are nice with rolled oats in the batter, and buttermilk would keep them fluffy. Investigating the pantry, I chose raisins to add a layer of texture and variety. Some bites would have raisins and some bites would not.
Tiptoeing back and forth, I sifted the flour, squeezed orange juice over the raisins, and soaked oats in buttermilk. I blended melted butter with sugar in my steel bowl as quietly as possible. Beating in the egg without noise was a challenge, but I placed the bowl on a tea towel to stifle the ringing of the metal. When they were ready to bake, I placed the cast iron muffin tin on the oven rack with care, rather than sliding it in as I usually do.
The process became a meditation in silence, and the end result was eleven golden muffins with crisp tops and soft, steaming centers. I ate three before the others got up and finished them off.
Orange Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins
makes 6 to 12, depending on pan size
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup sugar (more, if you like sweet muffins)
zest from a medium navel orange
1/2 to 3/4 cup raisins, soaked in a little water or orange juice until plump
Preheat oven to 400° F (200 ° C)
Grease a muffin tin with butter. (My antique cast iron pan has 11 small slots; a pan with 6 medium to large slots would be fine.)
Mix the oats, buttermilk and orange zest. Let sit for 15 minutes to half an hour. Mix in raisins. Sift flour and baking powder. Mix sugar into melted butter and beat egg in well. Fold flour into oat mixture quickly, then fold in butter mixture. Don’t overdo it. Too much mixing will make the muffins tough.
Fill muffin tins about two-thirds full. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Eat them right away, or save for later if you must.