“Mom, a muffin is sort of like a little cake, right?” This is what my 6 year old son asked as he took one of these sweet little muffins. Yes, they are very much like a little lemon cake with some blueberries in it and they are fabulous. Also, quite easy to make. Your breakfast table will thank you for it.
I used frozen blueberries here. Dropping them into the dry mixture allows each berry to be coated so they don’t clump together. When I stirred the dry in with the wet ingredients the frozen blueberries created a lovely lavender hue in the batter.
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen.
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin pan or use paper liners like I do. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the blueberries. In another medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the milk, oil and lemon zest, then whisk in the lemon juice. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture until blended; do not overmix.
Spoon the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let the muffins stand in the pan for 5 minutes, then carefully transfer them to a rack to cool slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Adapted from Food & Wine August 2005
We begin and end this month with special brunch food and a big hiatus in between two recipes while I took care of some other business. From now on expect a new recipe every week, each one easy and delicious.
Sugared Puffs, ready to eat.
These little beauties fall somewhere in between a donut and a popover. They are lightweight, baked, slightly sweet and don’t feel greasy. I can’t attest to how well they taste a day or two after baking—they are typically gone shortly after coming out of the oven.
These are perfect for taking to a morning playdate or when having people over to Come See the Baby.
- Softened butter for pan greasing
- 2 tbsp butter, melted
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5 tsp sugar
- 1 cup flour
Out of the oven but naked, awaiting their coating.
for the coating:
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- zest of one orange (optional)
- 4 tbsp butter, melted
Preheat the oven to 400˚. Grease a nonstick muffin pan with softened butter. Put the 2 tbsp melted butter, eggs, milk, salt and sugar in a blender or food processor and whiz for a few seconds. Add the flour and whiz for 5-8 seconds, just until smooth. Divide the batter among the greased molds filling ½ to 2/3 full. Bake for 35 minutes until the puffs are deep brown. Remove from the oven, cool for a few minutes and remove them from the pan.
Rollin’ in the sugar
Mix the sugar, cinnamon and orange zest in a medium bowl. Brush each puff all over with melted butter then roll on the sugar mixture to coat completely. Let cool on a rack or plate.
Best eaten warm.
I lifted this recipe from the NY Times a few years ago who credit David Lebovitz for these delights. I added the orange zest to the coating which was inspired by the Morning Buns at Tartine in San Francisco, an old haunt of mine.
We take our pancakes seriously in my house. When I make pancakes, I want to make sure the good feeling lasts for a few days so I always make enough to freeze. My recipe for excellent pancakes is simple: Bisquick. I’ve tried making my own from scratch but I can’t beat the consistency and ease of Bisquick. My secret is that I like to personalize the Bisquick pancake mix to suit my tastes which can be done in under a minute. Here’s how I do it: measure out the dry Bisquick. Add one or both of the following: a ½ tsp of cinnamon, a few dashes of nutmeg. Using a wire whisk, stir these in thoroughly. After you add the milk and eggs, mix in a ½ tsp of vanilla extract. Cook pancakes according to the directions on the box.
Summer option: In summer I like to add the zest of a lemon or two and blueberries instead of the more wintery cinnamon/vanilla combo. Add the zest to the wet batter. If your blueberries are frozen, as mine usually are, drop them onto each pancake right after you’ve poured the batter onto the griddle. Fresh berries can be added to the batter and mixed in.
drop berries into the pancakes right after they hit the griddle
Once you’ve used all the batter to make pancakes and you’ve eaten your fill, let the uneaten pancakes cool on a wire rack. Transfer them to a baking sheet and arrange them so they are not touching each other. Put the sheet with the pancakes in the freezer for an hour or so. I’ve been know to forget and leave them in the freezer all day, its not a problem. Once they are frozen, move them into a freezer bag and take them out next time you want pancakes. Reheat and enjoy. (I don’t have a microwave to I heat mine up in the toaster on low.)
If you have a more than one child or really really love pancakes, go ahead and double the Bisquick recipe.
As an added bonus: a frozen pancake is great for a teething baby to chew on. A room temperature pancake eaten out of hand without syrup makes a nice toddler snack.
Bananas in my house seem to have two states of being: greenish with a hint of yellow or brown and slimey. There is a brief period which can be measured in hours where they are yellow with brown freckles but if you don’t look quickly they go dark. What to do? Bake them!
There are some baked goods in this world that are great gluten-free and some…not so much. Luckily, these muffins are delicious if you bake them with gluten-free flour and not dry at all. The banana keeps them moist without being mushy. They also work well with regular flour.
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour/gluten-free flour
- 1 tsp xantham gum but only if using gluten free flour
- 1 ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas
- ½ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup packed brown sugar
- ½ cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- ¼ cup whole milk
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with paper liners.
Stir flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg into a large bowl. Add xantham gum if necessary. In a medium bowl mix bananas, sugars, melted butter, milk and egg. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Fold in ½ the nuts. Spoon the batter into muffin cups to half full and sprinkle with nuts. Bake until golden brown and the toothpick comes out clean. About 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
Warm, soothing, delicious…
One of my very favorite things about fall is apple pie. There is nothing like the smell of fresh apple pie baking in your house to make it feel cozy and warm. Apple pie triggers the comfort sensors in your brain. The taste can soothe your weary soul. Apple pie provides a happy place.
I find that Granny Smith apples make the best pie; they are crisp and tart. Their sharp taste blends with the brown sugar to create a complex flavor. The crisp texture of Grannys meant they will not feel mushy once the apples have been baked. Now I know there are people who will argue til the cows come home that a crust made from scratch is superior and easy and I don’t begrudge those people their opinions one bit. But you must know this: those same people have gone on and on abut how much they love my pie crust which they are unaware comes from a box at the supermarket. That’s right, Pillsbury roll out crusts are my friends and I’m proud of it.
Since I am a dedicated pie maker and apple is my signature pie, I invested in an apple peeler-corer device that makes the prep work about a million times easier. We lovingly refer to is as the Apple Torture Device since it looks like something vaguely Medieval. Between the pre-made crust and the Apple Torture Device, it could not be easier to make a pie. You have my permission to eat the whole thing in one sitting.
7 granny smith apples
½ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tbsp butter, cut into 8 small cubes
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 package roll-out crust
Pre heat the oven to 350. Take the crust out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. Peel and core the apples, put them in a large bowl. Toss the sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg with the apples. Set aside. Roll out one crust on a floured surface using a rolling pin to lightly flatten it. You don’t want it to stretch out too much, it will be too thin and much up during baking. Place the crust in a 9” pie pan and lightly press at the top edges of the pan. Fill with the apple mixture dotting the top with butter. Roll out the second crust just enough to flatten it’s curled edges. Lat it on top and squeeze the edges of the top and bottom crusts together with your thumb and index finger. Using a sharp knife, carefully cut a few slits in the top for venting.
Bake for 1 hour at 350 or until crust becomes golden brown. You may need to place a tray in the lower oven rack to catch any overzealous pie juice. Let cool for 1 hour, preferably on a windowsill.
One cannot understate the value of a hearty snack when one is nursing a baby. When living with a baby on the boob, it becomes second nature to do any number of things with a single arm, the very least of which is feeding oneself while the little one gets their meal too.
Knives and forks have little place in the life of a nursing mom and her meals. That is why the One Armed Omlette makes so much sense, you can get your egg protein with veggies and eat it straight out of your hand. Think of them as little savory muffins with cheese and onion but without all the breadiness. Try adding any herbs you happen to have in your kitchen. Dill, basil or thyme, for example, would blend really well with these simple ingredients.
Gluten free conversion: These little treats call for breadcrumbs, which can easily be converted to the gluten-free type. Try ground up gluten-free pretzels to make breadcrumbs.
Dairy-free conversion: try it without the cheese
2 medium zucchini, shredded
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup breadcrumbs
½ cup chopped onion
½ tsp dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400
Place the shredded zucchini in a clean cloth towel. Gather the towel into a bundle, hold it over the sink while you squeeze the zucchini bunch firmly to drain the excess water. Place the drained zucchini in a large bowl with all the other ingredients and blend together thoroughly with a spatula. Prepare a muffin pan with either paper liners or by using cooking spray. Fill about halfway. Bake for 20 minutes. Makes one dozen.
These will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 days. The can be frozen and re-heated on low.
This recipe was adapted from The Two Bite Club’s recipe for zucchini tots. I doubled the ingredients and used a full sized muffin pan. Thanks Two Bite!
I don’t know about you but I get really hungry in the mornings. Around mid-morning I am ravenous and in need of a second breakfast since the first one probably consisted of cereal or instant oatmeal with my coffee. This breakfast burrito hits the spot and gives me energy to make it through whatever the rest of the morning has in store for me. Spit-up in my hair? Explosive diaper changes? Bring it on!
2 eggs beaten
1 flour tortilla or 2 corn tortillas*
1 oz Monterey jack cheese grated
¼ avocado cut into slices
canola or vegetable oil
Heat a large fry pan on medium heat. Put the tortilla in the pan and flip frequently, until it gets hot. Before it starts to burn, put the tortilla on a plate, sprinkle with cheese. Reduce the heated pan to medium low and add a little vegetable oil, enough to coat it. Add the beaten eggs and scramble. Put the scrambled eggs on the tortilla(s), top with salsa and avocado slices.
*Flour tortillas tend to be larger, burrito-sized but corn tortillas are almost always smaller-taco size. For those of you going wheat-less, corn tortillas should be a staple in your refrigerator.