Monday, February 9, 2009
Tonight I was inspired to do a little baking. There have been a few lemons in my kitchen for about a week now. It's always handy to have a lemon or two around. I just hadn't been moved by the lemon spirit...until my mom came over with a pint of blueberries. My kids have been gobbling them up for a couple of days and there were a few left just begging for a date with these really hot lemons.
I don't yet own a favorite go-to blueberry/lemon recipe, so I searched around online for one that fit my current ingredients. I quickly ruled out most of them as they called for sour cream or buttermilk, of which I had none. Finally I came across one that was labeled "low-fat" on account of that it called for fat-free milk (check) and very little butter. The butter was apparently replaced by almond paste, which I was, um, fresh out of.
Well, I thought, I'll just swap the almond paste back out and use butter instead. Let's see...1/3 cup of butter (for that 1/3 cup of almond paste) plus the 2 TB of butter it actually called for...that's around 1/2 cup of butter. Problem solved.
I got to work, zesting the lemon...placating the baby...glancing at the recipe...whipping the butter and sugar...listening to my son talk endlessly about a Wii game...
Sifting some flour and baking powder...yes, yes, I'm not good at the bubble game either, son...juicing the lemon...get those Shrek ears off the baby!...where was I?
Okay, all the ingredients were coming together as I folded in the zest and the blueberries. I snuck a little lick off the beater. Mmm...hmmm, that's a little buttery, isn't it? Spoon that batter into the greased 9x9 pan. Wow, really thick stuff! Thinking, thinking, the wheels are churning. Was that a 1/2 cup of butter that I put in or a 1/2 pound.
Doh! My eyes widened. Two sticks was a 1/2 pound! Oh for the love of Pete...I know this stuff. What is wrong with me? No, wait...what is wrong with the stupid recipes that prey upon tired housewives with their 1/2 cup? Why not say "one stick"? I mean, we're not chefs in big kitchens who buy butter by the carton load. We use sticks! Why not save us some confusion and just tell me how many sticks to use?
This thought process all took place as I slid the coffee cake into the oven and was dutifully licking the bowl (yes, I know you're not supposed to eat raw egg batter...). As my mistake dawned on my frazzled brain, I felt my arteries literally filling up with golden yellow butter. A giant leap forward towards my seemingly inevitable future bypass surgery (does anyone know a good cardiologist??).
So, I know baking is a delicate chemistry experiment. How would doubling the butter affect the egg/baking powder ratio? Would it rise? Not to mention the small amount of flour to butter. Would there be a big puddle of butter on the bottom of the dish? Maybe I would discover a whole new way of baking...doubling all butter in future recipes!
As I write, the fate of the coffeecake is yet unknown. The timer went off, and, yes, it needed some more baking time. Looks a little greasy. Oh, there goes the next buzzer....I'll go check. Well, the toothpick came out less than clean and I did notice a small pool of butter in one of the top cracks. Should coffee cake really be making a sizzling sound? How about another 5 minutes?
It firmed up enough after a mere 48 minutes in the oven. Did I let it cool off? No, I immediately cut into it in order to gauge just how this fattening concoction would taste.
First taste...certainly no moisture problem! And did you know that blueberries straight out of the oven are blazing hot? Now you do. It was alright, but for the first time in my life I'm wishing for less butter. Perhaps the lemon flavor would be more pronounced with the proper amount of butter as well.
Oh well, I'm sure we'll eat it anyways. Sorry, honey, I'm not intentionally sabotaging your chances at winning the employee's Biggest Loser award. But times are hard and it seems a crime to waste that much butter!