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Once upon a time it was hard to be a baker. Bread being so vital to the common diet, for rich and poor alike, laws were passed to make sure that bakers did not cheat their customers with light loaves or unhealthy fillers. To make sure that their customers were happy, often times it was better to make sure that an order was filled that was over weight rather than under. Thus, many bakers started giving away an extra cookie or muffin with an order of a dozen. Thus, a baker’s dozen is 13. Normally one might consider 13 to be unlucky, but now it has probably spared a lot of bakers from harsh penalties like having their hands chopped off.
Did you know, however, that if you don’t use a muffin tin, which often have either 6 or 12 cups, that you can bake better muffins in 13 paper-lined foil cups? It is true! Placing the cups on a baking sheet in a tight 4 x 5 x 4 pattern bakes the muffins more evenly and nets us exactly 13 muffins. I call these honeycomb muffins because they resemble the hex-pattern of honeycomb.
Note also as they cook, these muffins will push even closer together and the resulting muffins will take on a more hexagonal shape rather than round. If you want perfectly round muffins, you might need to double-up the cups, or if you have mason jar rings, you can set the cups in the rings to help them retain their shape.
If you find, however, that you’ve actually been cursed like the baker from Into The Woods, here’s a recipe that might do the trick to get on a witch’s good side.
Yield: 13 muffins
1 cup / 160g cornmeal (yellow as, well, corn)
1 cup / 120g all purpose flour
1/2 cup / 120g granulated sugar
1 Tbsp / 10g baking powder
1 tsp / 7g salt
1 cup whole milk (from a cow as white as milk)
2 large eggs
1/4 cup honey (as pure as gold)
1/2 stick (2 oz) butter, melted
Large mixing bowl
Medium mixing bowl
Spoon and whisk
Foil and paper muffin cups
Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C.
In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients together and incorporate well.
In the other bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.
Add the wet to the dry and then stir to mix well into a thick batter.
Place foil muffin cups with paper cups inside them on a baking sheet in a tight 4 x 5 x 4 pattern.
Divide the batter into the 13 cups and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, until the tops are golden brown.
If you want to make a gluten-free version, feel free to use your preferred GF flour mix, but be sure to measure by weight (120g). Note for example the difference between the flour and sugar. They both weigh the same, yet it only takes ½ cup of sugar to reach 120g vs. a full cup of AP flour to weigh the same.
These are delightfully sweet without being too sweet. If you would prefer even sweeter, I recommend adding stevia. Adding more sugar or honey will change the consistency of the batter. Stevia powder however enhances the sugar already in the recipe but very little goes a long way.
Serve these with a fresh batch of magic kidney beans (red as blood) and rice.
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Cursed objects come in all shapes, sizes, and purpose. The first cursed object I could think of, that wasn’t related to the TV show Friday the 13th, was the lamp or bottle that trapped a genie inside.
While we have Aladdin and the cursed lamp from One Thousand and One Nights to thank for being the source of this legend, the idea of a “genie in a bottle” hails primarily from Barbara Eden’s TV sitcom I Dream of Jeannie... which in turn was inspired by a 1964 movie starring Barbara Eden called The Brass Bottle.
As for bottles with spirits trapped inside, I naturally decided a cocktail was in order. I’ll admit that a certain cartoon genie inspired the color.
Yield: 1 drink
2 1/2 oz blue curaçao
1 oz spiced gold rum (or light/silver, not dark)
1/2 oz Arak (or absinthe or ouzo)
1 oz sweet and sour mix
3 oz pineapple juice
Cocktail shaker and jigger
Into a drink shaker, add all ingredients including ice, cover and shake.
Pour into a hurricane glass, or a bottle for fun.
Arak is an Arabian alcohol produced in the Levant region, which does not adhere to the Muslim avoidance of liquor. It is made with aniseed and it louches becoming cloudy when mixed with water, hence my suggestion to substitute ouzo or absinthe if you cannot acquire the Arak. Plus absinthe adds to the color, especially if you can find a blue absinthe.
After a few of these, you too will believe there is infinite cosmic power in an itty-bitty living space. Just be careful what you wish for.
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