Baking Frenzy: Macmillan Coffee Morning

My favourite type of baking is baking for other people. I don’t often eat sweet things, but I love making treats for H. and friends and family, and strangers! A great opportunity came along recently when a local pub/music venue hosted a Macmillan coffee morning. Macmillan is a large UK charity that provides support for people diagnosed with cancer (and their families). Every year they host a massive fundrasier, the coffee morning, which last year raised £20 million! Incredible.

I went a bit crazy and made two types of muffins as well as scones. In hindsight I should have stuck to two.

Chocolate & hazelnut scones
I saw the recipe for the scones in one of Goop’s recent newsletters. They did NOT turn out as expected. I really don’t know what happened because I followed the recipe exactly. What’s going on, Gwyneth? Things started to seem odd when the recipe called for shaping the dough into balls (with an ice cream scoop), and freezing. When I have made scones before, I’ve always cut them out and baked without freezing. Because they were frozen, the scones never really flattened; they stayed rather lumpy throughout baking. In addition, the texture was way off — they were very crumbly and looked and tasted much more like cookies than scones. FORTUNATELY although they looked odd, they tasted very good! What went wrong?! I really have no idea.

On the other hand, both muffins turned out perfectly…

Honey & apple muffins
This first one honey and apple caught my eye because it has coffee and whisky looked easy, and in fact it was very straightforward and produced a great muffin! I halved the amount of sugar which was for the best because with the honey it was already sweet enough. I’d definitely make these again.

Spinach, bacon, & cheddar muffins
I decided to do a savoury muffin at the last minute: I had all of the ingredients on hand and thought these ones, from one of my favourite magazines, delicious, looked intriguing. They are slightly more work than the sweet muffins because of the added steps of cooking the bacon and blanching the spinach, but worth it. These are my ideal breakfast or lunch muffin.

This frenzy produced enough to donate roughly 2/3 of the goods and save the rest for us. I brought a few leftovers to a meeting at the university and one of the senior academics in my department proclaimed that I was an “excellent baker”! I don’t know about that, but although it was slightly stressful at times, I’m glad I could contribute a small share to such a worthy cause.

Sept. cooking 051 Some of the ingredients!

Sept. cooking 054 *These are only a few — I didn’t manage to snap a pic of everything together, unfortunately!

Finally: a happy Thanksgiving weekend to all Canadians! I am cooking for 8 tomorrow, so stay tuned for a report on that! Fingers crossed.


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