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Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecans

October 3, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins | Espresso and Cream

After a little bit of a hiatus from sharing recipes on E&C, I’m finally back with something new and ultra tasty to share. Although I have a deep and long-standing love for all things pumpkin, I feel like apples really get overlooked during the fall months because of the popularity of pumpkin. Anyone else feel that way, too? It’s really a shame since apples are one of my favorite foods, and don’t even get me started with apple pie, crisp and cobbler. The best!

While I was at Influence Conference, I got a lot of questions about Espresso and Cream and what type of blog category it falls into. If you would have asked me a year or more ago, it would have been an easy answer: it’s a food blog! But over the past year or so, I’ve been shifting this little site into something that would probably be categorized more accurately as a “lifestyle” than anything else.

Regular readers have probably noticed this shift over the months. Perhaps some of you have liked it, while others have thought it’s been a shift from the original intent and purpose of the site. Since I spend every day at work developing recipes and food content, I’ve found that being able to talk about topics broader than the narrow focus of food has been necessary for me as a person and writer. Although I love food, thinking about it all day and then blogging all about food at night leaves me drained and less passionate than I really am. Having recipes in the mix of content for E&C instead of the sole focus has been incredibly refreshing and given me more excitement for blogging

So for those of you who have been wondering, I figured I would explain a bit about what type of content you will see on E&C going forward. Recipes will never disappear from the site, but my goal these days is to provide you with higher quality recipes (which means fewer recipes!) and more variety in my posts, sharing about life, fitness, pregnancy, family and faith. Thanks for continuing to follow along on this journey and my ever-evolving blog.

Now, back to the recipe at hand. These muffins are really easy to pull together and stay incredibly moist thanks to the chopped apple in the batter. I used a Granny Smith, but feel free to use whatever apple you like baking with best or have on hand! They aren’t ultra sweet, but just sweet enough to feel a little indulgent on a weekend morning. Joe likes them with plenty of melted butter, while I prefer my muffin with a thin spread of peanut butter. But that’s just me, and I’m probably a little strange that way.

Feel free to experiment with the type of nuts used in the recipe as well. I could see walnuts being a really natural fit as well! An added bonus? I’ve found they make a great mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack and are really great in lunches for hungry husbands (or kiddos!)

Apple Cinnamon Pecan Muffins (1) | Espresso and Cream

Apple Cinnamon Muffins with Pecans
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 medium apple, peeled and finely chopped
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  1. Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin cups with paper baking liners; set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat together the sugars and butter 2 to 3 minutes or until fluffy and well-combined. Add in the cinnamon, eggs and vanilla and beat until just combined.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add half the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and beat until just combined. Beat in the milk, followed by the remaining flour mixture. Stir in the chopped apple and pecans by hand until combined.
  4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin liners. Bake 20 to 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to wire cooling rack and cool completely, about 30 minutes.



10 Grain Banana Muffins

May 27, 2014

10 Grain Banana Muffins (3) | Espresso and Cream

Yesterday afternoon Joe and I returned from Kansas City where we spent the weekend with Joe’s brother, Jason and his wife, Ali. Since it’s a seven hour car ride for us to get there, we don’t see them nearly as often as we would like, so it felt like a treat to have a long weekend to spend with them. The guys got to golf and go to the driving range while Ali and I ate at a great vegan/vegetarian restaurant and did a little shopping. And I finally got that start-of-summer pedicure I’ve been talking about for the last month.

Before we left on our little road trip, I made a bunch of healthy snacks for the car ride. It’s a habit I’ve gotten into in order to save money on the road and prevent myself from getting hangry while we are traveling. Trust me, snack are always a good idea. And it’s even better when those snacks are healthy.

10 Grain Banana Muffins (2) | Espresso and Cream

These muffins are much lower in sugar than a traditional muffin, and I could easily see them being served alongside soup or roasted veggies when spread with a little butter and sprinkle with salt. However, my preference for these muffins is to serve them with sweeter toppings, such as almond butter or a drizzle of honey. In addition to being packed with bananas, they’re also made with 10-grain hot cereal, rolled oats and almond milk. They would make a great breakfast or a snack in lunches throughout the week!

10 Grain Banana Muffins
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Serves: 15
These 10-grain muffins are just slightly sweet and so good for you, too! I like to make a batch at the beginning of the week for snacks and quick breakfasts, especially slathered with peanut butter or almond butter for a boost of protein!
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 large egg
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • ⅓ cup oil (I used canola but for a more savory flavor, you could use light olive oil)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • 1½ cups uncooked 10-grain hot cereal (I tested with Bob's Red Mill brand)
  • 1¼ cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  1. Heat oven to 375°F. Spray 15 standard-sized muffin cups with cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the mashed bananas, egg, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined.
  3. Stir in the 10 grain cereal, followed by the almond milk.
  4. In a second bowl, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to 10 grain cereal mixture. Stir until just combined.
  5. Spoon about ¼ to ⅓ cup batter into the 15 prepared muffin cups. Bake 14 to 16 minutes or until muffins are golden brown and just baked through in the center. Cool 5 minutes in pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.
  6. Serve with almond butter, peanut butter, butter or jam, if desired.




Triple Chocolate Pumpkin-Chai Muffins

January 2, 2014


Happy New Year, friends! I think that in order to be accepted in the food blogger universe, I should really be sharing a recipe for salad, or a smoothie, or green juice. But since I can’t stick to the rules, I’m breaking with convention and sharing a recipe for muffins, with lots of chocolate and pumpkin and a little bit of chai.

You see, I got a little carried away with holiday recipe testing but got behind on posting some of the recipes I meant to share before the holidays were over. So instead of saving these recipes for Feburary (after you’ve all ditched your diets and gone back to regular modes of eating) I decided to share them now.


I will, of course, be sharing some recipes that are a little on the lighter side in the next couple weeks. But today is all about muffins. These little beauties are incredibly easy to make and have a ton of flavor thanks to the chai added into the mix. It’s a quick way to add a lot of flavor without much fuss. Enjoy!

Triple Chocolate Pumpkin Chai Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup chai concentrate
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350F. Line 12 regular-sized muffin cups with paper baking liners.

In large bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt until well combined. Make a well in the center of the flour and add the pumpkin, eggs, oil and chai concentrate. Stir until wet ingredients and dry ingredients are well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Spoon batter into muffin liners. Bake 22 to 24 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Happy Baking!


Almond Butter Bran Muffins with Blackberries

July 15, 2013


One of my favorite subjects to talk about on Espresso and Cream is breakfast. Probably because breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. No other meal really compares in my opinion, and although I typically eat the same breakfast (oatmeal, peanut butter, banana) I love mixing it up now and again. Since it’s been incredibly hot and looks like this week is going to be even warmer, I’ve been trading in my bowl of oats for colder breakfasts like yogurt with chia seeds and smoothies.

Last fall I shared with you one of my favorite muffin recipes, these Breakfast Bran Muffins. Today, I’m following up those muffins with another bran muffin recipe that’s equally delicious. It’s made with bran cereal, almond butter and stuffed with fresh blackberries. Blackberries were on sale at my grocery store this week, but you could easily substitute another berry like blueberries or raspberries if that suits your style better.

I’ve been crumbling these muffins atop a bowl of yogurt-chia pudding and it makes an incredibly tasty and filling breakfast. Each muffin contains around 200 calories, so it’s enough to satisfy without being overly indulgent. When I make a batch, I find that it works well to freeze half the muffins in zip top backs and keep them on hand for quick breakfasts or snacks. All you need to do is zap them in the microwave for a few seconds when you’re ready to eat!


Almond Butter Bran Muffins with Blackberries
Adapted from this recipe
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/3 cups almond milk or milk of your choice
1 cup bran cereal
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup almond butter
1 cup fresh blackberries

Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups. Set aside.

In large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon until well combined. In second smaller bowl, combine milk, cereal, egg and almond butter. Stir until smooth. If your almond butter is thicker, you may need to beat with an electric mixer to get it fully combined.

Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in blackberries until just combined. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake 16 to 18 minutes or until muffins are puffed up and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

Happy Baking!


Breakfast Bran Muffins

September 3, 2012

I hope you all had a wonderful Labor Day weekend! I can’t believe that summer has come and gone already. Where in the world did the time go? I feel, like everyone else, that I was just looking forward to summer and kicking things off with Memorial Day weekend, and now we’re getting all things fall underway. Is the rumor about Pumpkin Spice Lattes at Starbucks true, too? If so, I’m going to need the weather to cool down so I can get one in my hand asap.

Joe and I initially planned on heading to Chicago to visit his family for the weekend, but we promised ourselves that this fall we would not book ourselves silly every weekend. So in the name of relaxation and schedule management, we decided to opt for a little low-key time at home instead. Of course, we couldn’t sit still for long, so we did manage to play multiple games of tennis, run errands in Des Moines, squeeze in a couple great workouts and watch way too many hours of football on Saturday afternoon.

Also on my list was doing a little baking. It’s been a while since I really spent time in the kitchen baking for fun, and having a whole afternoon to play around in the kitchen felt like the ultimate luxury. A friend of mine and E&C reader, Rachel, passed along a couple recipes to me that she thought I would enjoy, and I’m seriously SO happy to have now discovered this amazing muffin recipe. Growing up, the bakery in our town delivered the best bran muffins to the local grocery store. For a while, I got addicted to eating a giant, gooey bran muffin for breakfast. Looking back, I’m sure the “oooey, gooey” part of those muffins made them rather unhealthy, but ever since then, I’ve had a thing for bran muffins.

It’s been years since I’ve had a bran muffin, and I can’t remember the last time I baked one at home, so when I got my hands on this recipe, I knew I had to fit it into the weekend baking lineup. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe and created two slightly different versions. The first version, Breakfast Bran Muffins with Carrots, uses half whole wheat flour and half all-purpose and vegetable oil and contains 2/3 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of grated carrots. The second version, Breakfast Bran Muffins with Banana, is slightly healthier and lower in calories. It uses 100% whole wheat flour, mashed banana, coconut oil, 1/3 cup brown sugar and a little bit of Stevia for added sweetness. The texture in both recipes is fantastic, and I couldn’t tell much of a difference between the muffin that uses all-purpose flour and the one that contains 100% whole wheat.

And my husband, the ultimate taste tester when it comes to the “Average Joe” set of taste buds? He loved them! In fact, he ate two the minute they came out of the oven and said he could easily eat more for breakfast or a snack as he works during the day. I made a few batches of each recipe and plan to store them in the freezer for breakfasts or snacks throughout the weeks to come.

Version #1: Breakfast Bran Muffins with Carrots
Adapted slightly from
*1 1/2 cups wheat bran
*1 1/4 cups buttermilk
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
*1 large egg
*2/3 cup brown sugar
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup finely grated carrots
*1/2 cup whole wheat flour
*1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper liners. Set aside.
*In a large bowl, combine the wheat bran and buttermilk. Let stand for a couple minutes. Add in the oil, egg, brown sugar, vanilla and carrots and stir until just combined. Stir in remaining ingredients until combined. Spoon batter into the greased muffin cups. This should make 12 muffins and cups should be filled about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 14 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Nutritional Information (per 1 muffin): 168 cal., 7 g fat, 16 mg chol., 41 mg sodium, 30 g carb., 4 g fiber, 4 g protein.

Version #2: Banana Bran Muffins
*1 1/2 cups wheat bran
*1 1/4 cups buttermilk
*1/3 cup coconut oil
*1 large egg
*1/3 cup brown sugar
*2 packets Stevia
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1 large ripe banana, mashed
*1 cup whole wheat flour
*1 teaspoon baking soda
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon salt

*Same as above.

Nutritional Information (per 1 muffin): 151 cal., 7 g fat, 16 mg chol., 36 mg sodium, 236 mg potassium, 23 g carb., 5 g fiber, 4 g protein

Happy Baking!

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