Sadie's second grade class is a cornucopia of parties, games, and field trips. Sure, they're forced to do work between recess, but by and large, it's a fun place to be. Her teacher is nice, the kids are nice, the school is nice. Today, her class is having an end-of-the-year breakfast party, catered by parents and Sadie's teacher.
Things were not this good when I was in second grade. I'm fairly sure our teacher, Mrs. Demperio, entered the profession so she could refine her sadistic tendencies on 7 year olds. She was 100 years old, 1,000 feet tall, and wore a beige, bow-at-the neck blouse, maroon skirt, support hose, and sensible shoes every single day. For snack, she fed us unsweetened Cheerios. But one day, we got lucky: we were given carob chips.
In addition to her poor fashion taste and lack of taste buds (or perhaps, because of) the woman was a ticking time-bomb. If you stepped out of line (literally; remember you have to line up in school) she'd snap. Having said that, aside from her yelling at a classmate for mispronouncing the word "read" (she wanted to hear him say "reed" but he'd said "red") I have blocked out all memory of her psychotic episodes. I know that Janice Stolzenburg pulled her daughter (and my friend) Stephanie out of Mrs. Demperio's class because Demperio was a hellish bitch. (I also remember wondering why, since I prayed about getting delivered from evil every Sunday, why God was so slow on the uptake. If only I were Jewish like Stephanie -- one of the chosen people --maybe then something would happen.)
Every day was bad, but Sunday nights were the worst. My stomach would clench in knots, my brain consumed with thoughts of the school week ahead. Given all that stress, something was bound to happen.
One day at school, following one of Demperio's tirades (someone sharpened their pencil too much), she sat on my desk to rest her cloven feet.
In response, I threw up on her.
At the time I was embarrassed, but now I think she deserved it. Really, if you're going to be that mean to children, you should expect to be vomited on.
Now that I've whetted your appetite, shall we talk recipes?
These muffins, made for Sadie's happy-sunshine-fun-time-goodness-antithesis-of-Demperio class party, are wonderful. The recipe is derived from one in The Joy of Cooking; the book's muffin recipes are extremely versatile, offering lots leeway in creating a muffin of choice. This recipe yields a moist, lightly sweetened base with vanilla essence and gentle hits of yogurt tang and richness. (I didn't mix in any cinnamon into the batter but next time, I'd add ½ to 1 teaspoon. Nutmeg would be a good choice too.)
But the muffin top is the star attraction. Not only does it feature the glorious goodness of muffin top flavor, it's dipped in melted butter and then rolled cinnamon and sugar, similar to the donuts you'd find in a quality diner. They're an old-fashioned, comfort food.
My only regret is that we can't have any of the 2 dozen destined for school. Doubling the recipe, I eked 24 muffins and then eeked out enough batter for 3 mini muffins. Those were gone in five minutes.
Probably because there is nary a carob chip in sight.
Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 to 8 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
Position oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 400-degrees F. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Don't overmix; batters should not be smooth.
Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 12-15 minutes.
While the muffins are baking, melt 1/2 stick butter and place in a bowl just large enough to hold a muffin. Combine ½ cup of sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl. As soon as the muffing are done, dip them one at a time in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar mixture. Set on a rack to cool.
Yields 12 standard muffins.
Tags: cooking, baking, muffins, recipe, quick bread, Joy of Cooking,