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I’ve been spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen these days. To be completely honest, I don’t usually put a whole lot of effort when it come to dinner during the week. A lot of open this bag and reheat this frozen entree type of thing. However, a couple friends of ours have recently become parents, and we’ve been taking meals to them a few times a week. Where I am unwilling to make the effort just for us, it’s a completely different story when it comes to someone else. Mostly I make dinner items that are easily microwaveable, but I’ve also been trying to throw in hand-sized baked goods that are easily consumed in between feedings and diaper changing. This weekend I decided to whip up some Cranberry Maple Muffins.
- After making the Apple Cider Muffins last month, I knew I’d have to overfill the cups to get the generously sized muffins (I think) most of us prefer. With that in mind, this recipe yielded 8 muffins instead of 12.
- I used real maple syrup (from Canada, no less), and if “maple” wasn’t in the title, no one would be able to tell it was an ingredient. It brought the needed sweetness, but if you want straight up awesome maple flavor? This is not the recipe for you.
- This is a personal preference, but without the maple flavor being noticeable, I thought these muffins needed something extra to round out the flavor. My vote would be for some sort of citrus.
I seem to always find myself at a loss when it comes to cooking breakfast for Christmas morning. I mean, I want it to be something special, but then again I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen while everyone else is hanging out and getting their Christmas on. First world problems, right? Since I have yet to come up with a brilliant solution to the dilemma this year, I have been browsing through my cookbooks and looking for something that looks good. After flipping through The Muffin Book, I noticed a recipe that was not only seasonally inspired, but that I already had the ingredients for. Win win, right?
- Be super careful not to over mix your batter; I got a bit carried away, and my muffins were a little more toothsome than I would have liked. You know, sometimes the holiday music moves you and you’re not paying attention the way you should be.
- I did not have enough batter to complete my dozen muffins, I had to go back and make an additional half batch to fill my muffin tins to the desired level. So either take that dozen down to 8 or increase your batter recipe accordingly.
- All in all, these were decent muffins. They puffed up and turned a lovely golden brown. For my personal taste, the next time I make these the batter will include cinnamon and maybe a splash of vanilla, just for funsies.
I haven’t decided whether this will be on the Christmas morning menu yet, but considering how easy it was to whip up I’d say with a few tweaks we definitely have a contender.
When I was much younger, I religiously watched the Style Network. Growing up in a small town, I was determined to get out there and see the world and be just as together and fabulous as those chic accomplished ladies. One of the shows I adored was Nigella Bites. Watching the beautiful Ms. Lawson navigate her beautiful kitchen and create delectable looking baked goods was one of the reasons I wanted to learn how to bake.
Last year, a client of ours brought in a HUGE box of cook books (she was hard core dieting, and sugar and bread were the devil) and had us rummage through her collection and take whatever we wanted. I came a way with a small stack that included How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson. Some how it ended up packed away, and I forgot about it until I stumbled across it again this weekend. Clearly, it was time to put its glossy pages to good use. Thus, Baklava Cupcakes.
- Super easy to throw together, and they have the added bonus of sounding impressive when you tell people what they are.
- Flavor was really good; I did add a teaspoon of ground vanilla to the batter because 1 – I could and 2 – I like vanilla in my muffins. Andy LOVED them, especially the bits of filling that baked over the edge; they were basically cinnamon pecan brittle.
- You have to be very careful not to over mix your batter. I got a bit carried away, and although the flavor of the muffins was still on point, the texture was just a tad on the chewy side.
All in all, a really positive baking experience, and I can’t wait to try out some of the other recipes.
It was a lovely lovely weekend. We ran errands, did a bit of house cleaning, had brunch with friends. Busy, but in a meandering sort of way. Now that my kitchen is almost under control again I decided to make some muffins. And since Andy has been making sure that we end up with a banana or four more than we need, I took the hint and decided some Chocolate Chip Banana Spice Muffins were in order.
- 3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
- 1/3 cup melted butter
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cup of flour
- 1 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and arrange the baking cups in a muffin pan.
Mash the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. In a large bowl, combine bananas, butter, eggs, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, sugar, and vanilla extract. Thoroughly combine ingredients with wooden spoon, making sure to scrape sides and the bottom of the bowl. Mix flour into wet ingredients until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips with a rubber spatula. Spoon the batter into each of the baking cup and fill about halfway.
Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the muffins turn brown.
Makes 16-18 regular muffins.
I’ve been told it’s un-american, but I really dislike pumpkin. Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin spice cake, all completely lost on me. I love the way all these things smell baking, but i’ve just never enjoyed the taste. Andy and I had our first Thanksgiving together about two weeks after we started dating, and the topic of my extreme dislike of all things pumpkin inevitably came up. Instead of teasing me about my pumpkin aversion he just laughed and said, “hey, that’s not a problem, I can have your piece of pie then.” So in honor of my spice cake, pumpkin pie loving sweetheart I decided to add pumpkin muffins to my seasonal baking rotation. Andy assures me that these are truly amazing little muffins and since not a single muffin makes it to day two, I am inclined to believe him.
Pumpkin Spice Mini Muffins
2 cups spice cake mix
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/3 cup fat-free liquid egg
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In a large mixing bowl combine all the cupcake ingredients, mix until blended.
Line mini muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray
Fill cups almost to the brim, these dense, moist little morsels don’t rise a whole lot. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Allow muffins to cool and then enjoy!
(Makes about 24 mini muffins)
Note: We are big fans of well spiced cakes so keep that in mind when you are deciding if you want to included the optional ingredients, the recipe works just as well without them.
* This recipe is an adaptation from Iced’n Spiced Pumpkin Puddin’ Cupcakes from the book Hungry Girl 200 Under 200.
I surprised Andy with warm pumpkin muffins and a chia latte for Sunday snack yesterday afternoon. In true form, as of this morning there are no more muffins 🙂
Images by Vylette.