I’ve been making these muffins every week or two for the past few months. I love them because they’re not too sweet (the older I get, the less I want super sweet food in the morning) and the jam is baked on the inside, so I don’t even have to get the jar out of the fridge. Convenient!
These muffins are actually one of the first recipes I remember making. (Well, not these muffins, because back in the 80s, chia seeds were for sprouting on little ceramic heads, not for eating.) After finding my Aunt Darlene’s old copy of Betty Crocker’s New Boys and Girls Cookbook at my grandparents’ house, I relentlessly begged my Grandma to help me make something from it. Each time I visited, we’d make something different: a pie made with pudding and rainbow marshmallows (remember those?!), roses made from radishes, and Surprise Muffins. And then my Grandma let me keep the book. I’m not sure it was because I loved it so much (and I did) or because she was tired of me wanting to make recipes from it every time I visited.
Because a good 25 years have passed since then, I started doubting my memories as I wrote this post. Were these really from that book? Could they have been from someplace else? Were they even called Surprise Muffins? But with memories like this, it’s not really the specifics that matter, it’s more the impact they have. This cookbook wasn’t just my introduction to cooking and baking; it showed me that cooking can be fun, and all these years later, it still is. (Maybe it had the same impact on my Aunt Darlene–she’s going to be on CBS’s The American Baking Competition this summer!)
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Since I’ve added chia seeds to this recipe (and chia seeds absorb moisture), you’ll notice that if you leave these muffins out, they’ll dry out more quickly than regular muffins. To prevent this, you’ll want to toss them in the freezer after they’ve cooled and heat them in the microwave for 25-30 seconds when you’re ready to eat them.
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