Oh, how I love a new kitchen gadget.
Oh, how I love a beautiful baked good.
And oh, how I love whenever the two shall meet.
A few Christmases ago, my brother and sister-in-law gifted me with a collection of Avoca cookbooks, filled with recipes for all sorts of delicious things that the two of them can nosh while cruising the namesake shop in Ireland. The books are lovely, with gorgeous photos and wonderful recipes I keep meaning to try, but to be perfectly honest, they’ve spent far too much time hanging around in my cabinet. The reason for the lack of use, I’m embarrassed to say, is because the recipe measurements come in terms of grams and milliliters rather than my familiar cups. Until very recently, I had no kitchen scale, and, frankly, I was too lazy to keep figuring out the conversions. There are only so many times you want to Google “225 grams to cups,” you know?
Never again! I’m happy to report that I’m now the proud owner of a sleek little food scale, thanks to the same folks responsible for those Avoca cookbooks. Hoorah! I put it to work right away, and what could be more appropriate for the first time out of the gate than something from those poor neglected cookbooks? Boy oh boy, I can already tell that this is one of those once-you-try-it-you-can-never-go-back sorts of gadgets. Not only does tossing a bit of this and a little of that in a bowl until ingredients reach the desired weight feel super bakerly (really, how often do you get to bake in such a throw-it-in manner?), but using the scale is also a guaranteed way to ensure that all the measurements are exactly right. So it’s easier and produces even better results. Woot!
I chose a treat from Avoca: Tea Time. It’s their basic muffin recipe, with a healthy dose of raspberries and lemon added to make them extra special. I love adding raspberries to baked goods. With a trip through the oven, they mash and melt to the perfect consistency and leave behind beautiful pink dots, like splashes of paint on a sweet canvas.
Raspberry Lemon Muffins
Adapted from Avoca: Tea Time (page 10)
• 450g self-rising flour
• 225g extra-fine sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking powder
• 225 ml milk
• 225g unsalted butter
• 2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 200g raspberries
• 2 teaspoons lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and line 15 muffin tins with paper liners.
Sift together the flour, sugar and baking powder in a large bowl. Make a well in the center.
Heat the milk and butter together until the butter melts, then allow that mixture to cool before adding it to the dry mixture with the eggs and lemon juice. Gently stir in the raspberries and lemon zest, just until blended.
Spoon batter into the muffins cups, and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Note: My muffins were having trouble browning at the end, even after they had finished baking, so I hit them with the broiler for about one to two minutes to achieve their pretty golden tops. It’s a handy trick, but keep an eye out; they can burn quickly.
Does anyone else use a food scale in the kitchen? How do you like it? Was it hard to make the switch? And is anyone baking with berries these days? What’s your favorite berry-filled recipe? I’d love to hear it!