muffins

Honey Cake Muffins

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I make honey cake every year for Rosh Hashanah, using my Aunt Belle’s family-famous recipe.

Every once in a while I change the recipe — a different honey, an additional spice (or less seasoning), and so on, just to see if we like it better or I should just stick to the original. I’ve even adapted the recipe to make it with date honey.

They’re all delicious. I love honey cake and I look forward to it every year as a special holiday treat.

Last year I decided to make honey cake into muffins. So — breakfast or afternoon snack instead of for dessert. They are sweet — it is honey “cake” after all — but not as sweet as the recipe I use for dessert. The muffins are also mellowed a bit with oats.

During the year I made these muffins again, several times, using several different spice blends. The recipe below is the more traditional Rosh Hashanah flavor, but you could delete the cinnamon and nutmeg and use one teaspoon Hawaij spice instead. They’re a convenient riff on honey cake; freezable too.

Honey Cake Muffins

  • 1-1/3 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2/3 cup quick oats

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 teaspoon grated fresh orange peel

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg

  • 3/4 cup honey

  • 1/2 cup cold coffee

  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 2 large eggs

  • old fashioned oats, optional (or use chopped nuts)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 10 muffin tins. In a bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, orange peel, cinnamon and nutmeg together until uniform in color. Heat the honey and coffee together over low heat briefly, so that they are easy to blend with a whisk. Add the vegetable oil and eggs and whisk the ingredients until they are uniform in color. Stir in the flour mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon the batter into the greased muffin tins. Top, if desired, with old fashioned oats or chopped nuts. Bake for about 18 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 10

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cherry Muffins

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Today is George Washington's actual birthday (also my grandmother's) and when I was a kid, we used to celebrate on this day. It was always when we ate something with cherries because, well, as far as Washington was concerned, everyone knows the story about the cherry tree and all. And also my grandma loved cherry-vanilla ice cream.

I just happened to have a jar of cherries in the house so I figured I'd make something with it to wish happy birthday to my grandmother and also our first president.

These muffins.

Fortunately Purim is only a few days away, so I can give them away for mishloach manot. Otherwise I might eat all of them and that wouldn't be very good.

 

Cherry Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1- 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt or dairy sour cream or buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup fruit juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cherries

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and lemon peel in a large bowl. In another bowl, mix the eggs, melted, cooled butter, yogurt, juice and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ones and mix to combine ingredients. Fold in the cherries. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

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A few days ago someone on social media alerted the world to Oscar Mayer Pumpkin Spice Bologna.

No.

Just no. Just absolutely no.

Pumpkin spice doesn't belong in bologna. It doesn't even belong in the same sentence.

In fact, there is way too much "pumpkin spice" out there, in everything. 

However, pumpkin spice in muffins is a pretty good idea. It is pumpkin season, after all. And spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice do give the batter a welcome warmth and fragrance.

So, instead of even thinking about that terrible idea of pumpkin spice bologna, try these muffins, which are quite wonderful.

Btw, there really is no such thing as Oscar Mayer Pumpkin Spice Bologna. It's baloney! Watch out for the real #fakenews. (http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/verify/verify-pumpkin-spice-products-whats-real-and-whats-not/481457725)

 

Pumpkin Raisin Muffins

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-1/4 cups mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease 10 muffin tins. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice together into a bowl. Beat the sugar, eggs, vegetable oil and mashed pumpkin together in an electric mixer set at medium for 2-3 minutes or until thoroughly blended and smooth. Add the flour mixture and beat at low speed for one minute to blend ingredients. Fold in the raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 10

 

Winter Squash and Cranberry Muffins Perfect for Sleepovers

It's December already and I am still sorting through summer clothes and several newspaper articles from last March and April that I was going to read when I had more time.

Why am I always so far behind?

I should be posting about Hanukkah. But somehow I am more focused on New Year's weekend. Probably because I made some unbelievably delicious winter squash muffins recently.

That really isn't a non sequitur. I thought of these muffins because every year we celebrate the coming new year with my brother and sister-in-law and my cousins. The cousins sleep over for a few days. We watch a lot of movies. Watch a lot of British mystery tv (Morse, Endeavor, Foyle's War, etc.). We sit around and enjoy each other's company.

We used to drink a lot of wine but have slowed down over the years.

We used to eat much more too.

(You get older, you can't keep going quite the same way, the same amount, the same speed.)

Still, there are meals to consider.

Breakfasts are usually smoked fish, bagels and stuff like that. 

But every once in a while I like to break up the monotony and have at least one different something for breakfast.

This year: those squash muffins I mentioned. I made a few batches recently and I can honestly say that they are the best muffins I ever ate. I've given some out as samples to my usual "tasters." Most of them also said they were the best muffins they ever ate. 

You'll see.

WINTER SQUASH-CRANBERRY MUFFINS

  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup mashed cooked squash (or canned squash or pumpkin)
  • 3/4 cup fresh cranberries

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and whisk the ingredients to distribute them evenly. Set aside. Beat the sugar and vegetable oil in the bowl of an electric mixer set at medium for a minute or so or until well combined. Add the eggs and beat them in. Add the orange juice and squash and blend them in thoroughly. Add the dry ingredients to the squash mixture and stir gently until just blended. Fold in the cranberries. Pour the mixture into the prepared tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the centers comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins

 

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

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I always make a few carrot dishes for Rosh Hashanah. It's tradition!

Most often it's soup, sometimes a side dish.

This year I baked carrot muffins. Big breakfast winner for everyone, especially the grandkids.

Freezable too, so you can have them on hand whenever you might have a need. Like Hallowe'en, Thanksgiving weekend.

 

Carrot Spice and Honey Muffins

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Set aside. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, honey, cooled butter and vanilla extract. Add the liquid mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently just until blended. Fold in the carrots and raisins. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean and the muffins are golden brown. Let cool in the tins for 2-3 minutes, then remove the muffins to a rack to cool.

Makes 12  

 

 

 

Zucchini Muffins

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This summer I was finally able to grow tomatoes. I had lots of them and there are still more to come!

I feel as if I finally did it right because I have failed every year up to now.

It makes me confident about next year, and not just about tomatoes. I might try to grow peppers and string beans and all sorts of things.

Maybe even zucchini. Now's the time of year that several people I know are harvesting their zucchinis, and some are gigantic! I'd like to see those in my garden.

For now I have to rely on my neighbors' and friends' generosity!

Here's what I did with zucchini this week. These muffins are not too sweet so you can have them for breakfast as well as snack.

 

Zucchini Muffins

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups grated fresh zucchini
  • 1 cup raisins, optional 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. In a large bowl whisk the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and salt until thoroughly combined. In a separate bowl combine the vegetable oil, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk until well blended. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until blended. Fold in the zucchini and optional raisins. Spoon the batter into the tins. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Invert the muffins onto the rack to cool completely.

Makes 12



 

Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

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A few weeks ago I bought about 60 pounds of apples.

That's a lot of apples.

And even I can hardly believe that after making many pies, a few cakes, some baked apples, apple crisps and apple brown bettys, mounds of applesauce, a couple chicken-apple recipes, including a salad, all my apples are gone.

Oh no! 

I still have a pancake recipe to try! 

Hard to believe I'll have to buy another few pounds. 

But before I ran out of apples, I did get to try these Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins which are gorgeous and delicious and such a welcome, seasonal treat (with cider or coffee or tea) for Hallowe'en or Thanksgiving or simply for breakfast or coffee break.

 

Apple-Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

Streusel:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut in smaller pieces, or coconut oil

 

Muffins:

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups chopped apples

To make the streusel: place the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a bowl and mix to distribute the ingredients evenly. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture looks crumbly. Set aside.

To make the muffins: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 12 muffin tins. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt in a bowl and stir with a whisk until the ingredients are evenly distributed. In another bowl, combine the pumpkin, vegetable oil and eggs and blend thoroughly. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and mix until combined. Stir in the apples. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the streusel. Bake for about 20 minutes or until tops are browned and crispy and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Makes 12

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

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It's October, almost Hallowe'en, which means you're going to see "pumpkin spice" everything. Cake. Ice cream. Latte. Whatever.

I decided to get in on the act. Especially because I have been experimenting with mashed pumpkin for a variety of recipes and have (actually, had) loads of it in my fridge.

These Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins are among the tastiest results.

Corn muffins are some of my favorite breakfast breads but sometimes they're too dry or too grainy. I have several good recipes though. 

Adding mashed pumpkin and autumn spices to the batter gives the corn muffins a warm and comfy flavor. In addition, the muffins are dense, moist and tender. Not dry, not grainy. 

Pumpkin Spice Corn Muffins

  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1-1/4 cups cornmeal 
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup mashed pumpkin

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. In a bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well blended. In another bowl mix the egg, milk, pumpkin and cooled butter until well blended. Pour the liquid into the cornmeal mixture and stir to blend the ingredients. Spoon equal amounts into the muffin cups.

Bake for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 10

 

 

Oat Topped Banana Brown Sugar Muffins

Oat Topped Banana Brown Sugar Muffins

Oat Topped Banana Brown Sugar Muffins

Having company for the Labor Day weekend? 

Need a breakfast bread for the back-to-school crowd?

Brunch item?

These banana muffins will suit so many needs.

Oat-Topped Banana Brown Sugar Muffins

  • 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons quick cooking oats
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 small very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease 12 muffin tins. Mix the flour, 1/2 cup oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, baking soda and cinnamon together in a bowl. In a second bowl, mix the banana, yogurt, eggs and vanilla extract. Pour the liquid ingredients into the flour mixture and stir just to bend ingredients. Spoon equal amounts into the greased muffin tins. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the 2 tablespoons oats. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 12

Tips on Salt Free, Plus Blueberry Muffins, salt free and vanilla-y

Salt Free Blueberry Muffins

Salt Free Blueberry Muffins

Everyone pokes fun at the "old folks" who talk about their "conditions" and "ailments" and their pills.

But it's okay because sometimes it makes serious stuff easier to handle if you can joke about it, as long as you actually take the serious stuff seriously.

So recently, when we invited our cousins to stay over for the weekend and I asked if there were any new dietary restrictions, they said "no salt." We joked about our conditions and ailments and pills. And understood that we weren't talking about our grandparents or even our parents, but about ourselves. 

We had become them.

When did that happen?

Don't laugh youngsters. If you're lucky, this will happen to you too. It's one of the costs of growing older.

On the other hand, from a food point of view? Not lucky. No salt is a real UGH.

Salt is the salt of the earth. It's what makes so many foods taste so good.

Food without salt is, well, not as tasty. Let's just admit it and move on.

And, moving on, if you have to cook without salt, you have to and that's that. So you have to come up with ways to make the food taste good without it.

Among the salt-free dishes I prepared over the weekend were blueberry muffins. 

What did I do to make sure they didn't taste like a box of Cheerios? (I don't mean the Cheerios, I mean the box.)

I added extra vanilla to my standard recipe. A good brand of pure vanilla extract, not imitation vanilla.

I could also have added 2 teaspoons of grated fresh orange or lemon peel but I knew this particular company would not have enjoyed that. 

I could have included 1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts -- both of these nuts pack plenty of flavor, but I don't keep those nuts in my house because of allergies.

The tip here is to add powerful, flavorful ingredients that perk up the dish so you won't miss the salt.

We didn't.

Blueberry Muffins

  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh orange or lemon peel, optional
  • 1 cup blueberries
  • 1/3 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional

 

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease 8 muffin tins. Melt the butter and set it aside to cool. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in a bowl. Place the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, vanilla extract and orange peel (if used) in a second bowl and whisk to blend the ingredients thoroughly. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and mix just until combined. Fold in the blueberries and optional nuts. Fill muffin tins evenly with the batter. Bake for about 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool for 15 minutes. Remove the muffins and serve warm or let cool to room temperature.

Makes 8