Apparently some of you enjoy it when I share my failures here. Normally these are culinary disasters involving macarons and lurid pink icing for caterpillar cakes but today I thought I’d give you a laugh at my first tragic attempt to send a valentines card back in 1989. More dog’s breakfast than valentines breakfast.
We were preparing for GCSE French exam in the 5th year. There was an extra pupil sitting the exam: a third year who learnt the language from his native speaking mother, the manageress of the local branch of Benetton. Well, with one bat of his dark eyelashes and hearing the perfect French complete with purring accent the age gap didn’t matter one jot. I was in the embarassing position of having a total crush on a kid two years younger.
Much flirting began over copies of Record Mirror in the school library. I ended up confessing to my best friend Beccy. Whilst stalking the boy’s mother and unfolding lots of colourful jumpers we decided that that best course of action was to send a valentines card. Only we didn’t know where he lived and this was before the days of 192.com.
So I had to fess up to another friend who was in the same year group to see if she could find out, carefully, diplomatically, without making it obvious like “Oy where do you live because one of the fifth years fancies you.” The best she managed was a description of his house and the street, a main bus route. We caught the bus, peered out of the window and worked out with some confidence which number house it was.
An elaborate poem was written. It had sixteen lines but I can’t remember it apart from the last two lines which were “Could this be from someone you know, Guess who it is that loves you Bruno?” (This was his name. I was going to use asterisks but it looked silly and you can’t see that it rhymed. What the heck, he’ll never read this.) The card was posted.
And after that? The flirting in the library continued but was reciprocated no more, no less than previously. The two trusted friends both agreed that it was impossible to tell whether he could tell I’d sent him the card or not but it did look like he fancied me back.
Immediately before the end of term, I plucked up the courage to ask him out, to the ice rink (you may have already read of my Torvill and Dean obsession). Over the phone. His mother answered. She called him to the phone. He didn’t want to go ice skating with me. That was that. I went back to my bedroom and sobbed listening to Blondie (deeply unfashionable at the time).
We later found out that actually he didn’t live in that house. He’d never received the card. But somebody obviously had. I often wonder what happened over the cornflakes there, some woman saying to her confused husband “Is that what she calls you?!”
Here are the sensible bigger cases instead. These ones took 18 minutes and look very nice as you can see below.
Sadly the miniature muffins expanded a bit too much to be successful.
I managed to get them out of the mould in one piece with erm… 50/50 chances of success.
Okaaaaay. Well you can see where I was going with this. The heart shaped bottoms look ok but their tops are a disaster. I think the moulds should only have had 2/3 mix in them and that the raspberry was a stretch too far. But like my teenage love life, I am not disheartened enough to give up, I will try again, next time a little wiser.
White Chocolate and Sour Cherry or Raspberry Heart Muffins
Makes a small batch of around 9 standard muffins, 6 large muffins or 15 mini muffins (if you use mini cases not a silly ice cube mould)
Adapted from Donna Hay Modern Classics Vol 2
The dried sour cherries were bought on my recent trip to Montenegro. You could substitute with dried cranberries.
135g (1 cup) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
85g (1/3 cup) caster (superfine) sugar
125ml (1/2 cup) buttermilk or sour cream
40mls (1 1/4 fl oz) vegetable or ground nut oil
75g (2/3 cup) raspberries or dried sour cherries
60g (bit less than 1/2 cup) white chocolate, chopped coarsely
1. Preheat oven to 180c (350f) (gas mark 4). Sift your flour, baking powder and sugar together in a bowl. Stir to mix.
2. Break the eggs into a mixing jug with the buttermilk and oil. Whisk until smooth. Stir into the dry ingredients until just combined.
3. Add the chopped chocolate and stir once or twice but no more.
4. Spoon mixture into cases. Press raspberries if using into the batter dispersing evenly or else sprinkle over the dried fruit prodding to submerge under the surface slightly.
5. Bake for 12-18 minutes depending on size: less for small muffins, more for large ones. They are ready when a cocktail stick comes out dry.
Lovely story of your crash 😀 Love these muffins that you made eventhough they didn't come out as you expected. I can eat all of them 😛 The taste sounds awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Madame Sucre says
this just made my day! it made me realize that its ok that things dont always work out! so what!! eat em! LOL
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
@marymoh Thanks – though you mean crush not crash I hope!
@madamesucre – my son has been gobbling them up yes
faithy, the baker says
I love your story of your teen crush! 🙂 The mini muffins look great upside down and if you cut off the top you'll get nice heart shape! Looks very yummy to me!
My Carolina Kitchen says
I enjoyed your Valentine's story. Haven't we all had a crush on someone like that. You've brought back great memories for me.
Glad you've shared your muffin disaster with us. It made for a very interesting read. But all's well that end's well and your final product looks great.
What a great teenage crush, you have a great way with words and a fabulous sense of humour. I think your little heart muffins are just fine – besides its the thought that counts right? I'd love to have one!
Happy baking mon amie!
Weelllll, while we're on the top of bottoms, the heart-butts are QUITE ADORABLE! 🙂
brilliant story! you made me giggle there. Bruno, is that what she calls you?! Loves it 🙂 and such gorgeous muffins. You make me feel less bitter about Valentine's day. Also, are those silicon muffin cups? They are so pretty. I love those colours. x
Heh heh! You do crack me up Sarah, hilarious story! And I am smiling at the teeny-weeny-mini muffins, at least you have a few larger ones to scoff.
Chow and Chatter says
they look very tasty though, thats like something I would do lol
Very lovely story!! these muffins sound SO yummy! love the molds!
Heavenly Housewife says
I think cherry and white chocolate are an awesome combination. Dont worry about the heart muffins. Just next time do half the filling you did this time, i'm sure they will come out great next time.
I heart cupcakes says
Glad to see it wasn't just me who had experiences of such teenage crushes! And I love the idea that some couple had a domestic "is that what she calls you"..lol
Love the heart muffins – hope the mini ones work out next time. I got some heart silicone cases in Sainsbury's yesterday only to put them away in my baking drawer, next to an unopened pack from last year that I bought!
Kitchen Butterfly says
they all look lovely….the ones that made it, and the ones that got away! Crushes….oh, pls don't remind me!!!!Thank God we're all grown up!
The Cooking Ninja says
Aren't teenage crushes adorable and painful at the same time. I remember I had a total crush on this guy for years. Why? I have no idea and he isn't hot nor handsome. LOL! And like you, I finally pluck my courage to ask him out for a movie on a 'group date'(it helps that we were classmates and friends) but pretend it is just a friendly movie outing among friends. LOL!
Btw: I love your muffins!
I love the idea of someone just getting a random card calling them Bruno!
I was thinking about using ice cube trays for mini cakes but was also a bit worried about melting. Good to see it survived so far!
LOL – we ALL have stories like this, and as a teenager, I found things like this mortifying. Now with the distance of time, I can laugh. These muffins look fab, and perfect for Valentines Day.
Rambling Tart says
You are hilarious! 🙂 I love this story. 🙂
Liked your story:).The muffins looks great…i liked the heart shaped ones:)I liked the molds:)
Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella says
Sarah, that's so cute bout the ice rink adn Torvill & Dean. Was there Bolero playing in your head at the same time? Ahh the single ones look great. As for the others, the perfect addition to a trifle! 😀
Barbara Bakes says
You definitely get an A for effort! I know you were thinking as you filled those little hearts that you were overfilling them – I've been there many times and in the end think why did I trust my instincts! But I bet they all tasted delicious!
Loved the story, loved your sweet little muffins,too.
deer baby says
That's so funny. I wonder who got the card. He's probably still wondering (and his wife). Isn't unrequited teenage love just the pits? I remember it well.
Tracy @ Sugarcrafter says
Ahaha, thanks for sharing your story. 😉 The muffins are cute! Even the ones that expanded look delicious. 🙂
You win some you lose some 🙂 It's always fashionable to sob to Blondie… by the way! Great story!
Mowie @ Mowielicious says
Those are such cute muffins Sarah, but not as cute as that story =)
Julia @Mélanger says
I never had the courage to do something like that when I was younger. Good for you! Cute little cupcakes for Valentine's day!
Sarah, Maison Cupcake says
@faithy It's too late. Ted has eaten most of them.
@mycarolinakitchen thanks for visiting!
@bonjourromance Merci beaucoup!
@vickys I like the sound of heart butts
@diva yes they are silicon cups from John Lewis or Lakeland I think
@nicisme The bigs ones did get scoffed very quickly
@chowandchatter Great minds think alike!
@jennifer @nina the ice cube mould is from Sainsburys
@hh I will try again yes
@iheartcupcakes oh dear, I might have prompted a divorce in suburbia
@kitchenbutterfly I know… I can laugh now at least!
@thecookingninja Yes I was a gooseberry on a few of those
@jenny No problems with melting but was only 180c
@sugarcrafter @barbarabakes yes white chocolate bits were very nice
@deerbaby They might have it framed in their toilet
@tspegar I still do it now
@julia melanger Brave or stupid?!
Megan Gordon says
Well, I think you're FABULOUS for posting the good along with the bad…there's a lot of not-so-perfect that goes on in my kitchen, that's for sure! Love the little heart molds and the recipe sounds fantastic!
Jeanne @ Cooksister! says
Brilliant!! I also recall some truly tragic teenage Valentines escapades and meaningful staring… I stalked a hotel catering manager for an entire week once, making doe-eyes at him every time he set foot intot the public areas of the hotel – truly embarrassing now but seemed necessary at the time as he vaguely resembled a young Mel Gibson 😉
I think the disaster muffins look kinf of interesting… but the full size ones are definitely better!!