It’s past midnight, I retreated into my room after watching the late night news with my parents more than two hours ago. I’ve taken a shower, changed into my “Proud to be well adjusted” t-shirt I got from a chiropractor’s convention in Las Vegas (long story, not for this entry) and sleep shorts, I have read a chapter of Crazy Rich Asians (get a copy if you haven’t already)… and I can’t sleep.
I keep thinking. My brain won’t quit talking to me. The images keep speeding at me. Voices, memories, thoughts, hypothetical conversations with myself, questions I don’t want answered, recipes, more recipes, cake decorating ideas, and oh my God, before you know it… I’m in the kitchen again, I’ve put the apron on (I only ever wear an apron when I’m baking in my pajamas, cos I don’t want to get sugar in my bed), the oven is preheating and I’m flipping through my “Keep Calm and Carry On” red notebook of recipes.
Late night baking. It’s surprisingly quite a normal thing to do for young professionals who love baking. It’s also an excellent method of quieting the mind to ready yourself for bed. I’ve talked about the benefits of baking in approaching anxiety issues before… this time it’s no different. I can’t sleep cos I’m afraid, so I bake and worry about getting the measurements just-so instead of thinking about all the stuff I can’t change.
Late last night, I decided to make breakfast muffins as I wanted to wake up to something positive. After a quick look in the fridge, I decided the strawberries I bought a few days ago would definitely go bad in the next two days, so the recipe just HAD to be strawberry based. No bananas, or else I would have made brown butter strawberry banana bread (an old late night baking favourite of mine), but the pantry told me I have an excess of white chocolate. Then I knew just the muffin I wanted to have my morning latte with.
Strawberries & Cream Muffins
Yield: 12 5.5oz muffins
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 tbsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup caster sugar
- 2 cups whipping cream
- 1/4 cup sunflower oil
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and prepare your muffin tin or muffin liners (I used 5.5oz standalone cups)
- Combine the flour, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and set aside
- In a smaller bowl, whisk the cream, oil, egg, and vanilla until incorporated
- Pour the cream mixture over the flour mixture and stir with a spatula until thoroughly combined
- Add the chopped strawberries and white chocolate chips (leaving roughly 1/4 cup of each to sprinkle on top of the muffins later) and fold into the batter
- Scoop up the batter into the prepared muffin tins or liners, top each muffin with some more strawberries and white chocolate chips, then transfer into the preheated oven. Reduce the heat to 165°C/fan-forced and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops appear golden and a skewer inserted at an angle comes out clean (depending on the size of your muffins). Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely
Clean up, wash up, go to sleep, then wake up 4 hours later when your alarm clock goes off and enjoy a fresh muffin, reheated quickly if you like, and a cup of brewed coffee. This happens to me at least twice a week, nobody in my house ever says anything about it, but they’ll quietly watch me over breakfast as I set up my little studio and snap pictures of my late night baking spoils.