You're supposed to remember your "firsts", aren't you? Strangely enough, I have vague memories of the first time I learned how to bike or my first trip on a plane...or anything that's 'supposed to be' significantly important in one's life. However I certainly do recall some of my first baking moments. I knew I always loved food, and before exploring my savory side, my first love was baking- cakes, breads, muffins, pies... all of which represented this delicious sugar-coated world I dreamed to endlessly explore. I'll always remember the first baking recipe I ever tried to make (scones), the flavour of my first muffins (banana), and without a doubt: I'll definately remember the time I burned a whole tray of chocolate cookies... (as much as I'd like not to remember that one!)
Then there are the first recipes you learn, and for me, one that kicked off my baking experience was what is known in France as a ''quatre-quarts'', which literally means ''four fourths''- producing something similar to a pound cake. The title is self-explanatory that sometimes I feel a quatre-quarts could be the baking for dummies recipe par excellence. One fourth eggs, one fourth butter, one fourth sugar, one fourth flour. This recipe is easier to remember then my own e-mail password- that's how straightforward it is- and made for a totally appropriate first recipe to explore (you didn't think I was making macarons in my mother's womb did you?)
Anyway, so I often go back to the quatre-quarts recipe, to which I make certain adjustments depending on what I'm looking to create. For instance, these wonderful Nutella-Hazelnut Muffins. There's really nothing special about the recipe, but they turned out to be marvelous: one fourth eggs, one fourth butter, one fourth sugar, one fourth flour plus ground hazelnuts and whirls of Nutella...and maybe some cinnamon as well. The only thing that's missing is a cold glass of milk for a totally regressive experience, reminding one of childhood memories and all the fabulous firsts that were a part of it...
Eggs, sugar (brown & white), cinnamon...and a few more ingredients to complete the batter
First, a dollop of Nutella...
Then some crushed hazelnuts...
Straight out of the oven... and ready to enjoy...
Recipe for Nutella-Hazelnut Muffins:
Based on a quatre-quarts recipe which implies every one egg calls for 50gr/1.75oz sugar, 50gr/1.75oz butter and 50gr/1.75oz flour.
So, we can assume:
100gr / 3.5oz sugar (you can choose to do half brown sugar, half white)
100gr / 3.5oz butter
100gr / 3.5oz flour
50gr / 1.75oz ground hazelnuts
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. In a bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, butter and cinnamon for a good two minutes. Mix in the flour and ground hazelnuts. Pour batter into muffin pans. Onto each muffin, add a spoon of Nutella and swirl into the batter gently. Top off with crushed hazelnuts and bake for 20 minutes.