I know this isn’t the case everywhere, but we’ve had some crazy weather lately. Days in the 60’s shortly followed by balmy 80’s. As you might expect, this makes weekly meal planning a little difficult. On cold days, I want chili, oatmeal, and hot chocolate, but then a couple days later it’s warm, and none of that sounds appealing. One thing that works for both temperatures is a good old morning muffin. I’ve started making a new batch each week. Why? Well, it’s fun to try new recipes for one thing, and it’s also nice to have a super easy breakfast option for a few days each week. A dozen muffins give us 6 servings (2 muffins each), which gives us leeway with a few breakfasts or even snacks. So whether you’re craving a make-ahead breakfast, reheatable snack, or even a slightly more healthy dessert (healthier than a cupcake, anyway), I’ve got some options for you.
This first muffin is one that I served alongside our Christmas dinner. I try to make a fruitcake every year (I like them!), and this year I went with a modified panettone recipe. Panettone is an Italian holiday bread that includes dried fruit, so I felt it was a fitting choice. I loved the citrusy aroma that this had, and the batter was so silky and easy to work with. By the way, please note that this has an overnight prep step; you’ll definitely want to take that into account before using the recipe.
Panettone Muffins (from King Arthur Flour)
1 1/2 c. dried fruit (I wanted to use a regular fruit cake mix, but couldn’t find one in the right size. So I went with what I had on hand: dried cherries, craisins, and dates.)
1/4 c. orange juice
1/4 c. butter
2 tbsp. veggie oil
2/3 c. sugar
1/8-1/4 tsp. orange oil (I couldn’t find this at my local store, so I substituted 1/2 tsp. orange extract.)
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
2/3 c. milk
2 tbsp. sugar
1. In a small bowl, mix together the dried fruit and orange juice. Cover and let sit overnight.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a muffin pan. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together the butter, veggie oil, and 2/3 c. sugar til smooth. Add the eggs, beating to combine. Then stir in the orange oil (or extract) and vanilla.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the baking powder, salt, and flour. Starting and ending with the dry mix, alternate stirring the dry ingredients and the milk into the wet ingredients. Stir in the fruit with any remaining liquid.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan, filling each cup almost full. Sprinkle the muffin tops with the 2 tbsp. sugar. Bake 18-20 minutes or til golden and a tester inserted in the center removes cleanly. Let cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove and let dry on a cooling rack.
My next muffin was an unusual, but tasty flavor combination that my hubby and I ate right up. As with most muffins, these came together quickly and were a nice, warm breakfast on some slightly chilly mornings. Though you may not think that cheddar belongs in a sweet muffin, it really worked well. There’s not so much cheddar that the muffins taste cheesy, but it does lend a savory side to a slightly sweet apple muffin. The only thing I would change for next time would be to chop the apple a little smaller so that they incorporate more evenly.
Apple-Cheddar Muffins (from Betty Crocker)
2 c. Bisquick
3/4 c. coarsely chopped, peeled, cored apple (Like I said above, I’d dice these a bit smaller.)
2/3 c. shredded cheddar
1/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. milk
2 tbsp. veggie oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease 12 muffin cups. In a medium bowl, beat the egg slightly. Stir in the remaining ingredients til just moistened. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups.
2. Bake 17-19 minutes or til golden brown.
And then this week, I made the quintessential muffin – blueberry! This is an especially good recipe because it’s fairly healthy and super tasty. The texture is very similar to scones, and the flavor is just sweet enough with a little tang from the yogurt and blueberries and just the right amount of lemon. The recipe said it makes 10 muffins, but I got 12. (Yay! More muffins for me …or us.) One note though, if you plan to eat these over a few days, you’ll want to store them in the fridge; the high amount of yogurt means that they’ll go bad faster at room temp.
Blueberry Muffins (I know my mom gave me the recipe, but I have no idea where she got it. And I’m sure you can imagine that I’d get too many google results to be of much use.)
5 tbsp. softened butter
1/2 c. sugar
3/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt (I used nonfat Greek yogurt and really liked the results.)
1/2 tsp. lemon zest
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
3/4 c. blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin pan with 10 (or 12) paper liners (or grease it). In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar til light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, then the yogurt and lemon zest.
2. Put the dry ingredients in a sieve and sift half over the batter; mix til combined. Repeat with the rest of the dry ingredients. Lastly, fold in the blueberries. (The dough will be very thick.)
3. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. Bake the muffins 25-30 minutes, til the tops are golden and a tester inserted in the center removes cleanly. Let cool on a wire rack.
There are also a few muffin recipes already on the blog that you can check out: Cream Cheese Cranberry Muffins, S’mores Muffins, sausage brunch muffins, peanut butter and chocolate chunk muffins, lemon muffins with lemon glaze, cherry pie muffins, and gingerbread muffins.
What’s your favorite muffin recipe?