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It was cooler than usual for our annual camping trip this year, and relentless rain was predicted for much of the weekend. However, we were not to be deterred and bravely set up our tent, filled the mattresses with air, spread out our sleeping bags and snacks and launched the boat to take the kids tubing out on the lake.

lake degray kids tubing

Aside from one short burst of rain while we were lounging under a strategically placed tarp, sipping Sauvignon Blanc from a plastic cup, chatting and attempting to read a page or two, and another after we were already snuggled in our sleeping bags, we remained dry. Unfortunately our tent wasn’t so lucky, the bottom had distinct puddles of water that weren’t noticed until we stepped in them first thing in the morning.

lake degray tent

Cooking duties were divided among the 5 families, and as we were responsible for a breakfast, I thought it would be quickest and easiest just to make muffins at home, and bring them to share. Surprisingly they remained relatively unscathed in the sturdy plastic food bin, surviving the winding journey in the car, and being unceremoniously hauled from trunk to ground.

Nothing makes a body feel old like sleeping on an air mattress, with no close bathroom, and having to wait for a cup of strong, hot coffee after inelegantly disentangling from the sleeping bags and sleeping children, so I was glad there wasn’t any cooking over a campfire to be done first thing in the morning. Although I did freshen up the Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins in the cast iron skillet over the camp stove before serving them with the Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins, yogurt and fruit.


blueberry sour cream muffins


1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/3 cup flour

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1 teaspoon cinnamon


1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 rounded cup sour cream

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

1 rounded cup frozen blueberries


Heat oven to 375F. In a medium bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, butter and cinnamon. Rub with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Refrigerate until ready to use.


Butter a 12-cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners. In a medium bowl, whisk the 1 1/2 cups flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the egg at medium speed until frothy. Add the sugar and melted butter and beat until pale yellow, 1 minute. Beat in the sour cream, vanilla and lemon zest until blended. Add the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until almost blended. In a bowl, toss the blueberries with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. Using a rubber spatula, fold the blueberries into the batter. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full of batter and sprinkle with the topping. Bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a rack.


Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, December 2009



chocolate hazelnut muffins

2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 to 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips

1/4 cup cocoa

2/3 cup buttermilk

2/3 cup vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup chocolate hazelnut spread

raw sugar for topping muffins

Heat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners. In a bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, salt, chocolate chips and cocoa powder. In a large bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, eggs, sugar and hazelnut spread. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, and fold until just barely blended.

Divide the batter among the liners, sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until puffed and golden brown and a toothpick in the center comes out clean, 13 to 17 minutes. Cool in the pan.


Recipe adapted from Rachael Ray, March 2015