Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

I know I have said this before, but food has magical powers – that is until there is a force that breaks those powers.  I haven’t seen it happen very often, but it does.  Why is it so important when you go to a all day meeting that there is good food to eat?  That’s because often, it puts you in a better mood.  You come back from lunch refreshed and ready to tackle anything – only then to look forward to snack time.

Normally my meetings have nothing to do with food – which is why it is such a treat every year to attend the Food Blogger’s conference.  Not only do you talk about food, listen to other people lecture about food – there is food EVERYWHERE.  It is quite something.  This year things were just a little different though.  The conference started on a Friday night – with a wonderful reception and the gift suite.  I brought home lots of great stuff to share with the family – snacks and treats galore – but I wasn’t staying at the hotel.  The next day they started us out with breakfast sponsored by Noosa Yoghurt.  Now, if you haven’t had Noosa Yoghurt yet, you are truly missing out.  I have been eating it for months now, and it is leaps and bounds better than any yoghurt I have ever had in the United States – it is closer to the wonderful yoghurt I can find in Europe.  So, needless to say, I was in my glory.  They had tons of toppings out for us so I went to town – and that pumpkin yogurt was just like eating pumpkin pie filling.  I was ready to sit and listen to people talk about food for hours.

After a few hours of that, I was actually hungry again – and I forgot to bring the snacks with me from the night before.  I was with hundreds of foodies – was I the only one that was hungry?  There was 4 hours in between breakfast and lunch, and I hate to say it, but that is just too long for me to wait.  I eat every couple of hours.  It is the only way for me to stay sane during the day.  Well, fortunately I ran out and bought myself a snack to keep me going, but I was definitely surprised by the whole thing.  I have to admit, that was the only part of the weekend that I was hungry in the least bit.  The rest of the weekend they kept the food coming.  Let me remind you how hard it is to watch a food demo when you are hungry…

That brings me back to these muffins.  My daughter loves muffins in the morning because they are quick and easy.  I have a different rational.  I can eat a couple of hard boiled eggs for my first breakfast, then have a muffin for my mid-morning snack.  Boy is life good when that happens.  Magic.  Fortunately for me, my daughter’s did not like these muffins from Cooking Light – but my husband and I LOVED them – they were mildly sweet with a touch of bacon on top.  OMG.  And I used margarine instead of butter, so they were dairy-free.  Now, if only I could just snap my hands and make those muffins appear…now that would be magic.

Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 applewood-smoked bacon slices
  • 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Muffin:

  • 7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Guinness Stout or other stout beer
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack on the baking sheet.

To prepare streusel, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons water, and pepper in a small bowl. Spread mixture evenly over both sides of bacon. Place coated bacon on rack; bake for 18 minutes or until done. Cool; finely chop.

Combine oats and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped bacon; reserve remaining bacon. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

To prepare muffins, weigh or lightly spoon 7.9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 7.9 ounces flour, remaining bacon, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well. Combine beer, oil, vanilla, and egg in another bowl, gently stirring with a whisk. Add beer mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Evenly divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.

Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of muffins comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan; serve warm, or cool completely on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

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Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Bluberry Muffins 1

I cannot believe that summer is almost over, and I feel like I have hardly had time to smell the roses.  Between visitors, swim meets, and a ridiculous amount of work – it’s no wonder.  The girls on the other hand have had quite a different experience, they have had the summer of their life.  Enjoying every day of summer that they can.  So – today’s post is from my daughter – she decided to help me out…I am still smiling.

We spend most of our summer at the pool, one day when we were walking down, we saw that the pool was closed and wouldn’t be open until later in the afternoon. So we started trudging home having no idea what we were going to do. We got home and looked in the fridge and remembered that we had these giant blueberries that we got from the farmers market. We called to our mom and asked her if we could bake something and we both had the same idea of what to bake- blueberry muffins. We got this recipe from the Kitchen for Kids cookbook. The recipe called for milk but we substituted that for coconut milk that way our dad could have some. These muffins are light, airy, and almost cake like. We also added a pinch more cinnamon because who doesn’t love more cinnamon. I love these muffins because they are super easy and tasty. I hope you like these as much as I do!

So there you have it – if a 12 and 8 year old could make these all by themselves (no help AT ALL from mom, not even clean up!), there is no excuse for you.  Thanks to my wonderful daughters for helping with the blog, and providing us a lovely breakfast this morning – I got to have my cake, and eat it too (for breakfast!)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 9 muffin tins, or use papers.

Mix the flour, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Set aside.

In a small bowl or cup, mix the 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar and cinnamon.  Set Aside.

In another bowl, use a whisk to stir the egg, coconut milk, oil and lemon juice until smooth.  Switch to a baking spatula and scrape into the flour mixture.  Stir to form a stiff batter.  Don’t over-mix.  Stir in the blueberries.  (Be especially careful not to over-mix frozen blueberries because the juice will make the batter green.)

Green a teaspoon to scoop the stiff batter into 9 muffin tins (or use an ice cream scoop) to about half-full.  Use a clean teaspoon to sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top.

Bake about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are puffed and golden.  Cool slightly.  Eat while warm.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Dairy Free Blueberry Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar

Fruit-Filled Scuffins

Scuffins

I am not even sure what this are called, but I love taking two baked goods and combining them.  Not that I have done it often, but I am dying to create my own.  Ever since I posted these, I have been racking my brain for what other fusions I could make.  For some reason I have been in this complete brain lock.  I can’t think of anything!  I know when I least expect it, something will come to me. I would like to know how someone thought of the cronut — just brilliant.  Come on, who wouldn’t love a croissant that ran into a donut.

So needless to say, I was super excited when my good friend emailed me about the Scuffins that she found in the New York Times.  For some reason I keep wanting to call them Scruffins, but they are a combination of scones and muffins – so there you have it. These sounded amazing, but seriously, these were really made for me.  As I stood in the pantry trying to decide which type of jam I would use, I suddenly felt like this is what I had been waiting for.  I ended up using some Damson Plum Jam and Strawberry Vanilla Jam.  Both excellent choices.

They came out wonderfully – they were slightly heavier than muffins, though slightly lighter than scones.  My daughter was super excited about having breakfast treats, and rationed them out.  She warmed them up for a few seconds in the microwave each morning, and she said they were great.  So, there goes another one – there must be more – what about a cookcake? A cookie meets a cupcake?  Or maybe it should be called a cakie?

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons for buttering muffin cups
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or wheat germ (1 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown or raw sugar (2 ounces), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fruit jam, conserves, preserves or fruit butter (do not use jelly or marmalade)

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave or over very gentle heat. Using a pastry brush, butter the cups of a standard-size (3 1/2-ounce-capacity) 12-cup muffin tin. Let each coat of butter cool, then apply another coat; continue until the 2 tablespoons are all used.

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter, add to dry ingredients and mix with a fork until just combined.
In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk and cream. Add to dry ingredients and mix to combine (the dough will be quite sticky).

Reserving about a quarter of the dough for topping, scoop 2 tablespoons dough into each cup. Using the back of a spoon, press dough gently down into the cups. The dough will move up the sides, and there should be a shallow well in each dough cup. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the top; there should be about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the dough and the rim of the cup.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon jam into each well. Using your fingers, pinch remaining dough into small clumps and scatter evenly over the jam in each cup, making a bumpy topping. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned. Let cool in the pan on a rack; run a blade around the sides of each scuffin before turning out.
Yield 12 scuffins

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Fruit-Filled Scuffins

Triple-Chocolate Muffins

Triple-Chocolate Muffins

Am I a bad Mom because I let my kids eat chocolate for breakfast?  That thought definitely crossed my mind as I was making these muffins this weekend.  My older daughter has been on a muffin kick for a while now, it started with her braces, and has just continued because it is so much easier to pop a muffin in your mouth before heading to the bus stop, then to pour a bowl of cereal.  She also claims that a muffin fills her up more – and I believe her.  Particularly when they are big and hearty.

So I found these muffins in Cooking Light last month – and I guess I was not the only one.  My daughter will usually grab the magazine before I have a chance to read it; she likes to get a preview of the food she will be eating – which I find absolutely hilarious.  So last month I guess she took this issue – and saw these muffins.  Now, instead of cutting out the recipe and putting it in my recipe pile herself – or even telling me that she was hoping I would make them, she just kept all that information to herself.  She had a ton of homework this weekend, so I decided on Sunday to make her a batch of muffins for the week.  At some point she asked me what I was making, and she got a big smile on her face as she said, “Oh good, I was hoping you would make those!!  I just didn’t think you would let me eat them for breakfast!”

I normally don’t look at the reviews online before making something – it takes all the fun out it.  But this time when I cut out the recipe, I cut out a little too much – and had to go online to check on the baking time.  Needless to say, no one liked these muffins online.  They weren’t sweet enough, they were too dry, they went on and on.  So – I was not expecting much.  Maybe my girls are just not that picky when it comes to eating chocolate for breakfast – but they LOVED these!  They warm them up in the microwave for 15 seconds just to soften them up in the morning, and 3 days later, they are still loving them.  Go figure.  Ok, so bad Mom, or Mom of the Year?

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
  • 1 1/2 ounces 60% bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2/3 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons powdered sugar (optional)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine butter and bittersweet chocolate in a small microwave-safe bowl. Microwave at HIGH 45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds. Stir until smooth. Cool to room temperature.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through baking soda) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.

Combine granulated sugar, milk, vanilla, and eggs in a bowl; stir with a whisk until well combined.

Add butter mixture and milk mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Gently stir in chocolate chips. Divide batter evenly among 12 lined muffin cups. Bake at 425° for 5 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375° (do not remove muffins from oven). Bake at 375° for 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan; cool completely on wire rack. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if desired.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Triple-Chocolate Muffins

French Breakfast Muffins

French Breakfast Muffins

I have been a little busy lately, and didn’t have time to cook or bake anything this weekend.  My lovely daughter however finished all her homework and chores, and decided to bake some muffins for her breakfast this week.  They came out so good, I asked her if she wanted to be a guest blogger…so here she is.  This is something new for my blog, but I can tell, it is the beginning of something extremely wonderful.

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Hi, I’m Dawn’s 11 year old daughter. I really love food but this week I got braces and I’m struggling with finding food that I can eat. I also started sixth grade and my breakfast times have been cut shorter. Mostly I have oatmeal for breakfast because it’s soft and quick, but after a week of the same oatmeal, you sort of get tired of it.

I started searching on All Recipes for some breakfast items that I can actually eat and I came across these muffins. They are soft and easy to eat with braces and you can finish them off in 5 bites.  My mom was busy so I decided I would make them myself. They are pretty basic muffins but a pinch of nutmeg and the cinnamon on top makes all the difference. They are very moist and fluffy and came out looking fabulous. I only filled up the muffin cups 1/3 of the way with batter, but they rose up a lot in the oven and came out with little peaks on the top. I also love the cinnamon sugar on top and I think it gives it a nice almost sandy texture to add to the fluffiness of the muffin itself.

These muffins were really fun and easy to make so if you have kids that like to cook, maybe give them a try at these. Hope you enjoy these muffins as much as I do!

Ingredients

MUFFINS

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

CINNAMON-SUGAR TOPPING

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, nutmeg and salt.  Make a well in the center of the mixture. Stir together egg, milk and 1/3 cup melted butter.  Add egg mixture to flour mixture; stir until just moistened (batter may be lumpy).  Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Meanwhile, combine 1/4 cup sugar, cinnamon When muffins are finished baking, dip tops of muffins in the melted butter, and then in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Serve warm.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  French Breakfast Muffins

Zucchini Mini Muffins

Zucchini Mini Muffins

I am tired – and I am cranky.  That is not a good combination for a blog post…but I am going to plow through it anyway.  Cooking often helps alleviate my stress, let’s see if writing about it does the same.

Do you ever have hunches that you can’t substantiate?  For me, it happens all the time.  For a very analytical person, I tend to sense things extremely well.  The problem is, because I am so analytical, unless I have data to back up my suspicions, I don’t often act until I can find the proof.  Of course this doesn’t always work to my advantage – sometimes I wait until I am too far deep into the hole – and it is hard to climb your way out at that point – proof or no proof.  I am finding myself in one of those situations right now, and it is not pretty.  I need to find some foot holes, and create a plan to crawl out.  I am about half-way there, and there are two paths to take.  I sure do hope I take the right one.

I have mentioned this before – but I also have a good sense about recipes.  I remember talking to friend about that – I felt that I was very lucky with recipes.  Most of the recipes I try actually come out quite well.  She told me it wasn’t luck – I was good at reading recipes.  I didn’t realize that was a skill – but I am starting to realize that it is.  While I am reading a recipe, I am making it in my brain, and there are times when I can actually taste it.  Now – back to reality – not everything turns out tasting like it did in my head.  There are times when I am off – for the better, and for the worse.  Sometimes I tear out a recipe thinking it will be good – and it turns out to be just amazing.  I love when that happens.  The opposite is not such much fun.

I saw this recipe in Cooking Light - and I knew they would not be as good as my tried and true Zucchini Bread recipe, that I have been making for 20+ years – but I thought these would be good – and they were terrific.  Mostly because they were bite sized.  They were so easy to pop in your mouth, that they didn’t last long in our house.  I think the girls ate about 5 each for breakfast the next morning, they just couldn’t stop.  I can’t complain when they are getting a green vegetable in first thing in the morning.

Well – that’s it for me – thanks for the diversion – I need to go work on my exit strategy.  I wish I could just cook my way out of this one…unfortunately not this time.

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 2/3 cup shredded zucchini (about 1 medium zucchini)
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  •   Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a large bowl. Combine zucchini and next 5 ingredients (through egg) in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add zucchini mixture to flour mixture, stirring batter just until combined. Divide batter evenly among 24 miniature muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of muffins comes out clean.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Zucchini Mini Muffins

Sweet Lavender Scones

Sweet Lavender Scones

Wow – I can’t believe it has been a week since my last post – this week just flew by, and before I knew it, I already missed my mid-week window.  It has been a little busy around here, between work and kids stuff, there hasn’t been a minute to spare.  Why is it that every year I forget how busy the end of the school year gets?  Just 6 more weeks to go…and since I am not a Super-Mom, things are bound to slip through the cracks.

The other week we were talking about the mom of one of my older daughter’s friends.  She categorized her as a Super-Mom – I agreed, not really knowing what the definition was.  So – I asked if I was a Super-Mom?  Both my girls unanimously agreed that I was not.  So – I asked what the criteria was to be a Super-Mom, and they explained the following:  you don’t work, you are on the PTA, and you can have lots of kids at your house at any time day or night.  Ok, so I guess I failed on all points.

The other day I was telling some Moms about this at boot camp – both stay-at-home moms, and one of them added:  and you probably don’t have fresh-baked cookies for them when they get home from school.  BUT WAIT – so I might not have them ready for when they come home from school – but my children probably eat more fresh-baked goods than any other kid at school – unless their parent owns a bakery!!  So don’t I get any points for that??  I guess not.

The grass is always greener on the other side – I have plenty of friends tell me how lucky I am that I never stopped working – now that their kids are in school and they are looking for a job, it is near impossible to find something being out of the workforce for 10+ years.  The truth is – I love working, and although I would make a great stay-at-home Mom, I enjoy the challenge of trying to keep everything together.  There are some people who actually think I am pretty good at it (not including my children).  So – for all you stay-at-home Moms – you should feel proud that you are a Super-Mom.  You might not ever be told that – but I am telling you that right now – my kids think you are Super-Moms, and hey – that is worth something.

So – I guess when I made these scones from Bon Appetit (which were FABULOUS, BTW – so light and flavorful) – and they loved them so much – they each had 2 for breakfast each morning.  They even told me I was the best Mom ever – but I was not a Super-Mom.  I guess I have to take what I can get…

Ingredients

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour plus more for surface
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking  powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried  lavender buds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher  salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 3/4 cup  (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch  cubes
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons finely  grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla  extract
  • 2  tablespoons sanding  or granulated sugar

Preparation

Arrange racks in upper and lower thirds of oven; preheat to  425°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk 3 cups flour and next 5  ingredients in a large bowl. Add butter; rub in with your fingers until mixture  resembles coarse meal.

Whisk 1 cup buttermilk, zest, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add  wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Stir until shaggy dough forms.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface; knead until dough  forms, about 5 turns. Pat into a 10×6″ rectangle. Halve dough lengthwise. Cut  each half crosswise into 4 squares. Cut each square diagonally in half into 2  triangles. Divide between baking sheets. Brush with 2 Tbsp. buttermilk. Sprinkle  with sanding sugar.

Bake until scones are golden and a tester inserted into the  center comes out clean, 13–15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks; let cool.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sweet Lavender Scones

Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Onion Cheddar Bacon Corn Muffins

When I was little we would go to my grandmother’s house during the summer – she lived near the ocean, where we would spend our days.  She was an excellent cook, but like all good grandmothers, she wanted her grandchildren to be happy, and always asked us what we wanted for breakfast and lunch.  Of course my sister and I would always choose the same things – and it was because we hardly got these at our house.  We asked for Jiffy Corn Muffins for breakfast, and Kraft Macaroni and Cheese for lunch.  We ate these treats every day – and never got sick of them.  In fact, even today, I often crave a good box of Jiffy Corn Muffins – it is a blast from the past for me to sink my teeth into those sweet little morsels.  Although, over the years, I have discovered that homemade corn muffins can actually taste even better.  I know, can you believe it?  It’s all about bacon…and seriously, what doesn’t taste better with bacon?

This reminds me of another story – and then I promise to get back to these corn muffins.  Years ago my husband’s parents took us to Napa Valley for the weekend, and we stayed at this beautiful B&B in Yountville – this was when Yountville barely existed, and I swear this B&B may have been the only thing in this town.  We woke up to the wonderful smell of bacon – it was incredible.  It got us right up out of the comfortable bed, all dressed – and downstairs for breakfast.  When they told us what was on the menu – we asked where the bacon was?   They laughed – that was just to get people up – they weren’t serving it.  ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME????  We were besides ourselves, and the rest of the trip we were craving bacon.

So – what does these two stories have in common?  This recipe that I found in Cooking Light.  This recipe that combines a wonderful corn muffin with the perfect taste of bacon – and add a little onion and cheddar, then you have really have yourself a party in your mouth.  These are the perfect side dish to chili, soup or just about anything you serve for dinner.  Remember, everything is better with bacon – that is if you actually get to eat it…

Ingredients

  • 2  slices bacon
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/4 cups fat-free buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1  large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4.5 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 ounces shredded sharp cheddar cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  •  Cooking spray

Preparation

Cook bacon in a skillet over medium heat. Remove bacon, reserving drippings in pan. Drain bacon; crumble. Increase heat to medium-high. Add onion to drippings in pan; sauté 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine buttermilk, olive oil, and egg.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through pepper) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture; stir just until moist.

Stir in bacon, onion, and cheese. Spoon into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Bake at 400° for 13 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Remove muffins from tins; cool on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Bacon, Onion, and Cheddar Corn Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

I have been lacking inspiration lately.  I think I have been using most of my brain power at work, which leaves less space for creativity at home.  It is really a drag to cook a wonderful meal, and have no idea how I want to display it, let alone photograph it for the blog.  So – I did something for myself this weekend.  I spent a sinful four hours on myself at another food photography course - taught by the same person as the last one, and this time accompanied by her husband, another amazing photographer.  It was a wonderful way to spend four hours, and I came home completely rejuvenated.  It was four hours that I did not think about work, I did not think about taking care of someone or monitoring what was going on – it was just four hours thinking about food and pictures.

So – I can’t say that this picture benefited from my rejuvenation – but I have taken some other photographs, and I am really excited about them – I can’t wait.  And speaking of anticipation – I have some big plans this weekend to create a recipe for the Girl Scouts – stay tuned for that one…

I saw these muffins in the last issue of Cooking Light, and my daughters were asking for muffins again.  I almost paused when I saw the word coffee – but I figured, as long as they didn’t eat them before going to bed, they would be fine for kids.  These were really quick and easy to make, and made a great snack for school – now I have no idea if they were bouncing off the wall afterwards, but I did not receive a note from either of their teachers, so I think they were fine.  I used mini-chocolate chips, to ensure a chocolate taste in every bite.  Who knows, maybe the combination of coffee and chocolate will give you some inspiration.  It’s worth a try – and if it doesn’t work – at least you made some deliciously tasty muffins!

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 5 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup semisweet mini-chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 5 ingredients.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Make a well in center of flour mixture. Add milk mixture to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 400° for 18 minutes or until done. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate Chip-Coffee Muffins

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Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

I never shy away from baking for my kids schools when asked.  It is something I love doing – and gives me a great excuse – especially when they are looking for something on a Monday…weeknight baking is sometimes challenging, but I usually find a way to fit it in – while my laptop is on the counter and I am typing emails in between steps.

This one really got me though.  There are some kids in my daughter’s class who are allergic to seeds and nuts – not just a mild allergy either – severely allergic.  I guess there are also dairy allergies in the class, so the teacher just decided to cover all her bases and asked for nut-free, seed-free, non-chocolate vegan muffins.  What fun!  Now we have a challenge.  I combed the internet for the perfect recipe, and found this one from Namely Marly, which I highly adapted to basically a new recipe.

So, as I was making these, my older daughter came downstairs to see what I was doing and if she could help.  I told her I was making a nut-free, seed-free, vegan pumpkin muffins, and she just gave me this look – it was not a look of “Mom, you are the greatest!!”  Instead she went into this…”Mommy, I told all my friends that you are the best baker ever, I can’t bring these in, they will never believe me!”  I told her to trust me, as I cringed inside.  Making muffins without eggs wasn’t going to be pretty.

They came out of the oven, and they actually looked and smelled pretty good.  I couldn’t help but to rip right into one, and aside from the strange silky smooth consistency (probably because without the egg, the ingredients don’t completely bind?), they were pretty good.  So – the next time you get a strange request to make something for school – I highly recommend these – my daughter said they were actually a hit – and for a 4th grader to say that, it means a lot.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup rice buttermilk (rice milk combined with 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar)
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup mini-chocolate chips (optional)

Preparation

Heat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spray your muffin pan with vegetable spray or use paper liners.

Combine the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate small bowl, add the rice milk and apple cider vinegar. Let this sit for a minute so the vinegar can combine with the rice milk. Next add the pumpkin, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Stir until combined. Add to the flour mixture, and stir until combined. You can also add chocolate chips if you’re in the mood, but those are optional. Be careful not to stir the batter too much. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin pan, until about 2/3 full.

Bake for approximately 20 minutes (for regular muffins) and 10-12 minutes for mini-muffins and let cool for about 5 minutes before diving in.

Makes 12 regular sized muffins or about 3 dozen minis.

For a printer-friendly version, please click here:  Vegan Pumpkin Muffins

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