Many of our adventures have an underlying food theme, often deliberate, sometimes by happy accident.
Today I am sitting in my kitchen, the weather is moody and perfect for baking. I happened to have some overripe bananas, intended for smoothies but honestly all I can think about are Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins from Brooklyn bakery, Baked. Check them out here: www.bakednyc.com although that’s not where I first checked them out.
My obsession with these muffins began at my local library. I tend to carry a stack of 35 cookbooks out of there with wild ambition, often only to return them late, pay fines and never attempt a single recipe.
A few years back I rented the cookbook Baked: New Frontiers in Baking honestly for the drool worthy photos. I thumbed through it over and over, lost in the layers of Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cake, Lemon Tarts and Whoopie pies. As luck would have it a day or so before my books were due back we had a snow day, I had extra bananas and time to kill. I remembered seeing the recipe for Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins (what a mouthful), they looked simple enough so I gathered the ingredients and went for it.
I should mention I am not so much a “baker” as I am a cook, baking is specific and sciency. Cooking is much more forgiving. Baking is for Martha, my friend Sarah Jane, and my sister Em, they are meticulous and precise, I am messy and hopeful.
We waited and hoped, watching through the oven window as they rose to a golden brown.
Waiting still as they cooled. Too much waiting. Then WHOA Nelly!
These were not just good muffins, nor an excuse to use up bananas on a blizzardy day, these were damn delicious! Moist (I know, sorry) banana goodness, chunks of chocolate and that hint of espresso for balanced perfection. They instantly became a comforting snack staple in our house. Oddly, I still don’t own the cookbook.
I must have rented it a hundred times since.
About a year later we took an Amtrak halfway across the country to NYC to ring in the New Year (more on that trip in a future post). Toward the end of our trip we braved the subway from Manhattan to Brooklyn to see our Lady Liberty. The temps had been tolerable with just light flurries that morning. Taking our time perusing the local art at Brooklyn Collective we noticed the snow had really started coming down outside. We hustled out with a few trinkets and booked it toward our “must see” tourist attraction.
We’d heard Red hook had a great view of the Statue of Liberty, so we hopped a bus, but as we got closer, the snow came down harder, even if we got to Red Hook with any daylight left, visibility was down to about a block. We were feeling defeated. Lady Liberty would have to wait until next time.
Hungry and tired my daughter pulled out her phone to find us a bite to eat before we navigated our subway trip back to our hotel.
“Hey mom, I got it!” She exclaimed “Baked, we are really close”
“Baked? Baked! Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins Baked?”
“Yep!” she said and pulled the cord for the next stop.
Baked offered everything we needed to warm our spirits, perfect cappuccino, fresh from the oven treats and the feeling of home.
No matter how well we plan, sometimes it’s the detours that takes us right where we are meant to be.
The happy accidents and snow days that make for the best adventures.
As I finish this post the oven timer is going off, the smell of Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip muffins has consumed the kitchen and Avett Brother’s are serenading me with one of my favorites, I and Love and You.
“Brooklyn, Brooklyn take me in”
“Are you aware the shape I’m in”
Until next time,