Thursday, July 22, 2010

Green Muffin Cases

My inner Scrooge really loves the whole green movement – Reduce Reuse Recycle is a great excuse to save the pennies and polish your halo at the same time. No longer are you stigmatized as being stingy when you re-use your shopping bags, you are now a green heroine, nobly saving the planet as you shop.

Paper muffin cases are a case in point. We bake muffins every week, often double batches for school bake sales. I used to use muffin cases all the time. It’s easier and more convenient. But if you think about it, that piece of paper just becomes litter within minutes, if the kids pounce on the muffins straight away, and it’s just one more non-essential to add to the weekly shop. So I stopped using paper muffin cases most of the time for home-baking, and it wasn’t a big deal at all. I just had to soak the tins a bit before washing them.

And yet there are times when a paper case really does make a difference, like when you are trying out a chocolate chip muffin recipe and envisage gooey melted chocolate going to waste all over the tins. Of course I now had no paper muffin cases in the house after my frugal/green spree of conscientiousness. I’d also nearly run out of baking paper for the same reason, just a few odds and ends left over from a series of cakes, which left me with the stash of butter papers in the fridge.

When I was growing up, butter papers were always saved in the fridge. They knew about frugality in those days, having grown up with rationing and wartime shortages and lived through Seventies coal miners' strikes and all. Saving butter papers was a habit that transferred itself to me, despite our generation's prodigality. A fridge full of butter papers generally isn’t all that much use, not very zen either, cluttering up the place. Quite handy for greasing baking trays, but that’s about it. Except when you need muffin cases at the last minute.

I think they worked perfectly – perhaps not very elegant, but they have a certain green chic about them, don’t you think?!

But perhaps the scraps of baking paper made the more elegant version. They make me think of The Sound of Music, a drift of nuns in sparkling white wimples…

And Marisa's chocolate muffin recipe? The kids loved them, in fact Middle Daughter made them all by herself. Me, I'm holding out for dark chocolate chips for the next batch, with the good dark Nomu cocoa, but then that would be my inner chocoholic, who vanquishes the inner Scrooge every time.


  1. Kit - what a great idea! Although wouldn't you have to buy a whole crapload of butter sticks just to make one batch of muffins? And then what do you do with the naked butter? I mean, won't the cops show up and cause a ruckus? "Sorry ma'am, we've got a report of naked butter at this location. Please step out of the kitchen."

  2. Wonderful image, Marcheline!
    The thing is, I can never throw away a butter paper so I have a stash of them in the fridge that threatens to overtake the shelf on occasion. So this works out as a useful way of concealing from the butter police how much butter we go through in a week! I was cutting the big 500g/1lb papers in four for these, so it would only use three papers in all.

  3. What a super idea! And I love the rustic appeal of the muffins baked in the butter papers - will definitely keep that in mind.

  4. I am French but live in the UK. Today is a great day: I have just discovered your blog, attracted to it by the 'green' muffin article. We visit SA almost every year - I love the food and I have been trying to find some great muffin recipes ever since. I noted the link to the chocolate muffins on your blog but where can I find a great 'healthy' muffin recipe? I still remember an early breakfast of these great muffins, looking at the sea at Camps Bay. Would I love to recreate these fantastic SA muffins! Help, please!

  5. We recycled butter and margarine paper too -- glad to know it wasn't just us who did this! You can also use waxed paper, but having written that, I can hardly remember when the last time I saw waxed paper in the stores.

    'Inner Scrooge' -- love that.


Thanks for your comments - I appreciate every one!