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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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).

 

 

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.

 

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.