Category Archives: Just for Fun

This Week’s Muffin: Strawberry Streusel

Robert and I always look forward to May with a special joy, because the farmers’ markets open again. Of course it often takes us a few weeks to get our schedules straight to visit, but when we do, we are rewarded with strawberries.

I bought a bunch, and have been making lots of refrigerator jam to freeze. Nothing like a cup of spring in the middle of January.

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We were out of granulated sugar but I can report that powdered sugar works fine–for fridge jam, anyway–and the cornstarch helps it set up even more quickly.

I also made strawberry streusel muffins. I don’t think I baked them quite long enough because they are more gooey on top than crumbly. But if you store them in the fridge and heat them in your toaster oven they are just lovely.

I got the recipe from this source. It says the recipe makes 18 but I got 12 normal-sized muffins. (Could be why I underbaked them slightly.)

Muffins:
  • ¼ cup Butter (softened)
  • ¾ cup White Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1½ cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • ½ cup Milk
  • 1½ cup Fresh Strawberries (chopped)
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ½ tsp Salt
Crumble:
  • ¼ cup Butter (cold)
  • ½ cup Flour
  • ¼ cup Brown Sugar
  • ¼ cup Sugar
Instructions
  1. Preheat over to 375 F.
  2. Line muffin pan.
  3. Cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl.
  4. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  5. Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl.
  6. Slowly add milk and flour mix, alternating between until incorporated in the butter mix.
  7. Beat until completely combined.
  8. Add about 2 tbsp of batter to each muffin liner.
  9. Load up the muffins with strawberries.
  10. In a mixing bowl, use a pastry cutter to combine crumble ingredients until it is uniform and small pea-sized pieces.
  11. Sprinkle crumble over the strawberries.
  12. Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes.

The original recipe says to reduce oven temperature to 350 before baking, but I like a hotter oven for muffins, personally.

This Week’s Muffin: Basic Banana

Almost this green.

Almost this green.

Bananas have a very thin zone of palatability in our house. They must be slightly green, with no spots yet. What most people call a ripe banana activates the gag reflex in the kids (and in me, though I can usually choke down a peanut butter-banana sandwich on race mornings). We may get two breakfasts’ worth out of a bunch, but that’s pushing it.

Thankfully bananas freeze well and are great in smoothies, and of course muffins. Here’s a good garden-variety banana muffin recipe.

Adapted from The Ultimate Muffin Book. I made 16 with this recipe.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups flour (I use half all-purpose and half white whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 stick butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons milk or half-and-half
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon white vinegar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and prepare muffin pan(s) with cooking spray or liners.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  3. In another medium/large bowl, cream butter and sugar with a hand mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, beating until incorporated.
  4. Slice ripe bananas into sugar mixture and beat with mixer. Add milk, vanilla and vinegar and combine.
  5. Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients with a spoon until just combined.
  6. Bake at 400 for 18-20 minutes or until nicely browned and a toothpick comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing from pan.

 

photo credit: Banana cluster via photopin (license)

Last Week’s Muffin: Apple Pie

ApplePieSpice2These were a big winner. The recipe calls for pumpkin pie spice, but we’d received a sample of apple pie spice in a Penzey’s order this winter, so we were able to use that.

I love recipes that make more than 12 muffins—this makes 18, all the better to share. I made these before I left town for preacher camp and got an email from J’s teacher on Monday: “Thank you so much for the delicious muffin!” I had to respond that I had nothing to do with the gift. It made me smile though because while J can be an ornery first grader sometimes, I think he’s sweet on his teacher.

Apple Pie Muffins, adapted from My Baking Addiction

INGREDIENTS

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons apple pie spice (pumpkin pie spice is fine)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups peeled, chopped Granny Smith Apples

Topping:
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter, melted

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line 18 cup muffin cups with paper liners or use cooking spray. Set aside.

2. Topping: In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/3 cup flour, rolled oats, and cinnamon. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons of melted butter, mixing until well blended.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together 2 1/4 cups flour, apple pie spice, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, 1/2 cup melted butter, vanilla and 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar. Stir until sugar has dissolved.

4. Pour butter mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in apples. Use a large scoop to fill each muffin well, filling the cups to the top. Sprinkle topping on each muffin.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the tops of the muffins spring back when lightly pressed.

6. Cool on wire rack. Store at room temperature.

Last Week’s Muffin: Chai Banana

This is the second muffin recipe I’ve made that’s chai flavored. The other recipe specifically called for chai teabags, and I liked that technique so much that when I found this recipe for Chai Spice Banana Bread I decided to sub in the tea again to see what happened. It turned out great, though you could possibly pump things up with more than one teabag’s worth.

I like muffins because they have built-in portion control. But aside from that, they really aren’t health food, though some are healthier than others. These aren’t bad as quick breads go.

If you need to swear off muffins or other goodies for your health, go in peace. But muffins are my own little protest against the fads and restriction diets that are so rampant on the Internet right now. I like Michael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

“Mostly” means there’s room for muffins, and also this:

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OK, on to the show.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 teabag’s worth of chai tea (I used Stash)
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and spray or line 12 muffin cups.
  2. Whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and tea in a large bowl. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
  3. Combine banana, honey, oil, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in a medium bowl; add to flour mixture and fold in just until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake 18-21 minutes depending on your oven.

The original recipe calls for a brown butter glaze but we ate ’em plain. Enjoy!

Last Week’s Muffin: Brown Sugar

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Muffins are usually easy to make—one of the reasons I love them—but this recipe is one of the easiest I’ve found. The ingredients are staples, and there’s a lot of round numbers… none of this “1 1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons” business.

From the lovely Taste and Tell blog–please check it out!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup nuts, chopped coarsely (optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line 16 muffin cups with paper liners. (Or if you have 5 people in your family like we do, 15 cups)
  2. Combine the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, milk and vanilla. Add in the flour, baking soda and salt and mix just until combined. Stir in the nuts, if desired.
  3. Fill prepared muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean.