Get Out Your Shaking Stick

I’ve been making tons of muffins this summer, with varying degrees of success. Most of the time they get eaten up so quickly that I am lucky to snap a quick photo before they’re gone, and sometimes even my photo model gets pilfered. So I thought I had better write up a post compiling some recipe notes for future reference—get ready for more muffins than you can shake a stick at!

I bake my muffins in a 9-well Pedrini LeLillotte silicone muffin pan that I’ve had for probably about 6 years. It makes smallish muffins that frequently resemble hockey pucks, but up until the past few months, it has given me absolutely no issues with sticking, no matter what I put in the muffins. I suspect that it is reaching the end of its lifespan, however, and was very sad to see that my particular brand was no longer available anywhere; I’m currently debating what to replace it with, not being a fan of paper muffin liners.

Raspberry Nibby Muffins

If I remember correctly, these muffins were an adaptation of these lemon-poppy seed muffins. I made them way back at the beginning of July, the start of berry season, using cacao nibs for crunch and adding a handful of organic raspberries from the farmer’s market to half the batter, knowing that chances were I would only be eating berry-free ones myself. To further distinguish between the varieties, I sprinkled the tops of the nib-only muffins with coconut-infused sugar (as opposed to coconut sugar, which I have only just heard of and really want to try), and the tops of the raspberry-laced muffins with nibby sugar. These were tasty and very pretty, if a little dry.

Apple-Oatmeal and Apple Sourdough Muffins

These two varieties of apple muffins were both gobbled up before I could photograph them. The former was adapted from the Apple-Nut Muffin Cake recipe in Dorie’s Baking book and the latter from The Baking Barrister. For Dorie’s recipe, I soaked the whole grains and nuts in milk and yogurt for a few hours before adding the remaining ingredients, and adjusted the leavening to account for the yogurt’s acidity. To me, these tasted more like oatmeal nut muffins with bits of apple than apple muffins, per se; however, they were tender and moist with good textural chunks, and not overly sweet. I plan to make another batch with dates in place of or in addition to the apple bits, and will try to write down my tweaks when I do.

As for the sourdough muffin recipe, I used half and half whole wheat flour and all-purpose, mirroring the composition of my starter, and I left the apples in larger slices. The muffins turned out alright, but seemed kind of bland to me; the apple was definitely chunkier than I prefer, and they dried out after 24 hours. All in all, I was underwhelmed by this recipe, but I will likely play around with sourdough muffins again in the future.

Peach Butter Muffins

These muffins, moistened with that ubiquitous peach butter, were moist and reasonably tasty. I had hoped to do a peaches-and-cream thing using a yogurt swirl, but I was too impatient to drain my yogurt long enough so it wasn’t very successful. All in all, this was a pretty forgettable recipe, and I didn’t bother writing it down. Not the peach butter’s fault, though!

Chocolate Chip Beet Muffins

I made these muffins based on a Bundt cake recipe, using a combination of roasted golden beet puree (using the beets I left out of that risotto) and homemade applesauce made from quickly steamed apples. The beet flavor was very subtle, partly due to the variety, which is not as overtly earthy as the red ones, and partly due to the small amount I had on hand. I don’t know if my husband even realized the beet was there. These muffins are egg-free, and vegan if you go with non-dairy chocolate. The combination of oil and apple-beet puree made for muffins that stayed super-moist, and the chocolate chips made them decadent; I halved the recipe for my available ingredients, but we ate them so fast that I wished I had made the full-sized batch. I won’t make that mistake again!

Chocolate Chip Yogurt Muffins

These are more egg-free muffins. I didn’t get any photos because they baked up so oddly, with their muffin-tops all slid off to the side like the convection was blowing them around. I’ve never seen muffins behave like that, and will be very curious to see if future batches do the same. They were slightly dry the day of baking and reminded us very much of the eggless yogurt chocolate chip cookies I made a few weeks ago, but seemed to absorb moisture overnight and were much tastier the next day, an attribute which actually makes this a desirable recipe in my book—I bake muffins for the next few days’ breakfast, after all, and we run out too fast if the fresh, warm ones are irresistible.

1 1/2 C all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 C organic sugar
1/4 C canola oil
1/4 C plain yogurt
1 C milk
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 C chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F and prepare a muffin tin. In a bowl, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. In a 2-cup measure, whisk together the oil, yogurt, milk, and vinegar. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir just until incorporated. Add the chocolate chips and spoon into muffin cups. Bake for 18-20 minutes for regular size muffin tins.

Source: The Witchy Kitchen.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins (aka Cannoli Muffins)

This batch of muffins came out of trying to find a good way to use up a cup of chocolate ricotta-cream cheese mixture leftover from filling cannolis. It came down to a choice between making crepes or muffins, and the latter is just much more practical for us. The finished muffins were slightly tweaked from a Mollie Katzen recipe: I added a bit of cinnamon, decreased the sugar to 1 cup since my ricotta blend was slightly sweetened, and in a moment of madness, decided to omit the chocolate chips since there was shaved chocolate in the cannoli filling already. Fresh from the oven, these muffins were uninspired, dense, and almost more bitter than sweet. The next day, they were a different beast altogether: moist, rich, and better balanced, very much like my chocolate yogurt loaf. They would still have been better with chocolate chips, though; Jeremy smeared them with peanut butter, and I kept envisioning a chocolate glaze and white squiggles of frosting on top, a la Hostess Cupcakes. The recipe made about 18 muffins, so they lasted a few days, and I’d happily make them again.

Chocolate Ricotta Muffins

1 C ricotta cheese (I used a blend of 2:1 drained ricotta and cream cheese, sweetened with powdered sugar and melted semi-sweet chocolate)
2 large eggs
1 1/3 C milk
1 T pure vanilla extract
4 T unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 C all-purpose flour
1 1/4 C granulated white sugar (or slightly less if your ricotta is pre-sweetened)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 C Dutch processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Place rack in the middle of the oven and prepare your muffin pan.

In a medium sized bowl, whisk the ricotta cheese and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the milk, vanilla extract, and cooled and melted butter, mixing well. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Add the ricotta mixture to the flour mixture. Stir just until combined and then fold in the chocolate chips; do not overmix. Divide the batter amongst the 16 muffin cups using two spoons or an appropriately sized disher.

Place in the oven and bake about 20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.

Source: Mollie Katzen via Joy of Baking.

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