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Archive for the ‘Muffins’ Category

If you buy bananas, you’ll know that every once in awhile, some will start to start to grow spots and the next thing you know, you need to whip up a batch of something with banana in it.

A while back Jenn, from My Kitchen Addiction, posted a recipe for Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins. They looked delicious and I loved the idea of making them mini-snack-sized. They baked up fluffy and delicious, and just like she said, they made a lot. I stored most of them in a container in the freezer and took some out every so often as I needed them. It was perfect for those busy days when there wasn’t any time to bake, so I thought I’d share the recipe with you here.

I have to warn you though, they are addictive and pop ever-so easily into your mouth as you walk by.

I hope you enjoy them!

Chocolate Chip Toffee Banana Muffins

Makes about 3 1/2 dozen muffins

Adapted ever so slightly from My Kitchen Addiction

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups mashed banana
  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup hot water
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 cup toffee bits, (optional)

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line muffin pans with paper cups (or lightly grease), and set aside.

2. Combine the softened butter, sugar, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl.  Beat on medium speed to cream the butter and sugars until the mixture is light and fluffy.  Gradually add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until well incorporated.  Stir in the mashed banana.

3. Meanwhile, in a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the white whole wheat flour, whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, and salt.  Gradually add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture alternately with the hot water, starting and ending with the dry mixture.  Stir just enough to moisten all of the dry ingredients.

4. Add the mini chocolate chips and toffee bits, and fold them into the batter.  Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin pans (approximately 1/4 cup of batter for each muffin).  Bake the muffins for approximately 20 – 22 minutes.  Let the muffins cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Notes:

If you can’t find whole wheat pastry flour, you can make it, by using regular whole wheat flour, removing 2 tablespoons per cup and replacing it with 2 tablespoons of cornstarch and whisking thoroughly.

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June, Sweet June

It seems there’s no surer way to make it rain than to pull out the swather and start cutting hay. Today it only took 20 minutes.

It was just a shower really but it was enough to shut things down for a while.  It won’t be long though since the winds are up and it’ll be time to try again.

Once spring seeding is over and done there’s usually never a moment to spare before the hay needs cutting and baling.  This year has been different though.  With such an early start due to the drier than normal spring weather, it hasn’t been the breakneck pace that it usually is.

 

But the beginning of hay season is just hours away and that means that things are about to get busy around here.

As the pace picks up, there’s always a temptation to skip meals but that never ends up being a good thing because hungry workers can quickly turn into tired and cranky workers who don’t realize that they need to take a moment to stop and eat. Things run a lot better when there’s fuel in the tank and I learned a long time ago, that having good food readily available on a busy farm is as important as oil is to a humming engine.

 

Some days can be long, dirty and hot, especially if equipment breaks down and the guys are trying to beat impending rains or bad weather. Though they never stop for long, when they do, I like to make sure I’ve got something that will keep them thinking and alert so they can focus on the task at hand.

 

At times like these, homemade muffins are a regular staple at our house and I love incorporating the goodness of fruits and vegetables into them every chance I get. These pineapple carrot muffins are a favourite and I love them because it allows me to indulge in both the fruit (the crushed pineapple) and the veggie (the shredded carrots).  A touch of cinnamon really compliments the sweetness and blends the satisfying flavours for a delicious snack.  I have these on the counter in the morning and pack them in lunch bags destined for distant fields in the afternoon.

The good thing is, you don’t have to drive a tractor or work in a field to love them, I love them too!

Carrot Pineapple Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour

1 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

2/3 cup salad oil

2 eggs

1 cup finely grated raw carrot

1/2 cup crushed pineapple with juice

1 tsp vanilla

1. Mix dry ingredients together in a large bowl.

2.Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Blend on low-speed until  just moist.  Half fill greased muffin tins or paper liners and bake at 350 degrees F  for 20-25 minutes.

Delicious, satisfying goodness the whole family will love!

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Happy May days!  Don’t you just love May. With all my chatter about cookbooks, (see this post), I wanted to share with you another priceless volume that I have in my rather extensive collection. Yes, it’s true, I cannot deny that I am somewhat of a cookbook, lets say, “collector”. I browse them like magazines and read them like, well … novels.  They make up a great deal of my reading pleasure and a large percentage of my limited weight allotment when travelling. Truth be told, I have a cookbook bag in my bedroom and at the first sign of a road trip, I excitedly carry it out to the car. With my shelves burgeoning from the weight and at the risk of giving in to this small obsession of mine, these days it takes the will of a lion to steer myself clear of cookbook displays, as I vow to cook and bake my way through the ones I already have before purchasing any new editions. Fingers crossed.

In December of 1999, my husband’s youngest sister, Lynda rolled up her sleeves and took on the monumental task of assembling a family cookbook to usher in the new millennium. For Christmas, she presented each of us with a bright yellow spiral bound collection of our family’s favourite recipes, some of which have been passed down through the last century and some which are new additions, donated by some of the newer members of the family (Hmm, hmm, yours truly being one of them). There may be others, but I know for sure, that this book is a family treasure and a kitchen fixture in our home as well as the homes of my 3 sister-in-laws and my husband’s mom.

Because my mother-in-law is one of those magical bakers (not to mention cook) where everything she serves tastes like a slice of heaven, and many of the recipes she uses came from her mother, you can imagine how exciting it was to receive it;  all of our favourite recipes bound up in a single spiral.  Many of the recipes I use on a daily basis, (including this particular recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins), come from the pages of this book.

Around here, muffins are always in demand because they’re so versatile; they taste great, pack well and don’t take long to bake.  For a family always on-the-go, a batch of muffins first thing in the morning never goes astray, as they thankfully satisfy the seemingly endless appetites of working men, boys who play sports and friends who drop by.

Scratch muffins are the kind I like to make as they are often chock full of good things like fruits and vegetables. The great thing about muffins is that you can take a recipe and change it up, swap out the flour or the fruit to suit your individual tastes and make it your own. In the same way, this recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins, may taste great as Orange Poppy Seed Muffins by switching the lemon juice and lemon zest for orange juice and orange zest. I personally like to experiment with the flavours but haven’t yet tried this combination yet. If you happen to give it a try, I’d love to hear about it.

This recipe comes from my husband’s mom, baker extraordinaire. It’s light and delightful and the poppy seeds provide a surprising layer of crunchy texture.  Though they do have quite a bit of sugar to balance the tartness of the lemons, they do not have a lot of fat, just a mere 1/4 cup of melted butter, balanced with the goodness of two freshly squeezed lemons and 1 and 1/4 cups of dairy fresh milk, so I feel good about serving them up, even for breakfast.

These muffins would make a great addition to a Mother’s Day brunch. They’re also a quick way to start the day if you happen to be travelling; pack a few for a great snack if you’ll be on the road for a while. You may want to whip them up to brighten someone’s day or show mom just how much you love her.

 Adapted from Our Family Recipes

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

Ingredients:

2 lemons

1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 cups all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoons poppy seeds

1 egg

1 1/4 cups milk

1/4 cup melted butter

Method:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper cups.  Finely grate peel from lemons.  Mix half of the peel with 2 tablespoons of the sugar and set aside to sprinkle over the muffins before baking.  Squeeze juice from lemons. Measure out 1/3 cup juice and stir in remaining peel.

2. Using a fork, stir flour with remaining sugar, and the rest of the dry ingredients.  Whisk egg in a small bowl.  Then whisk in the milk, lemon juice and butter.  Milk may curdle when mixed with lemon juice.  Immediately stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until combined.  Spoon into muffin cups.  Sprinkle tops with lemon-sugar mixture.  Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Makes 1 dozen muffins.

Notes:

For a light lemony crumb, I baked mine for 20 minutes.

You can omit the lemon zest/sugar topping if serving to young kids.

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With the holidays fast approaching, Christmas morning recipe ideas are at the top of my to-do list.  Lots of folks will be busy opening gifts and sharing time with their families and no one wants to be stored away in the kitchen and miss out on all the fun.  So, while many a strata will be made on December 24th, here’s another idea that will bring a festive dimension to your holiday breakfast that can be made ahead.  Orange, Cranberry, Carrot Cake Muffins.

When it comes to muffins, I’m pretty fussy.  I like them moist, with nutritious ingredients, full of flavour and not too sweet.  A muffin should not be a cupcake.  I don’t think muffins need a lot of sweet, sticky toppings; I think the muffin should be good enough that it can stand alone. I like muffins that work for breakfast, can be packed with a lunch, are great  grab n’ go’s, and fill the void between after school and supper. This muffin really fits the bill.  But it also brings a dimension of satisfying holiday flavours in the orange, the cranberries, the carrots, the nuts, coconut and spices that your family and guests will really love. 

These muffins do not have an oily taste, they’re light and very moist from  the use of the whole orange.  The fruit and nuts add texture, flavour and good nutrition. Whip up a batch of these muffins over the holidays; prepared ahead,they’ll keep you out of the kitchen and free to enjoy the spirit of Christmas.

 

Cranberry Orange Carrot Cake Muffins

Ingredients

1 seedless navel orange, quartered, rind included

2/3 cup (150 ml) orange juice (approx.)

2 eggs

3/4 cup (175 ml) packed brown sugar

1/3 cup ( 75 ml) canola oil

2 tsp (10 ml) vanilla

1 3/4 cups (425 ml) all-purpose flour

1 tsp (10 ml) cinnamon

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking powder

1 tsp. (5 ml) baking solda

1/2 tsp (2 ml) each ground nutmeg and salt

2 cups (500 ml) grated carrots

1/2 cup (125 ml) each dried cranberries and chopped toasted pecans

1/2 cup (125 ml) shredded coconut

Method

1. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or grease and set aside. 2. In food processor, finely chop the orange.  My food processor didn’t chop the orange fine enough for me so I ended up using my hand-held blender.  I really ground up the orange to a fine pulp until it was foamy and resembled jam. How much you grind up the orange is really a personal preference.  You may like to leave little fine pieces of orange or you can grind it to a foaming pulp like I did.  The skin of the orange can be quite strong so if you like a milder orange taste, grind it up well.

2. Scrape the orange into a liquid measuring cup; add enough orange juice to make 1 1/3 cups (325 ml).  Scrape into a bowl and whisk in eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla until well mixed.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, salt; scrape orange mixture over the top. Add carrots, cranberries, chopped pecans and 1/2 cup (125 ml)  of the coconut; stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Spoon into prepared muffin cups,  approximately 3/4 full and evenly distributed (I personally have trouble with this part; too much in some, not enough in another — whatever; don’t fuss, it always works out in the end).

4. Bake in the centre of a 350 °F (180 °C) oven until tops are firm to the touch, about 25 minutes.  Let cool on the rack for 5 minutes.  Remove from the pan and let cool on the rack. (If you decide to make these ahead; store in an airtight container for up to 24 hours or wrap individually in plastic wrap and freeze in an airtight container for up to 1 month.)

Adapted from Canadian Living Holiday Baking, Fall 2004

Happy Baking ~ I hope you stop by again real soon! 

Love,

This Sweet Wife

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These muffins are oh-so tasty and delicious!  They’re exceptionally moist

because of the apple sauce and really hit the spot as a mid-morning or after-

school snack.  They’re even great without the cream cheese frosting, (less

messy) for when you’re in a hurry and on the run. Dressed up or dressed

down,  these tasty cinnamon muffins are sure to hit the spot.

 

 Apple Spice Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed

2 large eggs, room temperature

3/4 cup applesauce, unsweetened

1. Preheat oven to 350. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

2. Whisk  together flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. With an electric

mixer on  medium-high speed, cream butter and both sugars until pale and

fluffy.

3. Add  eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down

sides of  the bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low, add applesauce and then

the flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among the lined cups, filling each three-quarters full.

5. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when touched. Transfer

to a wire rack to cool completely before removing. Store in an airtight 

container. Can be frozen for up to 2 months. Makes 12 muffins.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

1/2 package (4 ounces) cream cheese, room temperature

1/8 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

1/8 tsp cinnamon (optional)

1. Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese, butter and confectioners’ sugar

until smooth; beat in vanilla and cinnamon, if using.

2. Top each cupcake with frosting using a knife, spatula or piping bag.

Cupcakes can be dressed up for Halloween using a variety of chocolate,

colored sprinkles, candies, caramel and cookies. Frosted cupcakes can be

refrigerated up to 3 days in an airtight container; bring to room temperature

before serving. 

This recipe can also be found in Southfields Village Voice Magazine, Volume 2, Issue II, September 2011 – November 2011, Page 17.

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