Showing posts with label muffins. Show all posts
Showing posts with label muffins. Show all posts

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, 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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Monday, October 13, 2014

Pumpkin Spice Spice Baby Muffins #MuffinMonday

Pure pumpkin puree and cinnamon flavor a fluffy, tender muffin, topped with crunchy pumpkin seeds and a melt-in-your-mouth pumpkin spice white chocolate kiss candy. 

My self-imposed pumpkin moratorium is over. While a chill isn’t exactly in the air yet here in Dubai, I can finally see that there is hope for autumn and soup and pumpkin recipes. It’s been an extended summer of flights to family and friends and even having family visit me. Bless my mother; she came to Dubai in the hottest month to keep me company while my husband traveled on an extended business trip. We did see some sights, the ones that were inside and air-conditioned. Because that is what makes life tolerable when temperatures soar. The top temperature while she was here was, according to my external car thermometer, 52°C or 125.6°F. So, you are going to laugh at me but the current temperature of 34°C or 93°F actually feels cool. I know, weird, right? But it’s true, at least for the first five minutes outside. I am looking forward to the trend continuing. And I am finally baking with pumpkin.

1 1/2 cups or 190g all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
3/4 cup or 150g sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 15 oz can or almost one cup or 215g pure pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
2 eggs
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For topping: 1/4 cup or 40g pumpkin seeds and 12 pumpkin spice kiss candies

Preheat the oven to 350°F or 180°C and either grease your 12-cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

In one big mixing bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients: flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.

In small mixing bowl, whisk the pumpkin, eggs, oil and vanilla extract.

There you have the difference between brands of eggs here.

Fold the liquids to the dry mixture, stopping when they are just mixed if you are using all-purpose flour but stirring until completely and thoroughly mixed if you are using the gluten-free flour blend.

Divide the batter between your prepared muffins cups.

Push one pumpkin spice kiss into each cup and sprinkle the pumpkin seeds all around.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted next to the kiss candy comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.

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


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Monday, October 6, 2014

Saucy Pulled Pork Cornbread Muffins #MuffinMonday

Pulled pork with barbecue sauce is a great savory filling for cornbread muffins, perfect as a take-along for tailgating parties or game day buffets. 

I made slow cooked pork in the crockpot a couple of weeks back. Nothing remarkable about it except that I did use a cloudy apple juice with ginger that I buy in my nearby supermarket. And I hummed in a few ounces of raspberries from a punnet that was getting past its best. As it turns out, apples, ginger and tart raspberries all make delicious slow cooked pork shoulder. We ate the roast the first night sliced, with mashed potatoes and Brussels sprouts. 

Then I shredded the leftovers and added homemade barbecue sauce and we enjoyed barbecue sandwiches on lovely Portuguese rolls, coleslaw on the side, another night. Which left about one cupful of saucy pork as leftover leftovers. I was fully prepared to eat that with a spoon. I warmed it up the next morning and took a bite, but I just couldn’t get over the idea I’d had in the middle of that night before. My husband laughs because there is always a small part of my brain that is planning a meal or working on a recipe, no matter what else the rest of my brain seems to be concentrating on. I put the spoon down and put the bowl back in the refrigerator to chill. 

I had to use that pork to fill some cornbread muffins. 

1 cup or 180g fine yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 or 190g cups flour
4 teaspoons sugar 
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup or 355ml milk
2 eggs
1/3 cup or 80ml canola or other light vegetable oil plus more for the pan

Filling: One cup or 250g pulled pork with barbecue sauce
Optional for garnish: Small pickles or slices of pickle

Preheat oven to 375°F or 190°C. Prepare your 12-cup muffin pan by oiling it liberally with canola or non-stick baking spray. 

In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. 

In another smaller bowl, whisk together your milk, egg and oil. 

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and beat until fairly smooth, about one minute, making sure to scrape bottom and sides well.  

Divide about two-thirds of the batter among the prepared muffin cups. Add a generous teaspoon of the chilled pulled pork to each. 

Top with the remaining batter.

Add the pickle garnish if using. Mine were the little French cornichons. I drained them on some paper towel, sliced them partially through twice with a sharp knife and fanned them out. A slice of dill pickle would work as well. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned on top and on the sides. 

Remove to a wire rack to cool a little before eating. Do be careful with the first bites because the pork will be quite hot inside. 

Serve with coleslaw on the side to complete the saucy pulled pork muffin experience. 


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Monday, September 29, 2014

Ripe Persimmon Muffins #MuffinMonday

With a botanical name that means food of the gods, persimmons have lofty aspirations. They come in two main varieties, the Fuyus which are still somewhat crunchy like an apple when ripe and the Hachiyas which aren’t edible until they are soft with the sweet pulp almost bursting out of their taut orange skins. That pulp is the most gorgeous color and is splendid in baking, especially muffins. Some say the flavor is like pumpkin, but it puts me in mind of the idyllic, albeit fictional, marriage between an apple and a ripe peach. 

Got any muffin ideas for me?
So I’ve been at this muffin-baking thing for a while now. In fact, if I have counted correctly, this is my 124th muffin recipe baked and photographed for this space. I firmly believe that if flavors go together nicely, they are going to make a nice muffin. I have a list about 12 or 15 ideas long for future muffins, both sweet and savory, but I am always on the lookout for new ideas or ingredients.

Enter, the persimmon. 
The persimmons I have eaten before are the short, squat type (Fuyu) that are bright orange but kind of crunchy. From the top, they look the same as the large basketful that caught my eye at the market here last week, but when I reached in to choose a couple, the skins gave way, even in my gentle grip. These persimmons were clearly on their way out! And they were oval, not short and squat. Intriguing. I’m not that easily discouraged, so I chose the least mushy ones and brought them home. A quick internet search revealed that it’s "the mushier, the better" for this oval variety (Hachiya) so I let them soften all the way, before peeling them and mashing the pulp for muffins.

Two Hachiya persimmons yielded about a cup and a half of pulp.

For the muffins:
2 cups or 250g flour
1/2 cup or 100g sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 cup or 260g ripe persimmon pulp, mashed
1/2 cup or 120ml canola or other light oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the topping:
1/2 cup or 130g ripe persimmon pulp
1/4 cup or 50g sugar
Pinch salt

Preheat your oven to 350°F or 180°C and grease your 12-cup muffin pan or line it with paper liners.

If you haven’t already, peel and mash your persimmons.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In another bowl, whisk together the persimmon pulp, oil, egg and vanilla extract.

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

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake in the preheated oven about 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Meanwhile, cook your topping ingredients in a small pot over a medium heat until the mixture reduces and thicken slightly. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.

When the muffins are completely cool, spoon a little of the persimmon topping on each. If it has thickened up too much to spoon, warm it slightly or add just a few drops of water and stir.


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