Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins

Or, as my four-year-old calls them: ‘Bikini Muffins.’

(I actually considered using that as the title of this recipe, but I realized I might get some, ahem, inappropriate traffic using those terms, together.)

This delicious recipe came about because my lovely neighbor gave us just a small, petite, little zucchini. (Insert sarcasm and see picture below.)

IMG_4416

Yeah. It was actually HUGE.

Anyways, I figured this was the perfect opportunity to bake using zucchini for the very first time. (Nope, I’d never done it before.) I looked through my Recipe list on Pinterest and found a recipe stating it was ‘Award-Winning.’

Sold.

And the four-year-old and I were off on our baking adventure.

The Recipe:

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Muffins, adapted slightly from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Streusel Topping:

2/3 c old-fashioned oats

1/2 c dark brown sugar

2 T  flour

1/2 t cinnamon

1/4 c butter, cold, cut into small squares

1 T semi-sweet chocolate chips

Muffins:

1 egg, beaten

1/2 c dark brown sugar

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c vegetable oil

1 c grated zucchini 

2 t vanilla

1 1/2 c flour

1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/2 t salt

2 t cinnamon

1/4 t ground nutmeg

3/4 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray muffin tin and set aside.

Streusel: Combine the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour together in a medium bowl. Cut in the cold butter with a pasty cutter. Mix until the streusel resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chips with a spoon. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, brown sugar, granulated sugar, oil, zucchini, and vanilla until evenly combined. In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips together. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a large wooden spoon or rubber spatula until combined. Avoid over-mixing.

Fill muffin cups all the way to the top (I only had enough batter for 11). Sprinkle streusal over the top of each muffin, covering completely. Gently press the streusel into the tops of each muffin. Bake for 5 minutes at 425 degrees and, keeping the muffins in the oven, lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 13-14 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.

The Results:

I think I’d always avoided baking with zucchini because I was afraid it would taste funny, but, boy – oh boy! – was I wrong. These tasted absolutely perfect. They were so moist and full of fall flavor. The cinnamon, nutmeg, and chocolate chips work so well together. And the streusel, wow, it just took these to a new level.

IMG_4418

So, by the time I got around to taking a picture of these – this was the only one left.

My only complaint was that this only made 11… but so easy to rectify by doubling. Believe me, you’ll want to make more.

(And since I only used about 1/5 of that huge zucchini, making another batch of these is on today’s agenda.)

Just look at inside of these:

IMG_4421

Perfection.

And I don’t have to feel bad. Because they have a vegetable in them.

Right? 😉

Apple Cider Muffins

I was craving a warm, tasty apple muffin.

(Darn Pinterest and all the autumn treats floating around.)

But we didn’t have any apples – and I couldn’t get out of the house because of the napper.

We did have some apple cider and some applesauce, so I decided to see what I could do…

The Recipe:

Apple Cider Muffins, adapted from Lehighvalley.com

1 egg, room temperature

1/4 c applesauce

1 c whole wheat flour

2/3 c all-purpose flour

1 c apple cider

2/3 c sugar

1/2 c butter, room temperature

2 t baking powder

1 t cinnamon

dash of ground nutmeg

dash of ground cloves

1/2 t salt

Preheat oven to 350.  Grease or line 12 cupcake wells.  In large bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add egg and applesauce, beating well after each addition.  Whisk together flours, baking powder, spices, and salt.   Add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture, then 1/2 of the cider, and repeat, ending with the last of the flour and mixing only until incorporated. Pour into prepared cupcake pan, filling each cup 3/4 way full. Bake 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out clean.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Well, these certainly hit the spot.

And I think I did a pretty good job of taking a very sweet cupcake recipe and mellowing it out a bit into a muffin, with a couple healthier substitutions (though I did leave the sugar and butter alone).

I especially enjoyed the slightly dense texture that was full of the cider-y spice flavor.

I think if I were to make these again, I would add some apple chunks to give it that little extra ‘something’ to make them even better.  (And it would NOT use the cupcake liners – these babies stuck hard to the liners, so beware.)

Oh, and if you want another take on Apple Muffins, check out Smidge’s Saucy Apple Spice Muffins… hers look divine!  (And proof that great minds think alike.)

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

So, as I’ve mentioned the last couple of weeks, we’re trying to eat better.

And for me, that means lots of cooking experiments.

Sometimes they turn out good… sometimes, not so much.

Now, I’m posting this recipe to see if any of you out there might have a suggestion for making them better…

(Though probably actually following the recipe would’ve helped.)

The Recipe:

Banana Oatmeal Muffins, adapted from Keeping Up with the Joneses

2 & 1/2 c oats (old-fashioned kind, not quick cooking)

3/4 c plain low-fat greek yogurt

1/4 c applesauce

2 eggs

1/2 c sugar

1/4 c vanilla protein powder

1 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

2 bananas

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.   Spray muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Place all of the ingredients, including banana,s in a blender or food processor, and blend until oats are smooth.

Divide batter among tin, and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

These weren’t terrible, but they were certainly lacking something.  I had reduced the sugar from 3/4 c to 1/2 c – replacing the last 1/4 c with the protein powder.  Additionally, I didn’t have a full cup of yogurt, so I added the 1/4 c applesauce.  Perhaps it was those substitutions that made them bland.

They also did not turn out looking too pretty.  They actually looked decent coming straight out of the oven, but they soon collapsed, leaving behind a heavy-looking, flat muffin.

If I’d taken a side view, you’d see how truly flat they are.

There’s a definite banana taste, but it’s just kind of dull.  And the texture is really spongy, which is kind of weird in my opinion.

Anyways, they had mixed reviews in the family.  One of my boys liked them, the other did not.  I thought they weren’t too bad, but Hubs was not impressed.

So, now for your help…

What would you do differently or add to make these better?  I’d love any ideas.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Lemon Blueberry Muffins

On a non-cooking note, I’m just going to start out by saying I jinxed myself.

For those of you that are following our semi kitchen remodel, I posted on Monday that our new countertops would be coming on Friday.  Literally 20 minutes later, Hubs received a phone call that the materials wouldn’t be ready on Friday…so we’re now planning on Tuesday next week (and yes, I know I’m probably jinxing myself again by sharing this).

So we’re still cooking/baking in a bit of a mess, but I’m getting pretty used to it by now.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

This week is my oldest’s week to bring snack for preschool.  After last time’s cupcake fun, he insisted on making something else for his friends.  We decided on muffins – and I let him choose the flavor.  Who knew he’d go for lemon?

The Recipe:

Lemon Blueberry Muffins, adapted from allrecipes.com

(This makes 12 muffins.  I doubled it to make 24.)

1 3/4 c flour

3/4 c sugar

1 T grated lemon peel

1 t baking powder

3/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

1 egg

1 c plain yogurt

6 T butter or margarine, melted

1 T lemon juice

1 c fresh blueberries

In a large bowl, combine the first six dry ingredients.  In another bowl, beat the egg, yogurt, butter and lemon juice.  Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

In third bowl, roll washed and dried blueberries in flour (this prevents them from settling at the bottom of the muffins).  Add to the rest of the batter.

Fill greased muffin cups two-thirds full.  Bake at 350 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes in muffin pan then carefully remove by sliding a butter knife around sides and popping them out.  Finish cooling on wire rack.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

My oldest was so excited to be back in the kitchen again – and, since the little one was napping, he had free reign over the kitchen and all ingredients/gadgets.

I just love how proud he is to be helping (and I’m sure everyone at school got to hear how he made the muffins himself).  After mixing up everything and ladling the batter into the pan, we dropped a couple extra blueberries on top of each muffin to make them extra-blueberry-y.  When they came out of the oven, the extra ooze was obvious.

You know it’s good when it oozes blueberries.

These muffins definitely passed the test with the preschooler crowd – if the almost empty container was any indication.  My oldest adored them and has had several in addition to the one at school.

I thought they were really good – but I have to tell you, I dialed back the lemon flavor just in case it would be too much for some of the kiddos.  If I were making these just for my family, I probably would’ve doubled the lemon zest/juice – and may have even used lemon yogurt.  There is a definite light lemon flavor, but it can get lost in bites with extra blueberry.  I really enjoyed the lemon/blueberry combination, though, and look forward to exploring it again in the near future.

What really made these great, in my opinion, was the texture.  The yogurt made them extra moist without making them heavy at all.  And the bursts of blueberry goodness was simply a treat for the senses.

This is definitely a recipe I will be making again.

(Hopefully on my new countertops!  🙂  )

Strawberries and Cream Muffins

It’s secret shame time, again, here at Misadventures in Cooking…

This post has been brought to you by my unhealthy penchant for boxed Jiffy Muffins.

(There’s just something about them – add egg and oil, mix, bake, and voila: preservative-filled but moist and delicious muffins.  Sometimes, I just can’t help myself.)

Anyways, this weekend, I decided that I needed to help myself…and making some delicious strawberry muffins from scratch would do the trick – I hoped – and break my bad-boxed-muffin-habit.

The Recipe:

Strawberries and Cream Muffins, adapted slightly from Jane’s Sweets and Baking Journal

4 oz full-fat cream cheese, very soft

1 1/2 T of liquid from one whole egg, beaten lightly

1/3 c sugar

1/4 t vanilla extract

~~~~

1 c whole milk (or, you can use something like 2/3 c 2% milk, and 1/3 c half-and-half mixed together)

1/2 c butter

1 1/2 t vanilla extract

2 large eggs

~~~~

2 c flour

3/4 c sugar

2 1/2 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 c fresh ripe strawberries chopped into very small pieces

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Put paper liners in the cups of your muffin pan, or use nonstick baking spray liberally.

In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, 1/3 c sugar, 1 1/2 T beaten egg liquid, and 1/4 t vanilla extract.  Mix until almost all the lumps are gone. Set this aside, but don’t chill it.

Melt the butter slowly in a sauce pan on low heat.  Once melted, add the vanilla extract and milk into it, stirring to combine.  Cool until the mixture is just warm (if the milk didn’t cool it), then whisk in the eggs.

Thoroughly combine with a whisk, in a large mixing bowl, the rest of the dry ingredients (except berries).  Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.  Pour all of the butter and milk mixture into the dry ingredients, blending just until combined.  Don’t overmix.  It’s okay if a few little flour streaks are still evident.

Using a scoop, fill each muffin cup barely half full.  Scatter a few pieces of strawberry on top of each one.  Using a small spoon, dab a generous teaspoonful or so of the cream cheese mixture on top of the berries.   On top of that, add on another tablespoon or two of the muffin batter.  On top of that, add a few more pieces of strawberry.  Push them in just slightly.  Sprinkle the tops of the unbaked muffins very generously with coarse sugar, which lends a nice sparkle, and adds a little crunch.

Bake the muffins for about 15 to 18 minutes, until they’re light golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.  The middle of the cupcake should be kind of firm when lightly pressed with a finger.  Check on the muffins early, and if they’re browning too fast, lightly cover the pan with a sheet of foil.

Let the muffins cool in the pan, on a rack, for a couple of minutes, then carefully remove them from the pan to cool on the rack.

Makes about 12 to 14 muffins.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

Now, don’t be intimidated that there are a lot of steps (I almost let that stop me from attempting these).  I’m pretty sure they’re all there for a reason – some super cool baking science reason that I don’t know.  But just know, it all works out in the end.

The star of each muffin is, of course, the strawberries.  I found some gorgeous ripe ones at our local TJ’s that I just couldn’t resist.   (I may have eaten one or two or seven while baking.)

It was actually quite fun layering up the muffin liners – though I think I may have gone a little overboard on a couple.

As they baked, the scent of strawberry wafted throughout the house making us all smile.  It also built up the anticipation.

I ended up having to bake them almost 10 minutes more than suggested, but I just think my oven’s finicky like that.  They came out looking all gorgeous and golden.

And the flavor was absolutely delicious.  The muffins are a balanced mix of sweet strawberries, tangy cream cheese, and moist bread-y muffin – though the strawberry flavor is the definite winner.

So, my conclusion… I can definitely make muffins that blow the Jiffy ones away…they might just take a little longer.

But they are so worth it!

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins {Healthier}

So, you may have noticed that I was a little AWOL last week.

I have lots of reasons that might explain it…

Like, I was working on a decor project for my house:

family picture wall, still in progress...and desperately in need of a level

 Or, I was under the influence of heavy drugs while I passed a kidney stone:

Or maybe even, that I was walking in our Seattle Walk for MS:

But really, I think I was just being lazy.

So, I’m finally back – and with a week full of showers and it being Spring Break for the boys, I’m pretty sure some baking projects will be happening.

We started the week off with a healthy-ish breakfast snack.

The Recipe:

Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Muffins, adapted from Dashing Dish

1 3/4 c old-fashioned oats

3 egg whites

3/4 c cocoa powder

1 banana, mashed

6 oz Greek yogurt (I used strawberry flavored b/c that’s what I had)

1/2 t baking powder

1 1/2 t baking soda

1/4 t s alt

1 c hot water

1/2 c sugar

1/2 c creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a 24 cup mini muffin pans with mini muffin liners or spray muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray.  Set aside.

(If your peanut butter it thick, place it in a mug or microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 30-45 seconds, or until melted.)

In a blender, (or food processor), mix all of the ingredients together.  Blend until oats are ground and mixture is well-mixed.

Place mixture in a large liquid measuring cup, and divide batter between muffin tins.  Place muffin tin in the oven and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool muffins before removing from pan.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I altered a couple of things from the original recipe that probably altered how healthy these are.  The big thing I altered was that I used actual sugar instead of a sugar substitute.

(To be honest, sugar substitutes have always scared me a little, and we don’t use them hardly at all.  I bet there are good ones out there, but I haven’t tried them.  I just feel better if it’s natural sugar.  If you are comfortable with a sugar substitute, click on the original recipe, above, and Katie has very clear directions on what to use in what amount.)

Anyways, I did halve the amount, so it wasn’t too bad – but…I think the flavor suffered a bit.

My first batch turned out a little blah.  Now, maybe that’s because I’m used to and enjoy intense flavors (especially when it’s a chocolate/peanut butter combo), but I was a little underwhelmed.  Honestly, they weren’t bad at all, just not what I was expecting.  Though I have to admit, after a couple, I couldn’t stop popping them in.  My oldest loved them right from the start – and worked his way through several before I caught him.

As I munched on a few, I realized I had enough batter left to make an additional dozen muffins, so I decided to crank them up a notch.  I added a bit more sugar, a little more salt, and topped them with some peanut butter chips I had.  And that did the trick!

(I do realize that this probably negated some of the healthiness of the muffins, but they certainly had more of a flavor punch.)

So, I guess you can decide for yourself what you’re looking for when you make these.  You really can’t go wrong with either.

And I promise I’m going to be better about cooking/blogging this week.  🙂

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuffins

The mojo is slowly working its way back into my life.

And this recipe certainly helped.

It’s the best of two very good worlds: the world of doughnuts and the world of muffins.  In this recipe, I have married these two treats into a union of tasty goodness.

And it took less than 15 minutes to do.

The Recipe:

Cinnamon Sugar Doughnut Muffins, adapted from In Good Taste 

1 c flour

1/2 c sugar

1 T baking powder

2 t cinnamon

1 egg

1/2 c milk

1 t vanilla

4 T vegetable oil

3 T melted butter

2 T sugar and 1 t cinnamon combined in a bowl

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Stir dry ingredients together.  Add egg, vanilla, and milk and whisk together for one minute.  Add oil and continue to whisk until well combined.

Grease muffin tin.  Fill each 2/3 way with batter.  Bake for 7-9 minutes.  Allow doughnuffins to cool for a minute or two.  Then brush tops with melted butter and sprinkle sugar mixture on top.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

A little creativity goes a long way to getting back your mojo, let me tell you.

I had seen a more traditional doughnut-flavored muffin on Pinterest that peaked my interest.  And then I remembered that I had found an easy baked doughnut recipe last Spring (that I’d actually remembered to put on my Wish List).  So I thought, why not try putting the ideas together.

And I did.

And it worked really, really well!

One of my favorite parts was that my house smelled like a warm doughnut shop while these were baking.  It made me super excited for them to be ready.

The doughnuffins puff up really tall in the pan, so don’t let that scare you.  And you probably want to leave them in the oven a touch more than you think – a couple of mine were still a little doughy on top, even though the edges were golden brown.  Perhaps a toothpick test might help.

The taste of these was SO good!  Very, very light like a doughnut, but also like a muffin.  Sweet and cinnamon-y (which I admit I cannot even say), with the melted butter and sugar topping on top.  Yummy!  (I even had to invite my friend over to try one while they were still warm, since I didn’t think the boys would truly appreciate them.)

So, for just 15 minutes of your precious time, you can enjoy this delightful breakfast indulgence.

It’s a win-win, I tell you.

And it may just get your creative cooking juices flowing.

Lemon Basil Muffins

Have you ever had one of those mornings?

One where everything seems to be going wrong, the house is crazy, and you have absolutely no control over it?

I made these muffins during one of those type of mornings.  And I’m glad I did.

Let’s just say that the day started super early, after someone figured out how to climb out of the tall part of their crib, someone else threw out their back and was up in bed with happy pills, and the third was just especially needy (I’ll let you try to decide who was who – or whom).  I was just trying to contain the chaos while taking care of each’s individual needs.

I decided through all of this, that we all needed a little pick-me-up.  And this recipe (one of my New Year’s Resolution recipes) was exactly what we needed.

The Recipe:

Lemon Basil Muffins, adapted from Bakeaholic Mama

2/3 c granulated sugar

zest and juice of 1 lemon

2 c all-purpose flour

2 t baking powder

1/4 t baking soda

1/4 t salt

3/4 c plain non-fat yogurt

2 large eggs

1 t vanilla extract

1 stick butter, softened

2 T fresh basil leaves, diced

1 T sugar to sprinkle on the top before baking

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with cups.

In a large bowl, whisk the  sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored.  Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a separate bowl whisk together the eggs, yogurt, vanilla, butter and lemon juice.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together.  When it is almost mixed, add the basil.

Divide batter between muffin cups.  Sprinkle each with the extra T of sugar.  Bake for 15 to 22 minutes or until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean.  Let them cool completely before glazing.

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Lemon Yogurt Glaze

4 T plain yogurt

zest of 1 lemon

2-3 T of powdered sugar

Whisk yogurt, sugar and zest together.  Drizzle over muffins right before serving.

~~~~

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

I’ve been really excited to make this recipe – ever since I saw it on Carrie’s website. I loved the idea of the lemon/basil combination and just knew it would be refreshing.  I just figured I’d get to make it in a slightly calmer environment.

Well, as I alluded to before, things were a bit hectic around here.  I think that will account for the few, um, minor mistakes I made while making these (and the fact that I have no photos of the process and just one of the finished product).

I started out mixing my dry ingredients and then moving on the wet ones.  This is when I realized that I had completely forgot to make the brown butter.  Now, I’d been really excited to try this as I’ve seen brown butter all over the place lately, but had never made it before.  Unfortunately, with the craziness, I just ended up substituting regular softened butter.  I gave in, I know – but I will brown the butter next time; because, yes, I will be making these again.

Everything else went smoothly – until the very end.  I made a blunder that I knew better than to do.  Instead of removing the muffins from the tin to cool off on a rack, I got distracted, and left them in it.

(If you haven’t done this before, you may be surprised to know that the bottoms of the muffins continued to cook – and to firmly attach themselves to the paper liners.  Fabulous.)

Once they were completely cooled and glazed, I removed the liners – and a portion of the bottom of the muffin – to find a spectacularly delicious treat. The texture was surprisingly light and very, very flavorful.  The bright lemon flavor was exactly the morning boost I needed.  And combined with the basil and soft yogurt undertones, I was in muffin heaven.

And the whole family agreed completely.  (Not an easy feat in our house.)

I’m very excited to try these again.

Who wouldn’t be?

Coconut Mocha Muffins

Sometimes you just want to try something new.

Something you haven’t seen before, but something that sounds delicious.

Sometimes this something will work, sometimes not, and sometimes you know exactly what it needs in order to be fixed.

(Are you tired of the sometimes/somethings yet?  One more and I’ll stop.  I promise.)

This was one of those sometimes.

(You’ll have to read on to find out which one.  🙂 )

The Recipe:

Coconut Mocha Muffins, adapted from Alli’n’son’s Peppermint Mocha Muffins

2 c flour

1/4 c cocoa powder

1/2 c granulated sugar

3 t baking powder

1/2 t salt

1 c sweetened coconut

1 T instant coffee

1/4 c hot water

3/4 t coconut extract

1 egg, beaten

3/4 c milk

1/3 c canola oil

~~~~

3 T sugar

2 T brown sugar

1 T coconut

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray with nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, salt and coconut.  Stir to combine.

In a small bowl combine the instant coffee and hot water.  Stir until dissolved.  To the flour mixture stir in the coffee, coconut extract, egg, milk and canola oil.  Stir until just combined.  Spoon batter into prepared muffin tin.

Combine the sugars and coconut.  Sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 375 degrees for 15-18 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes in the tin, then remove to a wire rack.

{Printable Recipe}

The Results:

The original recipe was a peppermint mocha muffin (great minds think alike), but since I had just done this very successful recipe, I decided I wanted to try to alter it into a new and more original recipe.  I had no idea whatsoever what it would turn out like…

Everything started out great.  The batter was easy to make and smelled heavenly with the coconut extract.

They looked especially good heading into the oven.  I was so excited to use a topping – since the last one I had utilized had turned out so good.

When they came out, though, they kinda had this odd beige-ish look to them.

And, to be brutally honest, they didn’t taste that great.  The muffin-tops, with the extra sugar were fine, but the bulk of the muffin was kind of blah – and even left a bit of a bitter aftertaste.

Usually, I would just be done then – toss them out and move on… but instead I thought about them.  A lot.  (I know, it’s a scary new thing for me to ponder what I’ve cooked.)

Anyways, I realized that I had replaced the chocolate chips from the original recipe with coconut.  And the coconut, when cooked, didn’t have a whole lot of sweet flavor to it.  And then I thought maybe that extra sweet of chips might be the trick to these tasting good.

Of course, I don’t have any extra chips right now.  And we’re kind of booked and busy for the next two days.  But I vow to make these work.

Because I know that this is a really good idea, that just needs a little tweaking.