Hot Chocolate Cookie Muffins

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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

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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.

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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.

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins


One of the best smells of my childhood was the scent of my strawberry shortcake doll. These muffins come close.

Full of fresh strawberries and topped with a sugar crust, they have all of the flavor and richness of the classic strawberry shortcake.

Nostalgic and delicious, here’s an excuse to have cake for breakfast, guilt-free.
Add a pat of butter…yum.

Strawberry Shortcake Muffins (makes 12)

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter cold and cut into cubes
1 egg
1 cup heavy cream or half-and-half cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups diced fresh strawberries (large or small, to your liking)
Confectioners sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tin with nonstick spray.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and sugar. Cut in the cold butter with two knives until it is in small pea-size pieces.
3. In a small bowl, mix together the egg, vanilla and cream.
4. Add egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir with a spoon just until blended.
5. Gently mix in the diced strawberries.
6. Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center will have moist or no crumbs.
8. Cool completely in the pan before removing, as muffins are very soft while warm.
9. Once muffins are cooled, sprinkle tops with confectioners sugar.

Brownie Muffins

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So chocolatey your head might explode, these fudgy brownie muffins are like individual pieces of heaven. Chewy, squishy, and decadent, they aren’t as dense as brownies, but they are so rich and creamy that they practically melt in your mouth. And, the glossy, wafer-thin top crust is just as delicious as the fudgy layer underneath.

However horrible or amazing your day, these brownie muffins will make it better.

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Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth and combined. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. To the chocolate/butter mixture, stir in sugar, then vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
5. Mix in the flour and salt.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-23 minutes until a knife inserted in the center will have moist crumbs. (Be careful not to over-bake.)
7. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Or, cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

*These muffins are best served cold.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

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Here’s an ingenious way to sneak green into your child’s diet. With this muffin, you can give your child cocoa with a clear conscience.

The combination of grated zucchini and chocolate is a God-send because the zucchini, which adds moisture, is a vegetable that passes virtually undetected. Whether you refer to this muffin as “chocolate” or “chocolate zucchini,” the flavor speaks for itself.

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Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (makes 30)

3 eggs
1 3/4 cups white sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup applesauce
1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder (for nice, dark finished color)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups zucchini, grated
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
brown sugar (for sprinkling on top)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Beat in the sugar and oil. Add the applesauce, cocoa, vanilla, zucchini and stir well.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, mixing until dry ingredients are just moist. Fold in 2/4 of the chocolate chips.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
6. Top with 1/4 mini chocolate chips and some brown sugar.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
8. Remove from pan and let cool on a wire rack.

 

Spaghetti Muffins

My kids love spaghetti. There’s something about the challenge– attempting to twirl the strands onto a fork and slurping up the strays. Pure fun. And what could be even more fun? Picking at the crispy, crunchy, toasted tops of spaghetti muffins.

Here is a great way to recycle and reformat leftover spaghetti. The topping is the icing on the cake of handheld spaghetti nests. They are whimsical for kids and delightfully suited to adult tastes, too.

If you have any leftover, they toast wonderfully.

Spaghetti Muffins (makes 12)

4 cups cooked spaghetti, tossed in cream, butter, or marinara sauce (option: cut spaghetti into about 2 inch strands)
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup cheese, shredded
1/2 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 – 1/2 cup cooked meat, finely diced (optional)

Topping
1/4 cup seasoned bread crumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix eggs, cheese, bread crumbs, and meat (optional).
3. Add mixture to pasta and toss.
4. Scoop pasta into muffin cups.
5. Sprinkle Topping over each muffin cup.
6. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
7. Allow to cool.
8. Remove from tins, serve, and enjoy!

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Banana Muffins

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If banana bread doesn’t do it for you, these muffins will have you at hello. They are entirely healthy and delicious. And, who could say no to chocolate?

Soft, tender, with a subtle sweetness and loaded with chocolate flavor, these muffins have far less sugar than a typical bakery-style muffin.

Microwave already-baked muffins to make the chocolate chips warm and melty. Spread with peanut butter if desired! For a sweeter variation, substitute peanut butter chips for some or all of the chocolate chips.

Greek Yogurt Chocolate Banana Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup flour
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup miniature chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (milk chocolate or semi-sweet)
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 large egg
1/2 cup vanilla or plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled (measured in melted state)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas), mashed very well

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray (do not use liners, they will stick!).
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, baking soda, salt, cocoa powder, and both types of chocolate chips.
3. In a separate medium-size mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and Greek yogurt. Stir in coconut oil, vanilla, brown sugar and bananas.
4. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
5. With an ice cream scoop, distribute batter evenly into muffin cups.
6. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.