Tag Archives: muffins

Monday Musings: It’s not always about winning

30 Apr

This recipe took at least five tries and a lot of perseverance to perfect.

Early this winter, I saw a cooking contest pass by in my newsfeed on social media. A local New England applesauce brand, Simply Wholesome–recently re-branded with a new name: Our Family Garden– was sponsoring a cooking contest. The participants would receive a six jars of their applesauce (two each of three different varieties) and they could submit as many recipes as they wished, as long as they utilized the applesauce in their recipes, which had to be previously unpublished, original recipes.

We love cooking contests here, we have won several of them between us, and I decided to enter the contest. The winter months are a little bit slower for me work-wise than the spring and there was enough time allotted for some trial and error as I went about figuring out how to create an original-never-been-published-before recipe.

My box of applesauce arrived within a few days of letting them know I’d be entering the contest. I was shocked to find six, full-sized samples of applesauce in the box, along with a jar of their blueberry jam as a gift for entering.

I had already decided that I wanted to try to create an apple pie type of muffin with a streusel topping. I just had to come up with a recipe and incorporate the applesauce. I began researching basic muffin recipes so that I could see what ingredients I needed and approximately how much of each  it takes to make a muffin, a muffin. Then, I added in their cinnamon applesauce, at first adding it in just to the actual muffin mix, to give them the apple pie flavor I was hoping for. As I created my streusel topping, my youngest daughter, who was home and doing a lot of cooking at the time, suggested that I add the applesauce to the topping as well. I thought that was a brilliant idea. I was creating a topping that included brown sugar, butter, quick oats, and now the applesauce too. My entire recipe was gluten free, using gluten free flour and gluten free oatmeal as well.

I made the muffins, following the recipe I’d come up with. We waited with great anticipation for them to come out of the oven. It was very exciting as we watched them cook through the window of the oven.

This wasn’t quite the result I’d been anticipating.

As we looked inside though, we saw a big mess. The muffin topping was oozing all over the place. They tasted delicious, but they were a mess. The topping was oozing and the centers were sinking.

Hmmm…not really contest-worthy.

I hadn’t thought about the fact that this really might take more than one try.

My family said the muffins were good enough to try again, so I did.

Again, and again, and again, and again.

Now I’d gone too far in the other direction.

I was determined to get this recipe right. Although the first time I made them they were too wet, by the fourth time I’d added in flour to the topping and now they were too dry, and my kids were beginning to dread coming home to the latest “after school snack” or waking up to a Saturday breakfast “surprise”  of apple pie muffins—again.

“What did you do to them,” one of the kids asked in distress this particular time. “Go back to the way they were, at least they tasted good.”

I was starting to run out of time and out of willing tasters.

I talked with my mom multiple times to get her opinion, and I thought and thought about my recipe ingredients and what seemed to be working and what didn’t.

What was I doing wrong??

Over and over in my mind I thought about all of the times I’d learned about scientists and how their hypotheses weren’t always right and how their experiments didn’t always work the first time around and how the learning takes place in the trial and error process, not necessarily in getting it right the first time around.

I was feeling like a kitchen scientist, albeit a weary one. How long did these scientists take to perfect their experiments??

The contest deadline was coming up. I’d had about two months to get this recipe right and I was not going to give up. I wasn’t even in it for the win any longer, I was in it for the personal satisfaction of accomplishing this task of creating my own recipe for the first (and possibly only) time ever. I wanted it to be good, I wanted my husband and kids to like it and be proud of me, and I wanted to get it right. I like to get things right. I like to give 110 percent all the time.

I gave it one final try. I adjusted my ingredients one last time. I begged my family to give them one last taste.

“I hope you get them right this time, they’re good, but I don’t think I can eat another one any time soon,” my oldest daughter said.

If I didn’t get the topping right this time, I really thought I might give up.

I put what I hoped would be the final batch in the oven, and I held my breath, literally. I’d added in raisins to one of the trays on the advice of my mother and two of my kids who like them, and left one without, for the one who doesn’t.

I watched them cooking in the oven. The topping seemed to be doing what it was supposed to be doing, spreading out without oozing over, and didn’t seem overly dry.

Could it be that I’d finally gotten the right balance of every ingredient down??

It seems that it could. I’d figured it out. I think I cheered out loud.

I pulled them out of the oven, and everyone took a bite. Again, I held my breath and waited for their responses.

Five thumbs up from my family.

Perfection.

Apple Pie Muffins with a Sweet Streusel topping for the win.

Except I didn’t win.

Not exactly.

I didn’t win one of the top three cash prizes that seemed attractive at the time I started out in this process.

But, I won a lot more than that. I can proudly say that I have created a recipe, my very own recipe, that was delicious, and most importantly I did not give up. I never anticipated this would take this long. I generally don’t have the patience to stick with something this long and see it through, but I could not let this one go, and I’m glad I didn’t.

Additionally, I have to say, we fell in love with this applesauce. I submitted a second recipe to the contest for Zesty BBQ pork chops which also utilized one of the varieties of applesauce, and my kids were going through the six jars like crazy, each variety was just as good as the last. I always have been a homemade applesauce kind of girl, and I have never purchased an applesauce my family has loved this much. I’m glad that we don’t live far from the Big Y markets in Massachusetts where it is going to be on the shelves under the new branding. It’ll be worth the ride just over the state line to get more. Not to mention, I recently ordered a case of their jams, as my youngest daughter finished the entire jar of blueberry jam on her own. When I heard that there were two other varieties, I decided to place an order for them.

In the end, I gained much more from this experience than I ever imagined I would have, and I have no regrets about entering, or about not winning.

Sometimes it just not about the win, it’s about the journey.

Apple Pie Muffins with Sweet Streusel Topping
by Jennifer L. Cowart

Apple pie muffins
*to make gluten free, use 1:1 gluten free all-purpose baking flour

2 cups all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup Touch of Honey Applesauce With Cinnamon

2 apples peeled, cored and diced
Optional: use only one apple and add in 2/3 cups raisins.

Sweet Streusel Topping
*to make gluten free, use gluten free oats and gluten free flour.

¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup quick oats (not instant) uncooked
1/4 cup flour
1/3 cup Touch of Honey Applesauce with Cinnamon

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray 24 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray.

2) In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3) Add in eggs, milk and applesauce. Mix until well combined.

4) Add diced apples (and raisins, if desired) and mix well.

5) Put approximately two tablespoons of batter into each muffin tin, until ¾ of the way full. Set aside. **If there are empty muffin tins, fill with water, ¾ of the way full.**

6) In a separate bowl, mix together streusel ingredients.

7) Add one teaspoon of topping to the top of each portion of batter, spreading across top of batter.

8) Bake for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of muffins comes out clean.

Best served warm.
Makes 18-24 muffins.

Finally!

 

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins from Family Food on the Table

18 Nov
The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

The combination of ingredients was what piqued my interest in this recipe.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t get off my pumpkin kick until after Thanksgiving. I’m still all about pumpkin for a few more weeks, at least.

I’m finding that this school year, due to our scattered after school schedules, I’m doing a great deal more driving than I am baking in the afternoons and evenings. Whereas I used to be able to do a quick after school baked snack at the end of my work day, this year I can only do that a couple of times a week, if I’m lucky. This means that I haven’t had a lot of new and exciting recipes to try out and to share, and for that, I apologize!

On Monday however, a recipe came across my virtual desk and it definitely piqued my interest. I actually had to read the title a couple of times to make sure I was reading it correctly, as I wasn’t sure I’d seen this combination of ingredients in the past. It’s not that it was anything crazy, it’s just that it wasn’t something I think I’d paired together in the past.

It meant that I just had to try it, just to see how it was.

 

Batter looked good, that's always a good sign!

Batter looked good, that’s always a good sign!

The recipe was for Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins, and it was from Family Food on the Table and it said chocolate chips were optional. To me, chocolate chips are almost never optional, but I liked all of the ingredients that were listed and I had them all, except for the white-wheat flour. I had white, I had wheat. I did not have white-wheat, so I decided to try using half white and half wheat instead. Otherwise, the recipe seemed perfect for an after school snack/late night snack/breakfast for our whole family; well at least for almost all of them. I forgot that one of them doesn’t like very much with peanut butter. She ended up having something else for her snack instead.

These came together quickly and easily. The prep time was estimated to be about ten minutes, and that was pretty on-target. The cook time was 18-22 minutes. A few of mine were a little soft on top, and probably could’ve cooked a little longer than the 18 that I did, but everyone was starving by the time I finished working and started baking, and everyone gets home so early now that I rushed them out, not checking each one as thoroughly as I should have.

However, despite my feeling a bit rushed, these muffins were delicious! They were hearty and healthy and deemed a keeper by all but my one non-peanut butter lover. I also noticed that there were several options listed at the end, including the option to substitute various types of nut butters such as almond butter to keep them peanut free. It also said that they were tasty with a little extra spread of peanut butter on them when eaten. One of my daughters did that, and she did say they were delicious that way too!

So if you’re as curious as I am as to the combination of peanut better and pumpkin and chocolate chips, I suggest you give these tasty muffins a try! Head on over to Family Food on the Table and check out this recipe and all their others too! Or maybe, you eat pumpkin, peanut butter and chocolate chips together all the time, and in that case, you most definitely want to head on over and check this recipe out!

Enjoy and have a great rest of your week!

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins

19 Jul
We've made these muffins at least three times since we first saw the recipe online!

We’ve made these muffins at least three times since we first saw the recipe online!

You know how much I love muffins. I’m always on the hunt for a new muffin recipe to try out. My family likes them too.

Add that to the fact that I love Nutella, and they do too, and that makes this muffin recipe from The Novice Chef absolutely perfect. A friend of mine posted it online and tagged me in the post; a list of tons of Nutella recipes all in one spot. This recipe was just the first one, just the tip of the Nutella iceberg.

My usual routine on most Saturday nights is to make a batch of muffins for us to grab and go on Sunday mornings before church. It seems to work well and these muffins were a great addition to my ever-growing list of muffin recipes for our Sunday mornings.

These muffins were also easy enough to make that one afternoon Caroline made them herself. That’s always a good sign: when someone can make the muffins for me!

So if you’re a muffin lover yourself, and a lover of Nutella, I highly recommend that you give these a try! In my opinion, the addition of bananas to the recipe makes it even better…healthier!! It calls for four, and I’ve used as few as three. I also found that using a steak knife for the swirling instead of a toothpick is easier. The batter and the Nutella are thick and a knife holds up better for a great swirl.

And finally, this recipe makes 18 muffins. For a family of 5, that’s excellent. Muffin recipes that yield a dozen are good, but those that yield 18 are better!!

**We omit the pecans when we make them, but I’m sure they’d be delicious with them too!**

Imagine waking up to these on your Sunday morning?

Imagine waking up to these on your Sunday morning?

Nutella Banana Swirl Muffins from the Novice Chef

Yield: 18 muffins

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 medium over-ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans
nutella

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin pan with liners.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until well combined. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, brown sugar. Beat in egg, vegetable oil and vanilla extract. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture, until there are no lumps. Fold in pecans.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon of Nutella and use a toothpick to swirl it into the batter.

Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Serve warm or store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

 

 

Fun Friday: Raisin Bran Muffins

9 May
Another great muffin recipe!

Another great muffin recipe!

Some people are ever-searching for the next great chocolate chip cookie recipe or the best-ever brownie recipe.

Not me.

I’m all about muffins. I’m always searching for another great muffin recipe to try out.

Each time I find one, I get excited because each and every muffin recipe is completely different from the last.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted one,  I’ve really tried to hold off, but today I just had to post a new one.

This was sent to me by my friend Gina, and it was a huge hit here at our house. I liked it because I love raisin bran muffins in general, I love the sweetness of cooked raisins, and because it makes a lot of muffins. One of the reasons I hunt down so many muffin recipes is because I often use them as after school snacks one day and breakfast the next. This recipe made enough that it was perfect for that endeavor.

The recipe originally hails from Pinch of Yum, according to the page I printed out with the recipe on it and the author is listed as Angela Oldenburger. She recommends using some of the batter as needed at first and saving the extra in the fridge to cook in a ramekin one serving at a time, at a later date. If you choose to do that, you would microwave the batter for one minute in the ramekin. I did not do that, I made all of mine at once. They go too quickly here!

I am putting this very easy recipe below. I hope you’ll try it and I hope you’ll pay a visit to Pinch of Yum and see all the deliciousness over there!

RAISIN BRAN MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup of oil

1 cup of sugar

2 eggs

2 cups of buttermilk (sub one cup of milk and one cup of plain yogurt) ***I used 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and enough milk added to that to make 2 cups.***

Fast, easy and yielding a large amount of muffins, this was the perfect recipe for me!

Fast, easy and yielding a large amount of muffins, this was the perfect recipe for me!

4 cups Raisin Bran cereal

2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp salt

DIRECTIONS

1 Mix in order and bake in muffin tin at 400 degrees for 12-20 minutes, depending on pan size. Let cool at least ten minutes. Top with butter and honey.

2. Save leftover batter in the refrigerator. For individual servings, scoop into ramekin/mug and microwave for one minute.

Fun Friday: Betty Crocker’s Banana-Cinnamon Muffins

18 Oct
These muffins were fabulous as an after school snack one fall afternoon!

These muffins were fabulous as an after school snack one fall afternoon!

If you’re a regular reader of The Whole Bag of Chips, you know I love muffins. I also love after school snacks.

Many times my snacks are muffins and if there’s enough leftover they are breakfast the next day too.

I can tell you…today’s recipe: none leftover.

These were so good.

I have tons of muffin recipes but I still love trying new ones. On this particular day I was looking to try a new recipe for banana muffins. When I saw one by Betty Crocker that incorporated bananas and cinnamon and sugar; well that had my name all over it.

These were so great, the kids all loved them.

I only made a minor modification: Instead of melting the butter at the end and dipping the muffins into it and then into cinnamon-sugar, I opted to just sprinkle some cinnamon-sugar on the tops prior to baking them.

Normally I also substitute plain nonfat yogurt instead of oil, but on this day I actually forgot and I used canola oil. It wasn’t until I dumped it in, that I realized I’d forgotten. So that’d be another substitute you might want to make if you’re trying to healthify the recipe a little bit more.

Here, from the Betty Crocker website is the recipe as they have it. I also linked to their site above.

Give these a try this weekend, they’re fantastic!

BANANA CINNAMON MUFFINS by Betty Crocker

INGREDIENTS

MUFFINS

2/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
2/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas (2 small)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 2/3 cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
TOPPING
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
DIRECTIONS
  • Heat oven to 375°F. Grease bottoms only of 12 regular-size muffin cups with shortening or spray, or line with paper baking cups.
  •  In medium bowl, beat 2/3 cup sugar, the oil and eggs with wire whisk. Stir in bananas and vanilla. Stir in remaining muffin ingredients just until moistened. Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.
  •  Bake 17 to 21 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Immediately remove from pan to cooling rack.
  •  In small bowl, mix 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Dip muffin tops into melted butter, then into cinnamon-sugar. Serve warm.

Fun Friday: Is it a cupcake or a muffin? You decide!

20 Sep

Looks like a muffin, tastes like a cupcake. What was I serving my family for breakfast?

ORIGINALLY POSTED OCTOBER 26, 2012:

This summer, one thing I wanted to do was try out some of the recipes I’d pinned on Pinterest. Today’s recipe post is one of those. I figured that if it was good, I’d post it for one of my fall/pumpkin themed posts.

Which I am, today.

But I don’t know what it is.

A muffin maybe.

Or a cupcake possibly.

Pumpkin, for sure.

I’ve seen this recipe all over the internet and Pinterest, and it’s touted as being fast, easy, tasty and a good Weight Watchers snack even.

Two ingredients for today’s muffins. Cupcakes. Whatever they are.

This recipe has two ingredients:

Cake Mix
15 ounces of pumpkin

Mix, bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.
Try them and let me know what you think! Are they a cupcake or a muffin? Are they truly healthy? No eggs, no oil or butter.

Do you sprinkle them with powdered sugar like a muffin or do you put frosting on them like a cupcake?

Muffin?

Cupcake?

Breakfast?

Or dessert?

You try them and let me know what you think!