Lemony Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins

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This recipe takes the well-known concept of the blueberry muffin to a whole new level. These muffins are extra special because they have a surprise inside: delicious, lemony cream cheese! They are great on their own, but the lemon cream cheese filling with the plump, juicy blueberries makes these muffins marvelous.

My son didn’t notice the cream cheese filling until the second bite when his “mmmm” escalated to “MMMM!” He loved the surprise filling.

A fresh blueberry muffin with lemony cheesecake flavors in the mix is the perfect way to start any morning. Surprise your loved ones with these muffins-they will love them (and you for baking them)!

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Lemony Blueberry Cream Cheese Muffins (makes 9)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
zest of 1 large lemon
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg, large
1/3 cup whole or skim milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Cream Cheese Filling:

3 Tbsp cream cheese
1 tsp lemon zest
1 Tbsp sugar
turbinado sugar (for sprinkling on muffins before baking)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and cinnamon.
3. In a small bowl, add the sugar and lemon zest. Rub sugar and zest together, until fragrant. Add to the flour mixture and whisk again.
4. In a separate medium bowl, mix canola oil, egg, milk, and vanilla.
5. Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture. Add slowly and do not over mix. (The batter will be lumpy and thick.) Gently fold in the blueberries.
6. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, lemon zest, and sugar until smooth.
7. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add about 1 teaspoon of cream cheese filling to each muffin cup. Cover each cup with remaining batter so you can’t see the cream cheese filling. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar.
8. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.
9. Let muffins cool on a cooking rack.

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Vanilla Muffins

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These comforting vanilla muffins are a light, fluffy classic. Enough said.

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Vanilla Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the muffin comes out clean.

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins

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OK gluten-free lovers, here’s to satisfying your sweet tooth!

These are the fluffiest, most moist baked products on the global gluten-free menu. The texture is reminiscent of peanut butter fudge. They are more cakey than the usual muffin. The peanut butter does not overwhelm, and the banana flavor is barely detected, albeit the riper the banana the sweeter the muffin. The melty chocolate chips complement the peanut butter in every bite.

Let’s talk all the things these muffins are not. They are gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, dairy-free, oil-free, and refined sugar-free. So how could they be good?

Trust, but verify.

With the help of a blender, the batter is transformed in minutes into the best excuse for eating chocolate for breakfast.

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Flourless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 12)

2 medium ripe bananas, peeled
2 large eggs
1 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
6 Tbsp honey (or agave or maple syrup)
2 Tbsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
1 heaping cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. To the canister of a blender, add bananas, eggs, peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract, baking soda, and salt. Blend on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.
3. Transfer batter to a mixing bowl. Fold in heaping cup of chocolate chips and stir.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter into muffin cups to ¾ full.
5. Sprinkle each muffin cup with mini chocolate chips.
6. Bake for 13 to 18 minutes*, or until the tops are set, domed, springy to the touch, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with a few moist crumbs, but no batter.
7. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes until they’ve set.**

*Watch muffins closely and bake until done.
**These muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

 

 

 

 

Spinach Ricotta Frittata Muffins

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These spinach ricotta frittata muffins are the most go-to of my muffin repertoire. Muffinizing frittata is effortless and involves minimal steps. Each of these is a no-mess meal that requires not a single fork. Serving them for company is impressive, and they fit perfectly into school lunch boxes.

Dense with protein from the ricotta/spinach duet, these muffins are dainty but strong and full of flavor. Although they do not contain butter, their golden edges seem to hint of butter. They are delicious, right out of the oven, at room temperature, and even cold.

These muffins bring memories of Sunday brunch, but also work well for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner.

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Spinach Ricotta Frittata Muffins (makes 12)

4 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese (low far or full fat)
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
½ cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup (or one 10oz box) frozen chopped spinach
1/4 tsp salt
onion powder (to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. Thaw spinach in microwave and squeeze out extra juice.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs and stir in ricotta, mozzarella, and Parmesan cheeses.
4. Stir in spinach, salt, onion powder, and garlic powder.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon mixture into muffin cups.
6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until muffins are set and golden on top.

Tuna Melt Muffins

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There is something genuinely comforting about warm tuna covered by melted cheese. This is the famous “tuna melt,” which my father ate every day of his elementary school years, during the Fifties, when kids walked home for lunch. His was a sandwich of tuna, covered with melted cheese, slices of egg, and a pickle. The sliced egg and pickle were my grandmother’s idea, but the tuna melt has endured as the fish-version of cheeseburger.

But that was elementary school. Eating a massive tuna melt would be a difficult endeavor for a toddler, not to mention messy.

The solution: Muffinize. Turn the classic sandwich into a muffin. Now you have a hand-held package that’s packed with protein, moist and almost as fluffy as Wonder bread. This cheesy muffin is oozing with cheese in an inner pocket and crisped to perfection on the buttery-tasting outside.

The dill, lemon juice, and Parmesan add to even more zest to the flavors and charm of the recipe. The muffin tops give a nice bite to this recipe that does not include butter, just tastes like it.

The scent, emanating from the oven, brings back the days of childhood when school lunches meant grilled cheese and tuna fish sandwiches.

These are wonderful at room temperature, and even cold.

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Tuna Melt Muffins (makes 12)
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp chives, dried
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 ½ cup cheddar, Colby, or mozzarella cheese (or combination), shredded and divided into 1 cup and ½ cup
1 tsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp vegetable or olive oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup (15 oz) water-packed tuna fish, drained
Topping
1/4 cup cheddar, Colby, or mozzarella cheese (or combination), shredded
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in chives, pepper, and 1 cup cheese.
3. In a separate bowl, combine lemon juice, oil, egg, milk, and tuna.
4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and stir until just combined.
5. Spoon mixture into prepared muffin cups to ½ full.
6. Sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese on top of each cup and spoon the remaining batter on top of each.
7. Sprinkle Topping on each muffin cup (first shredded cheese, then Parmesan).
8. Bake for 20 minutes.
9. Remove from muffin pan immediately and place on a wire rack to cool.
10. Serve piping hot, room temperature, or cold.