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First and foremost, I must apologize to anyone that visits this blog for my extreme tardiness in posting new recipes lately. I won’t lie – I truly, honestly, sincerely felt so guilty not doing it, but something or the other kept me away. So, here I am, trying to keep up my promise to post the recipe for the simply wonderful and autumny apple muffins that I had posted a picture of earlier this week!

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Something about fall and the crisp air! As the temperature drops, apples take on a whole new dimension! They somehow make fall the best season and they also try to comfort you into believing winter wont be that terrible after all. I have tried to play around with several recipes, but wanted to try a recipe that not only looked great, but also tasted wonderful! That’s when I stumbled upon this recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction. She has great recipes on her site – so if you are looking for some comfort recipes, you should visit her site. 🙂

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So, back to this recipe…true to what she mentions in her recipe, these muffins do rise well, and taste so cake-like and full of apple goodness. I did use some apple cider in the wet ingredients per one of the reader comments and skipped the glaze. Honestly, I don’t think the glaze is really needed except for that picture perfect oozy look! Yum!

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Whip up these muffins this weekend and watch them disappear!

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Autumn Apple Muffins

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients
Muffin Batter
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1/3 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temperature
1/2 cup plain, fat free Greek (or regular) yogurt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (better the quality, better the cinnamony goodness)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup white, whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup apple cider
2 small Gala apples (or any firm kind), peeled and chopped into 1/4 inch cubes

Crumb Topping
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 425F. Line a muffin pan with 12 liners and set aside.
2. Prepare the crumb topping: Combine all ingredients and gently toss together till they are crumbly. Set aside (wow, that was easy!)
3. Using a handheld mixer, cream butter. Add the sugars and beat for another 2-3 minutes.
4. Beat in the eggs, yogurt, ground cinnamon and vanilla extract. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and set the bowl aside.
5. In a separate bowl, toss together the flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and slowly mix with a rubber spatula or whisk. Add the milk, gently stirring to mix in. Small lumps are OK. Fold in the apples.
6. Spoon the muffin batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups. The tins will be quite full, which is great for making tall-domed muffins!
7. Distribute the crumb topping evenly over all the batter, pressing lightly with your hands so the crumbs will stick to the baked muffins.
8. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F, then reduce heat to 350F and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes, till the top is golden and muffin tests done.
9. Let the baked muffins stay in the pan for about 5 minutes before removing them to a cooling rack to cool completely. Cooled muffins can be stored at room temperature for about 5 days. These freeze well as well.

Enjoy!

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Strawberry Cheesecke Muffins

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Ahh….the first, albeit distant hint of spring is in the air! At least I want to think so! Yes, I did enjoy the snow fall we had just last week, but this sunshine and warm temps are making me want to spring forward to the warm weather!

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Today was a gorgeous day! Lots of sunshine flooding the house and it is almost too warm to have the pellet stove running! At times like this, my mind wanders aimlessly about the multitude of possibilities to create something wonderful and delicious. I had totally delicious, caramely baked sweet potato, two pounds of gorgeous, juicy, vibrant red strawberries, especially with tons of actual ripe fruit flavor, lots of flour and yeast and other basic baking must haves.

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So, I decided to whip up two totally different recipes….Strawberry Cheesecake Muffins (yes, had to use up some leftover cream cheese too) and sweet potato yeast bread! Yum! First up…..THE muffins!

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There are three parts to this recipe from Patty’s Food. I made couple of modifications by replacing half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, reducing the amount of sugar to less than 1/2 cup and replacing half the flour in the streusel topping with old-fashioned oats.

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These muffins are super delicious. Because of the whole wheat in them, they are not as airy as regular muffins, but the flavor of the berries and the subtle citrus flavor from the cheesecake filling are more than enough to want to indulge in another one! And maybe you should!

strawberry muffin

  • Servings: ”12
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Ingredients:

For the muffin batter
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (or less granulated sugar)
1/4 cup oil
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 cup 1% or 2 % milk
2 cups diced sweet strawberries
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the cheesecake filling
4 oz reduced fat cream cheese, softened
grated rind of 1/2 lime or lemon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons beaten egg (from above)
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

For the streusel topping
2 tablespoons cold butter
3 tablespoons rolled oats
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a muffin tray with paper liners and set aside.
2. Prepare streusel topping by combining all the ingredients till they are crumbly. Set aside.
3. Prepare the cheesecake filling by thoroughly combining all the ingredients. Set aside.
4. Begin the preparation of the muffin batter by sifting all the dry ingredients into a bowl.
5. Combine egg, oil, milk and vanilla.
6. Add the dry ingredients to wet mix and gently fold to combine. Do not over mix.
7. Scoop a tablespoon of batter into each of the muffin wells. Drop a dollop of the cheesecake mixture on top of the batter.
8. Divide the chopped strawberries in half. Evenly distribute one half of the strawberries over the cheesecake mix. Divide the rest of the muffin batter evenly among all the muffin cups.
9. Sprinkle rest of the strawberries over the batter, followed by the streusel topping.
10. Bake for 25-27 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely.

Super Crown Muffins

 

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Baking is one of my favorite ways to start my day! It doesn’t matter what day of the week it is – if I get the desire, I jump to action, pulling out the staples while thinking about the flavors or the mix-ins.

20150209_071820Even though they mostly turned out deliciously moist and flavorful, I was never fully impressed with how they looked. For every batch I pulled out of the oven, my hankering for perfecting the beautiful super crowns you see in coffeehouse muffins kept getting stronger! No matter how much I researched on tips and techniques, my heart would sink every time I pulled out a delicious yet flat muffin batch – well, until this week!

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So, you see, I didn’t give up! I kept whipping up batch after batch nearly every week! After all, they do make great after school snack or mid morning pick me upper even if they are flat topped! I tried tweaking an ingredient here and ingredient there, while still trying to keep the end product relatively healthy! Yes, “healthy” is a loosely used term, so let me explain what I mean. These muffins don’t use much added fat (1/4 cup oil for a dozen), use a blend of whole wheat, all purpose and wheat germ, touch of honey and a bit of boost from 1% milk and fat free yogurt! In my opinion, this probably qualifies as relatively healthy compared to what you will pick up at the grocery store or your favorite coffeehouse. And the best part….this recipe is awesome for those of you who want to use few different mix-ins – like the blueberries and chocolate chip versions I made here. Read on to find out more!

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So, unlike what you might read on the internet about having to overfill the muffin pans to achieve the sky-high crown effect, these muffins do just great with about 3/4 fill. They puff up so beautifully that I sometimes catch myself taking a few peeks before they are done! 🙂 And the golden color….You have to try this to experience the joy yourself! So, I hope you will grab couple of mixing bowls and go to task! Enjoy!

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Super Crown Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
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Ingredients
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup toasted wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup fat free plain yogurt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/4 cup honey
1 cup 1% milk
Add-ins: Chocolate chips, nuts, berries…
Optional: Streusel topping: Combine 2 tablespoons all purpose flour, 1 teaspoon brown sugar, 1/4 cup rolled oats, 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease a 12-well muffin pan and set aside (or alternatively use paper liners)
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients
3. In a small mixing bowl, combine all the wet ingredients
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and gently fold in just until the flour mixture gets moistened. DO NOT OVERMIX!
5. Scoop about a tablespoon of batter into each greased well. Add a few chocolate chips or berries or whatever you choose. Divide rest of the batter evenly among all the wells and top with few more chocolate chips or other add-in of your choice.
6. If using streusel topping, divide it evenly among all the muffins.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes till the crowns are puffed up and beautifully golden!
8. At the end of baking, remove the pan and let the muffins cool for a few minutes before moving them to a cooling rack to cool completely.

You can refrigerate these muffins for 3-5 days. Because of the low fat content, the muffins taste better when you microwave for just a few seconds!

Protein-Packed Banana-Date Muffins

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Adapted from a Cooking Light (July 2007) recipe, these muffins were just what I needed to make use of two ripe bananas!

I modified the original recipe by adding in more protein and cutting down on sugar. These muffins use predominantly white whole wheat flour, some soy flour and Greek yogurt. Although the muffins are on the dense side, they are very flavorful and not overly sweet. Banana-date combination yields a wonderful natural sweetness – so much that I might be tempted to cut down the sugar a little more from the 1/2 cup. Best part yet is that these muffins have barely any added oil or butter. Just 2 tablespoons for 16 muffins! Original recipe does not have any though.

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These muffins store well for a few days and can even be frozen and thawed to serve for a grab ‘n go breakfast or snack.

If you plan to use Greek yogurt instead of regular plain yogurt, you might want to consider adding few tablespoons of milk to loosen up the batter a bit and add little extra moisture. Since Greek yogurt is double strained, it is much thicker than regular yogurt. I will certainly be adding the extra milk in my next batch. Also, although the original recipe does not mention any flavorings, I think either cinnamon, vanilla or almond extract will round off the flavor of these muffins.

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All in all, a winning recipe and would be keeper! Try a batch and let me know what you guys think!

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Protein-Packed Banana-Date Muffins

  • Servings: 16 muffins
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Ingredients
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup soy flour
1 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat bran
2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 large egg
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 – 1 cup chopped dates tossed in a tablespoon of flour
1/3 – 1/2 cup chopped nuts such as walnuts, pecans or almonds
3 tablespoons ground flax

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line muffin pan with liners or lightly spray with cooking spray and a dusting of flour.
2. Combine flours with oats, brown sugar, wheat bran, baking soda and salt.
3. Combine yogurt, banana oil and egg.
4. Add liquid mixture to dry ingredients and stir gently to combine.
5. Fold in dates and nuts.
6. Spoon into muffin cups and top with a light sprinkling of ground flax.
7. Bake for about 20 minutes till muffins are golden brown on top and are baked through.
8. Remove from oven, let stand in the muffin pan for 5 minutes and then transfer to wire rack to cool completely.
9. Store them tightly covered.

(NOTE: Tossing the dates in flour prevents them from sinking to the bottom of the muffins.)

Whole wheat chocolate chip muffin

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Of late, I am trying to have on-hand at least one “to-go” type of food item for those days when everyone at home is running around like a hamster trying to get ready to start the day.  One of my ultimate favorite is Swiss-style muesli (aka overnight oats, chia pudding). Store bought granola bars (and their friends and family) are convenient but they are usually packed with lots of refined sugars and other unnecessary ingredients that are used to extend their shelf-life. So, I have been thinking of alternatives to help us eat a litter healthier.

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This is where this recipe fits in. I am not saying these whole wheat muffins are totally healthy at all. They are definitely carb-heavy. Each muffin has about a tablespoon of added sugar (which equates to about 12 grams/48 calories of added sugar in each muffin plus whatever is in the chocolate chips). American Heart Association recommends less than 100 calories from sugar for women and 150 for men. On the other hand, 12 muffins use up only 2 eggs and 1/4 cup of butter, so I guess that may qualify them to be low-fat? 🙂

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Having said that, I think these are probably better for you than most of the regular muffins that one might get at a grocery store, school/office cafeteria or at a coffee-shop. If you are used to super moist and light muffins, be forewarned that these muffins are on the denser side due to the small amount of added fat and the denseness of whole wheat as compared to all-purpose flour. However, these are quite soft and full of flavor (especially with the hint of orange flavor in them) and I hope you will enjoy them as much as we did.

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Whole wheat chocolate muffin

  • Servings: 12
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Ingredients
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup prune puree (homemade or store bought)
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup 1% milk
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax
1/4 cup cocoa (I used Dutch processed)
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preparation
1. Preheat oven to 350F.
2. In a large bowl, blend butter, prune puree and sugar until well mixed and light.
3. Add eggs, one at a time, blending well after each addition.
4. Add vanilla and orange zest.
5. Mix all the dry ingredients, except chocolate chips in a medium bowl.
6. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients alternating with 1% milk.
7. Slowly stir in chocolate chips.
8. Pour batter into a 12-muffin pan lightly sprayed with non-stick cooking spray or lined with paper liners.
9. Bake in the preheated oven for 16-19 minutes and test for doneness.
10. Let cool and transfer to airtight storage container.