One of the reasons I specialize in muffins is that they're super easy... and I'm lazy. Mix wet ingredients, mix dry ingredients, combine, bake. But there are ways to make the process even easier. I hate doing dishes, so I'm always looking for ways to cut down on cleanup. Here are some simple tricks for making things easier.
- If the recipe calls for melted butter, melt it in the bowl you'll end up using for the wet ingredients, rather than a separate container. I have a Pyrex mixing bowl that's great for this.
- When possible, pour the bowl of dry ingredients into the bowl of wet ingredients, not the other way around. The wet ingredient bowl needs to be washed regardless, but if you keep the dry bowl dry, you can get away with a simple rinse.
- Use a scale to measure ingredients, so you can pour things directly into the bowl instead of dirtying a bunch of measuring cups. I have a slip of paper in an interior cabinet that lists the weights for common ingredients. 1 cup of flour = 5 ounces, 1 cup of sugar = 7 ounces, etc.
- Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients--better than dirtying a sifter, plus you can then use that same whisk on the wet ingredients.
- Use baking cups in your muffin tins rather than cooking spray. Obvious, but effective!
This week's recipe is not a muffin, but Congo Bars, one of our favorite bar cookies (and the most deliciously simple raw cookie dough you can imagine). We ate them last night at our family dessert. Recipe comes from the cookbook of Cafe Beaujolais, a beautiful little place in Mendocino, California.
2/3 cup butter, melted and cooled 1 lb. (not a typo) brown sugar 3 eggs 2 3/4 cups flour 2 1/2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup (6 oz) chocolate chips 1 cup chopped nuts (optional in the Dana house)
Mix together flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Mix together butter, brown sugar, and eggs in a larger bowl. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix well. Add chocolate chips. Spoon into a greased 13 x 9 pan and pat it out. Bake at 325 degrees for 25-35 minutes. It will be golden brown on top but still soft.
Serve warm--microwaved from room temperature if necessary.