Recipe: The 27 Flavors I Added to This Muffin Mix Until I Could Feel Something
I used to be like you. When I was a child, I could be satisfied with a simple vanilla cupcake. Oh, how wistful I am for those days of carefree innocence. As I grew older, my palate matured, and I craved the apple cinnamon crumble. I longed for the orange chocolate creme brulee. I was downright horny for the ginger chestnut chutney. I thought I was merely sophisticated. I didn’t realize this quest for flavor would lead me down such a dangerous path.
Soon, a paltry pair of flavors did nothing for me. I needed caramel garlic black forest cake. I couldn’t get off without blackberry almond stuffed habañeros. Eventually, it was too late. Cinnamon coconut lemongrass elderberry cordial did nothing for me. Nutmeg pineapple rhubarb pesto once brought a tear to my eye; now it leaves my loins as dry as the well of my soul. I had become numb. Until one day. I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was wandering the aisles of Whole Foods in a daze, idly searching in vain for the combination of flavors that would unlock the door to my feelings, as was my usual lunchtime ritual. Then I saw her. The sample lady. We locked eyes, and she saw something in me that I myself haven’t seen in years. I could feel it. I could feel it. Her lips eagerly but playfully shaped the words “Care for a sample of our newest muffin recipe?” And I found I did. I did care for that.
It was incredible. It was like having an orgasm during an earthquake at Christmastime with your long-lost family while your best friend died. Every emotion that had been buried deep in the soil of my mind came flooding to the surface in full Technicolor. Once I composed myself, I breathlessly asked “What’s in these?” but the sample lady only coyly alluded to a proprietary blend of spices and extracts. I took another bite. Ginger, for sure. Cinnamon, almond, vanilla, all the major players. A hint of brandy. A zest of lemon. And … what? What is that?
I fled the woman who was my savior—or my downfall, I couldn’t yet tell—for the bulk spices aisle and loaded up. I hastily grabbed a box of Whole Foods brand muffin mix on my way to the register and didn’t look back all the way to the sanctuary of my kitchen. It would not be enough to simply buy these muffins from the bakery—the terror that they’d be discontinued was almost as great as the thirst for the secret knowledge they held. I had to recreate them.
Through many sleepless nights, I experimented. Honey. Molasses. Wine, red and white. Every nectar that came in a handmade glass bottle and every nut available from fair-trade non-GMO local sources. Finally, I did it. I replicated the exact same combination of flavors and once again reached sweet catharsis. Here is that recipe.
1 box Whole Foods brand muffin mix
1 large cage-free organic egg
1 cup organic almond butter
1 organic Granny Smith apple, chopped (It must be Granny Smith. Red Delicious are garbage.)
1 cup organic cherries, pitted and diced
1 pear, pureed
1 cup dried apricots
1 cup pumpkin, pureed
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup flax seeds
1 tsp ginger
1 oz organic caramel chips
1 tsp almond extract
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mint extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp basil
1 oz brandy
1 oz dark rum
1 tsp coffee grounds
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp lavender, dried and ground
1 tsp agave nectar
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp Nutella
1 Bay leaf
A pinch of cilantro
Exactly three and one-fifth grapes
Juice of one kiwi
Zest of one lemon
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour your muffin tin.
2. Mix ingredients well. Whisper your intentions into the batter.
3. Bake for 18-22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
4. Allow muffins to cool before carefully removing from the tin.
5. Find that sample lady. Find her. Hold your muffin out like an offering, but she will know it is not for her. Lock eyes the way you did that day so long ago, and take a bite. Say nothing. The feeble notes and grunts that comprise our spoken language are neither necessary nor desired here, not with her. She knows. You know. You finally know.