I am not spontaneous. Ok, wait, that came out wrong, let me try again from the other side. I am a planner. Some may even call me a compulsive planner. I want to know about things happening well in advance; I like to make schedules, menus, to-do lists, etc.
So when things happen that I don’t plan for, like say, you go to get your pork shoulder out of the fridge to get it ready to sit in the slow cooker for 8 hours because you’re making dinner for your fiancé’s boss and his wife that night, and even though the sell by date on the meat is today, the edges of the meat are turning green. Yes, green….bleck.
It’s 9am, and you need a pork shoulder in your slow cooker fast. You’re still in your pajamas, and halfway to tears over the money you lost on the first pork shoulder. You manage to pull yourself together, but then trip over your rabbit going up the stairs to change and scrape your elbow. You then head to the grocery store, thanking every god known to man you only live 3 mins from Stop & Shop. You sprint to the meat section, select a new, very pink pork shoulder and rush back to the check out area like a wide receiver running for a game-winning touchdown, cradling your precious pork shoulder right in the crook of your arm.
And then you’re back home at 9:20, slapping some serious dry rub on that shoulder, crisis averted. *whew* But then you realize you totally forgot to write a blog post the night before because you were too tired after your dancing lesson. *cringe* I’m only human guys.
Lucky for me I had a fantastic breakfast that morning by way of these muffins. They combine white chocolate, strawberries and almond meal together in one perfect little parcel; not too sweet, and full of flavor.
White Chocolate Strawberry Almond Muffins
Adapted from Honey & Jam
Makes 8-10 muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup almond flour or almond meal
½ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 large eggs
¼ cup (half a stick) unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup honey
½ cup chopped white chocolate
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin. Mix dry together ingredients in a large bowl. Mix wet ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine wet and dry until well incorporated. Gently fold in white chocolate and strawberries. Divide batter into cups; you will most likely not need all 12. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 minutes before removing muffins.
These muffins and I go wayyyyy back. Like, back before I knew how to operate an oven and my “baking experience” was licking the brownie batter covered spoon. This is a recipe passed down to me by my darling mother.
I know you’ve heard of lemon poppy seed muffins. I’ve even posted about them. But peach poppy seed? Yes, friends, OH YES.
I’m not sure where the idea for these muffins originated (I guess I should ask my mom) but I am sure about how much my brother and I loved them. I recall eating them straight from the freezer once or twice because I was worried that the monstrous black hole that was my growing teenage brother would eat them all before I had managed a single taste.
They taste better thawed out for the record, though they do freeze beautifully. I love the tops of these muffins. Such a deep golden brown, and crispy on the edges. It pairs so wonderfully with the moist, tender interior that contains subtle undertones of peachy goodness.
My mom’s original recipe calls for peach baby food. I decided to use pureed peaches instead, and they tasted exactly the same. If you’re looking for a way to use up a summer peach or two, might I proffer these muffins as a solution?
Peach Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from my mom’s recipe
Makes 12 muffins
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
3 Tbsp poppy seeds
¾ cup (6 oz) pureed peaches
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin and set aside.
In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar. Add in the eggs, one at a time, stirring after each addition. Finally stir in the vanilla.
Add the flour, baking soda and salt to the mixture and stir to combine. Fold in the poppy seeds and peach puree. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling until about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 mins, or until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
Sometimes cooking for two is a challenge. What?!? Cooking for two? That’s not hard at all, you say. But Luke and I have palates that seem to have come from different planets. He’s definitely a meat-and-potatoes-what’s-that-green-thing-doing-on-my-plate kind of guy.
And while I’m not on the opposite end of the spectrum trying to work kale, chard or tofu into our every dinner, I do enjoy foods other than meat and potatoes.
I know that when I think about what to make for dinner, or breakfast, or any meal, I think about what my own taste buds desire first. I mean, I am the one putting in all the effort to get the dang meal made. This can be hazardous though, as some of the ingredients I love to cook with are reviled by my co-habitant.
I usually end up scraping my ideas if they involve any of these contraband items, but sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I make things just for me, knowing Luke will never want to lay a finger on them. I do this because I can’t help myself. My culinary curiosity gets the better of me.
Some concepts just intrigue me too much. Like these muffins. Luke abhors goat cheese, and while I wouldn’t eat it with a spoon, I still enjoy its flavor in other dishes. I particularly like it here, as a filling for these summery muffins.
The bright strawberries and tart goat cheese play off each other beautifully, rounded out by a pleasantly sweet muffin shell topped with turbinado sugar. These are muffins that make me smile, even if they make a certain someone frown.
Goat Cheese Filled Strawberry Muffins
Adapted from Eating Well
Makes 12-15 muffins
3/4 cup (6 oz) crumbled soft goat cheese
2 Tbsp honey
1 tsp freshly grated lemon zest
1 ¼ tsp vanilla extract, divided
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 large egg white
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
3 Tbsp turbinado sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners or coat with cooking spray. I got 15 muffins out of this recipe, so be warned you may need your muffin tin twice.
Thoroughly combine goat cheese, honey, lemon zest and 1/4 tsp vanilla in a small bowl; set aside.
Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Lightly beat eggs and egg white in a medium bowl; add brown sugar and the remaining 1 tsp vanilla and whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 minute. Gradually whisk in buttermilk and oil until smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined; do not overmix. Fold in strawberries.
Spoon half the batter into the prepared muffin cups. Add a generous teaspoon of the reserved cheese filling to the center of each muffin, and cover with the remaining batter. Sprinkle the tops with sugar.
Bake until the edges start to brown and the tops spring back when gently pressed, 13 to 15 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
It’s another super special Hop Day with Izzy! And no, it’s not because it’s finally warm enough for her to start stretching out in her litter box. Though it is cute.
It’s because today is my BFF Diego’s birthday. He’s also graduating from college this week, so many, many congratulations to him! Check out this vintage photo of us hanging out in Puerto Rico. Yeah, I know we’re pretty awesome, especially me in my colorful little girl bikini.
That year was also the last one that I let my mom decide now I got my hair cut.
I wish I had a more festive baked good to ring in my friend’s birthday, but I thought making a cake for him that he couldn’t actually eat might be torturous. So I went with a slightly less enviable choice, the muffin.
Hey, you know you like muffins. And these babies are packed with flavor from mashed sweet potato, brown sugar and a menagerie of spices.
Top them off with some turbinado sugar, and you’ve got yourself one lovely breakfast. Slap on some cool whip and a candle, and you’ve got yourself a tiny birthday cake.
Or just stick with the breakfast idea.
Spiced Sweet Potato Muffins
Adapted from Scientifically Sweet
Makes 12 muffins
One large sweet potato (about 8 oz)
½ cup packed brown sugar
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground cloves
¼ tsp ground ginger
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest
2 large egg whites
½ cup milk
1/3 cup canola oil
turbinado sugar for toping
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease a 12-cup muffin tin; set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook the sweet potato until very tender, about 15 minutes. You can also roast the sweet potato by wrapping it in foil and baking it at 400 degrees for about an hour. It takes longer, but it caramelizes the sugars and brings out more flavor. Your choice.
After the potato is cooked, peel it (the skin should slide off) and transfer it to a medium bowl. Mash it with a fork or potato masher, then switch to a wooden spoon and beat in the sugar. Set the bowl aside to cool slightly.
In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt; set aside.
Stir vanilla extract and orange zest into the sweet potato mixture. Add egg whites and beat until pale, thick and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Stir in milk and oil. Add in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, but do not over mix.
Divide batter among muffin cups, filling them to just below the brim. Sprinkle some turbinado sugar (or brown sugar) on top of each. Bake until golden brown, 16-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, remove and serve.
It’s been kind of hot in MA the last few days. And I am not a summer person. Especially not in an apartment without air conditioning.
The only up side is I get to see a lot of this.
Izzy is lying down on her side and belly more often to cool off. There’s nothing to make me forget that my bare legs are sticking together than a little black bunny flopping over and spreading out on her little paws.
Luckily, or not so luckily, the heat streak is ending today. I’m happy about it. As cute as Izzy is, I’d rather not start sweating while kneading bagel dough or checking on roasted potatoes.
Or making muffins. I loooooove muffins. I love them even more when they have a secret filling.
And if that secret filling involves nutella, I’ll eat so many I won’t care about that huge blister on my big toe I got from walking too far in flip flops. Damn hot weather shoes.
But muffins make it all better. I know it’s not pumpkin season, but these guys are delicious any time of year.
Nutella Cheesecake Filled Pumpkin Muffins
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen
Makes about 20 muffins
For the muffins:
4 large eggs
1-½ cup sugar
1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin puree
1-½ cup vegetable oil
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
For the cheesecake filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup Nutella
1 large egg
Preheat oven to 375°F. In a large bowl, beat eggs slightly. Add in sugar, pumpkin and oil and beat thoroughly. Add in remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, Nutella and egg until smooth.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or place lines in the cups. Place about 2 tablespoons of pumpkin batter into each liner, then 1 tablespoon of Nutella batter, then top with 2 more tablespoons of pumpkin batter. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Remove from muffin tin and enjoy!
It seems that because of this humble little food blog, my family always expects me to arrive laden with baked goods every time I visit them. Now, most of the time, this is true. I am just dying to unload some of my extra goodies on them.
But sometimes I make things that don’t travel well. Or I just haven’t made anything right before the trip. You should see the looks I get when I show up empty handed. I feel like the worst food blogger ever.
Luckily, my current trip was not one of those occasions, though I thought about trying to pull something for April Fool’s Day. I’m not much of a prankster though, and Luke’s attempt to inform me that he was quitting his job did not inspire me. Good effort, but kind of weak.
Anyway, this time I came bearing many goodies, including muffins.
Muffins, in my opinion are one of the best breakfast foods/snacks. These muffins are wonderfully spiced, though I think the cardamom was a little too pronounced for my taste. Feel free to cut it down to ¼ tsp if you’re not too fond of cardamom, like me.
Other than that, these moist little beauties are simple in their composure, yet complex in flavor. Definitely a great treat to add to your morning food repertoire.
Chai Spiced Muffins
Adapted from My Baking Addiction
Makes 12 muffins (I got 15 somehow)
1/4 cup (half stick) butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper muffin cups.
In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and sugars until smooth.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating to combine after each one.
Stir in the baking powder, baking soda, spices, salt and vanilla. Mix well to fully incorporate.
Stir the flour into the butter mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour and making sure everything is thoroughly combined.
Using a large scoop (about 3 tablespoons), divide the batter evenly into the prepared pan, filling the wells until nearly full.
Bake the muffins for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.
Cool in pan for 10 mins, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.