Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Sugar Muffins

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There is a burst of chocolate in every bite of these tall, domed muffins with beautiful crackled tops. The batter is laced with cinnamon and nutmeg and stuffed with Nutella. Fresh-out of the oven, the muffins are dunked into butter so that every crevice is coated with a sprinkling of cinnamon sugar. The finished product has the fluffiness of a donut but the soul of a muffin.

Nutella was invented during the 1940s when cocoa was in short supply. An Italian pastry baker used hazelnuts to enhance the chocolate he had in his bakery. Mixed with hazelnut, a family could use a jar of spreadable chocolate for many weeks. Nutella owner, Michele Ferrero, sometimes referred to as a real-life Willy Wonka, died last Saturday (yes, Valentine’s Day) at the age of 89.

This recipe is a keeper not only because it’s scrumptious, but also because its ingredients are mixed in a single bowl. So get out your (one) bowl and start baking.

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Nutella-Stuffed Cinnamon Muffins (makes 8)

6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (cow, almond, soy)
¾ cup all-purpose flour
¾ cup whole wheat flour
1 and 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
8 tsp Nutella

Cinnamon-Sugar Topping

1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
3 Tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl mix together the butter and sugar. Mix in the egg, vanilla extract, and milk.
3. Gently stir in flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. (Do not overmix – stir until just combined).
4. Into each muffin cup, spoon 1 heaping Tablespoon of batter. Then, add 1 teaspoon of Nutella in the center, and spoon another heaping Tablespoon of batter on top. (If the muffin tins are completely full, that is ok. They will not overflow.)
5. Fill the empty muffin tins halfway with water for even baking.
6. Bake at 425 F for 5 minutes. Keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce temperature to 350 F and bake for an additional 12-15 minutes until batter is set.
7. Allow muffins to cool for about 5 minutes.
8. While the muffins are cooling, make the cinnamon-sugar topping: Melt the butter for about 30-60 seconds in the microwave. In a separate small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon.
9. Dip the top of each muffin into the melted butter and then dip into the cinnamon-sugar mixture (swirl them around to ensure they are thickly coated). Set muffins upright on a wire cooling rack.

*Notes:

-Muffins stay fresh for up to one week in an airtight container.
-Muffins freeze well, up to 3 months.
-Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring them to room temperature before serving in the morning. Or, zap frozen muffins in the microwave (10-15 seconds).

 

 

Apple Cider Muffins

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Apple Cider Muffins

Whether it’s apple season or not, these muffins are reminiscent of the flavors of Autumn. Right out of the oven, they taste like earthy, spiced, sweet apple cider with cinnamon.

The crumbly Streusel Topping is made with a small amount of delicious butter, but some kids might be turned off by the grainy texture.

For adults, add finely chopped walnuts. For kids, instead of the Streusel Topping you might dip the tops of the baked muffins into melted butter first, and then roll the tops in a mixture of cinnamon sugar.

You will want to dunk these into your morning coffee. These smell heavenly and are freezer-friendly if you happen to have any leftovers. And remember, the streusel topping makes crumbs (you won’t care after you taste them!)

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Apple Cider Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 large egg
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup apple butter
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil

Streusel Topping

2 Tbsp light brown sugar, packed
4 tsp whole-wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbsp butter, cut into small pieces
2 Tbsp walnuts, finely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. Prepare Streusal Topping: In a small mixing bowl, mix brown sugar, whole wheat flour, cinnamon, and walnuts (optional). Mix in pieces of butter. You can use your fingers to make mixture like coarse crumbs. Set bowl aside.
3. Muffins: In a large mixing bowl, whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar until smooth. Whisk in apple butter, maple syrup, apple cider, yogurt, and oil.
5. Make a well in the dry mix; add the wet ingredients to the dry mix and stir until just combined.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon batter into muffin cups.
7. Sprinkle muffin cups with the Topping.
8. Bake for 15 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a wire cooling rack.

 

 

 

Caramel Apple Muffins

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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.

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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.

 

The Ultimate Comfort Food: French Toast

This article was featured in Swirls and Spice on October 21, 2014.

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To kick off the pumpkin season, the food world seems to be baking with orange-hued vegetables like carrots, squash, and sweet potatoes. Culinary creators are enhancing dishes with seasonal spices like nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger.

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These fall tastes bring memories of home and hearth so much so that there is no doubt about the level of comfort in the autumn-inspired muffin. Variations include pumpkin cream cheese, carrot cake, sweet potato, and honey corn.

However, when I think of Autumn and its ultimate comfort food, I think of French toast. It’s a breakfast classic. Often served with maple syrup or jelly. Sometimes finished with melted butter and salt.

My grandmother, whom I remember making breakfast in her hot pink bathrobe and slippers, would serve French toast dusted with powdered sugar. The following recipe takes me back to her. It’s a muffin that’s light and fine. Its taste is French toast. Its texture, more delicate.

Both toppings below are equally delicious. The first is a cinnamon and sugar glaze, and the second combines the traditional tastes associated with French toast: drizzled maple syrup and powdered sugar. As on French toast, apply the topping by drizzling. Or, dip each muffin into a puddle of maple syrup and a mound of powdered sugar or cinnamon-sugar mixture.

For more nutritious fall muffin recipes, go to www.MuffinMama.org

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French Toast Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (or allspice)
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup dairy milk (or coconut milk* for dairy-free)
  • 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 C). Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt. Make a well in the center of the mixture.
3. In a separate bowl, stir together egg, milk, and melted butter.
4. Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moistened (batter may be lumpy).
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
7. Top each muffin with one of the two coatings (recipes below) and serve warm.

*Note: For dairy free muffins with coconut milk, you may need to add about 2 tablespoons more liquid, such as water.

Topping 1: Cinnamon Sugar Coating

  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

1. In a bowl, combine cinnamon and sugar.
2. In a separate bowl, melt butter.
3. Dip tops of finished muffins in the melted butter, and then in the cinnamon sugar mixture.

Topping 2: Maple Sugar Coating

  • maple syrup
  • confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for dusting

1. With a toothpick, poke a few holes in muffin tops.
2. Spoon over a good quality maple syrup.
3. Sprinkle powdered sugar on tops.