Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins

IMG_0072

Feeling festive now that every radio sings some sort of merry jingle? Reminiscing about the warm cup of hot chocolate waiting for your return from sledding down the driveway? Remember that attempt to make a good-looking snowman with your mittens clipped to your winter coat?

Almost too cute to eat, these Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins taste like Christmas! On a cake plate, they look picturesque, and their flavors capture the wintery holiday with sugar cookie bottoms, candy-cane handles, chocolate fudge fillings, and melted marshmallows.

If you decide to make these off-season, or in honor of another holiday, switch the “holiday sprinkles” with a color of your choice. You could also use the loops of pretzels as handles.

Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups flour
2 Tbsp sprinkles

Fudge Filling:
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

You will also need:
12 candy canes (make sure you have more than 12, some may break)
tiny marshmallows
1 Tbsp white chocolate chips (melted)

Make Cookie-Muffin Base:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
2. With a hand mixer, cream together sugar and butter. Add egg, vanilla, sour cream, salt and baking soda and mix thoroughly.
3. Add flour and mix until smooth and flour is absorbed (texture will be dough-like).
4. Add 2-3 Tbsp sprinkles and mix until just combined.
5. With an ice cream scoop, distribute dough evenly in each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 20 minutes (make sure they don’t get too brown at the end, if they start to brown too much, take them out).
7. Immediately after taking muffin pan out, use a teaspoon measuring spoon to push into the middle of each muffin, creating a space for the fudge filling. (Do not push through the muffin completely).
8. Let cool in the pan 10-15 minutes, then, run a knife along the sides to pop them out.

Make the Fudge Filling:
9. In a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips and condensed milk. Melt by microwaving in 1 minute increments before stirring.
10. Add vanilla and stir until smooth.

Assemble Muffins:
11. Cut the rounded part of off of the candy canes and adhere them to the side of each muffin with melted white chocolate.
12. Fill each cavity with fudge and put several tiny marshmallows on top.

Butter Muffins

FullSizeRender_7.jpg

Sunny yellow in color, just-baked Butter Muffins will fill your home with the scent of sugar melting. Out of the oven, the finished product leaves you feeling like you just walked into an awesome bakery on a Sunday morning.

But don’t just bake them to make your house smell delicious. The taste is buttery, rich and sweet. The texture is like a cookie-cake. And, milk with vanilla adds protein on a cozy morning in a happy home.

FullSizeRender_6.jpg

Butter Muffins (makes 18)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
4 Tbsp milk or yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 375 F and spray muffin pans with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a separate large mixing bowl, mix butter and sugar until well combined. Add eggs, vanilla and milk and mix well.
4. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture and mix well.
5. With an ice cream scoop, distribute batter into muffin cups.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until muffins appear slightly golden around the edges and on top.
7. Let muffins cool 5 minutes in pans and then transfer to wire rack. Serve warm.

Mashed Potato Muffins


While they bake in the oven, they may smell like French fries, but these muffins are a whole lot healthier. Their crisp, hash brown-y crust and fluffy potato middle will reinvent your leftover mashed potatoes.

Post Thanksgiving, load them up with leftover Turkey or take them to a new level with tons of cheese, bacon bits and chives. Keep them simple with just salt and pepper, or omit the chives on top for kids who prefer their muffin to look “clean,” without garnish.

MuffinizⓇ this classic comfort food and keep your forks in the silverware drawer.

Serve with sour cream.

Mashed Potato Muffins (makes 12)

3 cups mashed potatoes*
1 large egg
1 1/4 heaping cups Cheddar and mozarella cheese, shredded and divided
3 Tbsp chives, chopped and divided
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a large bowl, combine mashed potatoes, egg, 1 cup cheese and 2 tablespoons chives.
4. Add salt and pepper and stir.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to divide the potato mixture into the prepared muffin pan (use the back of spoon to pack potatoes down into each cup for a flattened top or leave as is for a more puffy/textured muffin top).
6. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until golden brown and crisp around the edges.
7. Remove pan from the oven, sprinkle muffin tops with the remaining 1/4 cup cheese, and return them to the oven for 3 more minutes.
8. Remove muffins from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
9. Transfer muffins to a serving dish, top them with the remaining 1 tablespoon of chives (optional) and serve immediately.

Notes:
*To measure mashed potatoes, scoop and pack them into a measuring cup and then level it off.
*Mashed potatoes can vary in thickness. To thicken consistency, add an egg to the mixture.

img_5860

Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins

IMG_0308

For die-hard pecan-pie fans, these muffins are a pie-brownie hybrid. Infused with chocolate, a sticky, bite-size pecan pie is not only gooey, sweet, buttery and energy-packed, but perfect for both chocoholics and brownie-lovers.

IMG_0298

Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins (makes 18)

¾ cups light brown sugar
¼ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup light corn syrup
3 large eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1 heaping cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted and cooled
1 ½ cups pecans, chopped

1. Prehead oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the light brown sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, eggs, vanilla, flour and salt until smooth.
3. Whisk in the butter and chocolate.
4. Fold in the pecans.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter evenly into each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes.
7. Let muffins cool in pan and then transfer to refrigerator to chill.
8. Use a sharp knife to run around the edges of the muffins to remove them from the pan.
9. Serve cold.

Onion Soup Muffins

DSC_0422

Ladies and gentlemen, this is quite a muffin.

I have fond memories of ordering French onion soup at a small restaurant in Elkin’s Park, PA, named Winston’s. The French onion soup was to die for. I remember eating the cheese first by twirling the spoon and “cutting” by pressing the cheese against the side of the soup bowl. The cheese would dangle from the spoon. And once the cheese was gone, the bread and broth was full of onion-y deliciousness.

These savory muffins are as much of an experience as eating the melted, bubbly cheese on top of the bowl.

The layers of flavors in these muffins mimic the half-crisp, cheese-covered croutons half submerged and soaked in delicious onion broth. They make the perfect accompaniment to soup, eggs, or greens.

DSC_0420 DSC_0426

Onion Soup Muffins (makes 6)

1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 medium-large onion, halved and thinly sliced into half-moons
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 large clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup milk (I used whole)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 oz smoked Gruyere cheese, shredded (you may use Swiss, Asiago, Mozzarella, Pecorino Romano, or any combination of cheeses instead of Gruyere)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat; stir in the onion and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cook until the onions are a rich caramel color, about 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, stirring constantly. Set aside to cool.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, thyme, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 + 1/8 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl.
4. In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, and Worcestershire.
5. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined, being careful not to over-mix. Fold in the caramelized onion and shredded cheese.
6. Fill each muffin cup with batter.
7. Fill the empty muffin tins halfway with water for even baking.
8. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

 

Cheesecake Muffins

DSC_0385

Luscious and dainty, these cheesecake muffins are dusted with powdered sugar, inspired by the delicate dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Their sweet taste is tinged with a cheese-cake-y tang that is out-of-this-world. The vanilla extract and wafer cookie crust send a hint of caramel right to the heart of the cakes. And the bottoms are not soggy!

Rich and creamy, this great dinner party dessert is perfect for any season. The sprinkled powdered sugar on top suggests an edible winter wonderland. The velvety-smooth cream cheese makes a platter ideal for spring and summer and any holiday that highlights dairy foods.

These beautiful cakes are light but dense with flavor. They are sized just right for the calorie conscious and baked in small cups for little hands.

The best part of this recipe is that it’s so easy and effortless while still creating the illusion that a pastry chef has spent hours in the kitchen.

For a taste of New York, make cheesecake muffins ahead of time and serve, any time of the day.

DSC_0389 DSC_0393DSC_0392 DSC_0390

Cheesecake Muffins (makes 12)

24 vanilla wafer cookies (I recommend Nilla Wafers)
One 8 oz packages cream cheese (softened)
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 egg
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
12 foil cupcake liners
1 Tbsp powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with paper liners and spray liners.
2. In a large bowl beat cream cheese and sugar. Add in flour and baking powder and beat until combined. Then mix in eggs, one at a time, lemon juice, and vanilla.
3. Fill a muffin pan with cupcake liners and place two vanilla wafer cookies at the bottom of each one. Divide batter between 12 liners, filling each cup up to about 1/4 inch from the top.
4. Bake for 22-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
5. Remove muffins from oven and place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Chill in refrigerator for two to four hours.
7. Top with powdered sugar and serve.

Swirly Hot Cocoa Muffins

DSC_0391 DSC_0389 DSC_0388 DSC_0385 DSC_0384 DSC_0383

Your eyes are not playing tricks. This is hot cocoa, muffinized™. Now you can EAT your hot cocoa, as a muffin, baked in a coffee mug to complete the illusion.

These muffins are delicious and easy to make. Serve with a steamy hot beverage (hot chocolate or perhaps hot apple cider).

DSC_0398 DSC_0400 DSC_0399 DSC_0404

Swirly Hot Cocoa Muffins (makes 12 muffins or 6 mugs)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup milk
½ cup butter, melted (and cooled)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Spray muffin pan (or 6 coffee mugs) with cooking spray, or line the pan with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, then beat in milk, butter and vanilla.
4. Create a well in the flour mixture and add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture. Gently stir to combine.
5. Divide batter into two bowls. Add unsweetened cocoa to one of the bowls of batter and stir just until mixed.
6. Place a layer of the plain batter on the bottom of your mug/muffin pan. Then, a layer of chocolate, then more plain, and end with a dab of the chocolate.
7. Bake for 13-18 minutes until golden brown on top.
8. Remove from oven to cool completely (or not) on a wire cooling rack.