Tomorrow morning I will be going to my old high school to talk to seniors about graduation and college. Yikes. When did I get that old? Because in all seriousness, I still feel 17 years old. 17, stressing out all the time, trying to figure out where life was going, and annoying everyone around me with my frequent freak outs. The only thing that has changed from that list, is my age. I still don’t know what is going to happen in the coming years. Sure, I am in grad school and sure, I have my husband, dog, best friend, godkids, and family. But with life, there is so much uncertainty. When will I get hired? Where will I work? What grade level? Where will we live? When will we have kids? Will I get to be a stay at home mom? I just don’t know and only time will tell. When I start to get impatient with life, I bake. Call it the need for instant gratification, but baking resolves my issues. It takes careful planning, methodical execution, and it is rarely selfish. It is what I like and want in my life on a smaller scale. Except it gets results in a couple hours rather than years. These muffins only took 10 minutes each to whip up and 18-20 minutes each to bake. Yeah, I needed that today.
At first, I turned down the opportunity to speak on a panel of former students. When you catch me off guard, I do not feel very accomplished. I am only 40% through with my Master’s degree; I make $472 a month and rely heavily on my husband financially, and will have 40 grand in student loans at the end of the next school year. Damn. That and people do not tend to take girls who are 23 and married very seriously.
Well, after serious consideration, I realized that it is not the end result that the students need to hear about. It is the process, how I got to the point of knowing what I want out of life. Maybe they need to see someone still in the thick of it, going after what they want. So here is what I will tell them:
- Know what your education is worth to you. When you skip class or slack on assignments and finals week, know you are only cheating yourself.
- Don’t be embarrassed to change your mind. I almost did not change majors as many times as I did because I was embarrassed that people would not think I was passionate or dedicated enough. (I went from social welfare to early childhood and family studies (ECFS) to history to communication and back to ECFS all in two years.)
- Major in what you want (duh). College is hard enough without throwing yourself into a subject you are not passionate about or enjoy learning about. But, you can major in something you don’t like and still feel fulfilled through clubs, jobs, and activities. There are jobs and grad schools for every interest and major out there.
So tomorrow, I am going to march (drive) to my old high school with a basket full of muffins for the other speakers and staff, and talk about how to get to 23 without any major regrets.
Double Chocolate (more like quadruple chocolate) Muffins
These taste really similar to the Costco muffins! I have been looking for a recipe like this for a long time. The only difference really is the type of chocolate chips you use. The Costco ones are especially sinful because they use a mix of milk and semisweet choc. The milk chocolate gives it ridiculous sweetness, that I occasionally welcome with my black coffee. However, I wanted to use up some bittersweet I had left and the semisweet was on sale, so that is what I used.
I adapted this recipe a tiny bit from jensfavoritecookies.com and did a little rearranging because I like to mix and bake a certain way. http://www.jensfavoritecookies.com/2013/02/18/chocolate-buttermilk-muffins/#.UX8TLyvF1PQ
- ⅓ cup canola oil
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- ½ cup sugar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ¼ cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark)
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips (assortment of milk, semisweet, bittersweet)
- Mix salt, baking soda, baking powder, both cocoa powders, and flour in a separate bowl.
- Using a mixer, mix oil, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla well. Add the brown and white sugar until well incorporated.
- Add flour mixture slowly to wet mixture and do not overmix. Add chocolate chips.
- Fill muffin cups ⅔ full. Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
I have been making these muffins for years. Basically since I discovered that you can go to Allrecipes.com and type in ingredients you want to use, and it spits out a recipe that incorporates them all. Amazing way to use up produce that needs eating/baking. We had a Costco box of mangos and I was on a huge blueberry kick (which has not ended). I have used the coconut streusel in this recipe on several muffins and breads and it is heavenly every time. Most recently, I used it on my zucchini bread and I am kind of pissed I did not think of it before. People always comment on it. When baking these for my bff’s kid sister, I have to double the topping for her. These cupcakes are somewhat like cupcakes because of their butter base, but taste light, tropical, and have amazing textures.
Adapted from allrecipes.com
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional, but so not optional because it MAKES it)
1 tablespoon white sugar
5 tablespoons sweetened flaked coconut
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoons cold butter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries (I like Trader Joe’s frozen wild blueberries. They are small so the flavor gets spread out more)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup mango – peeled, seeded and diced into small chunks
- Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease 16 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
- Combine 1/4 cup flour, the cinnamon, 1 tablespoon sugar, the coconut, and 1 pinch of salt in food processor. Pulse until butter is pea-sized. If you do not want to use a food processor, you can chop the coconut flakes before adding and cut the butter in with pastry cutter or two knives.
- Beat the unsalted butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt with an electric mixer in a large bowl until smooth. Beat the first egg into the butter until completely blended before adding the second; continue mixing until light and fluffy. Combine 1 3/4 cups of flour with the baking powder. Stir into the butter mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Toss the blueberries with 1/4 cup of flour; stir into the batter along with the mango. (Only problem with using frozen vs fresh blueberries is the juice that comes out of the frozen and makes your batter look a bit dirty. It can also freeze up your nice, whipped room temp batter. But frozen is easier to shop for. I gotta go with cheaper and easier sometimes)
- Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins; sprinkle with the coconut streusel.
- Bake in the preheated oven until golden and the tops spring back when lightly pressed, 25 to 30 minutes.