Archive for the ‘Muffins’ Category
Pear and ginger is always a good combination, and these Ginger and Pear Oatmeal Muffins are no exception. The muffins have big chunks of tender pear in them and include both ground ginger and pieces of candied ginger to give them some spice! The muffins are made with buttermilk, brown sugar and plenty of oatmeal, which has a nice nutty flavor that compliments the fruit and spice well.
For this recipe, fresh pears that are ripe but still firm are ideal. You can peel them easily with a vegetable peeler, then cut them into large dice. Pears have such a delicate texture that if you cut them up too small, you’ll lose some of the wonderful flavor, so bigger pieces are the way to go even though they might make the muffin batter look a bit lumpy. I like the combination of ground ginger – for a mild spice – and candied ginger – for hints of more intense flavor – but if you are a big ginger-lover, you might want to try substituting the ground ginger for a teaspoon or two of freshly grated ginger to add some more drama to these.
You’ll notice that these muffins bake at a higher temperature than many muffins do. This helps to give the muffins a beautiful “crust” on top, and a nice texture. The muffins remain very moist, thanks to the large chunks of pear in them, so as long as you check them with a toothpick when they’re nearing the end of their baking time, you won’t have a problem with over-baking. Speaking of baking, these muffins smell fantastic while they’re in the oven. You can really smell the brown sugar as it starts to caramelize a little bit in the oven, and the ginger and oatmeal come through, as well. Fortunately, you only have to let the muffins cool for 20 minutes or so to let them firm up a bit before having one yourself.
I always have maple syrup in my kitchen for topping waffles and pancakes, but it is a great sweetener to bake with, too. It has a lot of flavor – especially if you have dark maple syrup or grade B (as opposed to the light grade A syrups) – and can add a lot of moisture to baked goods. Maple also compliments many flavors, and one of my favorite combinations is banana and maple. This pair works very well in pancakes and it works just as well in these Banana Maple Muffins.
The muffins are moist and soft, with a great banana flavor to them. The maple syrup is a little more subtle, when compared to the banana flavor, but it does add a caramel note to the muffins. I really recommend using a dark maple syrup or grade B maple syrup to get the most maple flavor into the muffins. If you have maple sugar, you can substitute it for the regular sugar in the recipe, as well, but I like to sprinkle a little on top instead to really draw attention to the maple notes in the muffins.
When cooled, the muffins will keep well for a few days when stored in an airtight container. I like these muffins slightly warm and fresh from the oven, either plain or spread with a little bit of butter. To amp up the maple flavor – or to turn these into a more decadent breakfast treat – place the muffins in an bowl and drizzle them with a generous splash maple syrup before serving.
Although cornbread can be a fairly hearty food, I find that I often bake it during the summertime. It is easy to make a batch of cornbread – so you don’t need to spend a long time in the kitchen, or have the oven on for hours – and it can be served with just about anything.
I like cornbread a little bit on the sweet and tender side of the spectrum, mostly because I think adding a little bit of honey, sugar, maple syrup or other sweetener to cornbread can highlight the sweetness of the cornmeal. These Honey Cornbread Muffins are just right for me. They’re not particularly sweet when you compare them to blueberry or other fruit muffins, but there is a noticeable hint of honey in every bite. They’re very moist and tender, with a fluffy crumb that has a hint of coarseness from the cornmeal in the batter. The muffins offer a great balance for rich or spicy dishes, like a batch of bbq ribs or some homemade chili. A coarse or medium ground cornmeal is going to be ideal for this recipe, and while I usually use yellow cornmeal, using blue cornmeal can add some great color to a batch.
I typically make these muffins plain – excluding the optional corn kernels that are listed in the recipe – because I find them to be the most versatile that way. I can slather the muffins with butter and jam in the morning, and dunk leftover muffins into a savory soup at night. Fresh, sweet corn will add some extra corn flavor to your muffins and they also add a nice texture, but as sweet as the corn is, I find that adding corn (I usually slice it fresh off the cob in the summer) makes these a bit more savory.
When life (or your garden) gives you carrots, you have a couple of options. You could roast them or prepare them in some savory way, you could make carrot cake or you could make a batch of Carrot Muffins with Raisins. I enjoy carrot cake, but I was looking to do something a little different with the carrots in my kitchen this time around and decided to bake up a batch of muffins instead. Carrots are one vegetable that can be a great addition to baked goods. They’re easy to work with, have a slightly sweet flavor on their own, and add a nice pop of color.
The muffins are fluffy and slightly sweet, with a hint of butteriness from the buttermilk in the batter and a nice mixture of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg to compliment the carrots. They’re not nearly as sweet or as heavy as a carrot cake can be, but they do deliver a similar flavor and fans of carrot cake will definitely like these. I added golden raisins for a little extra sweetness, and they work very well with the spices in the muffins. The muffins are best when they are freshly baked and can be served as-is, with nothing on them, though they are also good with a little bit of butter or cream cheese.
You can use all purpose flour or white whole wheat flour in these muffins and get great results. I find that regular whole wheat flour makes them a little too heavy feeling, and I like them as a lighter muffin. I topped them off with a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar because I like have a little bit of sweetness on top of a muffin, but you can easily leave them plain or omit the cinnamon and stick with coarse sugar. For an extra crunch, you can stir in a half cup of chopped pecans, walnuts or another favorite nut, too.
Mini muffins always seem like slightly more fun to bake than regular muffins. This is mostly because these bite-sized baked goods are so cute, but it is also because these little muffins can pack a lot of flavor into just one or two mouthfuls. These Mini Citrus Poppy Seed Muffins are a miniature version of the ever-popular lemon poppy seed muffin, but kicked up with the flavor of both orange and lemon.
The batter for these muffins is very easy to put together and mixes up in just a few minutes. They’re moist and fluffy inside, with a lot of flavor. The key to getting a good flavor in the muffins is to use fresh lemon and orange juice, and fresh lemon and orange zest. When you get all that zest and juice together, you end up with a muffin that tastes a lot bigger than it looks. The muffins are packed with poppy seeds and get a little crunch from them. They also have a slightly crunchy top, thanks to a generous sprinkling of coarse sugar that I added to each one before baking.
This recipe bakes a big batch of mini muffins – three dozen, to be exact. That may seem like a lot of mini muffins, but keep in mind that these little guys are only about two bites each. It’s not difficult to munch your way through a batch of these, and extra muffins can be frozen and defrosted for later snacking. It’s also a perfect recipe to bake up when having a big brunch or other get-together. I have big mini muffin pans that can handle up to three dozen at a time, but if you only have one or two smaller pans, you should know that it is fine for the batter to sit in the bowl while you bake them one batch at a time.
I typically use canola oil when baking, as it has a very neutral flavor, and works with all kinds of different flavors. These muffins, however, work particularly well with extra virgin olive oil and I often use it when baking up a batch of these. Olive oil has a slightly savory, fruity quality to it that balances – and even enhances – the citrus in this muffin very well. Citrus-infused olive oil can be even better, if you have something like that in your pantry. Otherwise, regular canola or vegetable oil will turn out excellent results and very tasty muffins.