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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Lemony Muffins

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Vibrant like sunshine. Distinct citrus flavor. Not a hint of sourness. Lemony muffins are super moist, fluffy yet dense. The delicious glaze adds texture and sweetness to the unmistakably lemonylicious dessert-snack-breakfast.

The color of these muffins is a natural yellow, so brilliant. As pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate, these gorgeous muffins make a sweet treat for whatever occasion.

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Lemony Muffins (makes 16)

1½ cups flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp lemon extract
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened
⅓ cup of lemon juice
½ cup oil
zest of one lemon

Glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp whole milk
½ tsp lemon extract

1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, combine eggs, vanilla extract, lemon extract, sugar, butter, lemon juice, and oil.
4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until smooth.
5. Add the lemon zest and mix again.
6. Spoon batter into muffin cups, to ¾ full.
7. Fill the empty muffin tins halfway with water for even baking.
8. Bake for 20 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean and the edges are just browned.
9. While muffins are baking, whisk together glaze ingredients. Let glaze stand to thicken.
10. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.
11. Pour, drizzle, or spoon glaze on muffin tops.

 

Red Velvet Cream Cheese Muffins

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A red carpet delicacy, these cream cheese muffins are a muffinized™ Red Velvet cake, perfect for watching the Academy Awards (tonight). The color is rich and red, thanks to the beet powder, which is undetectable by taste.

The cream cheese swirled into the batter adds a subtle tang and provides extra moisture. The crumb topping is sweet, sandy, and slightly crunchy – it’s difficult not to pick off each crumb one by one!

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Red Velvet Cream Cheese Muffins (makes 12)

Crumb Topping*
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
5 Tbsp unsalted butter, diced into cubes
*recipe yields extra crumb topping

Cream Cheese Mixture
4 ounces brick-style cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Muffins
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
1 large egg
1/2 cup canola or vegetable oil
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp natural unsweetened cocoa powder
4 tsp beet powder (or 2 tsp red liquid natural food coloring)

1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. Crumb Topping– In a medium mixing bowl, add the sugar and flour. Use two forks or a pastry cutter to cut in the butter until you have coarse crumbs; set aside.
3. Cream Cheese Mixture– In a separate medium mixing bowl, combine the cream cheese, sugar, vanilla, and beat with a handheld electric mixer until smooth, or whisk by hand until smooth; set aside.
4. Muffins– In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.
5. In a separate medium mixing bowl, whisk together the egg, oil, buttermilk, cocoa powder, and beet powder.
6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until moistened. (Do not overmix. Batter is thick and lumpy.)
7. Fold the cream cheese mixture into the muffin batter, being careful not to overmix. Some streaks of cream cheese should remain.
8. With an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into muffin pan, filling each cavity to two-thirds full. (Do not overfill. If cavities are too full, the crumb topping will spill onto muffin pan).
9. Evenly sprinkle each muffin with the crumb topping.
10. Bake for about 17 to 19 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

*Notes:
Muffins will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months.

 

 

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).

 

 

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

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A bowl of creamy old-fashioned oatmeal is a healthy and nutritious way to start the morning, but who has time to cook the old-fashioned way. Amp up your morning bowl of oatmeal by muffinizing™, and start enjoying the old-time breakfast anew.

Incredible is an understatement. These muffins are hearty and filling. Sweet, but not too sweet. Serve for dinner on a cold winter’s day alongside some soup, or for breakfast year-round.

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Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 18-20)

1 1/2 cups oats (old fashioned or quick oats)
2 and 2/3 cups flour (white, whole-wheat, or a mixture of both)
2/3 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted (cooled)
1 heaping cup chocolate chips (mini or regular) or raisins or chocolate and raisins

1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine oats, four, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, milk, vanilla, and butter.
4. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture until moistened. Fold in chocolate chips.
5. With an ice cream scoop, spoon batter into muffin cups to 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 16-18 minutes, or until tops are light golden.

 

 

Hanukkah Doughnut Muffins

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Instead of baking traditional jelly-filled doughnuts, enhance your repertoire (and Hanukkah table) by muffinizing—transforming doughnuts into muffins! Hanukkah muffins are healthier, easier to bake, and just as delicious as the classic, deep-fried sufganiot.

Experiment with different fillings (some pictured below), and serve alongside bite-sized “doughnut holes” (muffin cut-outs dipped in melted butter and sugar).

Happy Hanukkah!

Chocolate (chocolate frosting)

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Vanilla (vanilla frosting)

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Cherry (cherry jam)

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Dulce De Leche (dulce de leche sauce)

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Doughnut Holes (muffin cut-outs dipped in melted butter and sugar)

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Hanukkah Doughnut Muffins (makes 12)

2 2/3 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup milk

Topping:
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/3 cup sugar
12 oz jar jelly, jam or preserves

1. Preheat oven to 425 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk butter, oil, eggs, vanilla and milk.
4. Pour wet ingredients over dry mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.
5. Bake for 15 minutes, until muffins are golden and tops spring back when touched lightly.
6. Let muffins cool for 15 minutes, then use a cupcake corer or knife to cut a hole in the top of each. (Save the “cut outs” to make doughnut holes, if desired.)
7. Dip each muffin in melted butter, then sugar.
8. Fill each hole with jelly.
9. Dip cut-outs from muffins into leftover melted butter and sugar (optional).

Strawberry Lemonade Muffins With The Inspiration Baked Right In

This article was featured in Real Woman on December 3, 2014.

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Brrrr, it’s cold outside, baby. Warm up with the summery goodness of these tasty treats, which will heat you up from the inside out.

At about the 18-month mark, my first-born son, Michael seemed to have a non-verbal revelation that manifested like this:I’m no baby! Stop feeding me like one. (And by the way, Mom, I don’t need you. P.S. I hate baby spoons!) I was shocked (and shattered) when he pushed the baby food away for the first time.

Once I got over the initial rejection, I had my own kind of revelation: Get a grip, your little boy is growing up—you’ll have to adjust. With a knot in my stomach and banana mush in my hair, I couldn’t help but wonder what I was going to feed him.

As if that first declaration of independence wasn’t enough of a bombshell, one Tuesday morning, Michael woke up at 4:30 a.m. (with a huge grin). The next day, he did it again. I kept telling myself it was a phase, as I continued to scoop him out of his crib every day at that pre-dawn hour. I hate that time of day. Did I mention that I was already sleep deprived?

At the time, we were living in downtown Chicago in abnormally frigid temperatures. My husband drove our car to work every day, so my mode of transportation was the stroller. So, at 4:30 a.m., there we sat in our pajamas—Michael and I—trapped, in a pool of board books, foam letters, blocks, and maracas. There are only so many times you can read “Good Night Moon.”

And then I discovered something that worked. Baking muffins became our new game. We bonded. We shared. Michael delighted in watching the muffins grow, not to mention eating the finished product. And 4:30 a.m. became more fun for me, for my little alarm clock—for us.

Lesson learned. When given a lemon, make lemonade….or lemonade muffins.

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Strawberry Lemonade Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup whole milk
3 Tbsp lemon juice
Zest of 2 large lemons (about 2 Tbsp)
1 cup strawberries, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line it 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, vanilla, and milk.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir.
5. Fold in the lemon juice and lemon zest.
6. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
7. Sprinkle tops of muffins with chopped strawberries. Prod into batter.
8. Bake for 4 minutes at 400 (this helps muffins to rise), then turn oven down to 350 degrees and bake for another 16 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.
9. Allow muffins to cool in the muffin pan for 10 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.