About a week after my biopsy confirmed my neurologist's suspicion that I needed to be on a gluten-free diet, I remember stopping into my gastroenterologist's office for a quick check up. I was still having stomach pains, and was frustrated that going gluten-free hadn't magically evaporated all my problems. (Of course, the stomach takes a little time to heal, but I'm a bit off an impatient girl.) Worse still, I worried that giving up gluten was going to snowball until all the foods I loved were thoroughly off limits.
"I don't know if this celiac thing is the only thing going on," I sighed, sitting woefully on the exam table, "I mean my stomach still hurts a lot. Do you think I'll have to give up coffee, soon, too?"
He smiled and shook his head, "Dana. You don't drink alcohol. You don't do drugs. You're a vegetarian. You don't eat wheat. You're allowed to have one vice."
Hear that tummy? Starbucks, ho!
I'll admit it, I follow the straight and narrow like it's my job. Everyone laughs when I tell that story, Your one vice would be coffee. In my defense though, my supreme weakness, pumpkin spice lattes, are pretty gosh darn, dog-gone sinful.
So if coffee is the one and only way I pollute my system, it would go to follow that I handle stress in a similarly compulsive yet decidedly nondestructive way: baking. Ever see that Boy Meets World episode where Cory's crazy grandmother (as played by Rue McClanahan) drives her winnebago into town, promises to take Cory to get a baseball card signed, and then fails to show up because she goes to a poker tournament? Instead of telling him Grandma isn't coming, Cory's mom spends the whole day baking with him and, sure, Cory isn't fooled by the time they pulled the 8,000th muffin tray from the oven, but it did pass some of that stress time, right? (Plus Cory and his dad share a bonding moment over crazy Grandma's flaky yet virtuous heart. Then Rue shows up and apologizes and Cory learns to accept his grandma for who she is. And they have 8,000 muffins. Win, win, win.)
Anyway, Saturday night I was decidedly stressed out. I was pacing around the house trying to out run my stress, stressed. I was rearranging my room to take my mind off my stress, stressed. I was I need to bake but I have no eggs so I guess I'm going to the 24 hour Giant Eagle to buy ingredients at 11pm, stressed.
But you know what, when I stress bake everyone wins: recipe for you, muffins for me.
Coffee and muffins, man I'm trouble. Mother's of the world, lock up your sons!
1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, divided
1 - 1 1/2 cups blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (more or less as desired)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with liners.
Whisk together melted (cooled) butter), milk, sugar, and egg in a medium bowl.
In a separate bowl, whisk flour, xanthum gum, baking soda, baking powder, salt, Expandex, and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon until well combined. Add the dry mixture into the wet, about a third at a time, stirring in between each addition. When mixed, stir in most of the walnuts (reserving a Tablespoon or two) and gently fold in blueberries. Swirl in extra 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon if you're so inclined (I was!).
Divide the batter evenly between the 12 cups and stud those bad girl muffins with the remaining chopped walnuts. (Don't they look totally hardcore?)
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.