As I’ve said before, I prefer cooking to baking, but muffins are a regular part of my repertoire. I often make them when we have guests, as it’s an easy way to make a grab and go breakfast that everyone enjoys. My Go To is the “Marshy Muffin” recipe that was handed down to me from my grandmother (Nana). Before there was Ina, we were blessed with the world’s best baker in Nana. There was not a family gathering that didn’t include the fruits of her baking labors. In fact, so prolific was her baking that I rarely recall my own mother baking, but why would you?? Pies, cookies, cakes, fudge, eclairs and the list goes on. And during the summer, there was batch after batch of Blueberry Muffins. Nana somehow obtained the recipe for the famous muffins from the bakery at Jordan Marsh, which was a landmark Boston department store where we went to see Santa each year and was famous for their bakery and those muffins with their crunchy, sugary tops. Sadly, “Jordan’s” was acquired by Macy’s and stripped of the local identity and the bakery is long gone. I still have a copy of the recipe in Nana’s handwriting and I think of her every time I make them. My cousin, Kelly, happened to make them this weekend, too, and we were texting back and forth fondly remembering Nana’s treats.
The other reason for muffins is because we frequently have bananas that have gone past where we would eat them, as once they have a fleck of brown, they are overripe for me. I’ve tried blending them into smoothies, but find the texture gluey and even worse and gelatinous the next day, so muffins is their destiny. My go to in these situations is Ina Garten’s Banana Crunch Muffins. My sisters in and law and nieces concur and make them frequently as well. They have great texture with the addition of nuts, coconut and granola and they are a fan favorite at the Lynch household. Obviously I can’t take credit for this recipe, but you can find it at www.http://foodnetwork or in “The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook” (page 212). I was out of walnuts recently and made them with macadamia nuts that I had on hand, which I personally thought was even better. Of note, large eggs and 2% milk work fine.
My mother in law, Marcia, LOVED muffins. So much so, that in her later years, this was one of her main food groups. As she became challenged with memory issues, she claimed that she made them, which would cause our nephews to giggle, since the oven in her apartment down the street from them had never been turned on since she moved there in 2018. Truth be told, her daily breakfast came from one of two sources, either the local grocery store bakery where Julia took her on Sundays for her weekly shopping (butter and chardonnay being two of the other essential food groups), or from my kitchen. After a fall just before Christmas landed her in the hospital, I would frequently bring her muffins when we would visit. Upon arriving at the hospital on one of those days, Marcia told Julia that she had “made cupcakes”, which was pretty impressive since she didn’t have use of her right arm and was bedridden. Sadly, we lost her in early February and it has since become a family joke, so now when I make muffins, I call to say “Grandma made cupcakes” and deliver a batch to the Lynch clan.
Muffins or Cupcakes? Either way, they are both delicious and an easy breakfast treat.