Friday, January 14, 2011

Top of the Muffin to Ya!

bacon eggs sausage toast pancakes orange juice breakfast idea girl recipes for two squidoo
Although I am a foodie and adore good food, I am a bit picky (I can picture Jon's eyes rolling and hear him muttering under his breath "A BIT picky?!?") about what I'll eat and when.  When I'm in the mood for breakfast - and I'm talking about a big, hearty breakfast - anything sounds good...  eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, grits, French toast, pancakes, etc., etc., etc.  Man, I'm making myself hungry!!!  But, because I don't regularly eat like that for obvious reasons, it's often really difficult for me to find something that sounds good.  Let me explain...

Clockwise from top left:
Coconut-Pumpkin, Pumpkin-
Cranberry, Sweet Beet and
Dark Chocolate-Beet Muffins
I have always despised oatmeal, solely based on texture (although my good friend Jodie blogged about the one-and-only oatmeal recipe I'll touch and it's divine - Oatmeal Casserole), and I'm not a big fan of most cereals.  I like granola but it's too sweet for my usual breakfast tastes, as are most yogurts and pastries.  And to top it off, I'm allergic to and can't stand the taste or smell of cinnamon, so that eliminates about half of all breakfast foods as possible options for me (and for poor Jon since we share a house).  That leaves muffins as one of the few options.  Luckily muffins are incredibly versatile, they can be sweet or savory and they are easy to make.  Most muffins start with a basic recipe and it's very simple to make substitutions or to turn it into your own recipe completely.

Our CSA delivery yesterday.
Oh, my!
As often happens with our CSA, I was feeling overwhelmed by produce the other day and decided that I could use a lot of it by making several batches of muffins, which freeze very well.  Muffins are a portable and tasty breakfast or snack for Jon during school, so I try to make them frequently when school is in session.  I had a bunch of frozen puréed pumpkin and a whole lot of beets.  As you can see from the picture above, I made four batches and since I think four recipes are a bit too much information for one post, I'll break this into two.  This one will include the two pumpkin muffin recipes and a post in the near future will contain the two beet muffin recipes.

I almost always use white whole wheat flour when baking muffins but you can feel free to use all-purpose flour or a mix of regular whole wheat and all-purpose.  White whole wheat flour has almost the same nutrient content as the red whole wheat variety you're probably used to seeing - it's just a different variety of wheat.  It's baking properties are closer to white flour than to red whole wheat, though, which is why I favor it in baking muffins and breads.  It bakes up lighter and fluffier than dense red whole wheat.  I highly recommend giving it a try!

As always, feel free to make adjustments to these recipes to suit your tastes.

Pumpkin-Dark Chocolate Chip or Pumpkin-Cranberry Muffins

   Makes 12 muffins or 24 mini-muffins
  • 1 cup cooked, puréed pumpkin
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk *
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (use soy flour for a gluten-free version)
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder (decrease to 1 teaspoon for high-altitude)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or fresh, frozen or dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup ground walnuts or pecans
* If you don't have any buttermilk on hand, mix 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar with enough milk to make 1/2 cup and let sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Mix pumpkin, egg, sugar, buttermilk, molasses and vanilla in a large bowl.

Mix together flours, baking powder, spices, chocolate chips or cranberries and ground nuts in a separate medium bowl.

Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, being sure not to over-mix.

Fill greased muffin or mini-muffin tins about 2/3 full.  For regular muffins, bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.  For mini-muffins, bake at 350°F for 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Cool muffins in pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.  If desired, wrap individually and freeze in freezer bags.

Coconut-Pumpkin Muffins
   Makes 12 muffins
  • 1 cup cooked, puréed pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder (decrease to 1 1/2 teaspoons for high-altitude)
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 cup coconut flakes
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Mix pumpkin, eggs, brown sugar, coconut milk, oil and coconut extract in a large bowl.

Mix flour, baking powder, spices, salt and macadamia nuts in a separate medium bowl.

Gradually mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients, being sure not to over-mix.

Fill greased muffin tins about 2/3 full.  Sprinkle with coconut flakes and bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.

Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to finish cooling.

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Nutritional information for
Star$$$ Pumpkin-Cream Cheese Muffin...
It's tough to beat a good muffin.  But in my opinion, it is also hard to find a good muffin.  I guess it's the purist coming out in me, but the ingredients lists of most muffins in stores or coffee shops are downright scary.  Leave it to Americans to take the old-fashioned English-style muffin, with its minimal ingredients list and respectable nutritional value, and essentially turn it into a preservative-laced cupcake.

I remember making muffins from Jiffy-brand instant muffin mix in college because I could fill up my gut for about 29 cents. I'm not even sure that stuff could be classified as food. Packaged muffins from most grocery stores are not much better.  And I wouldn't trust a Starbucks muffin to do anything besides lodging a gooey cholesterol ball in my aorta.  I also am not especially fond of the flabby-over-the-side-of-the-jeans-muffin-top, but at least that's just an eye-sore and won't shorten my life.

Now that I've proven myself to be a complete food snob who will eat nothing that Hethyr doesn't make, allow me to plug her muffins (so to speak).  I never would have thought a chocolate beet muffin sounded edible prior to trying one, but now I'm addicted.  I'd consume them intravenously if I needed to.  I feel the same about the pumpkin muffins, the coconut muffins, the pear muffins, the chocolate cappuccino muffins or any others she's made.  And they don't have a single ingredient that scares me.

So throw the packaged muffin mix in the trash, feed the Starbucks muffins to a family of raccoons and try one of Hethyr's recipes.  That way you can store more fat in your brain and less in your muffin top.


  1. Laughing out loud once again! I LOVE your posts! :-)

  2. Mmmm... Believe it or not I actually made muffins this morning (rhubarb mini-muffins) before I read your blog... I'll have to try some of these recipes - they look great! :)

  3. Ohh...dark chocolate - beet muffins.....yummmmm. I think of these often. It is one of the things I miss about being a co-worker of Jon's. I know you mentioned freezing well; do they ship well? LOL

  4. All of it... fabulous!!! And I can make these with my gluten-free blend, no problem! Thanks for another laugh, too, Jon!