Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

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These muffins are packed with protein and taste like smooth, creamy, cheesecake. Serve for breakfast, dessert, or after-school snack. My kids love the rich chocolate flavor, and I love the wholesomeness of the ricotta and milk.

Note: For best results, use whole milk ricotta, but lowfat also works well. You can substitute canola oil for some or all of the butter.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins (makes 18)

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 large eggs
1 1/3 cup milk
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled OR 1/4 cup canola oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups granulated white sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a medium sized bowl, whisk ricotta cheese and then add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add milk, vanilla extract, and cooled and melted butter, mixing well. Set aside.
3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder.
4. Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined and then fold in chocolate chips. (Do not over mix this batter or the muffins will be tough when baked.)
5. Divide the batter amongst the 18 muffin cups using two spoons or an ice cream scoop.
6. Bake for 25 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
7. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

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Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins

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For my readers who have requested gluten-free recipes, I consider it my duty to muffinize™ the crumbly, dry baked goods they are generally stuck with.

Moist, rich, and decadent, these muffins satisfy the chocolate-peanut butter craving. The recipe is dairy-free, oil-free, and contains no refined sugar. So how could the muffins be good? Believe.

With the help of a blender, the batter is transformed in minutes. No gluten means no risk of over-mixing the batter, which could create tough muffins.

Thanks to the banana and honey, the taste is sweet but not too sweet, the texture fudgy but still cakey and springy like muffins. The peanut butter is there, but does not overwhelm. The chocolate flavor is enhanced by the ever-presence of mini chips.

These muffins are a wonderful way to justify having chocolate for breakfast.

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Flourless Double Chocolate Peanut Butter Muffins (makes 6)

1 medium/large ripe banana, peeled
1 large egg
heaping ½ cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
3 tablespoons honey (agave, brown rice syrup, or maple syrup may be substituted)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
pinch salt, optional and to taste
heaping 1/2 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (for sprinkling)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. To the canister of a blender, add banana, egg, peanut butter, cocoa powder, 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 1/2 cup chocolate chips and stir.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter into muffin cups to ¾ full.
5. Sprinkle each muffin with a generous pinch of 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.

 

 

Bowl of Oatmeal Muffins

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Who has time to cook the old-fashioned way? A pot of oatmeal is just as comforting in the form of a moist oaty muffin.

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This gluten-free recipe requires a single bowl. Whisk and add the most common ingredients, just staples you may have in your pantry. Include whatever toppings you want to use up: dried fruits, nuts, blueberries, chocolate chips. Walnut, raspberry, and chocolate is an amazing flavor combination.

With these muffins you can have chocolate in the morning and still be hearty and healthy. Muffinize™ this old-fashioned breakfast and stock your freezer.

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Bowl of Oatmeal Muffins (makes 18)

2 eggs
½ cup butter, melted and cooled
1 cup packed brown sugar
½ cup applesauce
1½ cups milk (skim or whichever percentage of fat you prefer)
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tsp baking powder
Optional: your favorite toppings (dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper or paper/foil muffin liners.*
2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, butter, and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add the applesauce, milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Whisk until well combined. Stir in the oats and baking powder.
3. Fill the muffin tin with ¼ cup of the oat mixture in each muffin cup. Add your favorite toppings. With a spoon, push the toppings down into the oat mixture.
4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Let them cool completely in muffin pan before serving. Store in an airtight container or freeze in a zip top storage bag.

*Do not skip the muffin liners in this recipe.

Popcorn Muffins

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As if “popcorn” is not the epitome of flavors, this buttered popcorn muffin is oozing with a creamy caramel center. The recipe blends the salt of popcorn with the sweetness of Dulce de Leche.

These muffins are made with air-popped popcorn. Make a double batch for your Super Bowl gathering or movie night. Serve for an after-school or midnight snack.

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Popcorn Muffins (makes 12)

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
2 cups unsalted popcorn, popped
12 pieces of popcorn for decoration (optional)
¼ cup (12 tsp) Dulce de Leche Caramel spread

1.Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and butter.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry mix. Stir until completely incorporated.
5. Fold in 3 cups of popcorn and stir (popcorn will break up into smaller pieces).
6. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Spoon 1tsp Dulce de Leche spread on each muffin cup and cover with the remaining batter.
7. Place one piece of popcorn on the center of each muffin cup.
8. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

 

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.

 

Hash Brown Muffins

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I was inspired to “think potato” by my sister-in-law, the cook extraordinaire of my family. Her fascinating article on WW1 propaganda highlighted the use of potatoes as a means to conserve other foods that would be shipped to our troops during wartime.

Maite’s recipe for potato balls reminded me that potatoes are delicious when fried. On her site, Artbites, she gives superb advice on cooking from scratch.

Crispy on the outside, moist and tender on the inside, hash browns taste so good! Especially in muffin form.

Use mini muffin pans for bite-size morsels and Voila – “Tater Tot Muffins.” Kids will love eating this mini version at mealtimes or for snacks, which are much healthier and tastier than frozen tater tots.

Eat warm or cold. Freeze individually or in batches, and you will have breakfast for the whole week.

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Hash Brown Muffins (makes 12)

3 ½ cups shredded Russet potatoes, rinsed and squeezed dry in a towel; or 1 (16 oz) package of pre-shredded potatoes
1/4 cup onion, chopped (optional)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 heaping cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper muffin liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine potatoes, onion, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
3. Add the eggs, stir, and then add cheese and stir again.
4. Fill each muffin cup ¾ full.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and tops and edges begin to get crispy. (For mini tater tot muffins, use a mini muffin pan and bake for 55 minutes).

Fluffernutter Muffins

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A Fluffernutter, for the uninitiated, is a sandwich made of marshmallow Fluff and peanut butter. Because it’s simple to make and requires very few ingredients, the Fluffernutter was always a staple in my mother’s kitchen. As a kid, I loved Fluffernutter sandwiches. How could a sandwich called “Fluffernutter” be anything but delicious?

To these muffins, I’ve added banana to improve the creamy texture and wonderful flavor. I like to warm these in the microwave for 10 to 15 seconds so the marshmallow on top is gooey. Michael loves licking the melted marshmallow on top before devouring the rest. Thank goodness, Joey overcame his initial discomfort with the sticky consistency of melted marshmallow. These muffins are a staple in our home. Discover which filling and toppings work for you!

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Fluffernutter Muffins (makes 12)

1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup milk
¼ cup marshmallow cream
½ cup small marshmallows OR 12 large marshmallows (optional)
½ cup peanut butter chips (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a medium mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large mixing bowl, combine banana, peanut butter, brown sugar and oil until creamy. Add egg.
4. Add wet mixture to flour mixture, alternating with milk.
5. Divide 1/3 of the batter into muffin cup bottoms.
6. Place one heaping teaspoon of marshmallow cream and a few small marshmallows (optional) into each center.
7. Top with remaining muffin batter.
8. Place about 3-4 small marshmallows AND/OR 1 large marshmallow AND/OR some peanut butter chips on each muffin top and prod into batter (optional).
9. Bake 20-22 minutes or until light golden brown and risen.
10. Allow to cool 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.

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