Tag Archives: muffins

Chocolate Almond Muffins

I had to make muffins yesterday. I mean, I really, really wanted muffins. For once, It wasn’t hard to decide what to make. I wanted a stick-to-your-ribs snack and could double as dessert.


Out came my new(old) Better Homes and Gardens Bread Cook Book that I picked up at a thrift store last week. I love thrift store cookbooks. Whoever gave them away was bored with the recipes or never used the book in the first place. I feel like I’m giving these relics of past eating styles a second chance. Besides, certain things never change. Muffins were more or less the same in the 80’s, right?


I thought I’d remembered seeing a peanut butter muffin recipe when I scoured my new cookbook for potential winners. I was right and it was the perfect recipe to adapt to my tastes and pantry. I don’t have any straight peanut butter at the moment so out came the giant jar of almond butter. Then there was my chocolate craving…that had to be addressed. I swapped some flour for cocoa powder and used whole wheat flour instead of the all purpose called for. The result was…not as good as I had hoped. These muffins are a bit dry as I made them but I think that could easily be righted with the addition of some mashed banana, applesauce, or yogurt.


Chocolate Almond Butter Muffins
adapted from Better Homes and Gardens Bread Cook Book

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or all-purpose, or a blend…whatever you want)
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 well-beaten eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
And I would recommend – 1 mashed banana or 1/3-1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or the same amount of plain/vanilla yogurt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Sift together dry ingredients.
Cut in almond butter until mixture resembles course meal.
Add milk, eggs, and other liquid ingredients all at ounce.
Stir until just mixed.
Spoon into lined muffin tin.
Bake at 375 for 15-20 minutes or until muffins are crusty on top and smell good!
Cool for at least 30 seconds before eating!


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Chocolate Chip Carrot Muffins

I need to learn to wear an apron. I have one. It’s colorfully striped and my mom gave it to me several years ago. Do I ever think to put it on when I’m about to make a huge mess in the kitchen? No. It sits in a drawer right in front of me while oil spatters on my shirt an little flecks of tomato sauce make their way onto anything white that I might be wearing. I should really wear the apron while I’m eating, for that matter, since balsamic vinegar and pasta sauce rarely make it to my mouth without leaving a drop here and there.


When I started grating the carrots for this recipe I remembered my apron, got it out of the drawer, and put it on. No carrot juice left it’s mark on me!

Now for the muffins. It’s been a while since I’ve baked my favorite treat. The time was right for muffins this morning. I was craving chocolate after breakfast (who doesn’t?) so I shuffled through some cookbooks and my recipe box for a chocolate chip vehicle. A recipe for Carrot Cake Bars came up as the winner. I’ve made these bars many times before and they always satisfy my craving for carrot cake without making me feel too guilty if I eat several a day.

How did bars become muffins, you ask? I don’t have the right pan to make bars and muffins come pre-portioned. I swapped out raisins with chocolate chips and made the recipe vegan, since Lee ate the last eggs this morning. Necessity is the mother of invention!

Hot from the oven with melting chocolate chips in every bite, these satisfied my chocolate craving. I love how oats give muffins crunchy tops and chewy centers!


C is for carrot. C is for chocolate: Muffins on a cute little plate from my grandmother.

Chocolate Chip Carrot Muffins

Adapted from Cooking Light

2/3 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons softened butter or vegetable oil*
3/4 cup milk or non-dairy milk*
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons ground flax seed + 1/4 cup water
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon (or pumpkin pie spice, because it’s yummy)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup grated carrot
Handful semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine ground flax seed with water. Set aside.
In a medium bowl or in the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together sugar and butter (or oil).
Add the milk, flax mixture, and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, oats, wheat germ, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, stirring gently until just combined.
Fold in grated carrot and chocolate chips.
Spoon into muffin pan lined with paper or silicone liners or into silicone liners on a baking sheet. (I filled 10 silicone cups about 3/4 full and the batter rose just to the tops of the cups when baked.)

Bake at 350 F. for 25-30 minutes or until the tops are crispy and brown.

Next up: The sourdough loaf I’ve been baking but still haven’t captured on film? ICE CREAM in my new ice cream maker? I know, maybe some sourdough waffles in my untested waffle iron. I’m sure all these things will make it to the blog eventually!


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Curried Lentil Muffin Loaves


Split in half on homemade bread – leftover lentil loaf sandwich.

        Laziness is the mother of invention. Last night I was a little slow to start fixing dinner. I wasn’t sure if we were having a potluck with our sailing buddies or not so I planned a dish that I felt good about serving to other people. Most things I make don’t fall into that category.
        I started cooking the lentils for a loaf I’d fixed and enjoyed a couple of times in the past. When we learned that a potluck was not on the agenda that night, Lee and I went for a swim and came back to a pot of cooked lentils. At that point, I was feeling very lazy about making the full-fledged lentil loaf. It was supposed to take at least 45 minutes to cook and I was hungry. Since I no longer had to worry about making my dinner presentable to others, I decided to have some fun. What are muffin cups for but to cut down on cooking time and make a meal fun?
        The first step was to spice up the recipe a bit. The previous times I had made this loaf, I was disappointed with the flavor and knew it wasn’t living up it it’s potential. The recipe already included raisins and nuts so curry powder seemed like the perfect spice to add. The spice combination I came up with is by no means traditional curry flavoring. I just pulled jars off the spice rack, adding what I liked and what I thought might taste good. Really, the spices and their amounts are up to your individual taste. I do, however, highly recommend the raisins and nuts. They may seem like strange ingredients to some but they add the perfect crunch and sweetness to the lentils. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any cashews on hand. I considered trying macadamia nuts, the only plain nuts I have right now, but decided to hoard my minimal supply instead.
        Lee downed three “Texas-sized” muffin loaves and I was satisfied with two. That left one to experiment with as leftovers (and a chance for me to take a picture during the daytime). The loaves were delicious and very filling with a side of random sauteed veggies. Lee and I split a baked plantain for dessert, my first foray into plantains. I’m definitely going to get more of this Caribbean staple at the market today! It might become a favorite dessert and I’m eager to try other plantain preparations.

Curried Lentil Muffin Loaves
Adapted from Food.com

1 cup dried lentils
3 cups water

1 medium brown onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
2-3 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
2 eggs, lightly beaten (or equivalent egg replacer for a vegan version)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup unsalted cashews, if you’d like

Rinse and sort lentils.
Combine lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil; reduce to simmer and cook for about 1 hour, or until the lentils are cooked and the mixture is thick.
Set lentils aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Saute garlic and onion in a skillet until the onion is translucent.
Add the onion mixture, spices, raisins, nuts (if using), flour, and eggs to the saucepan of lentils or combine all the ingredients in a large bowl if the saucepan is not big enough.
Mix thoroughly and pour into 6 lightly oiled jumbo muffin cups. You can also make one large loaf or 12 regular-sized muffins, just adjust the baking time accordingly.
Place muffin cups on a cookie sheet if using silicon cups and bake in 350 degree oven for 35-45 minutes (on the longer end of this range for larger cups and 45+ minutes for a loaf).

Remove from oven and allow to cool. Gently remove muffins from tin or individual cups and serve with chutney or any sauce that suites your fancy.


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Carrot Quinoa Muffins


Finally, redemption. I knew I wouldn’t be happy until I’d replaced my unsatisfactory muffins with something to be proud of. This morning’s baking produced definite winners: moist carrot muffins speckled with quinoa!
I’m always trying to make extra grains for dinner so I’ll have leftovers for various uses. Last night’s dinner included quinoa, one of my favorite quick-cooking foods with Mesoamerican roots. It happened to be red quinoa, which looks all the more exotic and gives these muffins great visual texture.


As for the carrots, something about hanging out with my mom makes me crave carrot cake. Both of us consider it our favorite cake. I couldn’t let the carrots in the fridge go un-shredded knowing they could make us both very happy as a dessert!
And so, Carrot Quinoa Muffins were born! Actually, I found a recipe on the Whole Foods website and added quinoa. It was a great recipe to start with so the only other thing I changed was to cut down the flour a little because I was adding so much . That 1/4 cup of flour probably could have stayed but these muffins came out so well the way I made them that I don’t think I’ll be making any more changes!


Featured on Baking is Hot

Carrot Quinoa Muffins
Adapted from Carrot Apple Muffins from Whole Foods Market

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
In a separate, larger bowl, beat together eggs, milk, applesauce, sugar, carrot, oil, and vanilla until fully combined.
Gently stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into 12 lined or lightly oiled muffin cups.
I experimented with sprinkling a little of vanilla sugar I got the other day on top of the muffins before baking them. It turned out to be powdered vanilla sugar and probably should have gone on after baking but it made these smell fabulous in the oven!
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then remove and cool on a wire rack. I plan to store these in the fridge since they’re so moist.


Filed under muffins