Sunday, March 14, 2010

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins for Tea Time


I grew up in a pretty small family. My Dad and myself are both only children and my Mom had only one sibling, an older sister, my Aunt Jenni. Always a beauty, Aunt Jenni was my idol. I loved her auburn hair, her bright blue eyes, and the sprinkling of freckles that ran across her nose. It was such a treat to visit her. Filled with anticipation, I could hardly wait for her to paint my nails, do my hair and bring out the high heels. I would happily raid my Aunt's closet while she and my parents chatted away. When it was time to leave, she always gave me something of hers, usually a purse, which always smelled of her perfume. I hid those gifts in my closet, saving them for my eyes only, smelling them when I missed her, treasuring them while waiting for the next visit.

In this Photo: My Aunt Jenni in her twenties


Even as a teenager I adored her. In fact, I paid even closer attention, noticing things I hadn't before. It seemed that when my Aunt would become angry or frustrated, she would utter the same silly phrase over and over. The words "Oh Sugar" came out of her mouth like some kind of candy-coated swear word. Even in anger and frustration this woman was polite and ladylike. When other kids my age were using real swear words, I was uttering "Oh sugar" under my breath and laughing.

In this Photo: My Aunt and I looking through photo albums


My Aunt passed away unexpectedly in her late-forties, when I was about 20 years old. Still in shock of her passing, my Mom and I were tasked with going through her belongings. For all of my life, my Aunt's belongings had been such a thing of joy to me and now they were overwhelmingly sad. The only laugh of the day occurred when we opened up her kitchen belongings and found the coffee mug in the above picture with the words "Housework is a Bitch". I'm sure the look on my face was priceless. I couldn't believe that this mug belonged to my sweet and ladylike Aunt. I just couldn't picture this lady, who never swore, using a mug like this. My Mom, trying to make light of the entire day, reminded me of my bad housekeeping and encouraged me to keep the mug. For one reason or another, this mug was one of the few things I kept that day and I'm so glad that I did. To me, it resembles something I may have had in common with my Aunt Jenni as an adult. It reminds me of the gleam in her eye and makes me believe that there was much more to this woman I only knew as a child. I so wish that I had been given the chance to know my Aunt in my adult years. It appears we would've had some things in common.

In this photo: My Mom, Me and my Aunt on the day I took my first steps



Whenever I drink tea, I use this mug and think of my Aunt Jenni. I've thought of buying some new mugs, but I like this old one far too much. I debated using this mug for this week's Tea Time celebration over at I Heart Cooking Clubs. In the end, I went ahead with it. Sorry if the language offends anyone! To go along with the tea, I baked up Nigella's Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins, recipe can be found online HERE.



Notes/Results: Nigella says to use a good quality cocoa powder, so I broke out the Valrhona cocoa powder for the first time. I thought there would be a noticeable difference in using Valrhona cocoa powder, but there really wasn't. Good old Hershey cocoa powder is just as good, at least in a muffin anyway. I used buttermilk in place of regular milk because I think buttermilk makes a better muffin. I wanted to add some cinnamon or cayenne for added spice, but knew my daughter wouldn't eat them if I did. The muffins were nice, moist, and chocolatey and my daughter and I each ate two in place of a normal and healthy lunch. I'm doing my best to teach her that chocolate is a proper food group!

Head on over to I Heart Cooking Clubs to check out all the other Tea Time Celebrations!



P.S. I believe whole-heartedly in the quote on this mug!

28 comments:

  1. Beautiful story...a great memento to remember your lovely aunt by. Even the lady-like one's have their moments too I suppose :)
    The muffins look sooo good! My palate never notices when I spring for the good stuff either.

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  2. A lovely story--so nice to have those special memories. I think the mug is perfect and you know Nigella would approve! ;-) The muffins look like a perfect tea time or lunchtime treat--great pick.

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  3. Oh Kim, this is a tremendous post. Your admiration for Aunt Jenni is obvious and the bond between the two of you is evident in that photo (look at you in pigtails!).

    Based on her Bourbon Street t-shirt back then, I think Aunt Jenni might have been a little more partying than you suspected :)

    Thanks for sharing this heartfelt post.

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  4. What a beautiful post and tribute to your aunt. Love the mug, love the muffins, love it all. Thanks for sharing this.

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  5. That is a priceless story, so nice to have those memories.
    The muffins do look perfect for tea.
    I am so jealous of all you bakers who have a choice of cocoa powders at your markets!

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  6. Aw, this is such a sweet post. I love stories like this. I laughed out loud when I read about your aunt's mug. That is actually adorable! I want a mug like that! I should go make one at Walmart or something. :) The muffins look amazing. You know my weakness... chocolate. :)

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  7. Kim, this is a very sweet post and a wonderful tribute to your aunt, she would be proud!

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  8. Sorry to hear about the early passing of your aunt. I love her taste in mugs. It must make you smile when you drink out of it :D
    The muffins look a great accompaniment daaaaahling. Delicious.
    *kisses* HH

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  9. Oh, Kim, what a lovely post. I think we would all have loved your Aunt Jenni. I know I love her mug!

    I agree with you about the cayenne in the chocolate cupcakes. Heh, I'd have probably gone ahead and added it--more for me! I'm so selfish...

    Thank you for this post.

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  10. Kim, this is a fantastic post. So beautiful.

    Your Aunt Jenni sounds like a wonderful person. Love her mug!

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  11. This was such a lovely post. Your aunt would be so pleased with your memories of her. I, by the way, share her thoughts on housework :-).

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  12. I love the story behind the mug-sometimes the rellies surprise us all hey?!?! ;) Those muffins look good too:)
    The Peppered Pantry~

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  13. I love this post, Kim! Beautiful :)

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  14. precious tribute to your aunt, who sounds like an amazing woman. you about brought tears to my eyes. and like you, i whole heartedly agree with that mug! fantastic muffins!

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  15. Lovely tribute to your Aunt Jenni. Great mug I wish I had one. Muffins look terrific,I love chocolate and spice and I would have added cayenne to 1/2 of them.
    Mimi

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  16. That was a lovely story! Thanks for sharing - and I could not agree with you more on housework!

    Luckily I have a daughter who loves to clean - not sure what I'll do when she moves out!

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  17. I absolutely adore that mug! I might have to find one for myself. Because if there is one thing in life that I hate. It is housework.

    This was such a cute back-story Kim! A wonderful tribute to your aunt. The muffins sound delicious!

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  18. How lucky you have been to have had your aunt in your life. Just a beautiful post - from the memories to the sweet muffins - all filled with goodness.

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  19. I agree, love the muffins, love the story and I want a mug like that too. Double chocolatey goodness ;D!

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  20. No way was I offended with that mug. What a poignant story. So glad you had an Aunt like that. I hope my niece feels that way about me, someday. As for the muffins? Yummy! I love muffins and I agree about the buttermilk.

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  21. great mug and what an adorable story

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  22. Kim – That was a great post. Really good….and I love the memories. How sad your aunt passed away at such a young age but how wonderful you still have that memento and think of her all the time.

    \Your muffins look great too!

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  23. Great posting, Kim. Your memories of Aunt Jenni are so sweet. As children, we don't see adults as they really are...she would probably be amused to read this post! I love her coffee mug!
    Nigella's muffins look divine. There's such a fine line between muffins and cupcakes and thihs recipe straddles it!

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  24. What a beautiful post Kim! It sounds like you had a very special Aunt :)
    I agree with the mug 100% :)

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  25. Great posting, beautiful story...ur aunt is gorgeous!!!Loved the mug.

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  26. Wonderful pictures! Thank you for the information about the cocoa also, I was contemplating purchasing a "good quality" cocoa to replace my hersheys - but now I think I will save the money and stay with the home cocoa!!

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  27. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. And I really love that mug. Sounds like your Aunt had a great sense of humor. It is a shame we couldn't have been friends with our adult relatives, I'm certain some of mine would have had lots in common with me as an adult.
    Oh and the muffins look divine!

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  28. What cute pictures! Chocolate Chocolate-Chip muffins are my favorite but I've never made them before! I never had a recipe... until now ,-)

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