Cathie Campbell

Nothin’ like muffins

This is the time of year I love to sink my teeth into some warm, oven-fresh muffins, and of course I use butter on them. If I am going to allow myself a treat like that, I am not going to skip the embellishments. The weather is chilly and I am scouring my wardrobe for sweaters, sweat shirts and long-sleeved tops. Several people are cranking up the heat, whether by thermostat or wood stove, in areas where that is allowed. (Plenty of firewood in the hills, due to all the dead trees.)

It is my hope that you all had a very nice holiday season and that you had family and friends to spend time with. May 2018 have all kinds of good things in store for you. I know that isn’t always the case, but we can face the future with good will and good spirit and if I can help even just a little with the good food part, that makes me happy. So have a great New Year.

Easy lemon poppy seed muffins

1 box (18.25-oz.) lemon cake mix (with pudding in the mix)

3 eggs

1  1/4 cups water

 1/3 cup canola oil

 1/4 cup poppy seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350. Put paper liners in muffin cups.

2. Using a hand mixer, combine all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl and beat for 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed. Fill each cup about  2/3 full and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes.

3. Remove the muffins from oven and cool on a wire rack. Makes 24 medium-size muffins or 48 mini muffins.

Banana coconut muffins

Nonstick cooking spray for pan

3 eggs

1  1/4 cups sugar

1  1/4 cups canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Kosher salt

3 very ripe bananas (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into chunks

 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

 1/2 cup plain yogurt (Greek or regular)

1 cup chopped chocolate or mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat the oven to 350. Spray two 12-cup standard muffin pans or two 24-cup mini muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray. If you decide to use paper liners, it’s a good idea to spray them as well.

2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, oil and vanilla on high speed until well combined, about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low, add the flour, baking soda and  1/2 teaspoon salt, and beat again until well combined, about 2 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium, add the bananas, coconut, and yogurt and beat for 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low again or switch to a spoon, add the chocolate chunks or chips, and mix until well combined.

3. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each  2/3 to  3/4 full.

4. Bake in preheated oven about 20 to 25 minutes, or until muffins test done. (15 to 20 minutes for mini muffins.) Turn out onto a wire rack and allow to cool about 10 minutes.

Triple berry muffins

Streusel topping:

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons brown sugar

 1/3 cup flour

5 tablespoons melted butter

Muffins:

2 cups frozen berries (triple berry mix, or use fresh)

1  1/8 cups plus 1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon water

2 cups whole wheat flour

 1/2 cup flour

2  1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

 1/4 cup applesauce

1 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Make streusel topping. Adjust flour/butter to get a nice crumbly topping. Put oven rack in middle and turn on oven to 400. Spray or line muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Put one cup of the berries in a small sauce pan with water and 1 teaspoon sugar. Simmer over medium heat about 6 minutes, mash with a masher, then set aside to cool.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and salt. In another bowl or standing mixer, whisk remaining sugar with eggs, until thick and well combined. Slowly mix in melted butter and applesauce. Add milk and vanilla; whisk together. Using rubber spatula, fold in egg mixture and remaining berries into flour mixture until just combined.

4. Add batter to muffin tins. Top each muffin with teaspoon of the cooked berry mixture. With toothpick, make figure eights to mix the berries slightly into batter. Add streusel topping.

5. Bake in preheated over for about 20 minutes or until muffins test done.

Chocolate muffins

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I prefer semi-sweet), coarsely chopped

2 cups flour

 2/3 cup sugar

 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted

1 tablespoon baking powder

 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

 1/2 teaspoon salt

1  1/4 cups buttermilk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners (or spray with non-stick cooking spray).

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler (or a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water) Stir until smooth, then remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large glass measuring cup or a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, egg and vanilla until well mixed. Pour the liquid ingredients and the melted butter and chocolate over the dry ingredients, add the chocolate chips, and with a rubber spatula, gently fold until all ingredients are incorporated. Do not overmix the batter. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until muffins test clean. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing each muffin from pan. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature. Makes 12 muffins.

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