Fig Muffin, Honey?

This is yet another recipe from my favorite muffin cookbook! I was looking for a recipe I hadn’t made before and I had some dried figs languishing in the cupboard, so an instant match was made. It tastes like what you might expect from a muffin version of a Fig Newton. Maybe it was just the long bike ride with the older two Tartlets and friends today, maybe it was the muffins, but The Husband ate a few when he came home this afternoon and seemed to enjoy them. 😉

Honey Fig Whole Wheat Muffins (from The Muffin Cookbook: Muffins for All Occasions, 1989)

1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. wheat germ
2 t. baking powder
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg

1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. honey
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 egg

1 c. chopped dried figs
1/2 c. chopped nuts (recipe calls for walnuts but I used hazelnuts)

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease or paper-line 12 muffin cups.

In a large bowl, combine flours, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. In a small bowl, combine milk, honey, butter and egg until well blended. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in figs and nuts. Spoon into muffin cups. Bake 20 minutes or until lightly browned on edges and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from pan.

Makes 12 muffins.

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Keeping Warm

Yesterday’s high in Champaign was supposed to be the same as in Duluth, MN, although their wind chill was expected to be up to 10 degrees colder! Still, as my grandfather would have said, not fit for man nor beast to be out and about. So what do you do when it’s -4 F outside and The Husband brings a reality check to fantasies of flying off to the Florida coast or a Caribbean island? Turn on the oven and bake!

This is yet another recipe from my favorite Muffin Cookbook. The kids loved this one, especially the streusel topping.  Originally, this recipe was written to use walnuts (It’s a Diamond Walnuts recipe!) but I had pecans on hand, so that’s what I used. Also, the recipe calls for nutmeg and I was out, so I used cinnamon and pinch of cloves in its place. Tartlet 2 ate two warm from the oven and asked if she could have more and if I would please make this every day! I guess it’s a good thing this recipe makes 18 muffins, rather than the usual 12.

Nutty Streusel Muffins

2 c. flour
1 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. butter
1/4 c. chopped nuts

1 c. flour
3/4 c. chopped nuts
1 t. nutmeg
1 t. ginger
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt

1 c. buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a large bowl, combine 2 c. flour and brown sugar; cut in butter to form fine crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine 3/4 c. of the crumbs and 1/4 c. nuts; set aside.

In the remaining crumb mixture, stir in 1 c. flour, 3/4 c. nuts, spices, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, combine buttermilk and eggs; stir into dry ingredients just to moisten.

Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Top each with a generous spoonful of reserved crumb-nut mixture.

Bake 20 – 25 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack 10 minutes. Loosen and remove from pan.

I’m Back With Some Breakfast

What I didn’t mention in my last post about Tartlet 2’s birthday is that I survived the day relying on Benadryl.  We were all coughing and hacking for a week and both Tartlet 3 and I ended up with scripts for antibiotics — her for strep and me for a sinus infection. The cough has lingered and lingered and it is only now that my taste is really coming back and I feel like making something other than chicken noodle soup.  The kids were about to mutiny after the fourth time I served chicken soup, so while I’ve been cooking, it’s been nothing worth writing about.

Remember the carrots? I still have some in the fridge. So I pulled out one of my absolute favorite muffin recipes. This is no wanna-be cupcake. This is a hearty, stalwart muffin. This recipe comes on the package of flaxseed meal from Bob’s Red Mill.  It is so full of yummy goodness and crunchy flax and pecans that I’m glad the recipe makes 18 muffins so I can freeze a few for next week, if they last that long!

And if you just happen to have a little extra cream cheese frosting loitering in the kitchen, these muffins are strong enough to carry it.  They won’t be a super sweet dessert, but they make you feel like you are making a better choice with less sugar and oil than a typical carrot cake recipe.  And kids who turn their noses up at healthy muffins, will gladly gobble up a frosted cupcake! 😉

Bran Flax Muffins (from Bob’s Red Mill)
1 1/2 c. white flour
3/4 c. flaxseed meal
3/4 c. oat bran
1 c. brown sugar
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
2 t. cinnamon

1 1/2 c. carrots, shredded
2 apples, peeled and shredded
1/2 c. raisins (optional, I don’t add them)
1 c. chopped nuts (I use pecans)

3/4 c. milk
2 eggs, beaten
1 t. vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Mix together flour, flax, oat bran, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Stir in carrots, apples, raisins, and nuts.

Combine milk, eggs, and vanilla. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Stir until ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix. Fill muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Makes 18 muffins.

Variety Is The Spice Of Life

I mentioned before that I made muffins for the Ladies’ Retreat I attended.  Because I didn’t want to offer a dull breakfast selection, I made some sweet muffins: Banana Muffins, both plain and with chocolate chips, Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, and Lemon Blueberry Muffins, as well as some savory muffins: Bacon Cheddar Muffins and Ham and Swiss Muffins. These muffins straddle the fence on sweet and savory.  The cheese makes you think savory while the pear lends a light sweetness, neither is overpowering and they complement each other nicely.

The original recipe called for 1/4 t. pumpkin pie spice but since I didn’t have that, I used a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg & cloves, and used more than the amount called for. I made a double batch and used some of the extra batter to make a mini loaf of bread. I hate it when a muffin recipe doesn’t come out evenly at 12 because I don’t want to have to bake a partial tin. The mini-loaves are a perfect way to deal with a little extra batter.

Pear Cheddar Muffins (adapted from The Muffin Cookbook)

2 c. all-purpose flour
1/3 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
1/8 t. cloves
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese

2 medium pears, pared, cored, cut into large pieces
1 c. milk
2 large eggs
1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 400 F. Prepare muffin tin with paper liners or non-stick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices; stir in cheese. In a blender or food processor, process pears, milk, eggs and butter until pears are finely chopped. Pour pear mixture into flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Spoon into prepared muffin tin. Bake 20 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Serve warm.

Makes 15 muffins.

What’s Not To Love?

I made some muffins for the Ladies’ Retreat I recently attended and I think the favorite, by far, was this Cheesy Ham and Pepper Muffin. Not only is it good for breakfast, it works fabulously with soups. I had this recipe on my computer and I remember first making it several years ago, but I have since lost the source or I would cite it. I know I didn’t come up with this one on my own because, left to my own devices in the kitchen, I’m always more likely to tinker with getting 5 kinds of chocolate into a dessert than making a savory muffin. Also, the copy saved on my computer left out the *ham* in the muffin (duh!), which I’m sure was a typing error in copying from another source. I’m not sure if I’ve missed anything else, but the muffin is quite good in the present form. The muffin itself has a light, tender texture.

I made more of these muffins today and this time I used 1 cup of whole wheat and 4 cups of white flour in making a double batch. I also ran out of baking powder and used a cream of tarter/baking soda/salt mixture, my bell pepper, although a ‘green pepper’ was mostly orange so the color doesn’t show up as well in these photos, *and* I was out of Swiss cheese and used some of the shredded cheddar I had on hand. So the pictures are not identical to the recipe given or what you may have had if you were at the retreat last weekend. I think they do taste better with the Swiss cheese rather than the cheddar, and they are more tender without whole wheat flour. The ‘ham’ in both cases was turkey ham as the pork ham in the store wasn’t thrilling when I was shopping late at night.

Cheesy Ham and Pepper Muffins

2 ½ c. flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/4 t. black pepper

1 c. milk
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

3/4 c. shredded Swiss cheese
3/4 c. chopped ham
3 Tbsp. chopped red or green bell pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease or paper-line 12 muffin cups.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and black pepper in large bowl. Whisk together milk, oil, eggs and mustard in small bowl until blended. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Fold in cheese, ham and bell pepper. Spoon evenly into prepared muffin cups.

Bake 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack 10 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice

These muffins are so good, I served them for dessert to my guests tonight! They taste like a cinnamon sugar cake donut and have a similar texture inside. In fact, I made a batch this morning for a test run and the kids loved them so much, I decided to make a double batch in the afternoon so I could serve some for tonight, give a few away, put a few in the freezer, and *still* have some for breakfast tomorrow!

The original recipe called for cardamon and allspice inside, but I had neither and used cinnamon and cloves, instead.  That lovely cinnamon and sugar scent drew the Tartlets into the kitchen, one by one, wondering what smelled so good.  Tartlets 3 & 4 each polished off an entire muffin (they are known for eating a few bites of muffins and discarding the rest) and declared them ‘Yummy!’.  I’m not sure if it’s good or bad, but they compared it to going to Dunkin’ Donuts, a special treat for those girls who decide to go help The Husband set up for church on Sunday mornings!  Just like my four girls, these are full of sugar and spice and everything nice.

Cinnamon Spiced Muffins (adapted from The Muffin Cookbook)

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg
1/4 t. cloves

1/2 c. milk
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 egg

1/4 c. sugar
1 t. cinnamon

1/4 c. butter, melted

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin tin with non-stick spray; set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, 1/2 c. sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In a small bowl, combine milk, butter, and egg. Stir into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until done.

Let stand 5 minutes; remove from pan. Stir together 1/4 c. sugar and 1 t. cinnamon. While still warm, dip the top of each muffin in melted butter then into the cinnamon sugar mixture. If desired, roll entire muffin in butter and sugar.

Makes 12 muffins.

What Do You Call Them?

With some lemon curd leftover from the Victorian tea party, I decided I would tuck it into muffins again. Although I wanted the same thing, I also wanted it to be different. So I whipped up these muffins from what I had on hand. These aren’t cupcakes. They aren’t sweet and fluffy; they are hearty for breakfast and snacking, with enough sugar that you don’t think you are eating gruel. 😉 It was a good way to use up the remainder of lemon curd.

Tartlet 1 wondered what I would call these muffins. I told her ‘Belly Button Muffins’ because the very centers sank, as I had anticipated, although I thought it might be hidden inside.  I laughed to see them. Tartlet 1 didn’t think Belly Button Muffins sounded very appetizing. What would you call them?

Belly Button Muffins
1 c. all-purpose flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. coconut

3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
3/4 c. plain yogurt
1 egg
1 t. vanilla
2 t. grated lemon peel

lemon curd

Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin tin or line with paper cups.

In a large bowl, stir together dry ingredients; set aside. In a medium bowl, stir together remaining ingredients except lemon curd. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until moistened; avoid over-mixing.

Spoon batter into muffin tins. Drop 1/2 – 1 t. lemon curd in the center of each muffin top. Bake 20 minutes or until done.