Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins)

DSC_0005 DSC_0012

Inspired by a recipe for New England Spider Cake, these muffins don’t require a “spider,” or even resemble the insect.

“Spider” is the name of the cast-iron skillet, used in Vermont for making cornbread. This recipe works just as well in a muffin pan as in the cornbread skillet used during the nineteenth century.

The “trick” to making these muffins is to pour cold cream over the batter, prior to placing it in the oven. As the muffins bake, the cream sinks, forming a custardy middle layer. This produces a muffin of different textures and flavors: the center is sweet and creamy while the top and bottom is buttery and crisp.

This cornbread-pudding-soufflé is like nothing else! Now, take pleasure in telling your children you’re making “spider muffins.”

Spider Muffins (Creamy Cornbread Muffins) (makes 24)

2 cups milk
4 tsp white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
¾ cup sugar
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 eggs
3 Tbsp butter, melted
1 cup heavy cream
Maple syrup, for serving

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. Combine the milk and vinegar in a bowl and set aside to sour (wait 5 to 10 minutes — you’ll see the milk get lumpy).
3. In another bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
4. Whisk eggs into the soured milk. Stir into dry ingredients and set batter aside.
5. Add melted butter to batter (batter will seem liquidy).
6. Distribute batter evenly into 24 muffin cups.
7. Pour cream into the center of each muffin cup.
8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the edges start to turn golden brown.
9. Serve warm, with maple syrup if you’d like.

Now, put on some cozy slippers, curl up, and indulge in sweet, simple deliciousness.

 

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

pumpkin cream cheese

The quintessential Fall flavor has become a poster vegetable for Winter baking. These pumpkin muffins are full of gooey deliciousness inside (so don’t think “mess” when you see “cream cheese filling”).

Roasting and puree-ing the meat of a pumpkin is a time-consuming endeavor (I’m not speaking from experience); this is why Libby’s invented canned pumpkin puree. For the canned pumpkin, you can also substitute sweet potato.

pumpkin cream cheese (2)   pumpkin cream cheese (1)

Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins (makes 16-18)

2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
3 large eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract

Filling

1 (8 oz) block cream cheese (regular or reduced fat), room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 18 muffin cups or line them with paper liners.
2. Filling: In a medium bowl, combine the cream cheese, brown sugar, egg, and vanilla. Beat until smooth; set aside.
3. Muffins: In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Add the eggs, pumpkin, oil, and vanilla. Beat until well blended.
4. Fill muffin cups about one-third full with the muffin batter, then put about 1 tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture in the center of each. Top with about 1 more tablespoon of the pumpkin batter, or until cups are about 3/4 full.
5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until firm.

Caramel Apple Muffins

dsc_00236   caramel-apple-muffins-halloween

These muffins are great not only for Halloween but also for using fruit in a dessert. The warm caramel is gooey and, combined with cinnamon and apples, delicious.

dsc_00194

Caramel Apple Muffins (makes 12)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup caramel candy squares, diced (about 12)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another bowl, combine egg and milk. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
4. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir just to blend.
5. Stir in applesauce and caramels.
6. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Serve warm.

 

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

DSC_0053

Instead of crying over the pantry full of baby food that my toddler had outgrown, I incorporated the “passé” puree into a sophisticated muffin.

I love giving sweet potato muffins to my family, guilt free. The Vitamin A in the sweet potato and the fiberous whole wheat flour compensate for the bursts of the delicious sweetness of the chocolate morsels. These speckled muffins are beautiful-looking and will complete the Halloween-inspired playdate.

DSC_0059

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 30)

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup (16 oz.) mashed or pureed sweet potato (without butter, salt, or milk)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 – 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (1 12 oz. package)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, sweet potato, milk, and oil until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, and stir just until combined.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, until 3/4 full.
7. Bake 16 to 20 minutes.
8. Cool on wire rack.

DSC_0055  DSC_0058

Grandma’s Pumpkin Muffins

DSC_0010   DSC_0012

Just the smell of my grandmother’s pumpkin cake recipe brings memories of Autumn that make me think about apple orchards, the first day of school, and carving Jack-O’-Lanterns. I have turned her cake into nutritious muffins by adding a mix of golden and dark raisins and chopped nuts. If you bake these for Halloween, you might want to omit the nuts and raisins for young children. The recipe makes a great cake in a 10-inch Turk pan.

DSC_0008   DSC_0016

Grandma’s Pumpkin Muffins (makes 30)

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin puree (16 oz)
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and pumpkin.
3. Add eggs 1 at a time and whisk well after each.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the mixture.
5. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture. Mix until just blended.
6. Wash and dry raisins and then sprinkle with flour and then shake in sieve to remove excess flour.
7. Stir in raisins and nuts.
8. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Green Monster Smoothie Muffins

DSC_0005

My kids won’t touch spinach, but in a muffin, anything goes. I personally never got into the smoothie rage. I don’t like drinking my food and my kids are scared of monsters.

These super green muffins are sweet-like-cake and packed with protein and vegetables. Plus, calling anything “monster” piques a child’s interest.

DSC_0020   DSC_0015

Green Monster Smoothie Muffins (makes 12)

3 ripe bananas
2 cups baby spinach
1 6oz container greek yogurt
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp honey
¾ cups flour
6 Tbsp sugar
1 egg
1/8 cup canola oil
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a blender, puree the bananas, spinach, yogurt, peanut butter and honey.
3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, egg, oil, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Pour the smoothie mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean.
7. Allow muffins to cool before removing them from the pan.