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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Savory Spinach, Feta, and Roasted Pepper Muffins

 

I have been trying really hard to improve the photos in my blog, but every once in a while, my patience is low, I am feeding guests, and I am starving.  I just can’t get a good picture, and I give up.  This is exactly what happened here – so I apologize.  I know it is always so much more appealing to make something when the picture looks good – but trust me, these were excellent – so much better than the picture portrays.

I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit, and I just love the idea of a savory muffin.  You don’t see a lot of savory muffin recipes – mostly they are savory biscuit type recipes – which I happen to love.  Therefore, I had to make these – I thought they would go great with an egg dish – for dinner.  The muffins were delicious.  They were slightly sweet – but the cheese really solidified them as a savory muffin.  They were plenty moist, and went perfectly with the quiche I made for dinner.  I couldn’t find parpadew peppers, so I just used roasted red peppers, which are also slightly sweet – so they were a perfect substitution.  These also would be great for brunch – and they are very easy to make.  So – sorry about the picture, but trust me, they are worth making.

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup thinly sliced spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped drained mild Peppadew peppers or roasted red peppers from a jar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°F. Spray 12 standard (1/3-cup) muffin cups or 6 large (3/4-cup) muffin cups with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, paprika, and salt in medium bowl. Whisk milk, oil, and eggs in large bowl to blend. Add dry ingredients; whisk just until blended. Add spinach, feta, and peppers; fold to incorporate evenly. Divide batter among prepared muffin cups (cups will be filled to top).

Bake muffins until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 25 to 28 minutes for standard muffins and 33 to 35 minutes for large muffins. Cool 5 minutes. Run knife around muffins to release from pan. Invert pan to release muffins, then turn muffins right side up and cool completely.

Makes 12

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Savory Spinach, Feta, and Roasted Pepper Muffins

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