Showing posts with label #MuffinMonday. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #MuffinMonday. Show all posts

Monday, November 17, 2014

Homemade English Muffins #NationalHomemadeBreadDay #MuffinMonday

English muffins are a traditional British bread made with yeast but cooked on the once-upon-a-time ubiquitous griddle. According to my current baking idol Paul Hollywood, even if you didn’t have an oven, back in the day, you surely had a griddle to make muffins, crumpets, Welsh cakes and the like. In fact, in the days before most homes had ovens, the griddle was the most efficient way of producing homemade bread. I'd like to suggest that it still is. 

Today I am celebrating Muffin Monday by making a different kind of muffin because it is also National Homemade Bread Day! And while normal muffins are still considered bread, I felt like getting my hands in some yeasty dough for the occasion. This special edition of Bread Bakers was instigated by Lauren, at From Gate to Plate so she is hosting today’s celebration! Hey, raise your hand and I’ll put you in charge. Thanks, Lauren!

Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of my post to see the link list of all the wonderful homemade breads we have today. We hope to inspire you to bake some bread and have a wonderful National Homemade Bread Day!

The following is adapted from these two recipes by King Arthur Flour and Paul Hollywood.

Ingredients for 16 English muffins
For the muffin dough:
1 3/4 cups or 415ml milk
3 tablespoons butter
4 1/2 cups or 570g strong white bread flour, plus more for cutting the dough into pieces
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 large egg

For final proofing and cooking:
Semolina or fine cornmeal, for sprinkling the griddle or pan

Measure your milk into a microwave proof vessel and then add the butter. Gently warm the milk until it is lukewarm. If you are a thermometer using type, you want it somewhere between 120-130° F or 49°–55°C. This should also soften the butter but it doesn't have to be completely melted.

Add the flour, sugar, yeast, salt and egg to the mixing bowl of your stand mixer. (I imagine you can do this by hand but it’s going to be hard work and, honestly, I don’t recommend it unless you are looking for a strenuous workout.)

Pour in the warm milk/butter mixture.

Beat the ingredients together until they form a soft sticky dough.

Just  coming together
Scrape down the sides and bottom of your bowl, then keep beating on medium high for at least five minutes.

Getting stretchier
You are looking for smooth shiny stretchy dough that has pulled away from the sides of the bowl.

Pulling right away from the sides of the bowl

Scrape the sides of your bowl again to form the dough into a ball. Cover and allow to rise at least one hour.

Here’s where you can be getting your griddle pans ready for the next step. If you only have one griddle, coat it with semolina or cornmeal and do the same with a baking sheet. If you have two griddles, coat them both liberally.

When the dough has finished the first rise, punch it down down gently and tip it out onto a lightly floured surface. Use a sharp knife dipped in flour to cut the dough into 16 pieces.

Form the pieces into balls and place them on your prepared griddles or griddle and baking sheet. Press them out gently into circles about 3-3 1/2 in or 7 1/2-9cm.

Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with more semolina or cornmeal. Cover them with sheets of parchment paper and leave to rest for 20 minutes.

Cook the muffins over a very low flame for seven to 15 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 200°F or 94°C.

If they rise and start to stick together, sprinkle a little more cornmeal where they are joining and use the point of a sharp knife to separate the muffins. Otherwise they are going to be a challenge to turn over.

I turned mine after seven minutes and, after a minute or two, I started to shift them around the griddle, scooting the ones in the middle to the outside and vice versa. Since my flame is in the middle, I figured those were getting cooked faster than the outside muffins.

After seven minutes on the second side, I checked the internal temperature and it registered 190°F or 88°C so I turned them over again and left them for three minutes. Then I turned them over one last time, turned the fire off and left them on the hot griddle for three more minutes.

So to recap: 1. On my lowest flame I cooked them seven minutes on one side. 2. Then seven minutes on the other side. 3. Checked my internal temperature. 4. Three minutes on the first side again and 5. three more minutes on the other side with the fire off. Ten minutes in all on the griddle on each side.

The King Arthur recipe says that you can put them for 10 minutes in an oven preheated to 350°F or 180°C if they are getting too brown on the outside before they finish cooking inside but that wasn’t necessary for me.

Place your finished English muffins on a wire rack and allow to cool completely before serving. Split the muffins with a fork poked in all around the sides to get the nice knobbly texture we like inside.


Check out all the other celebratory breads we’ve been baking for you today!
Bread Bakers
What is Bread Bakers?
It is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Bread Bakers Pinterest Board. Links are also updated after each event on the Bread Bakers home page.

How is the monthly theme determined?
We take turns hosting each month and the host gets to choose the theme/ingredient.

Would you like to join in the fun?
If you are a food blogger, send an email with your blog name and url to

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Almond Cherry Muffins #MuffinMonday

Toasted almonds, ground almonds and almond liqueur complement the dried cherries perfectly in this tender muffin. Superb for breakfast or teatime. 

I was thinking the other day, as I made the chocolate shot cookies, that they would also be great with almond flour, for a sort of almond shortbread. Or maybe I could substitute coconut for the oatmeal and roll them in some toasted coconut. All of these things may happen one day but meanwhile, it’s Muffin Monday so I decided to take the first idea and muffin with it. You know, like “run with it” but in a muffinly way. At the suggestion of my friend and fellow blogger, Ishita, I celebrated the fact that I now have a liquor license, which permits me to buy alcohol in Dubai, and added a little Amaretto! I also added dried cherries because almond and cherry is a classic combination and when you are making up new verbs and celebrating being 18 again at the age of 51, you have to show that you aren’t a completely crazy renegade or no one will take you seriously. That’s a fact.

Despite the expiration date, I just got the card. It seems the date starts
from your application, even if it takes them more than a month to process. 

I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour as my jumping off place.

1 cup or 200g granulated sugar
1 cup or 125g flour
1 cup or 100g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon Amaretto or almond liqueur
1 cup or 140g dried cherries
1 cup or 75g shaved almonds, lightly toasted

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and either grease your 12-cup muffin tin or line it with paper liners.  (I use paper liners but give the whole thing a quick spray with Pam so that any drips will clean off easily.)

In one big mixing bowl, combine your dry ingredients: flour, ground almonds, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In another small bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, oil and liqueur.

Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring until just combined.

There should still be some dry flour showing. Take out a good handful of the cherries and the toasted almonds and set them aside for decorating the muffin tops. Fold the rest of the cherries and almonds into the batter.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.

Top each with some of the reserved toasted almonds and poke a piece or two of dried cherries into the batter.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

Remove from the muffin pan and finish cooling on a rack.

Enjoy! Have you muffined anything lately?

P.S. I have two giveaways ending shortly. The great Cookie Week baking package including baking ingredients, equipment and four cookbooks ends at Midnight New York time today!

And the Food Truck Road Trip - a Cookbook giveaway ends at Midnight New York time on Tuesday, that is to say tomorrow.

Don't miss your chance to enter and win! 

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Muffin Top Cookies #CookieWeek #Giveaway

It’s the best part of every muffin! For those who like to eat the tops off of muffins and leave the rest, I give you Muffin Top Cookies with semi-sweet chocolate chips and chopped pecans. 

It’s Monday so usually that means muffins are baking at my house but today Muffin Monday and Cookie Week collide in a subtly spectacular fashion with Muffin Top Cookies. All the best of both worlds! If you’ve been around here for a while, you know that Cookie Week is the fabulous five-day celebration hosted by Kim of Cravings of a Lunatic and Susan of The Girl in the Little Red Kitchen, who, by the way, also has a commercial kitchen and will ship her delicious cookies right to your door. I participated in the inaugural Cookie Week last year and it was such fun that I begged, "please, pretty please," to be allowed to take part again. It's a great group of bakers – a dozen all told – and we'll be bringing you delicious cookies all week long!

And, as if cookies weren’t enough, we’ve got prizes as well! Make sure to scroll down to the bottom of the recipe for links to all the participating cookie bakers, check out the wonderful prizes and enter the Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

Our sponsors for this event have provided us with some great prizes and we'd like to extend a HUGE thank you for their generosity. Thanks to Imperial Sugar, Circulon, Peanut Butter & Co. and Page Street Publishing for being a part of Cookie Week!

Ingredients for about 2 dozen cookies
3/4 cup or 140g semisweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup or 60g chopped pecans
1 2/3 cups or 210g flour
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 375°F or 190°C and prepare your cookie sheets by lining them with parchment or silicone liners.

Measure out your chocolate chips and pecans then set aside a small handful of each to decorate the tops of the cookies before baking.

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, chopped pecans and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together your milk, oil, egg and vanilla.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ones and stir until just mixed.

Fold in the chocolate chips.

Spoon about 2 level tablespoons of dough, at 2 in or 4cm apart, onto your prepared cookie sheets. I like to use a two-tablespoon scoop, which makes the process so much easier.

Poke a few of the reserved chocolate chips and pieces of pecan into the top of each.

Bake the muffin top cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until the edges are a light golden brown. Cool for a couple of minutes and then use a spatula to transfer the cookies to a wire rack to finish cooling.

These turn out cakey and very much like a muffin top! Enjoy!

Are you ready for some more warm COOKIES?!
Other blogs participating later this week include:

How about some hot baking PRIZES?! One winner takes all! 

How to enter
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment telling us what your favorite cookie is to bake during the holidays. Additional ways to enter will be then be revealed in the Rafflecopter widget.

1 (one) lucky person will win ALL the prizes listed above. The winner will be randomly chosen through Rafflecopter. This giveaway is open from Monday, November 3rd, 2014 to Monday, November 11th 11:59 EST to US residents only. The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond, at which time a new winner will be drawn. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins #MuffinMonday

Ground hazelnuts add richness to these chocolate muffins and perfectly complement the surprise Ferrero Rocher hazelnut candy baked in the center of each.

Sometimes when I am at the grocery store, I browse the candy/sweetie aisle for muffin inspiration. There are such a lot of great combinations of flavors on every shelf, some classic like chocolate-covered cherries, others a little more “out there” like chocolate and lime or chili peppers. At first I was just planning to bake chocolate hazelnut muffins and then I thought to myself, “I wonder what would happen if I stuffed an entire Ferrero Rocher chocolate-covered hazelnut candy in the batter” and then I had to try it. There was always the possibility that the chocolate surrounding the hazelnut would get molten and cause 12 mini explosions in the oven, sending muffin batter everywhere. Some part of me was hoping for that result, but the better part of me was counting on the candy staying intact and creating a lovely surprise at the center of each muffin. I’m pleased to tell you that, as you can see from the photos, my better part won! The other part was just slightly disappointed but these great muffins are sweet consolation. Clearly I need to get out more.

1 1/2 cups or 190g flour (or an equivalent amount Dove Farm’s gluten-free flour mix)
1 cup or 110g coarse hazelnut meal or ground hazelnuts (I did mine in the food processor.)
3/4 cup or 170g golden caster sugar (Normal white sugar can be substituted.)
1/4 cup or 25g extra dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 125g sour cream
1/2 cup or 115g unsalted butter, melted then cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
12 Ferrero Rocher chocolate-covered hazelnut candies

Preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.   Put liners in muffin cups or grease well with butter or non-stick spray.

Whisk together your flour, ground hazelnuts, sugar, cocoa, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.

Whisk together milk, butter, sour cream, eggs and vanilla in another bowl until combined well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, if using normal flour, fold until just combined. If you are using the gluten-free mix, stir well until no flour is showing.

Divide the batter among muffin cups. Decorate each with a Ferrero Rocher chocolate and push it down gently into the batter.

Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin alongside the chocolate candy center comes out clean.

Allow to cool for a few minutes in the pan and then remove the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Spicy Cheesy Bacon Ranch Muffins #MuffinMonday

Extra sharp cheddar cheese, crispy bacon and ranch dressing seasonings are combined in these flavorful savory muffins, making them perfect brunch fare for game day or tailgating picnics. 

Ranch trumps plans
I had a complete different muffin planned for today. I had bought the ingredients and it was going to be sweet and fabulous. But then, I saw this. This, my dear readers, is the even more fabulous Cheesy Bacon Ranch Dip from my friend, Carla, over at Chocolate Moosey. 

© Carla Cardello at Chocolate Moosey. Used by permission.

I am a huge fan of ranch dressing and ranch dip and ranch pretty much everything. My suitcase returning from the US to whichever country we are living is regularly stocked with packets of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing, unless it’s available where I am. I hate to be without it. I also stock up on the buttermilk ranch seasonings from Penzey's. One cannot ever have too much ranch. It’s great for dipping carrot sticks or potato chips and there's hardly anything that makes me happier than cutting an avocado in half, removing the pit and filling the holes with ranch dressing so I can eat it with a spoon. Unless it’s being home alone when I do it so that I don’t have to give someone else one of my avocado halves. Dang moochers. 

The upshot of it was that when I saw Carla’s spicy cheesy bacon ranch dip, I knew all those flavors – that bacon, the cheese, that hot sauce, the ranch seasonings! - would also make a fabulous muffin. And I wasn’t willing to wait. As I sit here typing this, I have just polished off my second muffin. Then I licked my finger and picked up the crumbs from the saucer and cleaned them off too so, unless someone is counting muffins, it looks like I haven’t even started yet. And that, friends, would be the truth. Two down, just 10 to go. Don't bother to knock. I'm not answering. 

2 cups or 250g flour
5 oz or 140g extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 tablespoons ranch seasoning (About half of a ranch dip packet. I used my Penzey's for this.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup or 240ml sour cream
1/3 cup or 80ml milk
5-6 slices bacon, fried and chopped – approx. weight after frying and draining: 1 3/4 oz or 50g
2-4 tablespoons hot sauce, depending on your taste and how spicy your chosen hot sauce is. Know thyself, as the ancient Greeks said. 

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by greasing it or lining it with paper muffin cups. 

Separate out small handfuls of both your grated cheese and your bacon for decorating the muffins before baking.

In a large bowl, mix together your flour, the bigger of the grated cheddar, ranch seasoning, baking powder, baking soda and salt, making sure that the cheese is well coated in flour and is not sticking together in clumps.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together your eggs, sour cream, milk and hot sauce.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients stir until just mixed.  Then fold in the larger pile of bacon pieces.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.

Top each with the reserved smaller piles of grated cheddar and bacon.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the muffins are golden and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for a few minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.


And, just a side note that I found amusing. Muffins are not a stable building material. I was stacking them like this.

And then this happened. One went off the left and one went off the right. And that is the story of how my helper got a muffin. Three down, nine to go.

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