Avocado Brownie Muffins

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Whether life’s simple pleasures include avocado is up for debate, but fudge and brownies are first on the list, and this muffin combines both while concealing the debatable fruit.

Dark chocolate and fudgy mousse come together with avocado in this incredibly decadent muffin that tastes like a brownie. In addition to being velvety smooth, this recipe just so happens to be grain-free and dairy-free.

The pureed avocado adds a creamy texture without influencing the taste.

If you ever make a muffin, this is the one to make.

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Avocado Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

2 large ripe avocado, mashed (about 2 cups) 
2 eggs 
2 tsp vanilla 
1 Tbsp water 
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (equivalent to 1/2 cup melted chocolate)
1 cup + 1 Tbsp cocoa powder 
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda 
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat your oven to 355°F.
2. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
3. In a food processor or blender, puree avocado with eggs, vanilla and water until smooth.
4. In a microwave safe bowl or glass measuring cup, melt chocolate in 30 second increments until smooth.
5. Add melted chocolate to avocado mixture and mix through.
6. Add cocoa, sugar, baking soda and salt and mix until just combined.
7. If mixture is too thick, add 1 tablespoon of water and combine.
8. With an ice cream scoop, spoon mixture into muffin pan. Smooth out tops (optional).
9. Bake for 20-23 minutes or until an inserted knife comes out clean.
10. Allow muffins to cool for 4 minutes before removing them from the pan. Chill in the fridge.

*Notes:
These will last in the refrigerator for a few days (and are even better after a day or two). They keep in the freezer for months.

 

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Orange Creamsicle Muffins

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“What on earth is that?” 5-year-old Michael asked. I’m sorry, Michael, for not exposing you sooner. But here it is in muffin form, a childhood classic.

These muffins are dense like fudge but as light and refreshing as a cold glass of orange juice. The orange flavors of orange juice and zest with creamy white chocolate chips makes a delicious combination.

Serve for breakfast, snack, or dessert and remember how sweet it is to be a kid.

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Orange Creamsicle Muffins (makes 12)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar, mixed with 1 tbsp orange zest
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 egg
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 cup white chocolate chips

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/orange zest mixture, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together orange juice, heavy cream, egg, and oil.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry mix. Stir until just combined. Fold in white chocolate chips.
5. With an ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
7. Let cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling wire 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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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.

Berry Vanilla Muffins

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Celebrate Election Day or the Fourth of July with the colors of the American flag.

Full of fresh blueberries and raspberries with a hint of creamy vanilla, these muffins are moist and refreshing for a patriotic picnic.

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Berry 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 cup blueberries
1 cup raspberries, chopped

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. Fold in blueberries and raspberries.
6. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
8. Allow muffins to cool in pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack.

 

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.

 

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.