My mom’s side of the family has a cottage in Muskoka – it’s strange because I’ve never thought of myself as somebody who HAS a cottage to go to, you know? But this is for two reasons:
a) While my immediate family and I went to this cottage every summer until I was about 13 years old, we then stopped going entirely, since my uncle (the now-owner of said cottage) was spending virtually the whole summer up there with his kids, and also since the cottage was getting a little cramped for our family as us kids got larger in size.
b) This cottage has no electricity or running water, so I’d long thought of it as a different experience than what most people think of as cottaging in Muskoka.
This year, however, I’ve been back to this cottage for the first time in 10 plus years. And it was so SO lovely to go back – my mom’s dad bought the property and built the cottage himself when my mom was 2 years old so there’s so much family history there – my increasing heights are etched into the same wall as my mom’s. Paul and I went up a couple of weeks ago, just for 3 days, and it was so nice. It’s sort of like luxury camping, and it’s really quiet and beautiful. But when you’re cooking on a propane stove with no running water in the house, you want to sort of think ahead regarding your meals. We’re going again this coming Monday for a few days, and I wanted to plan ahead better this time, and make some food to bring up with us. So today, after buying THESE hideous shoes for work (so ugly, but sure to prevent my debilitating leg pain from wearing horrible shoes for long stretches on my feet), I set out to make muffins.
Last time we went to the cottage we bought a bag of apples at the grocery store in Huntsville – none of the loose apples were local, so we bought a 3 pound bag, and it’s been more challenging to get through them then it would have been if so much other amazing fruit weren’t also in season right now (cantaloupe! blueberries! peaches!). So I thought I’d make some apple muffins, using Smitten Kitchen’s Whole Wheat Apple Muffin recipe. I didn’t have buttermilk – since I almost never do – but I also didn’t have any regular milk. But what I DID have was cream. That’s the same right? So I made my homemade buttermilk (1 tbsp. lemon juice per one cup milk) with cream instead of milk. It can only make them more delicious, right?
The recipe was really easy and fast, and I love the sprinkled brown sugar on the tops of the muffins. The only difference (besides the buttermilk/buttercream thing) from the recipe and how mine turned out was that I ended up with 12 muffins, not 18. But, to be fair, I didn’t really want to make a second pan of muffins, and so I decided to really heap my muffin tin full of batter, hoping that this would, if nothing else, result in muffins that really have those TOPS that you get with good muffins but which I can never reproduce when I follow recipes that instruct me to fill my muffin tin 2/3 full of batter.
And MAN OH MAN did it ever work. These babies have real muffin tops!
Now I just have to make them last until Monday morning when we leave for the cottage – I let Nicole have one because she was here when they came out of the oven (Shhh…don’t tell Kat) but I think the others will be covered with a note that says “PLEASE DON’T EAT ME” to protect them from being eaten by both myself, and anyone else who happens by this kitchen in the next 48 hours.