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

Monday, August 25, 2014

Becca's-Pistachio-Oat-Cookie Muffins #MuffinMonday

With only one half cup of sugar and one quarter cup of oil in 12 muffins, not to mention the steel cut oats, flax seeds, pistachios, raisins and cranberries, these guys are reasonably healthy but, more importantly, for me at least, they are chock full of flavor! 

Ever since I started participating in Muffin Mondas more than two years ago, my mind has worked in strange and wonderful ways. I am always, and I mean always, on the lookout for muffin inspiration. Doing my shopping, cooking other recipes (sweet or savory) and especially when I am trolling the internet and reading posts on blogs that I love. This week’s inspiration came from the no-bake pistachio oat cookies made by my friend, Becca from It’s Yummy. Becca does share decadent sweets and desserts from time to time, and she’s a fan of all things bacon – so we have that fabulous love in common - but overall, she tries to keep things reasonably healthy. Part of her mission is to turn an unhealthy meal into something delicious and nutritious, without spending a fortune! And who wouldn’t appreciate that?!  If you haven’t met her yet, please do go on over and say howdy and give her a little love. Besides being a great recipe developer and blogger, she is also one of the sweetest, kindest, most generous people you would ever like to meet.

Anyhoo, here’s my muffin take on her great no-bake cookies! Thanks for the inspiration, Becca!

1/2 cup or 90g steel cut oats
1/2 cup or 120ml orange juice
1/2 cup or 65g shelled roasted pistachios (unsalted, if possible)
1/3 cup or 50g golden raisins
1/3 cup or 60g dried cranberries
1 1/2 cups or 190g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
1/3 cup or 45g toasted flax seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs
3/4 cup 180ml milk
1/4 cup or 60ml canola or other light oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Because the steel cut oats need soaking to soften enough to add to this recipe, start the day before you want to bake. Warm your orange juice and pour it over the oats in a small bowl. Cover it and set it aside until it is cool. Now put it in the refrigerator overnight. Ideally, you’ll want to let the oats soak for at least 12 hours. Give it a stir occasionally, if you think about it.

Warm orange juice just poured in on the left. After an overnight soaking on the right.
It turned a little starchy and sticky but don't let that bother you. 

When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F or 180°C.  Line a standard 12-cup muffin pan with paper cases or grease liberally.

Chop your pistachios roughly and do the same with the dried cranberries if they are large. Set aside a small handful of the pistachios, cranberries and raisins for decorating the tops of the muffins before baking, if desired.

In a large bowl, mix together your flour, sugar, flax seeds, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

Toasted flax seeds are crunchy and delicious! I'll be putting them in and on everything from now on.

In a smaller bowl, whisk your eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add the soaked oats and any liquid with them to the eggs/milk/oil bowl and stir well.

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until just moistened. Some flour should still be showing.

Fold in the chopped pistachios, cranberries and raisins.

Divide the batter into the muffin cups and decorate the tops with the reserved pistachios, cranberries and raisins, if using.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

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

Or break one open and start eating it warm!


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Christmas Ham Muffins #MuffinMonday

For just a little taste of Christmas any time of the year, make ham, pineapple and brown sugar muffins, topped with pineapple in just a little brown sugar mustard glaze.

One of the early recipes I shared on this blog was for a baked Christmas ham, covered all over with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries and slathered with brown sugar mustard glaze. Just like my grandmother used to make. I was cooking with a friend in Cairo while I was there on a house-hunting trip before our move, so the photos were pretty sad, but I can tell you that the ham was spectacular.

I give you exhibit A.

Baked Christmas Ham - Food Lust People Love

These muffins are a little sweet and a little savory and the little drizzle of brown sugar mustard glaze on top is divine.

For the muffin batter:
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup or 120ml milk
1/2 cup or 120ml pineapple juice
1/2 cup or 120ml canola oil
2 eggs
2 slices canned pineapple in juice (about 1/2 cup when chopped or 110g)
3/4 cup or 100g sliced or chopped ham

For topping:
12 small chunks pineapple
1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
6 cocktail cherries

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your muffin tin or line it with paper liners.

Cut your pineapple into small chunks and put 12 pieces in a small bowl for the topping. Add the tablespoon of brown sugar and the teaspoon of yellow mustard. Mix well.

Cut your cherries in half and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Mash the brown sugar lumps out with a fork, if necessary.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pineapple juice and oil.

Pour your wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and fold them together until just mixed.

Fold in the pineapple and ham.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Put one piece of the pineapple topping on each, along with a drizzle of the brown sugar mustard glaze. Add one cherry half.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool on a rack for a few minutes and then remove the muffins to cool completely.

Now aren't those festive?

Enjoy! Early Merry Christmas to you!

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Monday, August 11, 2014

Blackberry Date Buckwheat Muffins #MuffinMonday #GlutenFree #Vegan

With dates for sweetness, coconut cream for richness and fresh blackberries mixed through, these muffins may not be the best looking on the block but they sure are tasty.

We’ve raised our daughters to follow their hearts and find their own ways, while guiding them in what we think is right. But I tell you true, this learning thing goes both ways. I value their opinions and really do try to listen when they send me links or tell me about things I should know or reconsider. Both of them now eat mostly vegetarian fare, limiting their meat consumption to the rare burger (no pun intended) and special occasions. They have friends who eat only vegetarian with a vegan or two in the mix. Add in a gluten-free friend or three, some my own, and all of this has made me more open to trying new dishes and new methods and even some substitutions that I would never have considered four or five years ago. I’m still not a fan of most of the faux meats but, I've discovered, prepared properly, they can be delicious. (If you are ever in the Boston area, I can highly recommend a little Thai place called My Thai Vegan Cafe, where every dish we’ve tried is fabulous. My only complaint was that the curry “duck” didn’t have enough sauce, because it was that good.)

Our younger daughter is in London now for an eight-week internship and it has given her a chance to catch up with some old friends from our Kuala Lumpur years. She and her roommate took the train down to Brighton to see the sights, pick some blackberries and hang out. I understand there was a great deal of laughing over old photos as well. We were chatting yesterday and she told me about the wonderful vegan buckwheat pancakes that they had made for breakfast one morning, using dates, coconut milk and some of those blackberries. That was all the inspiration I needed for this morning’s muffins.

If you’ve never baked with buckwheat before, it’s pretty dark and, I must admit, doesn’t make the prettiest muffin. Even using half buckwheat and half white gluten-free flour, these guys are very dark, which I am sure was not helped along by the pureed dates and mashed blackberries. Maybe I’m blaming buckwheat flour when the dates are really more responsible! But the bottom line is that they weren’t heavy and actually have a light texture. If the color puts you off, just close your eyes and bite!

Adapted from this recipe for Vegan Buckwheat Pancakes.

1 1/2 cups or 355ml coconut cream (unsweetened)
1 cup or 145g dates, pitted (weight with pits = about 5 3/4 oz or 165g
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup or 150g fresh blackberries or berry of your choice
1 cup or 130g buckwheat flour
1 cup or 150g gluten-free white flour blend (I use Dove Farms.)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon

Optional: 1-2 tablespoons pearl sugar for decorating before baking

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.

Pit your dates, if they haven’t come already pitted, by slicing them open with a sharp knife and pushing the pit out.

Process them in a blender or food processor with the coconut cream until they are reduced to mostly small pieces. The occasional larger bit is okay, in fact, possibly desirable for added texture and chewiness in the muffin. (This, according to my daughter. She suggested adding even more chopped dates but I decided that the blackberries were enough.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

That's the buckwheat flour on the right, peeking out from under the baking soda, baking powder and salt. Apparently buckwheat, despite its name, has no relation to wheat but comes from the rhubarb family. Who knew?!

In a small bowl, mash your blackberries lightly with a fork and cut any really large ones in half.

Add in the blended date/coconut cream mixture and mix well with the fork.

Pour the wet ingredients into your dry and stir until well blended.

Divide the batter between the muffin cups.

Top with pearl sugar to decorate, if desired.

I know, I know, it doesn't really help their looks but I was trying!

Bake for 15-20 minutes. You can’t really tell doneness by golden color with these, so test if an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Remove from the pan to cool on a wire rack.


An inside shot! 

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Monday, August 4, 2014

BLT (Bacon Lettuce Tomato) Muffins #MuffinMonday #BaconMonth

Baby gem lettuce, quick fried in bacon fat, is a treat all on its own. Added to muffin batter with crispy bacon and sun-dried tomatoes, it makes a fabulous baked BLT that is handy for breakfast or snack time on the go. 

Welcome to the start of the Bacon Month giveaways! This week we have the fabulous cookbook Bacon Nation* up for grabs so make sure to scroll to the bottom of this post and enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win it! Many thanks to Julie from White Lights on Wednesday for organizing Bacon Month and sponsoring the giveaways!

I pride myself on being an adventurous eater. That said, the first time I encountered cooked lettuce was in the kitchen of a Dutch friend who was making lettuce soup. The sound of it didn’t appeal to me at all so I was pleasantly surprised by how tasty it was. Since then I have enjoyed peas simmered with lettuce and butter the French way, grilled Romaine in salads and wilted lettuce cooked in bacon fat, in the Southern tradition. It wasn’t something I remember either of my grandmothers making but that doesn’t stop me from adopting it now. For this week’s Muffin Monday and the start of Bacon Month, a BLT muffin with baby gem lettuce seared in bacon fat seemed like the obvious choice! I used my easy to make homemade sun-dried tomatoes but store bought would work just as nicely.

4 1/2+ oz or 130g streaky smoked bacon (I used two thick cut slices and two normal slices because that’s what I had on hand.)
3/4 oz or 20g sun-dried tomatoes
3 small baby gem lettuces – about 7oz or 200g in total
2 cups or 250g flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon English mustard powder
Black pepper
1/4 cup or 60ml bacon fat and/or canola or other vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup or 240ml milk

Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in hot water and set aside to plump.

Fry the bacon until crispy and pour the fat into a 1/4 cup or 60ml measuring cup. Top up, if necessary to the full amount with oil.  Set aside. Do not wash the residual grease out of the pan! We are going to fry the lettuce in it. Drain the bacon on some paper towels.

Trim the brown end off of your baby gem lettuces, being careful to leave enough of the cores so they don’t fall apart. Now cut them each into halves.

Heat the bacon pan until quite hot and lay the baby gems in it, cut side down. Fry just a few minutes until browned and then turn them over carefully.

Brown the other side. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

Cut the cores out of the lettuces and chop the leaves. I ended up with about 1 cupful of lettuce.

Drain the tomatoes and chop them into smaller bits, reserving 12 bigger pieces to garnish the muffins, if desired. Chop the crispy bacon finely, once again reserving 12 bigger pieces to garnish the muffins, if desired.

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

In a large mixing bowl, combine your flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and mustard powder plus a few good grinds of fresh black pepper. My grinder actually has a mix of peppercorns, if you are wondering about the pink and green flecks.

In a smaller mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and room temperature bacon fat/oil.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and mix slightly.

Add in the chopped bacon, chopped lettuce and chopped tomatoes. Fold gently to combine.

Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups. Top with reserved bacon and tomato, if you kept some aside.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool slightly in the pan. Transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.


Other Bacon Month participants and their recipes today include

I’ll be adding more links as they go live today, so please check back! 

Be sure to follow Bacon Month with the #baconmonth and #putsomepiginit hashtags, and get even more bacon recipes by following Julie's board I Heart | Bacon! on Pinterest.

Now for the Bacon Nation* giveaway! Please be aware that the book will only be shipped to US addresses. Canadian winners will receive an Amazon gift card for the price of the book. Full disclosure details can be found by clicking on Terms and Conditions on the Rafflecopter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This is an Amazon affiliate link. If you buy after clicking on the link, I earn some small change for referring you to Amazon, at no extra cost to you.


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