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.

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Chocolate Pecan Pie Muffins

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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).

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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.

 

Muffin Pan Popovers

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Delicious and perfectly puffy, these popovers look like a picture in a magazine. They are crisp on the outside and custardy on the inside.

Before attempting this recipe, I thought popovers were tricky to make, only by pastry chefs in restaurants. But this recipe is full-proof – just whisk the ingredients, pour into tins, and bake (no peeking!). A half hour later, the most glorious puffed pastries emerge. These hollow culinary treats are nicely eggy on the inside and easy enough for my kids to make. You need only five ingredients and a muffin tin to pull them off.

It’s always best to eat popovers fresh from the oven, but if you need to make them ahead of time, just as you’re ready to eat, warm them at 350 F for about 5 minutes, until warm and crispy again. (My kids like them soggy, too, ‘though).

These popovers make a great side dish for a Christmas or holiday dinner. They are wonderful for breakfast with jelly or honey or butter.

Popovers freeze well – place in an airtight bag or container for up to three months.

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Baking Tips:

*To get the popovers to puff, heat the empty muffin pan in a very hot oven before pouring in the batter. Then, halfway through the baking time, lower the heat to let them dry out.
*Frothing the batter just before you pour it into tins helps popovers puff.
*Cutting a slit in the bottom of each popover helps steam escape as they cool, which gives a great effect.
*Keep the oven door closed during baking to ensure a consistent oven temperature and prevent the popovers from deflating.

Muffin Pan Popovers (makes 12 small or 6 large)

1 cup milk (whole or 2%)
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and divided
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter until completely combined. Add flour and salt and whisk until frothy and bubbly.
3. Preheat oven to 450 F. Let popover batter rest while the oven heats (this adds texture and gives the flour time to absorb the liquid).
4. Put muffin pan in the oven for 2 minutes to warm.
5. Remove pan from oven and distribute remaining 2 tablespoons of melted butter between the muffin cups. Whisk the batter to froth, again, and fill each cup halfway.
6. Bake popovers for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven door during baking (or popovers will deflate).
7. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue baking for 10 to 15 minutes. Now you can open the oven door to check popovers. They should be golden brown, dry to the touch, and sound hollow when tapped.
8. Remove popovers to a wire cooling rack. Pierce bottoms with a knife to allow steam to escape. Cool just enough to handle comfortably.
9. Eat immediately.

Hot Chocolate Peppermint Muffins

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Tis the season for hot chocolate, so why not muffinize™ a mug, or two. In this recipe, the rich chocolate, peppermint, and toasted marshmallows make the perfect threesome. The buttery-taste is bursting with melting chocolate and the mini marshmallows, along with peppermint chips, add a festive touch.

The chocolatey deliciousness (from a muffin filled with chocolate chips) overpowers the whole wheat flour that sneaks some nutrition into the calorie-laden fun that abounds during the Christmas season.

Serve with hot chocolate and/or popcorn under a cozy blanket while watching Christmas movies.

If you have leftover muffins, pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds, and they’ll taste like they’re right out of the oven.

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Hot Chocolate Peppermint Muffins (makes 18)

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 heaping cup dark chocolate chips
½ heaping cup mini marshmallows
1/2 cup peppermint baking chips

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix whole wheat flour, all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Fold in the chocolate chips.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups 3/4 full with batter. Prod 3 mini marshmallows on top of each muffin and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon of peppermint chips.
7. Turn the oven temperature down to 350F and place the muffin pans in the oven. Bake 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not over bake.
8. Allow the muffins to cool in the pans for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Serve warm or cool completely and store in an airtight container for up to 2 days.