Coconut Muffins

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luscious and decadent, and not too sweet

My kids could not figure out the curly “things” on top.

Cheese? No…coconut.

In America, we do not see coconuts often, but hands down, the flavor is mouth-watering, especially in these muffins that are full of applesauce, coconut milk, and shredded coconut. The moist, home-baked goods practically call your name by filling your house with amazing aromas.

The coconut flavor is not overwhelming. For a stronger taste, substitute coconut extract for the vanilla. For a sweeter muffin, increase the amount of sugar in the recipe.

The tops round out nicely, in golden brown. The coconut flakes form toasty edges on top. Call these “muffins” if you like, but these are like CAKE.

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Coconut Muffins (makes 12)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 14 oz. can unsweetened coconut milk (a generous 1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup shredded coconut (plus 1/4 cup to sprinkle on tops)

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a separate bowl (or a liquid measuring cup), combine coconut milk, applesauce, and vanilla.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients, and stir just to combine. Fold in the shredded coconut.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle additional shredded coconut on top.
6. Bake for 15 minutes and allow to cool before removing muffins from tin.

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.

Strawberry Lemonade Muffins

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These bright yellow, hot pink speckled, Strawberry Lemonade Muffins are candy for the eyes. They don’t spill! And they contain some protein from the eggs and milk.

The color of these muffins is a natural yellow, so brilliant that it will bring smiles and brighten your day. The flavor is buttery lemon with moist strawberry topping, which makes them as refreshing as the original strawberry lemonade beverage. Not the time to teach your children to share! Simply enjoy.

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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 extract
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.

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Caramel Apple Muffins

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These muffins are great not only for Halloween but also for using fruit in a dessert. The warm caramel is gooey and, combined with cinnamon and apples, delicious.

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Caramel Apple Muffins (makes 12)

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups sugar
2 1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup applesauce
3/4 cup caramel candy squares, diced (about 12)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt.
3. In another bowl, combine egg and milk. Stir in butter and vanilla extract.
4. Add flour mixture to wet mixture and stir just to blend.
5. Stir in applesauce and caramels.
6. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
7. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops spring back when lightly pressed. Serve warm.

 

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.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

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A peanut buttery muffin with creamy, jelly-filled center trumps the PB & J sandwich any day. Its peanut butter isn’t sticky and its jelly doesn’t ooze all over the place. Plus, what child wouldn’t be pleasantly surprised to see frosting-like jelly inside.

The “frosting” actually contains some protein (cream cheese), which complements the amino acids in the peanut butter…shhh, don’t tell!

These muffins are quick and easy to prepare, requiring two mixing bowls and a whisk. They are fluffy, moist, soft and light. Perfect for breakfast, brunch, or snacks.

*Possible Substitutions:

  • For the milk, substitute unsweetened vanilla almond milk or soy, cow, rice, goat, or coconut milk.
  • For the jelly, use strawberry jelly, jam, or preserves (or raspberry, apricot, raspberry, grape or cherry).
  • For the peanut butter, use soy nut butter.

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Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins (makes 18)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup milk
1/2 heaping cup creamy peanut butter
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup jelly, jam or preserves
½ cup whipped cream cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk egg, buttermilk, milk, peanut butter, oil and vanilla extract.
4. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 1/4 full.
6. In a separate mixing bowl, whisk cream cheese and jelly.
7. Spoon 1 tsp jelly filling onto each muffin cup. Top with batter to ¾ full.
8. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until tops are golden.

 

Grandma’s Pumpkin Muffins

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Just the smell of my grandmother’s pumpkin cake recipe brings memories of Autumn that make me think about apple orchards, the first day of school, and carving Jack-O’-Lanterns. I have turned her cake into nutritious muffins by adding a mix of golden and dark raisins and chopped nuts. If you bake these for Halloween, you might want to omit the nuts and raisins for young children. The recipe makes a great cake in a 10-inch Turk pan.

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Grandma’s Pumpkin Muffins (makes 30)

2 cups sugar
1 1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 can pumpkin puree (16 oz)
5 eggs
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
1 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup dark raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together sugar, oil, and pumpkin.
3. Add eggs 1 at a time and whisk well after each.
4. In a separate mixing bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in the mixture.
5. Pour pumpkin mixture into flour mixture. Mix until just blended.
6. Wash and dry raisins and then sprinkle with flour and then shake in sieve to remove excess flour.
7. Stir in raisins and nuts.
8. Bake for 25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

 

Apples & Honey Muffins

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Inspired by a Rosh Hashana playdate, these muffins are quite the comfort food and perfect for welcoming the Jewish new year. Made with crunchy rolled oats and honey, they are heavenly for the holy days. The combination of orange juice, applesauce, and cinnamon intensifies the flavor and makes these treats a perfect Rosh Hashana house gift.

This simple, delicious recipe is perfect for Rosh Hashana or just because. Start your own tradition by serving your next batch alongside sliced apples and honey. These muffins will definitely become a family favorite.

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Apples & Honey Muffins (makes 12)

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup rolled oats (or oatmeal)
l Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup applesauce
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, mix together flour, rolled oats, baking powder and cinnamon. Make a well in the center.
3. In a small bowl, mix together applesauce, orange juice, honey, oil and egg.
4. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients and stir just to moisten.
5. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
6. Bake for 22 minutes.

24 Karat Muffins

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Yes it’s true, a 24 karat muffin counts as a serving of vegetables! I grew up eating carrot cake at my Grandma and Zayda’s. This recipe is a family heirloom now transformed into muffins. Loaded with tasty ingredients like pineapple, golden raisins, and walnuts, the combination of carrot and pineapple is wonderfully fresh. Thanks to this recipe, my son has discovered a love of golden raisins.

These muffins are so moist and delicious, you don’t need icing!

*Note: Omit walnuts and raisins for young children. To make a full-size cake, bake for 50 minutes.

24 Karat Muffins (makes 24)

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
3 (4 oz.) jars of carrot baby food
3/4 cup canola oil (or saflower or peanut oil)
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup white raisins
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 small can (8 oz) crushed pineapple (1 Cup)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin pans with cooking spray or line with paper liners.
2. In a mixing bowl, mix eggs and sugar for 3 minutes. Add carrot baby food and oil.
3. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon.
4. Add flour mixture to egg mixture (reserve a tablespoon to mix with raisins or nuts)
5. In a separate bowl, dredge walnuts and raisins in flour mixture.
6. In a separate bowl, mix vanilla and pineapple.
7. Add everything together, mixing walnuts and raisins in last.
8. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan, filling each muffin cup about 2/3 full.
9. Bake for 20 minutes.