Here is a rough portrait of my skills and strengths when I was 18: Falling on my face on the soccer field. Organizing a MySpace Top 8. Driving badly. Sending 120-character text messages on my awesome flip phone (but only to ask when we’re meeting up to get burritos or if so-and-so needs a ride, because no one has real conversations over texts, don’t be crazy). Composing AIM away messages with carefully curated song lyrics that mean things. And making Kraft macaroni & cheese.
I say all this because, in slight contrast, a gal we all know and love spent her 18th year (and 17th!) single-handedly cooking for, shooting, and writing a cookbook. While continuing an award-winning blog. And still attending, and casually kicking butt in, high school. A cookbook, you guys! Izy is literally too cool for school.
The thing is, Izy’s gorgeous book isn’t a cookbook that’s marvelous because she’s 18 — it’s a marvel all on its own. Every page is filled with a keen sense of taste, a love for food, and an eye for art that age doesn’t bestow. Not to mention the most wonderful, genuine personality (which I can attest to, having met the lovely Izy in person back in May!) that shows that the greatest inspiration is both inside and out.
When I came across this recipe for double chocolate muffins in Izy’s cookbook, I knew instantly what I’d be making first. I’ve been on a years-long hunt for the perfect chocolate muffin — the kind that draws you in at the coffee shop, your face to the glass of the display window, and has you clutching a wax-paper bag before you know what hit you; the ones with a satisfying layer of chocolate chunks studded on top and a comfortingly dense crumb, decadent without being too sweet. I’ve tested a few recipes, but with middling success, and after awhile I just shelved the idea in pursuit of less classically legendary desserts and more attainable goals.
But when I flipped to Izy’s version, I knew the search was over. Izy’s recipe is stocked full of whole grains and hefty oat flour, but also an extra generous helping of cocoa and dark chocolate — together, the combination yields a muffin that feels just hearty enough to enter totally-justified breakfast territory, while still chocolate-y enough that you know you’re getting away with eating dessert for breakfast. And that’s the whole beauty of Izy’s book. It’s the perfect balance between decadence and nourishment, healthfulness and flavor, without suggesting that there’s ever been a compromise.