Category Archives: Cupcakes & Muffins

Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins

As I have undoubtedly mentioned before, I forget the wonderfulness of certain things – usually fruits. I like fruit, but I don’t burn for it every day like other people. So I forget how good a good apple can be.

Mikal bought some apples at Sprouts, and cut one up for me. I realized how good apples are again. They taste like fall to me. Pair that with caramel, and you have the most magnificent flavor combination I can think of.

I needed a recipe I could complete with just one egg and ~3/4 cups granulated sugar, as I was down on supplies. It’s really rather difficult to bake without both granulated sugar and few eggs, apparently. I didn’t realize it would be quite so difficult. But in the end, it worked out.

Below is a bit of a variation on the recipe I found at Oh Sweet Basil to include some of the caramel sauce I had in the fridge. Made a wonderful recipe just that much better with the addition.

Caramel Apple Streusel Muffins

adapted from Oh Sweet Basil

1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
10 tbsp butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup peeled, finely chopped apple
caramel sauce

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with liners.

In a medium bowl, combine chopped walnuts, brown sugar, and cinnamon; mix well and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Cut 8 tbsp butter into the flour mixture until butter is oat-sized. Remove 1 cup of the flour/butter mixture and stir into reserved brown sugar mixture until combined to make streusel; set aside. Add baking powder and baking soda to flour mixture and stir to combine.

Whisk together sour cream, egg and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add liquids to flour mixture and stir until just combined. Add 3/4 cup streusel mixture to flour mixture and stir until just distributed throughout better. Melt the remaining 2 tbsp butter and stir into streusel mixture until it resembles a crumble. Gently fold apples into batter.

Fill muffin cups half-full with batter, then spoon a bit of caramel sauce into muffin cup, and fill to 3/4 full with more batter. Swirl caramel sauce in if you would like – it’s a bit difficult. Crumble the streusel topping onto each muffin cup, and sprinkle with more caramel sauce.

Bake 22-24 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the center of muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.

Zucchini Bread Muffins

It’s amazing what can bring you back to something you love. I have been having a bit of difficulty recently – actually, for a number of months, truth be told – of not wanting to bake. There has been a vague wanting to kinda-sorta, but not enough to really incite me to do so. Seeing as that has been the one item I have been working toward – being a baker – and that has been something of a guiding light in my where-do-I-go-from-here thoughts, this presented quite the mental mire. Add to that the normal life stuff of work, worry about the future, helping friends move, work, work, work, etc., and you get me thinking about my blog with trepidation.

Though time will tell whether I have completely moved past this hurdle, a confluence of occurrences has brought me to the current post. First, I inherited a zucchini that had presumably been intended for slicing and adding to bagels at an office meeting a few weeks back. I’m presuming that because I also obtained cherry tomatoes and a pickling cucumber from after that meeting, but no one seems to have gone for any of those toppings – not even the person who brought them. Not sure what went on there. Probably one of those “this sounds like an amazing idea!” things that just didn’t get followed through – much like me and cottage cheese. I mean, I like it, but any time I buy it I forget it’s even there.

Add to the zucchini an episode of Scrubs in which Kelso gets free muffins for life. Mikal commented afterward about the episode making him want muffins. I told him to grate the zucchini for me (we had been watching a Scrubs marathon as I was home sick and feeling thoroughly shitty) and maybe I’d do something with it. You’re welcome.

I was rather startled to realize that I have not yet posted a zucchini bread recipe. I mean, it’s only one of my favorite summer baked goods. Seriously, what’s wrong with me? It’s one of the first things my mom made when we moved up to Washington state, and the house we moved into had a small number of garden beds with squashes and pumpkins and sunflowers and raspberries. Prior to that we had lived in California, where she had made some things – I remember blueberry pancakes, which I didn’t particularly like, and crepes – but not much. I think the growing things inspired her. I remember being very confused when she said she was making zucchini bread – I mean, it’s a vegetable that tastes great sliced and breaded and fried, why would you make that into bread? Wouldn’t it be gross? I was really very skeptical until it came out of the oven smelling like heaven, and tasting even better. We had a lot of zucchini that summer, some of them absolutely huge, so we made a few batches.

I guess it makes sense that nostalgia would be one of the more frequent catalysts for igniting a passion for something you love.

The recipe below is adapted from Smitten Kitchen, which I love for her stories and great recipes. While I have a zucchini bread recipe somewhere in the kitchen, I turned to Pinterest to see what I had pinned, maybe find one I have found to be good. This recipe has a good amount of spice (the other one I was looking at had no spices, but did add lemon zest – I’ll try that with what zucchini I have left over), so it might be a little more appropriate closer to the autumn time. Then again, I think I am looking forward to autumn, since that is when I historically have re-entered baking mode. There’s just something about shorter, windier days and turning leaves that makes me want to warm the house with baking.

Zucchini Bread Muffins

3 eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup plain greek yogurt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2 cups grated zucchini
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

Pre-heat oven to 350°F. Grease 24 muffin tins or line them with baking cups.

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, then mix in oil, yogurt, and sugar to combine. Add in zucchini and vanilla.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.

Divide batter evenly across the 24 muffin cups. (I found that a 1/4 cup measure is pretty much perfect for this – the muffins rise quite considerably, so I’m rather glad I didn’t go with the 1/3 cup.) Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of a middle muffin comes out clean.

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

A little while ago I tried to make baked eggnog doughnuts. They turned out a little dense and interesting, which is why I haven’t posted them yet – need to get some adjustments down. It would make sense that a baked doughnut of this type would be pretty much a cakey muffiny sort of thing, right? Maybe not – looking up baked doughnut recipes and seeing what comes of them is on my to-do list.

In the mean time, I came across this recipe for glazed doughnut muffins, the image of which evokes a glazed old-fashioned doughnut. Depending on how this comes out, I may translate this recipe over to the baked doughnuts to see if something awesome comes out of it.

Glazed Doughnut Muffins

from Easy Cookbook Recipes

1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line 12-18 muffin cups (my batch made 19, with some being a little smaller – I noticed the large amount of levener and opted to not fill the cups more than 2/3 full) with liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together butter, vegetable oil, and both sugars until smooth. Beat in eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated.

In a separate bowl, sift together remaining dry ingredients. Add flour mixture to the mixing bowl incrementally, alternating with milk; begin and end the process with the flour mixture. Spoon the batter into the pan cavities; keep in mind that they will rise significantly.

Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until the tops are nicely brown. Cool muffins in pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack for at least 10 minutes. In the mean time, make the glaze:

3 tbsp butter, melted
2 tbsp hot water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Blend confectioners’ sugar into wet ingredients 1/4 cup at a time, mixing until smooth each time. Dip cooled muffins in glaze and let set; repeat this process if desired.

IMG_2191

Butterbeer Cupcakes

This is the problem with staring at Pinterest: you find that people start planning for the holidays and such early. For someone like me, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing: it’s the beginning of September and I’m starting to formulate what I want to do for Halloween, as well as the treats I can bring into work around that time. Unfortunately, I kept seeing fall things: pumpkin items, fall decor, pumpkin carving ideas, etc. As you have seen, this has gotten me into the mood for fall WAY TOO EARLY. I love the sun; I need more sun. I don’t need it to be fall yet.

That being said, fall and the holidays always make me think watching of certain things: Mikal and I always watch Love Actually at least a couple of times around Christmas, and somehow, Harry Potter belongs to Fall. Not quite sure how that has gotten ingrained in my brain, but it has. So yesterday I had a craving for a Harry Potter marathon. Well, technically I don’t generally watch the first or second movies – the acting is just not quite there and it’s more painful to watch than anything.

To my most unpleasant surprise, Netflix does not have ANY Harry Potter. What’s up with that?! Seriously Netflix, get your shit together. It’s bad enough you don’t have the Iron Man movies – at least get yourself some Harry Potter. Seriously. At least you have Grey’s Anatomy.

But this obviously wouldn’t do! NO HARRY POTTER! So while Mikal and I tried to log into our video games to no avail because everything was being horrendously stupid, I stared at Pinterest. I stared and stared and found the following recipe. It’s pretty awesome. Needs some work on the buttercream – this recipe makes the kind of frosting you find on cupcakes in the store, which I’m not terribly fond of. I’ll find one of the other buttercream recipes I have used previously and do another post to update this, because other than that this recipe is pretty awesome. Of course, not having had butterbeer at all, I’m not sure how accurate the taste is, but it tastes pretty awesome.

Butterbeer Cupcakes

from AmyBites

Cupcakes

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup cream soda

Filling

11 oz. butterscotch chips
1 cup heavy cream

Frosting

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup butterscotch filling
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter flavoring
1/8 tsp salt
1 16-oz. package powdered sugar (or whatever amount to achieve consistency you desire)

Cupcakes
Preheat the oven to 350°F and line cupcake pan with paper liners or just grease the pan. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, cream butter and sugars until fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in vanilla and butter flavoring.

Note: I did not have butter flavoring on-hand, and the cupcakes have turned out decently ok. I have never used butter flavoring before because I have had no use for it, but I believe I may invest in some just for this recipe, because it might kick it up that little bit to make it amazing. 

Alternate adding your buttermilk, cream soda, and dry ingredients in batches until all are well-incorporated. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full, then bake for 15-17 minutes until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean and cake springs back to the touch. Cool completely on wire racks.

Filling
In a double boiler, combine butterscotch chips and heavy cream and stir until completely combined and smooth. (For me this took longer than expected – much longer than chocolate chips do. But once they actually start melting, they stick together, so be sure to stir often and keep over heat until fully melted – there were tiny un-melted pieces left over at the bottom of the bowl when I poured the mixture into the squeeezy bottle.) Fill a squeeze bottle with the filling and insert into the center of each cupcake, squeezing until the filling begins to overflow. (Another note: I had already gone out to buy eggs and cream soda for this trip, and completely forgot to get heavy cream, so I ended up using half & half. This actually made an interesting thing happen: the filling soaks into the cupcake breading, better distributing the flavor. I don’t know if this happens when it’s made with heavy cream – considering the author called the filling “ganache” I believe it’s supposed to be thicker, but I’m not sure.) 

Frosting
Cream butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add ganache, vanilla, butter flavoring and salt and mix until well-combined. Beat in powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time until reaching the desired consistency – you want it to keep its shape rather than melting. Frost cupcakes and drizzle with butterscotch filling.

butterbeer cupcakes

Buttermilk Granola Muffins

When Mikal first suggested granola muffins to me, I had two thoughts: 1) that would be crunchy; 2) why didn’t I think of that?

This particular recipe comes out decently moist, but it still looks like a bran muffin, which I believe is a large part of the reason very few of them were eaten throughout the day. Mikal had yet another ingenious idea to make them look more appetizing: instead of topping them with granola, make a cinnamon-apple mixture to top the muffins with. Doesn’t that sound delicious?

Buttermilk Granola Muffins

from King Arthur Flour

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour (I have a blend of all-purpose and wheat that is approx. 50/50, and I used that; I’m still a bit iffy about using full whole wheat flour because I have not come across a recipe that keeps the baked good moist enough)
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup prepared granola
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Topping:
3/4 cup prepared granola

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease the cups of a standard muffin tin, or use paper baking cups and grease those. (I don’t grease mine – yes, there tends to be stuff stuck to the paper once one eats it, but I just don’t feel like taking the time to grease them.)

Whisk together all dry ingredients, including granola. In a separate bowl, whisk together vanilla, vegetable oil and buttermilk. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling them nearly full. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional granola (or a wonderful apple-cinnamon mixture). Bake muffins approximately 15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean.

Remove muffins from the oven, and let cool 5 minutes or so before transferring to a rack to cool.