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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Honey Corn Muffins

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There is nothing worse than dry cornbread that gets stuck in your throat. That’s the reason I use a mix– I trust it. But trust me, these plush muffins are soft, fluffy, sweet, rich and moist.

Yellow. Handheld. Still crumbly like cornbread. Moist and fluffy with a wonderful honey flavor. The recipe is so easy. Kids love the bright yellow color, not to mention the wonderful honey flavor. Bake a batch for Thanksgiving dinner or just because.

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Honey Corn Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1/4 cup honey, plus more for drizzling
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 stick (8 Tbsp) salted butter, melted and cooled
2 Tbsp Greek yogurt (or sour cream)

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, mix milk, eggs, honey, oil, butter and Greek yogurt.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.
7. Drizzle with honey and add a pat of butter before serving.

 

Pecan Pie Muffins

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This twist on a classic Thanksgiving indulgence is sweet, buttery, and energy-packed. Gooey on inside and crisp on the outside, pecan pie muffins disappear fast.

The recipe calls for finely chopped pecans, placed at the bottom of each muffin, where beautiful speckles disperse texture throughout. These muffins have crisp buttery tops and and are moist and fudgy inside.

These are easy to make – throw together while waiting for turkey to exit the oven.

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or alongside fruit. Drizzle with chocolate or caramel.

Muffinize a pecan pie and bring smiles to your Thanksgiving table. Pecan pie muffins are a handheld delicacy, to devour without a single fork.

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Pecan Pie Muffins (makes 10)

1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup finely chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine brown sugar, chopped pecans, flour, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine butter, eggs, and vanilla.
4. Pour butter mixture into dry mixture and stir just until moistened.
5. Place 1 heaping teaspoon of finely chopped pecans into each cup of muffin pan.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter evenly over pecans in each muffin cup.
7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Leave muffins in muffin pan for five minutes before removing them to a wire cooling rack.

 

 

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.

Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Instead of crying over the pantry full of baby food that my toddler had outgrown, I incorporated the “passé” puree into a sophisticated muffin.

I love giving sweet potato muffins to my family, guilt free. The Vitamin A in the sweet potato and the fiberous whole wheat flour compensate for the bursts of the delicious sweetness of the chocolate morsels. These speckled muffins are beautiful-looking and will complete the Halloween-inspired playdate.

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Sweet Potato Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 30)

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup (16 oz.) mashed or pureed sweet potato (without butter, salt, or milk)
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup oil
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 – 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (1 12 oz. package)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, sugar, sweet potato, milk, and oil until smooth.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk flours, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.
4. Add dry ingredients to liquid ingredients, and stir just until combined.
5. Fold in chocolate chips.
6. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, until 3/4 full.
7. Bake 16 to 20 minutes.
8. Cool on wire rack.

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Pizza Muffins

Pizza Muffins

What child doesn’t like pizza? Mine! I’m continually perplexed that the even the smell of pizza doesn’t excite my kids. However, I’ve discovered that pizza in muffin-form is a gazillion times more interesting and fun.

This muffin doesn’t ooze or drip. The melted cheese on top looks like frosting on a cupcake. Try adding chopped mushrooms, onion, peppers, or sardines to the batter. Eat these muffins hot or cold. Serve for lunch or snack with a side of spaghetti or pizza sauce for dipping.

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Pizza Muffins (makes 18)

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp dried basil leaves
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 Tbsp white sugar
1 cup tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese (or mozarella or both), shredded and divided
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin cups with olive oil or cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, basil, oregano, and sugar. Stir well until blended.
3. Mix in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of cheese.
4. In another bowl, beat egg, whisk in buttermilk, and stir until combined.
5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups until half full.
6. Sprinkle remaining 1 cup cheese on top of muffins.
7. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.