Bakery Blues


One of my main sorrows in leaving the city is the lack of a good sit-down bakery to enjoy delicious baked goods for breakfast (I’m not talking about cupcakes).  Ever since our first daughter was born, we made a ritual of going out to breakfast on the week-ends.  I would bring my daughter to one of the various coffee/ bakery shops around us and we would enjoy some quality mommy-daughter time.  It was always such a pleasant way to begin the week-end.  In moving to the suburbs, I had a hard time finding the perfect breakfast spot that had the ambiance and the the quality of baked goods.  One of our favorite places to frequent in Brooklyn was a wonderful little bakery called Blue Sky Bakery.  They make the most delicious muffins.  All of them are fresh-made daily and incorporate seasonal ingredients, such as fresh pumpkin or apple in the fall, peaches in the summer, and so on.  On any given day, they have at least 10 varieties to choose from.  My daughter loved to eat all of the fruit out of my muffins and we thoroughly enjoyed the varieties offered each day.

I wondered if I could find the recipe for these muffins, as the shop only had two base recipes, one bran and one non-bran, with different fruit mixtures for variety.  I was in luck and thank you Google for helping me find it!  These are seriously the best bran muffins I have had and I was so excited to find the recipe out there.  I found out that it was published in a cookbook “Table of Contents“.  You can use any combination of fruit in these muffins and they are always amazing.  I made these as my two year old sat on the kitchen counter watching me create these wonders and when they were done, she dug in, eating all the fruit out of the center, just like her sister used to do.  It’s like they’re related!  You should try these muffins out.  Not too sweet, very easy and fast, extremely delicious!

Blue Sky Bakery Bran Muffin (makes 2 dozen)

  • 2 and 2/3 c buttermilk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 c vegetable oil
  • 3 c. wheat bran
  • 2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/2 c. dark brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tsp granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cup fruit (I used raspberries and peaches)

Preheat oven to 425 and coat muffin tin with butter or cooking spray.

Mix buttermilk, eggs and oil in a medium bowl.

In seperate bowl combine wheat bran, flour, baking powder, baking soda, brown sugar and salt.

Pour wet mixture into dry one and mix until just combined.

Place about 2 tbsp of batter in each muffin tin (the batter will expand to fill about 1/2 the cup).  Place a generous layer of fruit  (about 2 heaping teaspoons) into each cup.  Measure 2 tsp of the sugar in a small bowl, taking pinches with your fingers, sprinkle the sugar over the fruit.  Divide remaining batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Place remaining 2 tspn of sugar into bowl and pinch and sprinkle the sugar over the top!

Bake for 5 minutes.  Rotate muffin tins front to bake to ensure even cooking and bake for another 11-13 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  Do NOT overbake.

Cook on wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove muffins from tin.



What to Do With Fruit on the Fly?


As my daughter gets older, she is more and more curious about what my husband and I do as part of our routine. She especially loves to help “clean” our apartment and get food ready to cook. We try and be as inclusive of our everyday tasks as we can, even if it ends up taking twice as long!  If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love to bake. I haven’t baked anything new in a long while, but this week-end, I felt the inspiration bug. We had all this great fruit in the apartment that was just screaming to be made into baked goods and I just couldn’t resist!

I decided to make blueberry apple muffins. I made regular size muffins and some mini-muffins for my daughter.  My daughter couldn’t help with the chopping of apples but had a great time “taste-testing” them as they appeared on the cutting board in tiny, chopped up pieces.  She also sampled some of the blueberries as I washed them and got them ready to add into the batter.  She especially loved putting the muffin cups into the tin, spooning the batter into the different cups, and then sprinkling the sugar on top.

These turned out quite tasty and were very quick and simple.  I adapted the blueberry muffin recipe from Magnolia Bakery’s cookbook since I didn’t have enough blueberries (as called out in the recipe) and I had some apples to spare.  I always seem to put more fruit in these things than what’s called for in the recipe, I just think it’s so yummy!

My daughter loved these things.  She watched them cook through the oven window and the moment they came out of the oven she wanted to eat them, steaming hot.  For a quick and easy recipe, this was a great one to try.  You could probably use this with any fruit you have lying around!

Blueberry Apple Muffinsadapted from Magnolia Bakery’s Blueberry Muffin recipe

(makes 12 regular size and 12 mini muffins)

3 C all-purpose flour

3/4 C plus 1 T (for sprinkling) sugar

1 1/2 T baking powder

3/4 tsp salt

2 eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 C buttermilk

6 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 C blueberries

1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces (about 1 C – I used a Jonagold)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Place muffin cups into the muffin tins

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients and make a well in the center.  Pour in all liquid ingredients and stir until just combined.  Do not overmix.

3. Gently fold in the blueberries and apples.

4. Fill muffin cups and lightly sprinkle w/ sugar on top.  Bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden or a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs attached.  Do not overbake.

Mommy Skills

I haven’t posted a baked good in a while, so here we go!  Our neighbor downstairs had their baby about three weeks early!  I saw her just a week before she went to the hospital and I remember looking at her and thinking “there’s NO way she’s going to last another 3 weeks!”  Well, it turns out I was right about that one!

I actually found out they had their son because I heard him crying one night through our bathroom vent (yes, crappy NY apartments mean you can hear things through vents) and I was a little discombobulated because I first though my daughter was crying, but I knew that she should be sleeping blissfully through the night.  Then it registered it was a newborn baby!  If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember a reference to this neighbor in this post.

I remember when I first had my daughter, our neighbor was sweet enough to bring by a batch of freshly baked blueberry muffins as a welcome gift!  These were a better gift than I originally realized!  At about a month old, my daughter really didn’t like to be put down for extended periods of time when she was awake.  She wanted attention and to be held, so I was often faced with the problem of needing to eat something but having only one hand able to prepare food and feed myself.  These muffins were a lifesaver in that I could easily feed myself while still holding my daughter and meeting her needs.

I thought that I would return the favor, not knowing the temperament of the new baby.  At the very least, who doesn’t like fresh-baked muffins?  I almost always have bananas and bran sitting around so I made banana bran muffins.  I used a recipe I previously posted here but doubled it and put them into muffin tins.  I made a couple extra to bring to a brunch pot-luck for the three musketeers (see post here and here)  I even made little mini-muffins for the kiddies and they were a big hit!