Maple Muffins

Growing up in my house, pancakes and waffles were served with a side of Mrs. Butterworth's syrup, and I loved the stuff. Super thick and ubberly sweet, I loved dousing my fluffy stack of pancakes with this delicious liquid sugar. In later years my mom started making her own syrup with a bunch of corn syrup, plenty of butter, and some maple flavoring and I liked this concoction even better; thick, sweet and buttery. However, as time went on, my palate improved and my love of real foods and simple ingredients became a passion, and I knew it was time for a change. 

Then, a few years ago I went to a sugar bush in the early spring and saw the whole process of maple syrup processing, from tapping the trees to getting the sap to the sugar house to boiling the sap down into syrup, I was in love. I found the whole process completely fascinating. It is amazing how a benign looking watery liquid that drips out of a tree can be transformed into liquid sugar with some time and some heat. From that day forward, I decided to only use real maple syrup, I'm never going back. 

Real maple syrup is expensive, I know that, and because of that I try to be sparing, and use it wisely. This recipe is a bit of a splurge, using 1 1/2 cups of real maple syrup, but it is completely worth it for an occasional and very special treat. 

I found that calling these "muffins" may be a bit of a misnomer. After eating through the entire batch I came to the conclusion that they are really more like cake, but lets not worry about symantics. What matters is that they are incredibly tender and full of flavor. The maple flavor is surprisingly subtle considering how much maple syrup is in them, but it is perfect, not overwhelming and perfectly balanced. When I made these, I didn't have any walnuts but they would be a fantastic addition and would really round out the flavor and texture of these muffins perfectly, I'm sure of it. 

So if you're looking for an extra special morning treat I highly recommend this recipe. They would also be wonderful as cupcakes, topped with a little maple cream cheese or buttercream frosting. Versatile, delicious and unique, you really must give these a try.

Maple Muffins

Adapted From

Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients

  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 2¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbs baking powder
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups pure maple syrup, preferably Grade B
  • 12 tbs (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 1 large egg plus 1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°. Line muffin pan with muffin liners or alternatively, brush the insides of 12 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan to ensure that the muffins don't stick to the top when they rise.

Whisk the unbleached flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. Whisk the maple syrup, melted butter, and milk together in another bowl, then whisk in the egg and yolk. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir just until smooth. Stir in the walnuts. Let the batter stand so the dry ingredients can absorb the liquids, about 5 minutes.

Using a 2½-inch-diameter ice cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375° and bake until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Half a recipe makes 8 or 9 muffins

Blueberry Orange Muffins

Blueberry season is still going strong around here, and I am so happy that I have finally jumped on the blueberry bandwagon, they are just so good. It wasn't really until last summer that I truly began to love blueberries, but now there is no doubt that they are one of my favorite fruit. They are so sweet, and juicy, and so much fun to bake with. There is so much you can do with a blueberry. 

Today I'm sharing a classic, the blueberry muffin, but it's a blueberry muffin with a twist. To add some pizzaz and an extra punch of flavor to these muffins, grab an orange and add the zest and juice straight to the batter. Then whip up a nice chunky streusel and sprinkle on top. The sweet citrus notes from the orange and the buttery goodness of the streusel compliment the juicy blueberries and tender muffin. It's the perfect match, and one of the best blueberry muffins I've ever had. 

This is a quick and easy recipe. Combine wet ingredients and dry ingredients and then just mix them together and fold in the blueberries. A quick streusel for the top and you're done. I have made this recipe a couple times now, and it's always good. However, one time I decided to try and cut back a little on the oil, make it a little healthier if I could, so I replaced half of the oil with yogurt. They turned out pretty well, baked up just fine, the texture was pretty normal, but I have to admit, the flavor just wasn't there. Still a nice muffin, but without that wow factor. Fat just tastes good! So if you want to cut back a bit on the oil, go right ahead, but be warned, they won't be quite as good. But still worth making for sure. 

Blueberry Orange Muffins

From

Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours

by Sarabeth Levine 

Ingredients

For the muffins:

  • 1 large seedless orange
  • ⅔ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup plus 1 tbsp whole milk
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2¼ cups bread flour
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the streusel topping:

  • 6 tbsp unbleached white flour
  • 1 tbsp cane sugar
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2½ tbsp butter, melted

Directions

Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with muffin liners or brush the insides of the cups with butter.

Grate the zest of the orange and set it aside. Slice the orange in half and juice both sides. You should have about ⅓ cup of juice.

Whisk the oil, milk, orange juice, orange zest, and eggs together in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the liquids and stir with a spoon, just until combined. Carefully fold in the blueberries.

Portion the batter out into the muffin cups, filling almost to the top.

To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla in a small bowl, using your fingers, until well combined and crumbly.

Sprinkle the muffin tops with the streusel.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven to 375F degrees and continue to bake until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, about 10-15 minutes more. (If you are using frozen berries, allow for a few extra minutes.)

Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins to a baking rack and cool completely.

Banana Streusel Muffins

If you've checked out my blog before, you might notice that I really like muffins. They appear quite frequently, and for good reason, I think they are delicious. A perfect, pre-portioned breakfast treat, easy to make, easy to freeze, and very, very easy to eat. So saying that these muffins are probably one of the best muffins I've ever made is really saying something. They might not look like anything extra special, but don't let appearances deceive you. They are soft and moist thanks to the sour cream, the slices of banana, which at first seemed kind of odd to me, are sweet and tender, and the streusel is the perfect finish, like sprinkling a sugar cookie on top. These just might be my favorite muffins to date!

Don't let the name Banana Streusel Muffins fool you. These aren't your traditional banana bread. There is no mashing of super ripe bananas and stirring them into the batter. Instead, you fold in pieces of perfectly ripe banana, just as you would fold in blueberries, or chocolate chips. At first I was not sure how I would like this. Chunks of cooked banana spread throughout the muffins sounded kind of weird to me, but don't be afraid. It turns out so perfectly. You really hardly notice the pieces of banana, they almost melt into the bread and form pockets of sweetness scattered throughout the soft and tender muffin. It is so good, trust me!

Banana Streusel Muffins
Slightly adapted from: Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine
Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 6 tablespoons unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Muffins:

  • softened butter for the pan
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick, (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs at room temperature, beaten
  • 1/2 whole milk
  • 1 cup sour cream (both full fat, or low fat work well)
  • 4 small ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

Directions
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with liners, grease with baking spray or butter.

To make the streusel, mix the flour, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter, and vanilla with your fingers in a small bowl until combined and crumbly. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of stand mixer with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute.  Gradually add the sugar and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the milk. Reduce the mixer speed to low. In thirds, add the flour, alternating with two additions of the sour cream, scraping the sides of the bowl and briefly after each addition. Do not overbeat. Fold in banana slices.

Using a ice cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared muffin cups. Generously sprinkle the tops with streusel.

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake until the muffin tops are golden brown, about 15 minutes more. Or until a a wire cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from pan and cool completely.

Perfect Pumpkin Muffins

This past Christmas, my sister Lara and I received a couple of wonderful cookbooks. I got Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi which I had first checked out from the library and loved. Lara got Sarabeth's Bakery by Sarabeth Levine which she has been eyeing for some time now, and finally owns. We dug into Sarabeth's Bakery first. It was so difficult trying to decide what to make. Everything sounds so good and looks beautiful. We finally decided on our first recipe, these perfect pumpkin muffins. 

These muffins are pretty close to perfect. They came out of the oven looking absolutely gorgeous. Tall and domed as every muffin should be. Even with an entire can of pumpkin puree, these muffins actually aren't overly pumpkin-y. They are actually quite mild, and not overly sweet, exactly what I need on some days. But if you're feeling a little extra indulgent, I think a handful or two of mini chocolate chips would be an excellent addition, that's what I'm going to try next!

In the cookbook, it says this recipe will yield 12-14 muffins. Well, I got 24 out of it. They weren't huge, but they were the perfect size for me. I didn't have to bake them as long either, so if you make them smaller make sure to keep an eye on them so they don't over-bake. 

Like I above, these muffins aren't overly sweet, they are definitely muffins, not cupcakes, which is how I like it. The batter is super thick which helps them bake up beautifully domed and craggily. In fact, after they were baked I could still see where each individual scoop of batter was placed in the muffin tins, the batter is that thick. So if you want beautifully domed muffins, make sure not to smooth out the batter after you fill the tins, keep the scoops nice and rounded (this is where a cookie scoop comes in handy) because this is how they will bake up.

Perfect Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from:

Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours

Ingredients

  • Softened unsalted butter, for the pan
  • 3 2/3 cups pastry flour, sifted (I used about 17 ounces all purpose flour with a few tablespoons cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, chilled and cut into ½-inch cubes
  • 1 1/3 cups superfine sugar (I used 10 ounces granulated sugar that I processed in my NutriBullet)
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature, beaten
  • One 15-ounce can solid-pack pumpkin

Directions

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Brush the insides of 12 to 14 muffin cups with softened butter, then brush the top of the pan.

Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt together into a medium bowl. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until creamy, about I minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue beating, scraping the sides of the bowl often with a silicone spatula, until the mixture is very light in color and texture, about 5 minutes. Gradually beat in the eggs. Reduce the mixture speed to low. Beat in the pumpkin; the mixture may look curdled. In thirds, beat in the flour mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl often, and mix until smooth. 

Using a 2½ inch-diameter ice-cream scoop, portion the batter, rounded side up, into the prepared cups. 

Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until the tops of the muffins are golden brown and a wire tester inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean, about 15 minutes more.

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan and cool completely.

Bakers Note: If you use generous scoops of batter, the yield will be 12 muffins. For smaller muffins, use 7 muffin cups in each of 2 muffin pans. Distribute the batter in a random pattern (not in rows) in each pan so the muffins bake evenly.