Ice Cream Muffins

There are several life lessons I hold dear that I'd like to pass on to Little C:

1. You should memorize all the songs from Free to Be You and Me, preferably by watching it over and over on an old VHS tape checked out from the library.

2. It is never okay for a professor to offer to give you a massage. Even if it's your Theater professor.

3. Sometimes you need to embrace the crazy and just go for it--it could turn out to be really great. Like combining ice cream and flour and making cake out of it. Seriously!

Important, Oprah-esque Life Lessons aside, I am excited to share this totally kitschy recipe for Ice Cream Muffins with you guys. It's another winner from my recipe scavenging at Gramma's house back in June, and definitely one of the wackier ones I came across. Since finding it, I've discovered that there are several versions out there, some which literally are just ice cream mixed with flour and then baked. This recipe I'm sharing with you has the extra help of a bit of oil and an egg, which I imagine makes for a better flavor, texture and mouthfeel in the finished product than just ice cream and flour alone.

Another thing that will really make these crazy little muffin-cupcake hybrids the best they can possibly be is to use a really great ice cream, the more high-end, the better. I'd look for something that doesn't have more ingredients than it needs to, not much beyond cream, milk, sugar and eggs. The cheaper the ice cream, the more air it will have incorporated into it (not to mention creepy stabilizers, gums and preservatives) and since we're measuring by volume and not weight here, you want to make sure you have enough dairy and sugar in the mix with the flour for the best texture and taste. You're already rocking the boat here with the amount of crazy in the recipe--set yourself up for success with the best ingredients you can get your hands on.

The finished product is a delight--lightly sweetened, great vanilla flavor, totally versatile. I understand that we're sort of teetering on the edge of Sandra Lee territory with this one, but I was so pleasantly surprised and basically humored by the entire experience of this recipe that I think I'll take a tablescape for the team and share it with you anyway. Enjoy!

Ice Cream Muffins Adapted from an old strip of newsprint from an unknown Midwestern publication

The better quality ice cream you choose, the better your results here. Note that this recipe calls for self-rising flour--it will not work with any other flour. I imagine other flavors of ice cream can be substituted. These can have a crazy rise, so keep the muffin cups only about 1/2 full of batter.

Makes 12

2 cups premium vanilla ice cream, very soft 2 cups self-rising flour 1 egg 2 tablespoons vegetable oil 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Position a rack to the center of the oven and preheat it to 350 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the ice cream and flour until smooth. Beat in the egg, oil and vanilla until well-blended. Divide the batter equally among the muffin tins, each about 1/2 full. Bake until the muffins are risen, lightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean, 18-20 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.