Category Archives: Baking

Muffin “Monday” — Zucchini Fig Almond

Zucchini Fig Almond muffins from the ritaLOVEStoWRITE test kitchen

Zucchini Fig Almond muffins from the ritaLOVEStoWRITE test kitchen

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Cardamom
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 tbsp Lemon Peal
  • 1 cup shredded Zucchini (fresh or frozen/thawed)
  • 2 tbsp Canola Oil
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup Fat-Free Milk
  • 1/3 cup Fig
  • 1/4 cup  Almond Slivers
  • Water to smooth the tops of the muffins
A note on the Zucchini — So Sunday was a  lovely day here in Northern Maryland and I finally got out into the garden to do some rehab and bit of planting. Being an optimistic kind of human, I planted Zucchini — yes, I’m one of those people who thinks you “can NEVER have too much Zucchini.” So I started a packet of seeds, knowing full well that I’ll get Zuke in my weekly box from the farmer co-op come summer. With this in mind I went to the freezer to free it of some of last year’s crop. I let a bag thaw over night than (after cracking the ziplock seal) gave it an assist in the microwave for a minute. Then (over the sink) I pierced the bottom of the bag in several sections and squeezed the water out. I got 1 cup of compacted Zucchini.
Frozen Zucchini. On the left is an unthawed bag straight from the freezer. On the Right is a thawed bag that has been drained of excess water.

Frozen Zucchini. On the left is an unthawed bag straight from the freezer. On the Right is a thawed bag  drained of excess water.

 

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and Prep muffin cups with cooking spray. (I used 12 medium-sized muffin cups).

2. In a large bowl, mix the Flour, Baking Powder, Salt, Cardamom, Sugar and Lemon Peal,

3. In a medium bowl, combine the Zucchini, Lemon Zest, Canola Oil, Egg and Milk and stir well.

4. Add the wet to dry and mix until combined.

5. Chop up the Fig into small segments. Cut off the tops of the figs. Cut fig in quarters length wise, then dice.

Important Fig Cutting Diagram.

Important Fig Cutting Diagram.

6. Add the Fig and Almonds to the batter

7. Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups. With a wet spoon smooth out the muffins.

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8. Bake for 20 minutes or until muffins pass the toothpick test.

These babies would pass any test.

These babies would pass any test. Bring it on tooth pick.

9. Cool on a wire rack.

These came out perfectly. Dense, but not gummy. Crunchy at the top. Just sweet enough, but not overly so.  I think they’ll keep and travel well because they weren’t moist. But they weren’t so dry that you’d need to add butter or apple sauce to enjoy them. Yum.

While last week’s Strawberry Peach Minis were a bit on the dessert-y side,  these darlings fit nicely into the breakfast category. Taster Kathy agrees. She thought the muffins were healthy and hearty and really liked the fig and almond addition to the zucchini. She added that they were “Just delicious.”

 

 

Beauty shot.

Beauty shot.

 

 

MORE MUFFIN FUN:

Muffin Monday: S’mores & Mandarin Orange Choc. Chip

Special Snow Day: Nutella Zucchini

Muffin Monday Top Blog Honor

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Muffin Monday: Pumpkin Muffins

I’ve been thinking about Pumpkin Muffins since the magical orange orbs started to appear at the Farmer’s Market. The other day I gave in and bought a can of pumpkin puree.

Plain Pumpkin muffins and Raisin enhanced Pumpkin muffins sit side by side in harmony on my mini cutting board.

Plain Pumpkin muffins and Raisin enhanced Pumpkin muffins sit side by side in harmony on my mini cutting board.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Garam masala
  • 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons Baking Soda
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 3 Cups Sugar
  • 1 can Pumpkin Puree
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
  • 1/2 cup Apple Cider
  • 1/2 raisins (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar (for topping optional)

DIRECTIONS

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prep 24 muffin cups by spraying with baking spray

2. In a medium bowl combine the Flour, spices, Baking Soda and Salt.

3. In a large bowl mix Pumpkin, Sugar, Eggs, Oil and Apple Cider.

4. Add the dry ingredients to the Pumpkin mixture. Beat until well combined.

5. Divide evenly into the 24 muffin cups.

This recipe makes 24 muffins. (Please admire my new heart shaped silicone muffin cups.)

This recipe makes 24 muffins. (Please admire my new heart shaped silicone muffin cups.)

6. If you want a special treat you can add Raisins — Toss the Raisins and the tablespoon of sugar together in the dry ingredient bowl. Spoon onto the tops of the muffins. (I did half and half).

7. Bake for 25  to 30 minutes or until muffins pass the toothpick test. Cool 10 minutes then remove from muffin cups.

And here's what they looked like when they came out of the oven.

And here’s what they looked like when they came out of the oven.

Enjoy!

2 muffins


Muffin Monday: Apple Zucchini Muffins

WHAT? Today’s not Monday! Its OK. Don’t touch that dial. You haven’t fallen into a muffin time warp. I just got swamped by freelance yesterday and, although I did MAKE these yummy muffins yesterday, I didn’t get around to posting about it until today.

This recipe is Texas sized so it makes 24 muffins. (Plenty for a package or two for the nieces in college down in the Lone Star State.)

Mom-Mom Approved Apple Zucchini Muffins

Mom-Mom Approved Apple Zucchini Muffins

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups finely chopped  Apple
  • 2 cup grated Zucchini
  • 2 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 3 cups regular Flour
  • 1 cup Buckwheat Flour
  • 2 tablespoons Baking Powder
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 stick Butter
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 cups Milk (or Milk plus Zucchini juice to equal 2 cups)
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon Almond
  • 2 Egg

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prep muffin cups by spraying with cooking spray and dusting with flour.

2. Chop the Apples and grate the Zucchini. DRAIN the Zucchini! Its October and the Zucchini available at the farmer’s market is roughly the size of a preemie baby. I picked up two for a buck a piece on Saturday. Half of one of those mega Zukes was enough to yield the 2 cups I needed for this recipe, but the larger gourd meant much more fluid. So I put the whole grated batch in a sieve to remove the liquid. BONUS! I was able to cut down on the amount of milk by combining it with the Zucchini liquid. Plus the Zucchini liquid is an awesome bright green color that just makes me happy.

Zucchini juice green -- why isn't there a Crayola Crayon in this color?

Zucchini juice green — why isn’t there a Crayola Crayon in this color?

3. Combine the Apples and Zucchini with the Cinnamon and set aside.

4. In a medium bowl combine the regular Flour, the Buckwheat Flour, the Baking Powder and the Salt.

5. In a large bowl melt the Butter.

6. Add the Sugar to the Butter and mix. Add the Vanilla and Almond.

7. Add  the Eggs one at a time to the Butter/Sugar mix.

8. Add the MIlk/Zucchini to the liquid.

9. Working in thirds combine the wet and dry ingredients. Mix until combined, but don’t over beat.

10. Add the Apples and Zucchini.

11. Divide the batter evenly into 24 muffin cups.

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12. Bake for 30 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown and prove done when tested with a toothpick.

13. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes then remove from pan. Enjoy warm or cool.

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Mom-Mom S. was over for the weekend and she gave these muffins an unqualified stamp of approval. She particularly liked the hint of almond that the extract gave the muffins.  I like the little sweet kick you get when you bite into an apple morsel. We had them “right from the oven” with tea and they were delightful. But they are mighty good at room temperature too.

Enjoy.

The apples were also from the farmer’s market. I picked these up at the Manor Produce stand. The good folks at Manor Produce were able to guide me through the orchard of offerings on the table to the best apples for baking. (And they were right). They also had THE best fresh pressed apple cider.

Ahhh Fall. How I love thee.


Muffin Monday: Strawberry/Pineapple Jackie’s 9/9/13 DF

Welcome back for another edition of Muffin Monday. This one goes out to one of my college buddies and occasional baking mates Jackie. (Hence the name.) I think it is dairy free.  (Anybody want to double-check me on that?)

Plated

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup dehydrated Pineapples

Pineapple

1 cup hot Water

1 cup Strawberries

1 1/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

3 cups flour ( I used a mix of whole grain pastry flour and all-purpose flour)

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

1. Pre heat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin cups by spraying with cooking spray. Set aside. This recipe made 18 muffins.

2. Combine the Pineapple chunks and HOT Water in a small bow and let sit for 5 minutes to soften. Drain.

3. Slice up Strawberries. Put the Strawberries and Pineapple chunks in a bl and puree.

Strawberry/Pineapple puree. (I know, it kind of looks like something from a horror movie, but you can't judge a puree from its cover.)

Strawberry/Pineapple puree. (I know, it kind of looks like something from a horror movie, but you can’t judge a puree from its cover.)

4. Put the puree in a large bowl . Add the sugar, oil and eggs and mix.

5. In a separate bowl combine the dry ingredients (stir well.)

6. Combine the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir until moistened.

You can just see the strawberries in the batter. (11:00)

You can just see the strawberries in the batter. (11:00)

7. Divide into 18 muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until the pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and cool in pan for 5 minutes.

Here’s what the muffins looked like before going into the oven:

ready for the oven

… and after baking:

baked 3

I made these muffins this morning, so all my reviewers are either at work or off to college. Although I suspect Jackie (and perhaps a few of her friends — depending on how generous she feels) might leave a review in a few days, for now you’ll have to take my word for it… These are lovely. Granted I’ve never met a muffin I didn’t like, so… there’s THAT. But these are sweet and fruity and the tops are crunchy. Light and dry enough not lose their bloom in the box as they make their way from here to a certain big town University to the north via USPS.

baked 2 copy


Muffin Monday: Bonus Blog — Maggie L’s Peanut Butter Cupcakes

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You know what’s cool? When you really love something — like baking — and you love some people — like nieces — and those two things collide. I’ve known for sometime my niece Annie was a pretty amazing chef, but today I learned that Maggie L.’s creativity and talent extends to the kitchen.

Magz showed me how to make her Peanut Butter Cupcakes today.

While not strictly  a candidate for MUFFIN Monday… I’m using my Blog-goddess “Do What the Heck I Want For FREE” card and putting this is in.

Thanks Maggie for guest blogging with me and sharing your awesome recipe!

—————————————————–
CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/3 package of White Cake Mix
  • 1/3 package Chocolate Cake Mix
  • Additional ingredients per back of Cake Mix box
  • 2 dozen mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups

DIRECTIONS:

1. Pre heat oven for 350 and line muffin tin with muffin pants.
Don’t spray the muffin pants

2. Follow the directions on the back of the boxes (but only use a third of the additional required ingredients for each box) (Directions and Additional Ingredients may vary for each type of cake).

3. Swirl the chocolate and vanilla batters to marble.

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The swirled batter goodness.

4. Divide the batter into 22 to 24 cupcake cups. (Maggie’s made 23 cupcakes).

IMG_5774

5. Bake for 17 minutes until tops of the cupcakes are golden brown, and the cupcakes pass the toothpick test.
Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for 2 minutes.

6. Using an APPLE CORER punch a hole about 1/2″ deep in the middle of each cupcake. Drop a mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup into the hole. The Chocolate of the Reese’s will melt into the cupcake.

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7. Let the cupcakes cool completely as you make the frosting.

FROSTING:
1 Cup melted Reese’s Peanut Butter Chips
1 15 oz container of Butter Cream Icing (softened)
2 dashes of Milk or Half and Half
1 TBSP Butter
1 TBSP regular Peanut Butter

IMG_5769

DIRECTIONS for FROSTING:

1. In a medium bowl cream the softened Butter Cream Icing. Slowly add the Melted Peanut Butter Chips.

2. Add the Milk one dash at a time until Frosting is smooth and easy to work with.

3. Add remaining frosting ingredients and mix completely. Frosting should be smooth.

Maggie L's Peanut Butter Cup Cake

Maggie L’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake

4. Using a spatula or pastry bag top the cooled cupcake with frosting and enjoy!


Muffin Monday: Beet & Fennel Muffins

IMG_5748

I know, I know… it sounds like I should be making soup, not muffins, but this combination of special ingredients when paired with our old friends  Zucchini, Almond and  Blueberry made for a nice flavor profile in this week’s Muffin Monday selection.

INGREDIENTS:

  •  1 1/2 cup whole wheat Flour
  • 3/4 cup whole Almonds
  • 1 TBSP Baking Power
  • 1 cup Non Fat Milk
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Stick MELTED Butter
  • 3/4 cup Sugar
  • 1 cup Grated Beets
  • 1 cup Grated Zucchini
  • 1/3 cup chopped Fennel Fronds
  • 2/3 cup slightly mashed Blueberries.

IMG_5739

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare the muffin cups by spraying with cooking spray.

2. Grate the Beets and Zucchini. Finely chop the Fennel Fronds.  Gently mash the Blueberries with a fork. Set aside.

3. In a blender process the Almonds until they are finely ground..

4. In a large bowl combine the Flour, ground Almonds and Baking Powder.

5. In the blender (because why dirty another bowl when you’re gonna have to clean that blender anyway) pour the Milk, Vanilla, Eggs, melted Butter and Sugar. Blend until smooth.

6. Add the liquid to the dry and mix well.

7. Gently fold the chopped/grated vegetables and the mashed Blueberries into the batter.

8. Divide the batter evenly between the muffin cups (this recipe made enough batter to generously fill the standard 12 muffin tin plus two  extra muffin cups).

IMG_5742

9. Bake for 35 minutes until the tops are brown and the muffins pass the toothpick test. Remove from oven and let cool in pan for 5 to 10 minutes.

The blueberries and sugar give these veggie intense muffins plenty of sweetness. Tester Maggie S. calls them “Delicious and filling.” There’s a nice firm muffin top and the inside is flaky and light. The texture, says Maggie, is “Perfect.”  Fellow tester Andrew S. agreed, he loved the texture. As for the taste? “The aftertaste was interesting” he said, ” — kind of savory after the sweetness of the berries. And” he added “zucchini is always a good thing.”

Beets, like zucchini, seem to lose themselves in the delightfulness of muffindom. None of us could really point to the muffins and say “Hey, you put beets in there, didn’t you?” The muffins just taste yummy. As for the fennel there is a hint of fennel’s licorice flavor, but it is far from overwhelming.

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Want more Muffin Monday recipes? Go to the Search field at the top of the blog and type in ‘Muffin Monday.’

 


Muffin Monday Double Berry Muffins

Ohhh, I know I shouldn’t have favorites, but I DO love Muffin Mondays. We’re lucky enough to have a couple of mature blackberry bushes and a newbie blueberry bush in the yard. The berry yield for this pretties came from those obliging bushes.

IMG_5493

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/4 cup Fresh Berries (Blackberries and Blueberries)

1 1/4 cup  Zucchini (Grated)

1/8 cup Rhubarb (Grated)

1/3 cup Sugar

I only had one stalk of rhubarb left from the other day's recipe. That came out to about a quarter cup when grated.

I only had one stalk of rhubarb left from the other day’s recipe. That came out to about a quarter cup when grated.

3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour

1 teaspoon Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

3 Eggs

1/2 cup Almond Milk

1 cup Sugar

1 teaspoon Vanilla

1 stick  Butter melted

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare 18 muffin cups with liners and cooking spray.

2 .In a large bowl gently mash the berries with a spoon. Add grated Zucchini, Rhubarb and 1/3 Sugar. Mix.

Mashed berries, Zucchini and rhubarb.

Mashed berries, Zucchini and rhubarb.

3. In a second bowl combine the Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda and Salt.

4. In a third bowl (do you see a pattern here?) combine the Eggs, Milk, 1 cup of Sugar, Vanilla and Butter.

5. Add the Egg/Milk mixture to the Flour and stir until combined to form the batter.

6. Fold the Berries into the batter.

7.  Divide evenly into muffin cups. BAKE for 20 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin should come out clean.

Fresh from the oven.

Fresh from the oven muffin-y goodness.

8. Let cool 5 minutes and remove from muffin cups. Enjoy with some butter.

No taster quotes today as Maggie is at work… so you’ll have to take my word for it… these muffins are yummy, light and the perfect moisture level.  My only complaint would be the number of bowls I had to employ to make them.

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Muffin Monday: Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Happy Muffin Monday everybody! Today I’m blogging from a tiny little table at Panera Bread because my internet is still down. The bad news is our cable provider wont have any one out to look at the downed line until tomorrow (two plus days with out CABLE –oh the first world problems I have to deal with!) The good news is the merciful Maggie has let me borrow her laptop so I’m not attempting this blog post on my iPad with it wonky navigation and lack of arrow keys. (I love my iPad, but common fellas…) Enough pathetic grumbling. Lets talk muffins…

baked muffin

baked muffin

Blueberry Cornbread Muffins

Ingredients:

1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour

1-1/2 cups Cornmeal, Fine Grind

1/2 tsp Sea Salt

1 Tb Baking Powder

1 cup Blueberries

blueberries

blueberries

1/4 cup Vegetable Oil

1/2 cup Almond Milk

Almond MIlk

Almond MIlk

1/2 Cup Dermara Sugar

2 large Eggs, room temperature

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400F. Prep 12 muffin cups by spraying with baking spray.

In a large bowl combine the whole wheat flour, the cornmeal, salt, baking powder and stir.

Into another bowl gently mash the blue berries add the oil, almond milk and honey. add the eggs one at a time. Stir with a fork until smooth.

Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir gently until all is wet.

batter

batter

Divide the batter evenly into the muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes, or until one tests done with a toothpick.

Makes 12 muffins.

Photo on 6-24-13 at 12.47 PM #2

The cornmeal gave these muffins a denser, hardier vibe. The blueberry and sugar made them just sweet enough.


Muffin Monday Banana Cherry Muffins DF

Happy Muffin Monday everyone! Here’s a recipe for all you Dairy Free folks out there. Hope you like it! IMG_5343

Banana Cherry Muffins

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 c Whole Wheat Flour IMG_5324 1 1/2 c Almond Meal IMG_5323 1/4 teaspoon Sea Salt IMG_5325 1 teaspoon Baking Soda IMG_5326 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil IMG_5329 2 Large Eggs IMG_5280 2 tablespoons Demerara Sugar

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2 teaspoons Almond Extract IMG_5332 2 Bananas

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1 cup Cherries (diced)

The Bing cherry owes its development to the Ch...

1 Zucchini (grated) IMG_5294 Topping: 2 tablespoons Almonds (silvered) 2 tablespoons Whole Wheat Flour 2 tablespoons White Sugar 2 tablespoons melted Butter DIRECTIONS: 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin cups. 2. In a large bowl place Flour, Almond Meal, Salt and Baking Soda. Mix. 3. In a medium bowl, mash the Bananas add Eggs one at a time, mixing  well with each addition. Add Olive Oil, Demerara Sugar and Almond Extract. 4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together. IMG_5333 5. Add the Cherries and Zucchini  and mix gently. 6. Divide the batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. IMG_5335 7. In a small bowl combine all the topping ingredient. Divide evenly onto the muffins. 8. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the muffins comes out clean. IMG_5346 Both Maggie and I thought these muffins could have used a little more sugar… so you might want to add a bit more, or serve with marmalade. They are moist — especially considering there’s no milk or butter in the recipe — and moderately fluffy. You can really taste the Banana, not so much the Cherry. Give ’em a try and let me know what you think.


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