Archive for the ‘Muffins’ Category


TwD Baking with Julia: Buttermilk Crumb Muffins

November 6, 2012

Muffins were on deck for the Tuesdays with Dorie group this week. As much as I love a challenge in the kitchen, I also appreciate a simple muffin recipe that’s quick to mix and doesn’t make a lot of dishes. This recipe fit the bill! I made them late in the morning and we enjoyed them for an afternoon snack.

I made 1/2 recipe which gave me 8 muffins, though I should have made 9. The muffins overflowed a bit and the crumb topping glued itself to the muffin pan, making them a bit difficult to get remove from the pan. Once they were out, they were tasty – sweet, crunchy crumb topping on top of a tender muffin flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg. They were best the day they were baked, and still really good the next day.

Tip: I had some buttermilk in the freezer that I defrosted for this recipe, and it worked great. It seems that I always need less buttermilk than I need to buy, so last time I had extra, I froze it in 1/2 cup portions. David Lebovitz recently wrote a post about freezing cream, and I’m going to try that next. Update: I tried it and it worked! The frozen, defrosted cream whipped up nicely. It will be great to have cream in the freezer for those times I need just a little bit.

Ready for a quick, nicely spiced muffin? You can find the recipe on page 207 of Baking with Julia. Thank you to Alisa from Easier than Pie for hosting this week. She has the recipe posted on her blog today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Apple-Toffee Muffins

October 4, 2011

The Tuesdays with Dorie bakers are kicking off October with Apple Muffin Cake, hosted by Katrina from Baking and Boys! Katrina is known for adding chocolate to recipes, so I’m wondering if she managed to add some chocolate to this one. I didn’t add chocolate, but I did make some changes. Read on to see how I changed Apple Nut Muffin Cake into Apple-Toffee Muffins.

Dorie explains that this was a muffin recipe that she ended up baking as a cake. I like muffins because they’re in individual portions that are easy to give away, so I turned the muffin cake back into muffins.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe, which yielded 8 muffins.
  • Since I needed 1/2 egg, I used the white and cooked the yolk for the dog (she got the apple peel too).
  • I omitted the raisins and nuts and replaced them with 1/2 cup of toffee bits. After I threw those into the bowl I thought “that was too many toffee bits,” but it was too late.
  • I used paper muffin liners and sprayed them with non-stick spray. I like using the papers, but don’t like it when my muffins or cupcakes stick to the paper. Spraying them worked great!

How it went: There were a lot of things to measure out, but as with most quick breads, it was quick to mix up. I baked the muffins for 19 minutes; they got really brown, but that may have been all the toffee bits, which melted into the batter.

How it tasted: As much as I like raisins and nuts in muffins, the toffee version was really good! The bits melted into the muffin and gave it a sweet, toffee flavor, which was great with the moist chunks of apple. Did I use too many toffee bits? I don’t think so! My husband really enjoyed these and said they taste like something that’s bad for you. (Note that I never claimed it was a good-for-you treat…but it’s probably not as bad as a giant grocery store muffin.)

Open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 37 and try Dorie’s version, my version, or your own version of this recipe! If you want to try before you buy, click over to Baking and Boys!; Katrina has the recipe published today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins

July 5, 2011

This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made Chocolate-Chocolate Chunk Muffins, selected by Bridget of The Way the Cookie Crumbles.

What I did:

  • I made half the recipe and baked the 6 muffins in a silicone muffin pan.
  • I cut down the butter a little bit, replacing 1/3 of it with plain nonfat yogurt, which I mixed in with the buttermilk and egg mixture.
  • My chocolate “chunks” were a mix of mini chocolate chips and regular size dark chocolate chips.
  • I increased the amount of chocolate that is mixed in at the end, using about 50% more than the recipe calls for. (Thanks to comments in the P&Q saying that these needed more chocolate.)

How it went: The mixing part was quick. I was worried about overbaking them, because someone commented in the P&Q that they were dry. But then when I took them out of the oven, I worried that I had underbaked them. Worry, worry, worry! I ended up putting three of them back in the oven for a few minutes.

How it tasted: I cut one of the possibly-underbaked muffins in half and it looked fine. I ate that one and my husband ate another possibly-underbaked one, and they were both baked! (We haven’t tried the now-possibly-overbaked ones yet.) They were a little warm when we ate them, so the chocolate pieces were nice and soft. These were tender and very chocolatey. My husband the frosting lover commented that these don’t need frosting. Coming from him, that’s big!

Thanks to this week’s hostess Bridget for this great pick. She has the recipe posted here.  Or just open your copy of Baking: From My Home to Yours to page 19 and give these a whirl!


TWD: Citrus Currant Sunshine Muffins

March 15, 2011

This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers were trying to stir up some spring weather with Citrus Currant Sunshine muffins.

These muffins, selected by Lauryn of Bella Baker, will brighten your day with orange and lemon – orange juice, orange zest, and lemon extract. They even look like sunshine!

What I did: I made half the recipe, which gave me six muffins. I was pleased to find that I had orange juice in the freezer and lemon extract in the pantry. I didn’t have currants on hand, but I was thrilled to buy them, because I love currants but don’t usually think of buying them. I replaced half of the butter with plain yogurt to lighten things up a bit.

How it went: These were crazy-easy to mix up!

How it tasted: I just love the currants! I’m a huge raisin fan, and currants are like mini raisins! A fresh muffin made a very tasty and welcome coffee break during a long day of baking and cooking.  I was pretty sure that my husband wouldn’t like these, but I was surprised to learn that he did. He was really enthusiastic and said that he liked the bright flavors and the texture of the currants. He’s not a raisin fan, so this is a fantastic news for me. Maybe if I substitute currants for raisins in some recipes, we’ll both be happy. Stay tuned!

Ready to bake up some spring-like muffins? You can find the recipe on page 7 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or Lauryn has the recipe published today.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Great Grains Muffins

February 1, 2011

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Great Grains Muffins, selected by Christine of Happy Tummy. Leave it to Christine to find a somewhat healthy recipe for us to bake! But really, when I hear Happy Tummy, I think chili. Her vegetarian chili has been in regular rotation at our house since she posted it. Sometimes I make her vegetarian version and sometimes I add ground turkey. It’s great either way!

What I did:

  • I made 1/2 recipe, which yielded 6 muffins.
  • I used raisins and almonds for the dried fruit and nut mixture.
  • To reduce the fat, I replaced half of the melted butter with plain yogurt.

How it went: Quick and easy: mix the dry ingredients, mix the wet ingredients, bring them together quickly, stir in the fruit and nuts. A lot of bakers reported that theirs baked much more quickly than the recommended 18-20 minutes, but I baked mine for 19 minutes.

How it tasted: These are a nicely not-to-sweet muffin. I had one warm from the oven with some strawberry jam. I think that honey would be good on these, and just noticed Dorie’s recommendation to serve them with cream cheese, which sounds wonderful. Next time, I would leave out the cornmeal (just my personal preference) and replace it with more oatmeal and wheat flour. My husband is more of a streusel muffin kind of guy, so I have these all to myself to enjoy for breakfast this week.

If you want to give these a whirl, look on page 8 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or the recipe will be published today on Happy Tummy.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Cardamom Crumb Cake (My pick!!!!)

December 21, 2010

This week the Tuesdays with Dorie (TWD) bakers made Cardamom Crumb Cake. I’ve been baking with the group for over two years, and this is the most exciting week yet. Why? Because I selected the recipe! I love cardamom, so when I saw this in the book, I decided it was the recipe for me. Well, for me and for the other bakers who are baking along with me this week.

It was a piece of cake to make this!

Any other week, I probably would have cut the recipe in half, lightened it by replacing some of the butter with yogurt, and baked it as muffins instead of a cake. But this week, I made the recipe exactly as stated. It was easy to put together, I baked it for 30 minutes, and it was delicious. I couldn’t have asked for more. Cardamom’s mysterious spiciness paired wonderfully with the orange zest. This would be a great cake to serve at a holiday brunch; it’s a welcome twist on the expected gingerbread or cinnamon and nutmeg. I selected this for my tastes, and wasn’t sure how it would go over with my husband. I’m happy to report that he enjoyed it! He appreciated that the cardamom wasn’t overwhelming and he declared the crumbly top to be perfect.

You can find the recipe on page 38 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or scroll down to see the recipe right here.  Thank you to everyone who baked with me this week!

Crumbs before mixing in the butter

The crumbs

Dry ingredients

Orange zest and sugar, looking pretty groovy

Ready to bake

Hot out of the oven!

Before you start, note that you’ll need melted and cooled butter, more butter at room temperature, and some cooled strong coffee (I put a note on my coffee maker so that I’d remember to save a little of my morning java!)

Cardamom Crumb Cake
from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

For the crumbs:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
1/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, at room temperature

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated orange zest
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 cup strong coffee, cooled
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust the inside with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To make the crumbs: Put all the ingredients except the butter in a bowl and toss them together with a spatula just to blend. Add the butter and, using your fingers or the spatula, mix everything together until you’ve got crumbs of different sizes. It’s nice to have a few big pieces, so don’t overdo it. Set the crumbs aside. (The crumbs can be made up to 3 days ahead, covered and refrigerated.)

To make the cake: Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cardamom, and espresso powder in a large bowl. Turn the dry ingredients out onto a sheet of wax paper, and put the sugar and zest in the bowl. Rub them together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of orange strong, then return the dry ingredients to the bowl and whisk to blend.

Put the remaining ingredients in another bowl and whisk them to blend. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir – don’t beat – to mix. Stir only until you’ve got an evenly moistened batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and top with a thick, even layer of the crumbs. Pat the crumbs ever so gently into the batter.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the cake has risen (it will crown), the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer to a rack to cool in the pan before serving warm or at room temperature.

You can unmold the cake if you want to, but you’ll lose some of the crumbs when you turn it over. I prefer to cut the cake in the pan, taking care not to nick the surface of the pan with my knife. (This is a good job for a plastic or silicone pie server.)

Makes 8 servings

Serving: Cut the cake into squares and serve warm or at room temperature.

Storing: This cake is best served the day it is made. It can be wrapped airtight and frozen for up to 2 months; once it defrosts, it benefits from a quick warm-up in a 350-degree-F oven.

Playing Around: I often make just the crumbs and use them to top ice cream and desserts like Chocolate Pudding (page 383), Coffee Caramel Pots de Crème (page 389) or Lemon Cup Custard (page 387). Make the crumbs as directed and refrigerate them for 2 hours. Crumble up the mixture, spread the crumbs out on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat and bake in a 350-degree-F oven for about 15 minutes, or until golden and baked through. Let cool. The crumbs can be wrapped airtight and kept at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Coffee Break Muffins

September 21, 2010

This week, my fellow Tuesdays with Dorie bakers made Coffee Break Muffins. Muffins with coffee in them – what a great way to start the day!

Would you believe me if I told you that this chocolate-free recipe was selected by Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous? It would be easy to add chocolate to these, and I’m sure a lot of TWD bakers did.

What I did: I made the full recipe, baked ’em up in the evening, and brought them to work the next day.

How it went: Muffins are so easy! These were no exception to the “muffins are easy” theory.

How it tasted: I liked these a lot. They’re really tender, have just the right amount of cinnamon, and I don’t think they taste very much like coffee, despite all the coffee in them. My boss had one and liked it a lot and also didn’t think it tasted like coffee. We’re both coffee drinkers. My husband ate one and thought it was OK, but declared it an “adult” muffin and added that he likes “kid” muffins. Fair enough. He’s not a coffee drinker.

I must note that these have zero sex appeal. They have a good personality and sparkling sense of humor, but they need to draw some attention to themselves. While I don’t think they needed help in the flavor department, they may need a little help in the looks department. Maybe some cinnamon sugar? Perhaps a swirl of icing or chocolate? A feather boa? I brought these to work with the Peanut Butter Crisscross cookies, and the cookies were the star of the show. How can a plain brown muffin compete with  a classic peanut butter cookie? I left early that day, but I’d bet money that the cookies disappeared long before the muffins. Ah, but I brought a few home, two of which are now tucked safely in my freezer waiting to brighten my morning someday soon.

Do you want to make some tender muffins that may or may not taste like coffee? Look on page 15 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or look here on Rhiani’s blog.


Tuesdays with Dorie: Oatmeal Breakfast Bread

August 17, 2010

This week’s recipe for the Tuesdays with Dorie bakers is Oatmeal Breakfast Bread. From the title, I thought it would be a yeast bread, but actually it’s a quick bread, and I decided to bake it as muffins. Lightly spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and topped with brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts, this is a delicious breakfast treat. Natalie from Oven Love selected this wonderful recipe. Thanks Natalie!

This recipe contains applesauce and oil but no butter, making it lower in fat than many of Dorie’s recipes. In the book, she mentions that there was a trend in the 1980s to lower fat in recipes by using applesauce and prune puree. Does anyone remember the prune puree you could buy in the store? I remember buying it thought I don’t remember what I baked with it. Probably muffins!

What I did:
  • Made a full batch and baked it as 12 (pretty full) muffins.
  • Replaced about half of the oil with plain yogurt.
  • Omitted the pinch of ground cloves.
  • Scooped six muffins into the pan, then stirred golden raisins into the remaining half of the batter (known as the better half).
  • I have pecans in the freezer, so that was the nut of choice for the topping.

How it went: So easy. I love making quick breads!

How it tasted: So, so good. I have had great success with Dorie’s muffins and quick breads, and this was another big hit with me. I loved that it wasn’t so sinful, but was still delicious. I loved how delicious the topping was, even though it was only brown sugar, cinnamon, and nuts. My husband enjoyed his raisin-free muffins and when I asked him for a review, he said the topping was his favorite part. Who knew that topping without butter would a) stick to the muffin and b) taste good?

Take a look on page 44 of Baking: From My Home to Yours, or the recipe will be published on Oven Love today.


Tuesdays With Dorie: Blueberry Crumb Cake (Muffins)

March 24, 2009

Before I made this recipe, I didn’t know that my husband likes blueberries. You see, I’ve bought many pints of blueberries and I’ve eaten every last one. Plain, in yogurt, on oatmeal, on cold cereal…I love blueberry season. So I wondered if I should make the Blueberry Crumb Cake since of course I’d be the only one eating it. But it’s always good to check so I asked him and he said he likes blueberries. Well OK. So thanks goes out to Sihan for selecting this recipe and teaching me something new about my husband. You can check Sihan’s blog for the recipe, or go to page 192 of Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan.


What I did: I cut the recipe in half and instead of using a pan that was almost, but not quite, the right size, I baked it in a muffin pan. The half batch yielded 7 standard-size muffins. I fully intended to use some whole wheat flour but forgot, as usual. I think I need to put a note on my flour container to remind myself to use the whole wheat flour! I used frozen blueberries. I skipped the nutmeg. I added a healthy pinch of cardamom just because I like it.

How it went: This was an easy recipe to put together. Mix up the crumb topping, mix up the cake batter, put them together and bake. I did notice that there was a lot of topping. I thought about not using it all but I didn’t want to waste it (or worse yet, eat it with a spoon!),  so I crammed it on. Do you want to see what happens when you cram on too much crumb topping on your muffins? Here you go –


It wasn’t so bad, though. I loosened the muffins with a knife and they came out fine. Then I got to eat the extra topping, and I bet it tasted better baked than it would have raw!

How it tasted: Blueberryicious! I love that the cake part is moist and not too sweet – the berries really shine through. The crunchy topping adds a little sweetness in each bite. My husband liked these a lot, so I guess he really does like blueberries. At least when they’re tucked in a delicious, crumb-topped muffin.

Would I make this again?: Yes. I’d like to try this with fresh blueberries next time, although I thought that the frozen ones tasted very good. And maybe next time I’ll remember the whole wheat flour.

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