Browsing Tag


Carrot Spice Muffins

February 17, 2011

Every morning starts off pretty much the exact same in my apartment.

5:30 – Alarm goes off
5:45 – I am making breakfast with coffee in hand
6:00 – I’m seated on my couch, eating breakfast and catching up on my favorite blogs

I catch up on the lives of my blog ‘friends’, get updates about family (my future sister in law just started a blog!) and drool over amazing recipes shared by talented chefs and home cooks. But rarely do I ever bake something from said blogs. It’s not that I don’t dream of cooking from other sites, it’s just that with limited time and resources, I try to save my ‘recipe cooking’ for things I plan to share on Espresso and Cream.

But on Monday I stumbled upon a recipe I knew I needed to bake. Natalie, over at The Sweets Life, posted a recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins from Dorie Greenspan’s book Baking from My Home to Yours. I don’t frequently eat muffins because I have a sneaking suspicion that many muffins are actually more nutritionally akin to cupcakes.

This recipe, on the other hand, was something I could get behind. Something I could make my own and enjoy for breakfast without guilt. To fit my needs, I cut back the sugar by 1/3 cup; my grandma, who is a wonderful baker, has a theory you can cut the sugar dramatically in most recipes without consequence because we are been accustomed to overly sweet food. Additionally, I made these little cakes with 100% whole wheat flour because white flour and I don’t socialize on a daily basis. I added kosher salt for a kick of flavor and made a few other minor alterations.

Surprisingly. considering they were completely whole wheat, they were pleasantly light. And for me, the sweetness level was spot on. Though if you like your muffins a tad sweeter, go ahead and add 1/3 cup of brown sugar to the mix.

Thanks, Natalie, (and Dorie!) for sharing this recipe!

Also, a few house-keeping notes. In addition to a the new header I designed while I was home sick last week, I also created an all new Recipe Page that has some of my favorite recipes listed for easy access. I’ve also updated my About Me, FAQ, and Press pages!

Carrot Spice Muffins
Adapted from The Sweets Life and Dorie Greenspan

*2 cups whole wheat flour
*1 tablespoon baking powder
*1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*1/2 cup sugar
*1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
*1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
*1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup milk
*2/3 cup oil
*1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*1/2 cup golden raisins
*1 cup finely grated carrots

*Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease or line 18 muffin cups. Set aside.
*In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger. In a second bowl, combine the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, stirring until just combined. Gently stir in the golden raisins and carrots. Do not over mix.
*Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until lightly golden. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. Serve with butter.

Happy Baking!


Pear-Almond Butter Muffins with Spiced Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’

October 1, 2010

I’m not entirely sure why, but lately change has seemed to be on the agenda. There’s a new mirror in my living room, new breakfasts at my table and last night I cut four inches off my hair on a whim. Like a breath of fresh air, this change feels good. Speaking of breakfast, I’ve been having so much fun rediscovering how exciting, varied and delicious the first meal of the day can be.

This week my breakfast of choice has moved on from last week’s banana bread to this week’s pear muffins. In part because they are healthy and contain whole grains, fruit and protein. Who am I kidding? I think what really drew me in was the feeling I get when eating them — like I’m eating dessert for breakfast. They seriously look like cupcakes, don’t they?

Incorporating pears into a bread typically reserved for bananas or zucchini was a natural choice, since pears are my absolute favorite fruit. That, and the fact that I had two pears sitting on my counter top when the urge to bake hit last night. Necessity truly is the mother of all invention, folks. And because my passion for nut butters is still burning strong, I incorporated a little almond butter into the batter. Pears, almond butter, cinnamon and allspice? I’m pretty sure no further explanation is necessary.

Pear Muffins with Spiced Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’
(Printable Recipe)

Hold off on ‘frosting’ these muffins with the Greek yogurt topper until just before eating, since the Greek yogurt needs to be refrigerated. If you’re looking for a little extra something, topping these muffins with an extra dollop of almond butter is always a good idea.

*5 Tbsp. butter, softened
*1/3 cup almond butter or natural peanut butter
*1/3 cup Greek yogurt (I used 2% Fage)
*2 large eggs
*3/4 cup brown sugar
*1 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour

*1/4 cup ground flax seed
*3/4 tsp. baking soda
*1/2 tsp. salt
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. allspice
*2 medium crisp pears, grated (on a box grater)

Greek Yogurt ‘Frosting’
*3/4 cup Greek yogurt (2% Fage)
*2 tsp. Stevia, Splenda or granulated sugar
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 18 muffin cups with paper liners. Lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
*With an electric mixer, beat butter, almond butter and Greek yogurt with an electric mixer until creamy. Add in eggs, one at a time, and beat until just combined, followed by the brown sugar.
*In a medium bowl, combine the flour, flax seed, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture and beat until just combined.
*Stir in the grated pears by hand until evenly combined. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*Remove from oven and cool completely. Meanwhile, stir together the Greek yogurt, Stevia and ground cinnamon. Spoon the mixture atop cooled muffins. 

Happy Baking!


Triple Berry Pound Cake Muffins

June 7, 2010
Camping mission accomplished!
More often than not I judge the success of my day, or in this case weekend, by my level of productivity. As far as productivity goes, this weekend was a major success. Not only did I experience camping for the first time, but we also managed to secure an apartment for J. to live in when he starts his job next month. That may not seem like much of an accomplishment, but if you saw some of the apartments we looked at you would probably agree we accomplished quite a bit.

Street view of the apartment
 And the happy apartment hunters! 
Oh, and we ate. A lot. I had no idea camping is as much serious eating as it is outdoor recreation. Along with this salad I also brought along a few sweeter treats, including these muffins. Sure, they are a little more pound cake than muffin, but who’s really counting?
Truthfully, I whipped up these little beauties a couple hours before leaving for the weekend. Since my kitchen was stocked with basics but running low on fun mix-ins, I threw in a cup of frozen mixed berries since they can almost always be found in my freezer. And while I imagined they would satisfy hungry campers for breakfast, I had no idea they would be such a hit! Gone within the first 48 hours of our little camping adventure, the biggest complaint was that there weren’t enough to last the entire trip.
Triple Berry Pound Cake Muffins 
*1 cup butter, softened 
*2 1/3 cups sugar 
*3 large eggs 
*3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1/2 cup milk
*1 tsp. almond extract
*1 cup frozen mixed berries (keep frozen, no need to thaw – fresh berries may be substituted if desired)
*1 cup powdered sugar 
*1/4 cup milk
*Preheat oven to 325*F. 
*Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium high speed for 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar. Beat 3 minutes more. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until just combined and yellow disappears. 
*Combine flour and salt in a large bowl. Add flour to butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Stir in almond extract. Gently beat in the frozen mixed berries by hand.
*Spoon batter into muffin/cupcake pan lined with paper muffin liners, filling about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on wire rack.
*Stir together the powdered sugar and 1/4 cup milk. Drizzle over muffins while muffins are still warm. 
Happy Baking!

Double Chocolate Muffins

March 28, 2010

Weekends are near the top of my list of favorite things, and while there may not be a hard and fast formula for a great weekend, I’ve found that if you combine at least two of the following, you are guaranteed to have a fabulous two days:

*Beautiful weather
*Loved ones
*Baking a new recipe
*Good food
*Lots of coffee

I was lucky enough to have a weekend that included all of the above. And while I would hardly be able to justify baking chocolate muffins for breakfast on my own, J.’s visit and some extra time on a Sunday morning was enough to inspire trying out a new recipe. I’ve had The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook on my book shelf for almost six months now, but thus far the closest I’ve gotten to using it has been looking at the pretty pictures.

I’m a little bit sad I didn’t start baking from it earlier because these Double Chocolate Muffins were to die for. Serious chocolate goodness for my boyfriend who loves chocolate just as much as any girl I know. And the best part was that I could mix it all together in one bowl, with a whisk and nothing else. The only question I have now is what is the difference between a muffin and a cupcake? After eating these, I’m all sorts of confused….

Double Chocolate Muffins
Adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook
*1 egg
*1/2 cup sugar
*3 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
*1/2 cup all-purpose flour
*1/8 tsp. salt
*1 tsp. baking powder
*1/3 cup milk
*5 Tbsp. butter, melted
*3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

*Preheat oven to 350*F. Line a mini-muffin tin or regular muffin tin with liners, or grease the tin with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
*In a medium mixing bowl, beat together egg and sugar. Beat in the cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder until well combined. Beat in the milk, followed by the melted butter until just combined, followed by the chocolate chips.
*Spoon the batter into the baking tins, filling each 2/3 of the way full. Bake 12 minutes for mini-muffins or 28-30 minutes for regular-sized muffins. Cool on wire racks.

Happy Baking!


Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

March 17, 2010

Last night, one of my oldest and dearest friends (yeah, I know I’m only 22 so how ‘old’ can this friend really be, but just play along) gave me a call to catch up. Like me, he recently graduated from college and is adjusting to life in the real world, which includes feeding himself.

I’m not entirely sure how the topic of eating habits came up, but after our conversation I’m pretty sure he wishes it hadn’t. Because after telling me he eats up to 10 fast-food meals a week, starts every morning off with a Pop Tart, and gets on average one fruit or vegetable a day, I went on to spend the next 20 minutes telling him how he is going to die prematurely or live the rest of his life dependent on prescription medications. Yup, I can be a charmer on the telephone. I promise, it was all said out of love.

But what our conversation really did was get me thinking – about food, nutrition, and taking small steps in the right direction. Maybe it’s not about being perfectly healthy, just a bit healthier than the day before. So while my plan was to make these muffins with 100% whole wheat flour, I reconsidered and tried to create a breakfast muffin that would be healthier than a Pop Tart but would satisfy those, like my friend, who are reluctant and skeptical.

Many times whole wheat flour gives baked goods a denser, heavier texture. So to mimic the texture of a muffin made with 100% all-purpose flour while adding in a fiber-rich dose of whole grains I settled on a combination of 50/50 all-purpose flour and instant oats. I found the combination to be the compromise I was hoping for. Instant oats, which are ground finer than regular rolled oats, don’t weigh down the texture of the muffins like whole wheat flour might and instead yield a light, airy texture. The other great part of this recipe is its adaptability. Feel free to play around by substituting a cup of canned pumpkin, cooked and mashed sweet potato, or grated zucchini for the mashed bananas.

Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins
Loosely adapted from “Whole Wheat Muffins” by The New York Times
*1/2 cup butter, melted
*2 medium bananas, mashed
*1 egg
*1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
*1 tsp. ground cinnamon
*1/4 tsp. baking soda
*2 tsp. baking powder
*1/4 tsp. salt
*1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
*1 1/4 cup instant oats
*3/4 cup sugar
*2 Tbsp. brown sugar
*1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

*Preheat oven to 375*F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with liners and set aside.
*In a bowl with a fork or whisk, mix together butter, bananas, egg, milk, cinnamon, baking soda, powder, and salt until well combined.
*In another bowl, mix together flour, oats, and sugar. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and mix together until just combined, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.
*Evenly divide batter among the 12 muffin cups. Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the 12 muffins. Bake for 18-20 minutes until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Happy (healthy) Baking!