Tag Archives: muffins

Banana Muffins and the Win-Win Fruit

6 Jul

OK, it has been several months. But I’m happy to report that I’m still alive and cooking…well, trying to, anyway, in this awful heat. 100-degree weather does not make me want to turn on the stove or oven. That’s how you know that the recipe I’m sharing with you today is good. It was worth the heat!

Today I baked my new favorite muffins. Starring what I consider the “win-win fruit”: bananas. You see, I am very picky about eating bananas. If they’ve got a slightly green peel and are served cold, YUM! Love them! But as soon as they turn yellow (or worse, yellow with brown spots), forget it. Something about bananas (perhaps the texture) beyond the slightly green stage makes me go, “bleh.”But would I let the fruit go to waste just because it passed the small window of time when I’ll eat them for a snack? Heck no! Then it’s time for banana bread, or better yet, banana muffins! You can’t go wrong 🙂

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And as a side note: I really think my husband decided to buy 6 bananas at the store this week instead of the usual 3 (which I can usually eat before they turn yellow) precisely because he knew it would motivate me to bake the rest. Yup, I’m onto him 😉

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These muffins are my favorite because they have all the lovely flavors you’d expect in banana bread with the cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, but in every bite you get a bigger proportion of the slightly crispy, sweet top (which comes from the cinnamon-sugar coating I add just before baking). Everyone knows the top is the best part of any muffin or quick bread 🙂 These muffins are also super moist and really easy to make. As long as you have bananas, you likely have everything you need on hand for spur-of-the-moment baking. Those are the most dangerous recipes, aren’t they? 🙂 Enjoy!

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Banana Muffins

(adapted from recipe by Giada De Laurentiis)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ripe bananas, peeled and coarsely mashed
  • Extra cinnamon & sugar for topping, if desired

Preparation:

  • Line two 12-cup cupcake pans with liners. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
  • Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a medium bowl to blend. Beat the sugar, oil, eggs, and vanilla in a large bowl to blend. Stir in the banana. Add the dry ingredients and stir just until blended.
  • Fill the cupcake liners with batter until each is almost full to the brim.
  • If desired, mix a little cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl and sprinkle each muffin with about a teaspoon of the topping.
  • Bake the muffins on the middle rack until the tops are golden brown and a tester inserted into the center comes out with no crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Transfer the muffins to a rack and cool slightly.

Makes about 24 cupcake-sized muffins.

Top of the Muffin to You: Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops

10 Apr

Everyone knows that the top of the muffin is the best part. There was even a Seinfeld  episode about it:

Elaine so eloquently stated that the muffin top is the best part because “it’s crunchy, it’s explosive, it’s where the muffin breaks free from the pan and sort of does its own thing.” So true, so true.

Her love for muffin tops inspired a colleague to start a bakery selling these treats, called “Top of the Muffin to You.” But there was only one problem: there was nothing to do with the stumps! The dump wouldn’t take them, and the shelter they tried donating them to received complaints from the homeless, enraged as they asked, “Where are the tops of these muffins??”

Now there’s a solution: baking just the muffin tops! I was so excited to try Bakerlady’s Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops, and still more excited that they are guilt-free because they are made from applesauce and pumpkin. This prevents against the muffin tops actually giving you a muffin top 🙂

The muffin tops turned out great. They are moist and flavorful, with a delicious sweet glaze drizzled on top.

Technically Elaine wouldn’t approve, as she believes the whole muffin should be baked and the top should be popped off. I guess we’ll have to agree to disagree 🙂

Pumpkin Spice Muffin Tops (adapted from recipe by Bakerlady)

Ingredients:

Muffin Tops-

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or use combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup cinnamon applesauce
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar (or use 3/4 cup each brown/white sugar)
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze-

  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and salt; set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of applesauce and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls. The size of each should be somewhere between what you would get from a medium sized cookie scoop (halfway between a melon baller and an ice cream scoop).
  • Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool muffin tops.
  • For the glaze: Combine confectioners’ sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency. Drizzle muffin tops with a fork.

Makes approximately 30 muffin tops.

Donuts + Muffins = Love: Jelly Donut Muffins

13 Mar

Spring Break has arrived! I technically don’t get much of a break; I’m still going to be working and counseling for 40 hours this week, but at least there are no classes! I decided that rather than dwell on the fact that I have to work during break, I would seize the opportunity to slack off on some homework this weekend and focus on cooking and baking instead. So far, have made so many fun discoveries, so look out for more posts from me this week!

Let’s start with muffins. I have been on a muffin-making spree lately, if you haven’t noticed. Muffins are just darn tasty and a convenient breakfast treat. Besides, it’s almost as fun to just say “MUFFINS!!!!!!!” as it is to eat them. Of course, I am referring to Liam Sullivan’s Cunningham Muffins video from a few years back. I still laugh hysterically every time I watch and/or think about the video. You MUST watch it if you  haven’t already:

But anyway, the particular muffin I am sharing with you today comes from the unique invention combining two sinfully delicious breakfast treats into one: DONUT MUFFINS! Don’t they sound irresistable?

This recipe is for jelly donut muffins (jelly donuts are the best donuts, after all). I love the sweet, fruity surprise in the middle of the muffins. I  filled half  of the muffins with blueberry preserves and the other half with strawberry jam, but you could fill them with whatever you like. On top is a yummy cinnamon sugar mixture. They actually really taste like donuts in muffin form…but perhaps even better!

Thanks to Bakerlady for sharing the recipe!

Jelly Donut Muffins (adapted from recipe by Bakerlady)

Ingredients:

For the Muffins-

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of your favorite jam/jelly

For the Topping-

 

  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  • In another bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
  • Spoon half of the batter into greased or paper-lined muffin cups.
  • Spoon 1 teaspoon jelly in center of each. Fill muffin cups two-thirds full with remaining batter.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until a toothpick inserted 1 in. from the edge comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.
  • Brush tops with butter. Combine sugar and cinnamon; dip tops of muffins in mixture. Serve warm.

Makes 20 muffins.

[Muffin Fail, then] Muffin Win: Coffee Cake Muffins w/ Sweet Glaze

11 Mar

Last week, a club that I’m a part of held a bake sale to raise funds for our activities. I agonized over what to bake. I needed something that would be tasty and unique, yet with broad appeal to the masses (aka groggy college students stumbling their way to 8am classes on a Monday morning). Muffins fit the bill, but what kind? Typical of me, I couldn’t decide between my new favorite muffin, Black and Blue Muffins with Almond Streusel, or a muffin that I had yet to discover. So I went with both, as I was dying to try Coffee Cake Muffins by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen.

There was good and bad news. Which do you want first? Bad, you say? OK.

The bad news was that I couldn’t resist experimenting with what I thought were fool-proof Black and Blue Muffins. I decided to to use a mixture of three berries instead of the usual blackberries and blueberries. Also, the last time I made these muffins, I let the frozen berries defrost then added them to the batter. A lot of “bleeding” of the juice occurred, so I tried Joy of Baking’s suggestion of throwing the frozen berries into the batter directly. The result was that there was still bleeding, yet it also took longer to bake the muffins. By the time the top of the muffins were done, the bottom of the muffins were too dry 😦

I was devastated! There I was, trying to bake something good enough for people to pay money for, and it wasn’t my best work 😦 I wanted to scrap them completely but my husband convinced me that they were still very good…just not as good as the time before. So, reluctantly, I packaged them for the bake sale. Luckily, those bake sale patrons probably don’t know what they’re missing in terms of how good those muffins usually taste. But lesson learned: if it aint broke, don’t fix it!

But now for the good news. The coffee cake muffins were great! I wasn’t so sure about them when they first came out of the oven because they didn’t taste very sweet. But just a little glaze on top made all the difference. I was very pleased with these ones 🙂 I think my husband was, too. As he enthusiastically “tested” the muffins, he tried to convince me that were terrible (I could see through his motive: he wanted the muffins to stay at home with him). 🙂

Muffin win!

Coffee Cake Muffins with Sweet Glaze (recipe by Sweet Pea’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

For the Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups sour cream

For the Milk Glaze:

  • 1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk

Preparation:

  • For the topping: In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and toss with a fork to coat with the flour mixture. Mix on medium-low speed until the texture resembles coarse cornmeal, with the butter pieces no larger than small peas. Transfer mixture to a medium bowl and place in refrigerator for 30 minutes before using.
  • Preheat oven to 350F. Line 24 muffin cups with muffin liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • For the muffins: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; set aside.
  • Using a hand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. Stir in vanilla extract by hand. Add flour mixture and sour cream and stir until just combined.
  • Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle half of the strudel mixture over the muffins, gently pressing it into the batter. Sprinkle evenly with remaining strudel mixture.
  • Bake rotating the pans halfway through until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool completely before removing muffins.
  • To make milk glaze, whisk the powdered sugar and milk together in a small bowl.
  • Place muffins on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and drizzle with glaze.

Glaze: Fun to eat, not to clean from counter

This story does have a happy ending. I learned a new muffin recipe, and even though my other muffins weren’t up to my standards,  they were still quite good. Better yet, the bake sale was a success and the club raised a lot of money. And we all lived happily ever after.