Today I did a terrible thing. I destroyed bread. And mother earth. Ok, not in their entireties, but you know, a little of each. Last night, coming home late, apartment dark, in the solitary light of the kitchen, I mixed flour, salt, yeast and water in a giant bowl.
Then I put it in a four quart container and left it on my baker’s rack.
This morning, I thought, “It’s rising, but not fast enough. I’ll just put it in the oven. With the oven off naturally.”
An internal warning sounded, “Jaime, you’re going to forget and turn the oven on.”
I had breakfast on my mind.
“Don’t do it, just let it rise on the counter.”
“Listen, self,” I told myself, casually – I didn’t want to take myself the wrong way – “I got this. Back off. I am completely going to remember.”
My next thought was –
Brown Butter Cherry Muffins with Almond Streusel Topping
Put some water in your tea kettle (or the microwave, stove top, oven, hot plate, what have you)
Almond Streusel topping –
2 tablespoons cold butter, chopped into small pieces
1 heaping tablespoon granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup almonds, rough chopped or slivers
Crumble all ingredients except for almonds in a bowl until the mixture resembles coarse sand.
Stir in almonds. Place in fridge.
1 cup dried cherries
2 cups boiling water
2 cups flour (pastry/cake flour if you can get it)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 sticks butter, chopped into tablespoons, browned
1 cup sugar
1 cup whole milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
Preheat the oven to 350
Soak cherries in hot water, making sure they are fully submerged, possibly adding some kirsch or triple sec, if you have that around. For about 10 -15 minutes. Strain.
Brown butter in pan (melt and let boil until the milk solids start to brown). Set aside to cool.
Mix flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl. Mix sugar, eggs, milk, and extracts in a large bowl. Slowly stream in brown butter while whisking.
Fold flour mixture into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in cherries.
Scoop. Top with streusel topping.
The next smell was…
So I destroyed my bread, and my beloved cambro, and a little of the environment by having to chuck it into the garbage.
I removed all evidence from the oven, popped in the muffins (about 18-20 minutes), and tried not to dwell on the losses.
This is hard. I’m a dweller.
“These best be some damn good muffins,” I groused.
And they were.
A small consolation.