Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Favorite Doughnut Muffins from a Blogger Missing in Action

On July 8 I posted Where in the World is Seattle Pastry Girl ?  And then I disappeared for 12 weeks.  I would love to say I was out on camping adventures the entire time,  but unfortunately I had an adventure of a different kind.  It's funny I can call it an adventure now because while it was happening it definitely wasn't an adventure. So in that July 8th blog posting I told you about the fabulous "Ruby", our RV that we had brought back from California.  Well , besides bringing Ruby back I brought back something else-Lyme Disease.    One of those nasty- nasty 6 legged deer ticks also known as Ixodes pacificus found me somewhere in Northern California-most likely Big Sur where we did most of our hiking.  I didn't even know I had been "bitten".

  Long story short, about a week and a half after returning from our trip I felt like I was getting the flu-except a horrible version of it. Terrible achiness,excruciating headache,killer neck pain,fever, pain through out my body so bad I couldn't stand to have a blanket touch me, super sensitivity to sound-my sweetie could barely talk to me without the sound of his voice causing pain and no desire to eat or even drink water. Any attempts would make me feel even worse. I went to the emergency room and was sent home with the diagnosis: "a virus of some sort" . This was after they did a spinal tap and eliminated meningitis. The symptoms came and went until a week later when they got even worse and prompted another visit to the emergency room. More tests and  again sent home with pain pills and the "virus diagnosis".  Symptoms were up and down, until the 3rd week,just when I thought they couldn't get any worse they did and back to the emergency room for my 3rd visit.  Hallelujah, a Doctor who finally said-you have something, we don't know what it is but I'm not sending you home until we figure it out! So they admitted me to the hospital .

I had just started to develop a bull's eye type rash on my back and other rashes were popping up all over. An infectious disease specialist and an internist were brought in to take over.  Those 4 days were the most challenging days I have ever experienced. Until I was finally diagnosed, I would fall into my pain medication induced sleep not knowing if I was going to wake up in the morning .  I always thought that if life threw me a curve ball in the form of a life changing disease I would be one of those quietly strong brave people who would tackle it head on and fight it with grace and dignity.  Oh, that couldn't have been further from the truth-I learned how frightened and scared I was and bravery and grace were far far removed from my experience.  I didn't give up but I did give in to the overwhelming fear of what was going on and spent a lot of time crying .  You have to realize that each day the doctors would show up and let me know  what they thought my diagnosis could be-and these weren't diseases you recovered from-they were diseases you either died from or they were diseases that would result in lifelong challenges with no happy endings in sight.  The day my doctors walked in and confirmed Lyme Disease,as bad as I felt physically,mentally I was doing the Snoopy Happy Dance.

I was released from the hospital on July 27 with nothing but good thoughts about recovery on my mind. But whoa,another roadblock- a nasty little blood clot formed while I was trying to get better in the hospital.  Just another challenge to overcome. So here I am today,feeling pretty good about the Lyme Disease- experiencing some joint issues that I'm told will clear up over the next 6 months to 1 year and my clotting level is finally stabilized so the whole blood clot treatment should be over and done with in 3-6months ! As frustrating and frightening as these last few weeks have been I do feel truly blessed-there is a happy ending in sight and I've had a wonderful family and loving friends to support me and lean on. So I guess this really wasn't a long story short kind of thing-thanks for bearing with me.  Today I feel wonderful-I turned in my notice at work,Sept 6 was my last day and we just finished a very relaxing and rejuvenating trip to the San Juan Islands and British Columbia. You can read about those adventures on my new blog :
  See what I mean,very blessed !  To celebrate getting back to "normal" I making one of my favorite treats.  I love doughnuts but don't particularly care for frying .  So years ago when I discovered doughnut muffins I fell in love with them.  I've made them before (an PS I like the recipe I used before better than this one )and have never been disappointed.   Great for weekend guests ! This recipe is from King Arthur Flour-enjoy !

Yield: 12 muffins.
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 to 1 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg, to taste
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups  all purpose flour
1 cup milk
Cinnamon Sugar Topping
8 oz. (16 Tbs.) unsalted butter; more as needed 
2 cups sugar 
2 Tbs. ground cinnamon 
Alternate Glaze Topping
3 tablespoons butter; melted
1 cup confectioners’ sugar; sifted
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons hot water
To make the muffins
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin. Or line with 12 paper or silicone muffin cups, and grease the cups with non-stick vegetable oil spray; this will ensure that they peel off the muffins nicely.
In a medium-sized mixing bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars till smooth.
Add the eggs, beating to combine.
Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and vanilla.
Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the cups nearly full. A #16 ice-cream scoop gives you the perfect amount
Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they're a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Remove them from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of minutes, or until you can handle them.

To finish with Cinnamon Sugar Dipping Mixture:
While they're cooling, melt the butter for the topping (this is easily done in the microwave).
Use a pastry brush to paint the top of each muffin with the butter, then sprinkle with the cinnamon-sugar. Or simply dip the tops of muffins into the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon-sugar.
Serve warm, or cool on a rack and wrap airtight. Store for a day or so at room temperature.
To finish with the Glaze:
In a medium bowl, prepare the glaze by mixing together the melted butter, confectioners’ sugar, vanilla and water. Whisk until smooth. When muffins have cooled slightly, dip the muffin crown into the glaze and allow the glaze to harden. If you like you can glaze them twice for a sweeter topping.

I made these in my tiny little kitchen in Ruby our Sprinter van.  This is the extent of my mise en place !  You can read about the trip and my experience baking in the RV kitchen over at my other blog :