My biggest take away from blogging is the sense of community I’ve discovered. Or, really communities. I don’t live under a rock. A simple Google search for marinara sauce will show you there are infinite food bloggers out there. From the well established ones like Smitten Kitchen, to smaller WordPress blogs like my own. When I launched my blog, I sent my thoughts and recipes out to join the infinite other recipes and bloggers out there. I hoped people beyond my friends and family would take a look and maybe even comment. But when I launched my blog I found a world of other bloggers. Here in Brooklyn, across the country and across the world. And through potlucks and penpal programs I’ve connected with people beyond the keyboard.
This month I was welcomed into the Secret (Shh!!) Recipe Club. Two years ago April over at Angels Homestead and Amanda at Amanda’s Cookin’ thought it would be fun to cook something off a friend’s blog and share the results, but make it bigger with a few friends. The program expanded as a way to meet other bloggers, cook and share, thus the Secret Recipe Club was born. I learned about SRC about a year ago. Once I met the requirements of having at least 100 original recipes and a recipe index, I applied for their long waiting list. Fast forward to a few weeks ago when April welcomed me into the club!
The basic concept is each blogger is assigned a blog from which they cook a recipe. The assignment is a secret (hence the club’s name) until the reveal day when everyone shares who they were assigned and what recipe they chose to work with. For my first month I was assigned Hapa-tite. Cute name, right? Nicole is from the DC area and posts a great mix of sweet and savory recipes. Like her latest post–Double Chocolate and Espresso Cookies. Hmm, that would have been a good recipe to try…wish she had posted it earlier. Oh well, for another day.
Word to the wise, do not read a food blog when starving. You will want to make (or just eat) EVERYTHING. I was first inspired by Nicole’s quinoa experimentation. I love quinoa but for me it’s a forgotten starch. I’m much more likely to jump for rice or pasta or even potatoes, forgetting about the full mason jar of quinoa sitting in my pantry. But then I remembered the pint of blueberries I picked up a few days ago at the market. Ripe, sitting in my fridge, begging to be eaten. Nicole’s Excellent Blueberry Coffee Cake was exactly what I needed. The recipe has been in her family for years, literally a photocopy from who knows where with the words “excellent” scribbled all over it. The cake is literally packed with a full pint of blueberries. I dare you to find a bite not bursting with berries. How could you ever doubt it’s deliciousness?
Cakes for me are sometimes a bit messy to cut and eat. Though I guess anything with coffee cake crumble would be. I opted to individualize the servings by turning them into muffins. No fighting over who got the bigger slice, muffins are all (approximately) the same size. In my first attempt I found the recipe as is (minus a bit of sugar) to be a bit dense for muffins and resembled more cookie dough. A quick fix of an extra egg and some canola oil helped to thin the batter a bit and make the final muffins extra moist and fluffy. And because we like to pretend things are healthy, even if they are loaded with butter, sugar and carbs, I added some oatmeal, to make it a bit more breakfast appropriate. You know, like the way oatmeal raisin cookies are perfectly acceptable for breakfast because they’re packed with oats and fruit. Trust me, you’ll live a much more delicious life following my logic.
‘Excellent’ Blueberry Crumb Muffins (adapted from Hapa-tite)
FOR THE TOPPING
- 1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 c oats
- 1/4 c sugar
- 1/4 c brown sugar
- 1/3 c flour
FOR THE CAKE
- 1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
- 1/2 c whole wheat flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 c sugar
- 1/4 c unsalted butter (1/2 stick), softened
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 c canola oil
- 1/2 c milk
- 1 pint blueberries
Preheat oven to 350°F.Mix all topping ingredients in a small bowl until crumbly and fully combined. I always find it easiest to do this with my fingers. Chill until ready to use.
In a small bowl, sift together flours, salt, cinnamon and baking powder. Set aside. Cream butter and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add milk and oil and mix until fully combined. Slowly add flour blend, mixing until just combined. Stir in blueberries by hand with a spatula.
Grease your muffin tin or coat with cooking spray. Using an ice cream scooper or large spoon, fill tin with generous sized balls of dough. You should end up with about 10 muffins. Generously coat muffins with crumble topping.
Bake for 25-30 minutes until slightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.