Brownie Muffins

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So chocolatey your head might explode, these fudgy brownie muffins are like individual pieces of heaven. Chewy, squishy, and decadent, they aren’t as dense as brownies, but they are so rich and creamy that they practically melt in your mouth. And, the glossy, wafer-thin top crust is just as delicious as the fudgy layer underneath.

However horrible or amazing your day, these brownie muffins will make it better.

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Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1-1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt

1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray muffin pan with nonstick spray.
2. In a large mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave in 30 second increments, stirring after each until completely smooth and combined. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
3. To the chocolate/butter mixture, stir in sugar, then vanilla.
4. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg.
5. Mix in the flour and salt.
6. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly into 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20-23 minutes until a knife inserted in the center will have moist crumbs. (Be careful not to over-bake.)
7. Allow muffins to cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire cooling rack. Or, cool in refrigerator for 30 minutes before transferring to a serving platter.

*These muffins are best served cold.

Funfetti Muffins

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This recipe is for sprinkle lovers – young, old, and in between. As my six year-old puts it: “Sprinkles are just fun.” He’s right.

Bake this recipe from scratch, and you will never use a commercial cake mix again!

The batter is buttery and rich with vanilla flavor. The crumb is incredibly moist. The ingredients in this simple recipe, you might likely find in any kitchen.

The muffins stay moist (and get even moister after a few days) because the butter and yogurt do a fabulous job keeping the cake together.

Each tender bite of this childhood favorite is loaded with sprinkles, colorful and bright. You could easily use sprinkles to match wedding colors or a birthday theme.

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Funfetti Muffins (makes 12)

1 and 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
1/4 cup yogurt  (plain or vanilla; or greek yogurt; or sour cream)
3/4 cup milk (cow’s milk; or soy milk; or almond milk)
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup sprinkles (not nonpareils)**

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
2. Spray muffin pan generously with nonstick spray. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
4. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Whisk in the sugars vigorously getting out any brown sugar lumps – mixture will be gritty. Whisk in egg, yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract until combined. Slowly mix in dry ingredients until no lumps remain.
5. Slowly stir in sprinkles, but do not over-mix because the sprinkles will bleed their color into the batter.
6. With an ice cream scoop, distribute batter into prepared muffin cups.
7. Bake for 25 minutes.
8. Remove muffins and cool completely on a wire cooling rack.*

*Muffins stay fresh covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

**Instead of the sugar-laden sprinkles that you find at the supermarket, you can make all-natural rainbow sprinkles from shredded coconut and all-natural food dyes made from spinach, beetroot, and other vibrant veggies.

 

Mint-Filled Brownie Muffins

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This fudgy muffin hides a bright minty surprise. One bite into the warm chocolate reveals the chilly taste of cool, creamy mint.

This quick and easy recipe requires the use of only one bowl, and you may already have the ingredients in your kitchen pantry.

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Mint-Filled Brownie Muffins (makes 12)

1 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
½ cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
¾ tsp salt
3 eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
12 (1 ½-inch) chocolate-covered peppermint patties

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Put chocolate chips and butter in a heatproof medium mixing bowl and microwave, just until melted, in 30 second intervals.
3. Whisk in sugar and salt until mixture is smooth.
4. Whisk in eggs.
5. Gently whisk in flour and cocoa until smooth (do not overmix).
6. Fill each muffin cup with batter to ¼ full. Place one peppermint patty on top of each muffin and gently press it into batter. Distribute the remaining batter on top of each muffin cup.
7. Bake for 30-33 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
8. Transfer muffin pan to a cooling wire rack to cool completely before removing muffins.

*Notes:
Muffins can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers.

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.

 

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.

 

Peanut Butter Blondie Muffins

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Instead of eating peanut butter from the jar with a spoon, satisfy your craving with this recipe. These muffins are rich and fudgy with a hint of peanut butter cookie.

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Peanut Butter Blondie Muffins (makes 12)

½ cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, combine melted butter and brown sugar. Mix thoroughly. Add in the egg and vanilla extract.
3. Mix in the peanut butter and combine thoroughly.
4. Add salt and flour.
5. Use an ice cream scoop to distribute batter to each muffin cup.
6. Spread batter evenly with the back of a spoon (optional).
7. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
8. Allow muffins to cool completely before removing to a wire cooling rack.

Valentine S’more Muffins

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If you’re a Valentine’s Day hater, let me apologize now. Today, I’m going to perpetuate the hype and share s’more.

These s’more muffins are pretty in pink and just as delicious as they look.

S’mores (the Girl Scout concoction of roasted marshmallow with melted chocolate sandwiched between two pieces of graham crackers) is one part of camping you can re-create in your kitchen without the packing, unpacking, and mosquitos!

Still gooey, these are less messy and more contained than the classic sticky sandwich.

These muffins are the next best thing if you cannot make them by the campfire, in pink, for Valentine’s Day.

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Valentine S’more Muffins (makes 12)

1 ½ cups graham crackers, finely crushed (12 full sheets or 24 square crackers)
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup and 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 (4.4 oz) extra large milk chocolate bar, broken into rectangles (or 12 miniature milk chocolate bars)
12 large pink marshmallows (or heart shaped)

Topping:
1 (4.4 oz) extra large milk chocolate bar, broken into rectangles
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
2. In a medium-size mixing bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, powdered sugar and butter.
3. Evenly divide crumb mixture into each cup of a 12-cup muffin pan. Use your finger to press an indent into the center of each muffin cup.
4. Bake 7-10 minutes or until edges are bubbling. Pull out and immediately place one mini chocolate bar on each cup.
5. Place one marshmallow vertically in the center of each muffin and push it into the melted chocolate/graham cracker crust.
6. Return muffin pan to oven for 1-2 minutes or until marshmallows are slightly softened.
7. Place muffin pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before carefully removing cups from pan. After 5 minutes, gently press marshmallows to flatten them slightly.
8. Transfer muffins to cool completely on wire rack.
9. To prepare topping: place milk chocolate in a small bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute-1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring every 30 seconds.
10. Dip the top of each marshmallow into the melted chocolate. Turn top-side up and let stand until set.

*Notes:
Store the cups in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
Freezing is not recommended.

If You Give Your Love a Muffin

This article was featured in Real Woman on February 12, 2015.

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The idea of Valentine’s Day makes me blanch. We all love love, but some of us are perplexed by the popularity of a national holiday that leaves singles bitter, promotes the exchange of tacky gifts, and encourages children to trade “statements of love.” I, for one, resent the pressure on couples, young and old, to indulge in prix fixe meals that they would not otherwise stomach.

I feel so strongly about it that when my older son was 3, I took a stand. His preschool teachers told parents to pack a dozen personalized valentines to give out on the Day of Love. Like most 3-year-olds, my child could not yet write his name, so the task was clearly intended for the parents to transliterate scribbles on cards.

I did not enjoy the homework assignment, nor did I appreciate the expectation placed on my preschooler to send so-called-love-notes to children who could not yet read.

So I complained.

The director of the preschool rescinded the “assignment,” and the mothers went wild with disapproval. The Chicago moms had no clue that I was the culprit (until now).

Regardless of that year’s freedom from insincere Hallmark greetings, I’m still baffled by how second nature it is for today’s youth to swap cheesy Sponge Bob and Spider-Man valentines and for grown men to scurry off to grab the remnants of red roses at the grocery store. I do wonder what I’m missing.

But since it feels cynical to shut out the best thing we humans do on Earth (love), I share this recipe, for Valentine’s Day, straight from my heart.

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Cream Cheese Chocolate Muffins (makes 18)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup water
1/3 cup canola oil
1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Filling
1 cup (8oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups chocolate chips (or 1 cup chocolate chips and 1 cup peanut butter chips)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups with cooking spray, or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add water, oil, vinegar, and vanilla. Mix well.
3. For the filling: In a separate mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, sugar, egg, salt, and chocolate chips. Mix well.
4. Use an ice cream scoop to spoon batter into muffin cups until half full.
5. Top each muffin cup with 2 Tbsp of filling.
6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
7. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to place on a wire cooling rack.

* Pair these muffins with a bottle of wine for a true Valentine’s Day

 

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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.