Category: - The Baker and The Chef
 
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I've known my entire life that I wanted to work with food.  I had no idea how to go about making that dream a reality, and in fact, I thought that it wasn't even a possibility.  I thought that to become a chef you had to have been born in France and begin an internship with a French chef when you were like nine years old.  All of the chef biographies start like that... "I grew up in France and at nine years old my first job was as a pot washer in a Michelin Star restaurant.  I slept on a small cot near the back door so that I could keep the fires stoked all night."

At the time time I was growing up American cuisine was made fun of by the rest of the culinary powerhouses, like France and Italy.  There were no famous American chefs.  We did have Julia Child, but even she went to France to learn to cook!  Going to France was not an option for me.  What to do, what to do?

Well, I obviously did a lot of cooking and baking on my own for my friends and family, so I had a little bit of a background.  The more I did it though the more I realized that what I really liked to do was bake.  Where could I get the experience I needed to bake professionally?  At a bakery, of course!  So, I applied at a bakery, and the first thing they asked was, "Have you ever baked professionally?"  Um, no.  Well, they had no jobs for inexperienced bakers.  It was the same story pretty much everywhere I went.  The good old catch-22... they won't hire you without experience, but you can't get experience if they don't hire you... ugh!

I needed a job because life isn't free, so eventually I accepted a job as a counter worker at a bakery.  I got to watch all the professional bakers while I stood at the counter and helped customers.  I knew I could do what they did if only I could get the chance.  Well, one day I got that chance.  The muffins we served weren't baked in house.  We brought them in fresh baked from another bakery and the head baker decided there was no reason why we couldn't bake them ourselves.  In order to do that she needed to hire another baker... and I knew just the person!

I went to her and applied for the job.  All right, I begged for the job.  I pleaded for the job.  I reluctantly admitted that I had no experience or qualifications to do the job, but I had heart and I was a hard worker.  She gave me the job!  I have no idea why, but looking back it was probably because I was willing to work for next to nothing.

It was a hard job and I spent very long hours there mixing endless batches of muffins... baking endless muffins... washing endless dishes.  But I loved it.  The best part of the job was coming up with new recipes and trying them out on the customers to see what worked and what didn't.  After about a year of baking there I knew that baking was what I wanted to do with my life and so when I heard about a local culinary school I enrolled the next day.

This recipe was one of my favorites.  It's more of a dessert muffin than a breakfast muffin, but I won't lie, I've eaten plenty of them as breakfast!  We always made them with cinnamon chips (that's where my cinnamon chip obsession started), but you can leave them plain, put Streusel on the top, add a different type of chip or eat them with a sweet spread, which is what I've done today.

-The Baker

SOUR CREAM MUFFINS: (yield 9 standard muffins)
  • 1 3/4 C AP Flour
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/4 t Baking Soda
  • 1 C Sugar, granulated
  • 4 oz Butter
  • 1/2 C Sour Cream
  • 1 t Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs, whole
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F; spray a muffin pan or line the pan with paper liners and spray the liners
  2. In a small bowl, sift together flour, salt and baking soda
  3. In mixing bowl cream the butter and the sugar; beat in sour cream and vanilla, until well blended
  4. Add eggs, one at a time
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients, just until combined-do not over-mix
  6. Scoop into a pan and bake 20 - 25 minutes (a toothpick should come out clean)
  7. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes; then finish cooling on a rack
Notes: These muffins freeze really well.  Add chocolate or cinnamon chips to the batter for variety.  Or serve with a sweet spread.

BROWN SUGAR CINNAMON SPREAD: (yield 1/4 C)
  • 4 T Butter, softened
  • 2 t Dark Brown Sugar
  • 1/8 t Cinnamon, ground
  1. In a small bowl mix together the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon until thoroughly combined
  2. Serve immediately or put in a covered container and refrigerate