Tucked away in a corner of my imagination is a dream I have of someday owning my own bed and breakfast. In the twelve years I have lived in Texas, I have grown very fond of the area in and around Roundtop, with it's sprawling pastures, live oaks, grazing longhorn cattle, and it's twice-annual antique fair. Whenever Peter and I take a day trip into Roundtop while staying out at my in-law's country house, we usually take a peek at the real estate listings, posted in the window of Roundtop's realty office, to see what properties are for sale. Right now, we look out of pure curiosity and for fun, but I can't help but imagine one day being the owner of some picturesque acreage, where we will build our own country haven, with a guest house to lodge visitors and friends alike.
Although my bed and breakfast may still only be under construction in the recesses of my imagination, I've already started tearing out pictures from design magazines and filing them away neatly in a divided accordion file so if my dream one day materializes, I will be ready with ideas for every nook and cranny of the house and property. There will be big windows, hardwood floors, farmhouse sinks, beadboard, a stone fireplace, and a great room with cozy, comfortable furniture. There would be bookshelves filled with gently used books picked up at flea markets and thrift stores, playing cards and board games. Outside would be a wrap-around porch-an outdoor extension of the great room-where people can laze around on Adirondak chairs and porch swings for a few hours or the entire day. There would be a big back lawn for people to play a game of horseshoes or croquet. And yes, my bed and breakfast would also have Wi-Fi, for anyone who doesn't want to completely "unplug" on their vacation.
Of course, no bed and breakfast would be complete without a kitchen where I could indulge my love of cooking and baking for my guests on a daily basis. The biggest section of my "bed and breakfast/country house" file is filled with magazine clippings of kitchen design and decorating ideas. It's going to be where I spend the most time, so I want it to have the best equipment, great lighting, big windows, practical storage and a lot of space. Plus, it's my favorite room of a house, so I want to make sure I thoroughly enjoy working in it.
Out of this imaginary kitchen would come a daily breakfast spread of coffee and juices, seasonal fruit, homemade jams, freshly baked bread, and sweet pastry items like these blueberry coffee cake muffins. I'd pull them out of the oven just as my guests are rubbing the sleep from their eyes, and nestle them still warm in a basket between the folds of a linen napkin. They're simple, warm, homey and comforting--just the way my future bed and breakfast will be. I hope you'll come to stay!
Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Family Style
Makes about 24 muffins
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 T.) unsalted butter, st room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large egss, at room temperature
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup milk
2 half-pints fresh blueberries, picked through for stems, rinsed and dried
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the tops of 2 12-cup muffin pans with cooking spray or vegetable oil, using a paper towel (make sure not to get any oil inside the muffin cups). Line the muffin cups with paper liners and set aside.
In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar together on medium speed until they are light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract, sour cream and milk. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary and mix until all the ingredients are incorporated.
Keeping the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just incorporated, making sure not to over-mix and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Fold in the blueberries by hand using a rubber spatula, making sure the batter is completely mixed.
Scoop the batter into the lined muffin cups, filling each cup almost to the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are light golden brown on top and a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pans and then carefully remove each muffin to a cooling rack to cool completely.
Tip: To get the same size muffins, use an ice cream scoop to scoop the batter into the muffin cups.
|Subscribe to RSS|