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Verses from my Kitchen: Lunch Box Memories: Jam Muffins

February 25, 2011

Lunch Box Memories: Jam Muffins

I used to get a muffin in my lunch box as a kid. It was part savoury recess treat and part dessert. To be honest, I think I was more interested in the cool lunch boxes than the food back then. I remember my mom and I would head out minutes prior to Labour Day to pick up school supplies and grab a fancy lunch box and backpack. The boxes back then came with lithographed images and had all your favourite comic book heroes on them. They also should have come with a warning that the image on your box may get your ass beaten at school.

I used to love getting to school and at the first lull in the day reaching for my lunch box and rummaging through it. Peanut butter and jam. Check. Juice box. Check. And a cupcake. Sweet. Oh wait, it was a muffin. I never knew the difference. I did know that if it was a muffin stuffed with jam or chocolate or other sweet goodies, I could break it in half and use one half as a midday snack and the other half for dessert in the cafeteria. Seriously, how cool is that? A cupcake is what you think it is. Nothing more. A one-trick pony.

I don't have a child yet, but if I did I would make these muffins for them. I'd want them to open up their lunch at school and see these and think the same things I did when I was a kid. Somebody out there cares about me. There isn't a warming feeling when you may be having a bad day. If somebody is picking on you and you open your lunch and see all your favourite foods, you know that everything is going to be ok. It is ok.

Sometimes simple is better. This is a simple recipe with a little extra flavour and touch. A classic muffin that's moist and tasty and some jam floating inside to give it an extra zing. These are really light and fluffy because during the prep process the ingredients are mixed just until blended together. If you overwork the batter, they won't end up airy and light.

I made these this early morning for my wife and I. I love sitting down with her on a Saturday morning with a cup of Joe and a savoury treat. Something like this to connect with and converse about. Something to get the day rolling. And although I don't have recess anymore, my mid-afternoon break today will be enjoyed with one of these.

And when I get home from work and escape from the storm above me, I'll brew a pot of tea and heat up a muffin and slather on some butter and finally unwind. And let my train of thoughts take me back again.

From my kitchen to yours, happy eating!

Jam Muffins

The Goods:
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup jam
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Pour the milk into a large mixing bowl. Add the vanilla. Whisk in the sugar, oil and eggs and continue to whisk until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly add to the milk mixture and stir until blended and just worked together. Do not overmix.
  4. Grease a muffin pan with butter and fill with 1/2 of the batter. Stir the jam until softened and add a dollop of jam to the centre of each batter. Top with the remaining batter and put it in the oven.
  5. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until lightly browned. Let them cool for 10-15 minutes.
  6. Serves 12 muffins.

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At February 25, 2011 at 2:04 PM , Blogger MaryMoh said...

Lovely muffins. Would be so good with a cup of milk. Hope you have a wonderful weekend. MaryMoh at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

At February 25, 2011 at 2:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy shmoly! Yes please!

At February 25, 2011 at 3:18 PM , Blogger Lynne Rees said...

Hello Michael - I'm really pleased to have found your blog... stories and food are my favourite combination. I blog as The Hungry Writer at www.lynnerees.com ... if you have chance to pop by and take a look, or even follow, that would be great. In the meantime I've copied your recipe so I can make these lovely muffins for my two favourite munchkins - my great neice and great nephew - when I'm back in Wales next month.

At February 25, 2011 at 5:20 PM , Blogger Lizzy said...

Moist and lovely muffins!

At February 25, 2011 at 6:36 PM , Blogger Sippity Sup said...

It's amazing to me how you take your own personal memories and make them feel so universal. Were we friends in grade school? You sure make feel like we were. GREG

At February 26, 2011 at 10:50 AM , Blogger Carolyn said...

Mmmm, a muffin stuffed with jam, I can see how that would perk up your school lunches!

At February 26, 2011 at 10:53 AM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thank you Mary! You as well. It's finally here.

Ravie, I have more here than I can eat. You're welcome to them.

Thanks Lynne! I'm glad you found it as well. I'll definitely take a look. And have fun making food for your niece and nephew!

Thank you Lizzy. That's what it's all about. Wait, did I just do the hokey pokey.

Greg, thank you! Lovely to say that. And I think we may have been if not for the distance between our grade schools :)

At February 26, 2011 at 12:11 PM , Blogger lautakel said...

Have them baking in the oven right now...I didn't see the oil in the ingredient list? I added 1/4 cup...hopefully that is just right. I find it interesting that these bake at 350 not the normal muffin temp of 400 degrees. Makes me think they will be more "cake" like. I filled them with my own homemade freezer berry jam...
Thanks for sharing - Kelly

At February 26, 2011 at 1:35 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Carolyn! They certainly did!

Kelly, it should be fine. Let me know how it turns out! I didn't find them too cakey but the proof will be in the finished result. I bet they would be fantastic with homemade jam! Enjoy!

At February 26, 2011 at 3:52 PM , Blogger Susan Lindquist said...

I loved this post ... can't we all relate to that little bit of suspended excitement just before we open the lunchbox? My mom always packed them at night when we were sleeping and they were handed to us as we walked out the door ... she was a great one for homemade cookies. Sandwiches were pretty standard - PBJ, tuna salad or bologna and cheese ... but what kind of cookies today?!?

At February 26, 2011 at 9:32 PM , Blogger Grace said...

I was so excited to see your post title in my inbox. Your post brought back so many happy memories. Grade 7, Home Economics and baking my very first muffin - Jam Muffins!! At the time my brother and his buds were working on his Mustang. Day in and day out they were in the garage. They all loved my muffins. I remember clearly, my brother coming into my room at 1 in the morning on more than one occasion, shaking me to wake me up, "Grace can you please make some of those delicious muffins for me and the guys?" I always did. It was the only time I was ever allowed to enter the "guys den". Thanks for stirring the memories.

At February 27, 2011 at 1:23 AM , Blogger Stephanie said...

Yum, sounds like a lovely muffin! It would be fun to try this with different flavors of jam.

At February 27, 2011 at 3:16 PM , Blogger Diethood.com said...

I had a lunchbox like that, too, but instead of a muffin inside, mine came with a piece of something like a tulumba or baklava. :)

I love jam-filled goods... I look forward to that gooey bite. Great muffin!

At February 27, 2011 at 3:39 PM , Blogger Michael Lewicki said...

Thanks Susan! I loved the suspense during my school years. And my mom did the same thing, made it after I went to bed so it was a shock one way or the other. Thanks for the lovely comment!

Thank you Grace. That's quite the story and typical of older brothers with younger sisters who could bake. I love it!

Stephanie, I agree. The different jams would be fantastic.

Kate, it's funny how we all remember our childhood and our lunches. Sure, we all had different goodies depending on our parents aptitude in the kitchen and our different backgrounds, but it was the same in a way. Thanks!

At September 16, 2011 at 11:51 PM , Anonymous marla {family fresh cooking} said...

Even though you don't have a kid yet we all KNOW they would want these in their lunch box every day. Would love if you added this to my Project Lunch Box link up :) http://su.pr/221xT1


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