Banana Muffins

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My freezer was starting to look like I was stock piling bananas for monkey’s at the zoo.  I love bananas, but there is a point where they just get too ripe, blah!  As soon as they go beyond being edible (for me) I throw them in the freezer, I hate wasting them.

As much as I wanted to make my ‘go to’ banana cake, I knew if I did I would have, more thank likely, eaten the entire thing! It has happened!  Trying to be adventurous I went looking for a new banana bread recipe.  Not having much experience with making banana things I really didn’t know what I was looking for.  I find banana bread is either really good or is just awful, there isn’t much of a middle ground for me.  Usually they are very bananay (is that a word?) and wet, almost rubbery, or they are flavourless and dry! I want something in the middle, flavourful and moist.

After reading many recipes I realized I should not have taken ALL of the bananas out of the freezer!  Most recipes were calling for 3 or 4 bananas, I had 8 that were semi frozen, so I chose 2 recipes to try! Problem solved!

The first recipe I tried was adapted from Perfect Banana Bread from Your Cup of Cake

Banana Bread

2 eggs beaten
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice
½ cup oil
1 ¼ cup mashed ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ¾ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
Directions:
** If your bananas are frozen take them out of the freezer with plenty of time to thaw, I forgot to do this!  I also did not peel the bananas before freezing them.  As my hands are freezing while I tried to peel/cut the peel off of the bananas I hear Gina, as she dashes to the freezer at work, “always peel the bananas before freezing!” I know understand!!**
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1. Preheat oven to 340ºF

2. Prepare your loaf pan or muffin tins

3. In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs.

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4.    Pour milk into a measuring cup, not quite measuring 1/3 and add lemon juice to the milk to let sit for 2 minutes.

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5.    Add oil to eggs and beat again.  Add milk and vanilla and beat again.

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6.   Mash bananas thoroughly and add to eggs, oil and milk.

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7.    In a separate bowl, sift sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together.

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8. Slowly stir into wet ingredients.  Mix only until incorporated.

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9.   Pour into prepared loaf pan or muffin tins

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10. bake until tooth pick comes out clean, approx 35 mins

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11. Let cool until able to handle then remove and cool completely on wire rack

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These are delicious! I was not thrilled with their appearance, but the taste won me over.

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The centre was perfectly moist. The crumb was just right, not dry and not rubbery, as some banana muffins are.

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The banana flavour was spot on.

These muffins got rave reviews, everyone loved them!  The only thing that could have made them a tad bit better is chocolate chips! 🙂

Thank you Lizzy of Your Cup of Cake!

 

Zucchini Muffins

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This morning I got the itch to bake something, I just wasn’t sure what it would be.  It was the perfect day, nice and cool with no humidity.  I decided on oatmeal cookies, hadn’t made them in a long time.  One problem, every recipe I want to try has the dough resting a few hours but best over night!  I didn’t have time for that today, such disappointment.  I hate when you are all geared up for something and it doesn’t happen.  (sigh)

I decided on zucchini muffins.  I found the recipe a few weeks back and had some zucchini to use up.  The only other zucchini recipe I had baked was my Mom’s zucchini loaf, which is delicious, but I like to try something new.  I found this recipe on Pinterest, it was the picture that caught my attention, it looked so moist and fluffy, not dense like most zucchini items I have had.

Zucchini Muffins

from Health

1.5 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1.5 cups grated zucchini (about 2 small to medium-size zucc’s)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. vanilla extract (or vanilla paste)
1/3 cup canola oil
2 tsp. baking powder
Cinnamon and sugar for topping

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Prepare muffin tin with muffin liners.

2. In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugars, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

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3. In a medium bowl, combine grated zucchini, eggs, vanilla, and oil. Stir well to combine.

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4.  Gently stir zucchini into flour mixture. Be careful not to overwork this—it will lead to dense muffins!

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5. Fill lined muffin tins about 3/4 of the way up with the batter and then sprinkle cinnamon and sugar on each (I forgot to do this!) .

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6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until golden.

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They Look perfect!

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They didn’t stick to the wrapper

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Look at all that wonderful zucchini

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These muffins were fantastic!  I am used to most zucchini breads which are dense and more like a pound cake.  These were light and airy.  They had a wonderful crumb, just like a muffin.  These were a huge hit, everyone loved them.  I think I would add more cinnamon next time, but I am a bit of a cinnamon freak. Quite delicious, glad I came across this one.

Bran Muffins

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I do love a bran muffin, but had never made one before.  Well, I should say I have never made a ‘real, homemade bran muffin’.  Growing up Mom and I always made the Quaker, just add water, muffins.  We would stir in a pile of raisins and they were delicious!  One of my favourite after school snacks was bran muffins, sliced in half with a thick slice of extra old cheddar cheese on each side.  I don’t know what it was but the bite from the old cheese and the sweet of the raisin bran muffin went together amazingly (I’m salivating as I am thinking about it!).  Back to the muffins.  A lot of times when you get a homemade bran muffin they are similar to hockey pucks, hard, dense and flavorless, yuck!  Usually, when you get them out, say at Tim Horton’s or a grocery store, they are ok, but they leave an awful artificial taste, that stays with you for hours. The best one I have found is at Country Style.

I was on a mission to make a moist, flavourful raisin bran muffin.  As when you search any recipe there are millions of results, the trick is to pick a good one.  Many are dubbed as “The Best” but everyone is bias.  After reading many, many recipes I came across this one from The Moveable Feast, simply titled Mom’s Bran Muffins. I am not entirely sure if it was the look of the muffins, the raving reviews or the story she told in her blog post, all I know is I wanted to make them!

Bran Muffins

Adapted from The Moveable Feast

Makes 12 good size muffins

Amy’s Notes: These are not overly sweet, so if you want a sweeter more “treat” of muffin you might want to increase the honey a bit. This recipe can be easily doubled or tripled and muffins freeze and reheat well.

1 cup bran
1 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup flour (any kind will do)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
optional: golden raisins, walnuts

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line muffin tins with muffin cups

2. In a large bowl, combine the bran, buttermilk (I didn’t have buttermilk and can’t handle the curdling of making your own so I just used milk) and baking soda. The baking soda should activate and begin to create bubbles through the mixture. Set aside

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3. Mix the egg, vegetable oil, molasses, honey and vanilla in another smaller bowl until smooth.

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4. Add the this mixture to the bran mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Set aside.

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5. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt (and raisins and walnuts, if using).

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6. Pour flour mixture over the bran mixture and stir until combined, but make sure not to over mix.

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7. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin, filling each cup about 3/4 full.

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8. Bake in preheated oven for about 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tooth pick inserted comes out clean

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My search is over!  These muffins are amazing!    They taste exactly how I envision the best bran muffin to taste.  They were sort of sweet, maybe due to all the raisins, but not too much, you still feel you are having a healthy muffin.

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They are moist, light and have an airy texture, no hockey pucks here.  The crumb was excellent.

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Now, I may lose some of you here, but don’t knock it until you try it!  Cut the muffin in half, top and bottom, (because we all know the muffin top is the best part!) and top with a thick slice of extra old cheddar cheese….

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Excellent! Instantly brought back to my childhood.

Thanks to The Moveable Feast for this wonderful Bran Muffin recipe!  I also go rave reviews and will be making these for years to come.  Next time I will use smaller cups, just to get a bigger ‘muffin top’.  I will also try to make them with the buttermilk and see if if makes any difference, but I think they were fantastic just the way they were.

Best Ever Blueberry Muffins

Who doesn’t love muffins? It’s breakfast, it’s a snack, it’s dessert, it’s sweet, or savory.  I have a love hate relationship with blueberry muffins.  I love them, but everywhere I get them they have that artificial “blueberry flavour” that you taste for hours, yuck! I have tried a few recipes but this one is, ‘the one’.

I found this recipe while browsing Pinterest.  The picture and title of the Pin caught my attention, “Best Ever Blueberry Muffin”. Now, we have all had recipes that were “the best” in someone elses eyes, and when you make them you think ‘Really? someone thought these were good?’ It is amazing how personal preferences are so different!  These, they live up to the name, they really were the best ever blueberry muffins (that I have tasted, at least).

Best Ever Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from A Cook’s Quest

Sugar Topping

1/3 cup (21/3 ounces) sugar
1½ teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

If topping with lemon sugar, stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.

Streusel Topping
3 T white sugar
3 T brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
5 T melted butter

If topping the muffins with streusel, combine ingredients until it is the size of peas and set aside.

**As suggested by A Cook’s Quest, depending on your location you may need more or less of the melted butter to achieve the crumble, I only needed 3 T’s of melted butter**


Muffins
2 cups (or less if you are me!) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups  plus 1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon water
2 1/2 cups  unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. If your oven cooks on the hot side normally, reduce the heat.  Some people have commented that 425 was too hot.  I would recommend getting a thermometer for your oven if you aren’t sure.  

2. Prepare standard muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray or liners.

3. Bring 1 cup blueberries, water,  and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing the berries with your potato masher or fork several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced by about half.  This will take about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.

Forgot to take a picture of the final product

4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.

5. Whisk remaining sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until thick and well combined.

6. Slowly mix in butter and oil until combined.

7. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla.

8. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)

9. Using a cookie scoop or large spoon, divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).

10. Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using chopstick or skewer, gently swirl berry filling into batter using figure-eight motion.

11. Sprinkle lemon sugar or streusel evenly over muffins. **this is where I read the directions wrong!  I made both the lemon sugar AND the streusel.  So not to waste I used all the streusel and some of the lemon sugar.**


12. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

A thing of beauty!

The best blueberry muffin ever, have I mentioned that? Everything about this muffin, just works.  The muffin itself has a wonderful texture, moist, not crumbly.  Just enough blueberries without being too many.  The addition of the blueberry sauce gives it that extra sweet kick.

The crumb topping is delicious.  The addition of a little crunch really brings it to another level.  Even though I made the error of making BOTH of the toppings instead of just one, I would do it again!  Having that little hint of lemon really brought out the blueberry and the refreshing citrus zing.

Mom, who does not like blueberry muffins, said “it was excellent!” and went back for more.

Excellent recipe that comes together quite easily.  Try them you won’t be disappointed!

Recipe suggested to eat them warm.  I prefered them cold, much more flavour.

**A Cook’s Quest – These muffins can be flavored with any variety of fruits and toppings.  Using the muffin recipe as a base for any flavor you like!**

Applesauce Muffins

 

Mom and I were at Gramma and Poppa’s the other day and she was just in the midst of making some homemade muffins!  This was right up my ally, I offered to help and was turned down flat, several times.  I now realize where I got my ‘not so organized, disaster stricken, kitchen looking like a hurricane went threw’ baking style from 🙂  There was stuff everywhere, just like when I bake.  But I gotta say, it is much more fun baking when you are not worrying about the mess you make and cleaning it up after then trying to be neat and tidy and not spill a drop.  Sorta like never trust a skinny chef, never trust a tidy baker! lol Anyways…..

I don’t know if it is just me, but it seems that everything Gramma makes is just fabulous!  Not sure if it just because it is someone else making it (always tastes better when someone else makes it) or if it is because it has that Gramma love in it (which would be all the good stuff, butter, lard, no imitation crap!)  Either way everything at Gramma’s is always tasty and very hard, if not impossible to turn down!

So, back to the muffins.  I was over visiting on my lunch and time was tight, I didn’t think there would be time for me to try them.  As luck would have it, they came out of th oven 5 minutes before I had to go.  Man, was I glad, they were delicious! I took an extra one home, but it wasn’t eaten by 8 pm, so I ate it too!  The next day I had to make them, I had all the ingredients in the house, so why not!

Applesauce Muffins

1/2 cup butter

3/4 cup Brown Sugar (loosely packed)

1 egg

1 cup Flour

1/2 tsp Cinnamon (we used almost 1 tsp)

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup apple sauce (we used closer to a cup)

1/2 cup raisins

1 cup rolled oats

1/2 cup chopped nuts (walnuts)

Directions – Pre-heat oven 350 F

1. Cream butter and brown sugar

2. Beat in the egg

3. Sift all dry ingredients

4. alternately add dry ingredients and applesauce, string after each addition

5. Stir in raisins, nuts, and oats

6. Fill muffin cups 3/4 full, makes 12 muffins

7. Bake approx 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean

8.  Cool on rack

They were delicious!  Again, not as good as Gramma’s, but they’ll do.  So moist and flavourful. This will definitely be my new ‘go to’ muffin.

Thanks Gramma