Tag Archives: Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsI’m such an optimist when it comes to meal planning. I start every week with the best of intentions, picking up a ton of fresh produce. Tomatoes and avocados go quickly around here, being tossed with pesto or mashed into guacamole or served on toast. Greens go with fried eggs or are made into a huge salad with any odds and ends I have in the fridge. But no matter what I do, something gets forgotten.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsLast week, it was nearly a pound of carrots and a few zucchini. I made some into hash browns (recipe coming soon!), but I can only eat so many of those in a week. Instead of letting good produce sit in the fridge for another day or two, I turned to my go-to Zucchini Bread recipe.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIn addition to being delicious, these Carrot-Zucchini Muffins are a little more nutritious than your average breakfast pastry. For one, they’re made with shredded carrots and zucchini–there’s a full 1/4 cup of vegetables in every serving!

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsThe batter can certainly be made with only all-purpose flour, but I like to use half whole wheat flour here. Where using all whole wheat flour has the potential to make things dry and crumbly if not handled properly, using it in a 50/50 ratio with all-purpose keeps everything nice and soft. The resulting muffins have a nutty whole grain flavor and fluffy interiors–the best of both worlds.  

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsCarrot-Zucchini Muffins are pretty low in sugar, coming in at less than a tablespoon per serving. While adding a few more tablespoons of sugar could certainly amp up the flavor, 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon and a touch of nutmeg basically do the same thing without adding to the calorie count.

Carrot-Zucchini MuffinsIf you’re looking to get some extra vegetables into your family this summer, this is one easy way to do it. These muffins have all that carrot and zucchini, a bit of whole grain, and with such minimal sugar, seconds are encouraged. Also, they freeze like a dream–just pop a frozen muffin in the microwave for 45 seconds or so. Served alongside a glass of Cold Brew, eating your vegetables has never been so delicious.Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins
makes 12 standard Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil (I use canola)
2/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots, not packed (about 3 medium carrots)
1 1/2 cups shredded zucchini, not packed (about 2 medium zucchini)

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners, or grease well. Set aside.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together oil and brown sugar. Add eggs one at a time, followed by vanilla. Whisk in dry ingredients in two installments, mixing just until combined. Fold in shredded carrots and zucchini. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups. Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles.

Bake 5 minutes before reducing the heat to 350F for another 12-14 minutes. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely.

Leftovers will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

To freeze, place cooled muffins on a baking sheet and freeze for 2 hours. Transfer to a labeled freezer bag. Store in the freezer for up to three months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight or microwave for 45 seconds-1 minute.

Carrot-Zucchini Muffins

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Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry MuffinsBlueberry Muffins always make me think of summer camp. I went from the time I was in first grade, and after sixteen years (twelve as a camper, four as a counselor/staff), my love of summer camp is just a part of who I am. I finished my last year at camp a mere eight days before I moved to New York–almost ten years ago!–but around this time every year, I still get the urge to pack a trunk and take up residence in a cabin in Granbury, Texas. I know I have many friends who would be happy to join me.

Blueberry MuffinsIt’s different now, but the food at camp was pretty terrible back in my day, save for a few crowd-favorite meals. The highlights of the week were grilled cheese and tomato soup and blueberry muffins. Yes, blueberry muffins were as good as camp breakfast got. I don’t know how exactly it got started, but we had a tradition during those breakfasts where we’d all occasionally chant-yodel “BLUE…BERRY MUFFINS!” I wish I could explain why we all thought it was so funny, but as anyone who has ever gone to camp can tell you, it’s just a camp thing.

Blueberry MuffinsThose summer camp blueberry muffins will always hold a place in my heart, but in all actuality, they weren’t very good–dry with a hard outer crust and gummy blueberries. They worked on those early mornings, but I know I wouldn’t want one now.

Blueberry MuffinsBlueberry MuffinsBlueberry MuffinsThe blueberry muffins I make these days are everything you could possibly want them to be. They’re soft and fluffy with domed tops, and positively bursting with blueberries–there are two whole cups in the recipe! The muffins themselves are flavored with a bit of vanilla and nearly-undetectable dashes of cinnamon and nutmeg. They stay moist for days thanks to buttermilk, a combination of melted butter and oil, and the blueberries, of course! Really, they are everything a blueberry muffin should be.

The only things that could make them better are a swipe of butter and sharing with a camp friend or two. Or sixty.Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins
makes 12 muffins

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
12 ounces fresh or frozen (not thawed) blueberries
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg + 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons neutral-flavored oil (I used canola)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoon coarse sugar (like turbinado), for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.

Remove 2 tablespoons of the dry ingredients and place in a separate medium mixing bowl. Add fresh blueberries. Toss together with your hands until blueberries are coated in the dry ingredients. This will keep them from sinking in the batter. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together buttermilk, egg and yolk, vanilla, oil, and melted butter. Add dry ingredients in three installments, scraping down the bowl as you go. Mix just until combined. Fold in blueberries.

Divide batter among muffin cups–they will be almost completely full. Sprinkle with coarse sugar. Carefully tap the pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Bake for 5 minutes, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely before serving.

Leftovers will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days, or in the refrigerator for up to five.

Blueberry Muffins

Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsIt’s finally cooling down and beginning to feel like fall, and I couldn’t be happier. I’m pretty sure I did a literal jump for joy when I broke out my long sleeved shirts this past weekend, and another when I made hot coffee for the first time since April. I love this time of year.

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsOf course, food is half the reason I love fall (the other half is sweaters). I can’t wait to go apple picking, bake pies, and put cranberries in everything. But, of course, pumpkin is the real star of the show right now, and these muffins showcase it beautifully.

These Pumpkin Oat Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack this time of year. They’re chock full of pumpkin and spices, with a tender crumb and a little extra texture from old-fashioned oats. Chocolate chips bring them over the top!

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsI’m not usually one to have chocolate with breakfast, but I’m making an exception for these. The muffins themselves are lower in sugar than most–the sweet chocolate evens out the flavor and plays beautifully off the pumpkin pie spice. If you don’t want to use chocolate chips, I highly recommend swapping them for an equal volume of toasted chopped pecans.

Pumpkin Oat MuffinsMy favorite thing about this recipe? It’s super easy. It comes together in minutes, and there’s no mixer required! All you’ll need here is a whisk and a silicone spatula. In fact, using a mixer would make these muffins tough. By using some elbow grease and limiting the number of stirs to 20 or less, the gluten in the flour doesn’t develop, leaving us with soft, tender muffins.

But enough shop talk. Put these Pumpkin Oat Muffins on your to-make list this season! Have one or two with your morning coffee, and get your days started right!Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Pumpkin Oat Muffins
makes 16 standard muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup neutral-flavored oil
1 cup pumpkin purée
1/2 cup buttermilk*
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 12 cup standard muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs until frothy. Stir in light brown and granulated sugars, followed by oil, pumpkin purée, and buttermilk. Add dry ingredients, and whisk no more than 15-20 times to combine. Use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to fold in oats and chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out mostly clean. Let cool in the pan for ten minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Repeat baking process with remaining batter, filling any unused muffins cups halfway with water to prevent the pan from warping.

Muffins will keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to five days.

Note:

If you don’t have buttermilk, you may use a combination of regular milk and vinegar. Put one teaspoon of white or apple cider vinegar in a liquid measuring cup, and then fill with milk to the 1/3 cup mark. Let sit five minutes before using as written. Do not use skim or fat-free milk.Pumpkin Oat Muffins

Hummingbird Muffins

 Have you ever had Hummingbird Cake? If you aren’t from the south, there’s a good chance you haven’t. It’s a southern specialty, first published in Southern Living magazine in 1978 (and still their most requested recipe). It’s like carrot cake, but decidedly tropical–a spice cake full of banana, pineapple, coconut, and pecans, topped with cream cheese frosting. Oh, is it ever good. And with all that tropical fruit, it’s perfect for summer.

Warning: once you try Hummingbird Cake, you’ll want it all the time. Even for breakfast.

And really, why not?! I mean, there’s fruit in there. And nuts–hello, protein! But there’s also a lot of sugar, and frosting simply is not breakfast food…unless you’re having cinnamon rolls ☺️ And so, to satisfy my early-morning need for tropical spice cake, I took all the flavors of the southern classic and put them in a batch of muffins. And I swapped the frosting for a pecan streusel, just to make them appropriate for scarfing down at 7am.

The base for these Hummingbird Muffins is a riff on my favorite banana bread. I got the idea to soup-up the batter from my Insta-friend and fellow blogger, Megan. She took her favorite vegan banana muffins and made them into Hummingbird Cupcakes! Her idea is absolute genius, and when I was developing this recipe, I just had to steal it 😊 

 

The muffin base is soft and moist, a little nutty from the addition of white whole wheat flour, and full of cinnamon and banana flavors. It’s a simple no-mixer recipe that I absolutely swear by. Here, the batter is filled with crushed pineapple, sweetened shredded coconut, and chopped pecans before being spooned into muffin cups, topped with an easy pecan streusel, and baked until domed and golden brown.

Hummingbird Muffins are the best way to have cake for breakfast. Full of whole grain, cinnamon, fruit, and nuts, they’re healthy enough to grab for a quick breakfast, and delicious enough to keep you coming back for seconds. 

 Hummingbird Muffins
makes 14-16 standard muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour*
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil,* melted
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup milk of choice*
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple in juice (not drained)
2/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2/3 cup pecans, chopped (optional)

Streusel:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup pecans, chopped (optional)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of Kosher or sea salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very cold

Preheat oven to 425F. Grease a standard muffin pan or line with muffin liners.

In a medium-large mixing bowl, whisk together all-purpose flour, white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together melted coconut oil, light brown sugar, and granulated sugar. Add eggs one at a time, combining completely after each addition. Whisk in vanilla, followed by mashed bananas, crushed pineapple, and milk.

Add dry ingredients to wet, and use a silicone spatula or wooden spoon to stir them together–no more than 20 strokes. Add coconut and pecans, and stir five additional strokes. Fill each muffin cup all the way to the top.

Make the streusel. In a small mixing bowl, use a fork to stir together flour, light brown sugar, pecans, cinnamon, and salt. Use a pastry blender (or two forks) to cut cold butter into dry ingredients until the largest pieces are the size of small peas. Place about 1 tablespoon of streusel on top of each filled muffin cup.

Tap full pan on the counter five times to release any large air bubbles. Place full pan in the oven. Bake for five minutes. Without opening the oven door, turn the oven temperature down to 375F and bake an additional 17-18 minutes. Tent with foil if anything starts to brown too quickly. Muffins are ready when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let muffins cool in pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Pan should return to room temperature before you bake any remaining batter.

Serve muffins immediately, or keep in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days.

Notes:
1. White whole wheat flour may be replaced with an equal volume of whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour.
2. Melted coconut oil may be replaced with an equal volume of neutral-flavored oil, such as canola or vegetable.
3. I use whole milk, but 1% or 2% milk will also work. I do not recommend skim or fat free cow’s milk. You may also use a non-dairy milk.

Orange Pecan Muffins

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When I was in the sixth grade, my dad got very interested in genealogy. He would spend any spare time at the downtown branch of the Fort Worth Public Library looking through microfiche. It was usually Saturday morning, and as E3 and I were under twelve, we were dragged along. We spent most of the time looking at websites that were blocked by our AOL Kids accounts and generally making the librarians crazy. The best part, hands down, was breakfast. There was a little bakery caddy-corner to the library that we’d go to–just us, my dad, and the Wall Street Journal. They had little cartons of Tropicana orange juice and these unbelievable orange pecan muffins. Soft and sweet, nutty and not too orangey, perfectly golden brown, and standard-size, so I could have two. This was nearly twenty years ago, and that bakery has since closed following a tornado that tore through downtown Fort Worth in 2000. But I still remember those muffins.

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Whenever I’m in a coffee shop, I check to see if they have orange pecan muffins, but they never, ever do. While Texans put pecans in everything, New Yorkers choose walnuts. I know it’s just a geographic thing, but it still makes no sense to me. Why on earth would you choose walnuts when you could have pecans?!

…but anyway, back to the muffins.

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They start with toasting pecans. In Brooklyn, you simply can’t buy toasted pecans–believe me, I’ve tried. Homemade are better anyway. So, we throw a cup of pecan pieces on a baking sheet and let them toast just until they become fragrant, about five minutes. Watch them very carefully–nuts burn with no warning, and burnt pecans are decidedly not delicious.

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While those are cooling, make the orange muffin batter. We get orange flavor in there in two ways. First, we rub orange zest into granulated and light brown sugars. Rub the sugar and zest together like you’re trying to remove dried Elmer’s glue from your fingers. This releases the orange oil into the sugar. Once it all looks well-mixed and smells like heaven, add in flour, nutmeg, leaveners, and salt. Then squeeze in the juice of that orange you just zested, along with some yogurt, milk, a little oil, and an egg. Don’t stir the batter too much–if the gluten in the flour is overdeveloped, you’ll get tough muffins. And that would be a travesty. This is not the place to use an electric mixer. Use a whisk and a silicone spatula so you can really feel the batter coming together. It shouldn’t take more than 25 strokes to combine all the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be extremely thick. Gently fold in the toasted pecans and divide your muffin batter into the twelve cups of a standard muffin tin (I use a cookie scoop). I like to sprinkle a few extra pecan pieces on top, purely for aesthetics. Once all the muffin cups are full, tap the whole pan on the counter five times. This is to release any big air bubbles and to help the batter spread.

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These muffins start baking for five minutes at 400F and finish for 14-18 minutes at 350F. The initial 400F blast of heat allows these muffins to rise high–these dome like a dream. We turn down the heat so that the outsides turn golden (but don’t burn) and the insides cook through and stay soft and tender. If we kept the oven at 400F, our final product would be burnt and tough on the outside, and potentially raw on the inside. Yuck. When these are removed from the oven, they should be tall, puffy, and so, so soft. Once they cool for a few minutes, the warm muffins will be perfect for slathering with cold salted butter. These are best the day they’re made, but cooled muffins will keep covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Orange Pecan Muffins are perfect for breakfasts, brunches, and snacks over the upcoming holidays. Just set a basket of them on the table with a pot of coffee and some fruit–you won’t have any complaints.

Looking for more breakfast items for the holidays? Check out my Apple Pie Cinnamon Rolls!

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Orange Pecan Muffins
makes 12 muffins

1 cup pecan pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
zest of one large orange (about 2 tablespoons)
2 cups all purpose flour*
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon Kosher or sea salt
3/4 cup plain yogurt*
1/4 cup milk*
1/4 cup fresh orange juice (about one large orange-worth)
1/4 cup neutral-flavored oil*
1 large egg, room temperature

Preheat oven to 400F.

Spread pecans on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in the oven for five minutes, just until fragrant. Let pecans cool while you prepare the muffin batter.

Grease a 12-cup standard muffin tin, or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and orange zest. With your fingers, rub the orange zest into the sugars until it is evenly dispersed and fragrant. Whisk in flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, combine yogurt, milk, fresh orange juice, and oil. Whisk in egg. Add dry ingredients in three installments, scraping down the bowl as you go. Do not overmix. Fold in toasted pecan pieces.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Bake for five minutes at 400F, then turn the oven temperature down to 350F and bake for an additional 14-18 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for at least five minutes before removing to a rack to cool completely. Serve immediately, or keep covered at room temperature for up to three days.

Notes:

  1. One cup of the flour may be replaced with whole wheat flour. Do not use whole wheat flour for all of it, or you risk dry, heavy muffins.
  2. I use 2% Greek yogurt. I do not recommend fat-free yogurt. Vanilla yogurt may also be used.
  3. I use whole milk. Any low fat cow’s milk or plant-based milk will work. Do not use fat-free or skim milk.
  4. I use canola oil, but vegetable or melted coconut oils would work here.