Category Archives: Muffins

Green Monster Muffins

I am a spinach monster. Over the past week, I have singlehandedly consumed an entire 1-pound container of baby spinach from Costco. Although my family does eat a lot of vegetables, none of our dinners last week required spinach, so the huge container remained untouched. I absolutely hate seeing good food go to waste, so I took it upon myself to eat it all for my lunches and snacks.

Usually I try to incorporate spinach into my meals more creatively, but since I had SO much, I ended up cramming most of it into my daily green monster smoothies. I’m sure my nutrient intake was phenomenal, but I was pretty tired of my spinach overload by the end of the week.

Yesterday, I had just a few handfuls of spinach leftover, but I felt like I would turn absolutely green if I had another smoothie. I’d been wanting to try baking with spinach, so this was the perfect opportunity. I thought about baking a savory spinach bread, but I decided a sweet one would be more interesting. After a quick search, I found a recipe for Green Monster Muffins – just like my smoothies, but in muffin form!

These are probably the healthiest muffins that I’ve ever had in my entire life. They’re made with whole wheat flour, very little oil, and lots of spinach! And they’re actually really tasty!! The muffins are slightly sweet and citrusy, and the spinach flavor is undetectable. My family didn’t love these muffins as much as I did, but at least I got them to eat their leafy greens! 🙂

Green Monster Muffins

Source: slightly adapted from The Chic Life

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup PACKED baby spinach, washed and chopped finely in a food processor
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest (I used lime zest)
  • chopped walnuts for topping

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray a 12 cup muffin tin (or 24 cup mini muffin tin) with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.

3. In a separate bowl, beat together egg and sugar until light. Then whisk in applesauce, chopped spinach, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest. Add in flour mixture and stir until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Bake in preheated oven for 14-17 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

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Mini Pecan Pie Muffins

It’s FINALLY starting to feel like summer around here. It was so warm and sunny the entire weekend! I usually prefer cold over hot weather, but it had been so incredibly dreary for the past few weeks that I was dying for some sunshine.

I had quite an active weekend (for me, anyways) – nice weather always gives me so much energy and makes me feel like doing things! Because I don’t start working until June 20th, I spend a lot of time just bumming around the house. Although I do exercise daily, the other 23 hours of my day are mostly spent sleeping, drinking tea, and keeping up with my favorite blogs. 🙂

On Saturday, though, I woke up early to go hiking with friends. I felt so productive! Also, I went out to dinner with the family and spent the evening shopping at an outdoor mall. I am now the proud owner of the cutest little bowls and a fun apron from Anthropologie, as well as some clothes that were on major sale!

I guess that was a little too much outdoorsy activity for me though because I spent the most of yesterday afternoon baking in the kitchen. I made a batch of granola, and I also baked mini pecan pie muffins because I tend to get strange cravings for fall desserts throughout the entire year.

Other than being super cute, these little muffins really do taste like pecan pie. Also, they are the easiest muffins to make EVER. The recipe calls for just 5 simple ingredients, and the whole process took a grand total of about 25 minutes. Perfect treat to take care of a pecan pie craving when I’m feeling too lazy to make a batch of these.

Mini Pecan Pie Muffins

Source: slightly adapted from Bake at 350, originally from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms by Jane Doiron

Ingredients

  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, beaten

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and spray 24 mini muffin cups with cooking spray.

2. In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients together. Spoon batter evenly among muffin cups.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 15-18 minutes. Edges will be crispy. Do not overbake. Remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

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Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

The world seems like SUCH a better place now that I am eating sugar again! Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I love being able to eat whatever I want and not have to restrict myself from my favorite food group! 🙂

I got a little too excited about eating sugar again though, and had way too much gelato, cheesecake, and doughnuts at a school event earlier this week. It was blissful. 🙂 The sugar high actually made me feel kind of sick afterwards, but it was worth it!

I think I will take it easy with sugar from now on, though. As much as I love sugar, I don’t want to revert back to my old habits of eating multiple servings of dessert a day or substituting dessert foods for meals altogether.

Even though Lent is over (thank goodness!), I’m still going to bake with no added sugar from time to time. I made a batch of sugar-free nutty apple spice muffies yesterday, and they were sooo yummy! I call these “muffies” because they look like cookies, but they are more like muffins in taste and texture.

I think my tastebuds have become accustomed to the taste of naturally sweetened desserts because the muffies tasted so much better to me than all the sugary treats I indulged in this week. They are addictively good. I singlehandedly devoured half the batch in less than 24 hours. Oh well, at least they’re healthy, right? 🙂

Nutty Apple Spice Muffies

Source: adapted from Kat’s Health Corner

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 3/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease two baking sheets.

2. Place walnuts, almonds, oats, and raisins in a food processor and process until a coarse meal forms. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine with baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg.

4. Add applesauce and vanilla to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

5. Drop heaping tablespoons of batter onto prepared baking sheets, spacing about 1 1/2 inches apart, and flatten slightly into a cookie shape.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, or until bottoms are lightly browned. Cool muffies on baking sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Filed under Breakfast, Cookies, Dessert, Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Filled Oat Muffins

Ever since giving up sugar for Lent, I’ve been baking a lot less. I can no longer whip up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies whenever I get a craving or immediately try out a new recipe I see on a blog. Well, I guess I could, but I wouldn’t be able to sample whatever I bake, and there’s no fun it that! 🙂

I’ve been searching high and low for recipes with no added sugars, and it’s been rather difficult. Many recipes don’t have any refined sugar, but still include honey, maple syrup, or molasses (all added sugars). Also, a lot of recipes call for artificial sweeteners – yuck!

Another issue with sugar-free recipes is that many of them are pretty similar. They use a lot of same ingredients such as oats, dates, raisins, and bananas, which can get a little boring. I have nothing against plain and simple desserts, but I also like a little variation in my life!

I’ve had a few baking experiments over the past couple of weeks that have produced less than stellar results, so I’ve learned not to get my hopes up when baking without added sugar. I know you don’t NEED sugar to make tasty treats, but it really does help improve the taste and texture of baked goods.

So when I saw this recipe for peanut butter filled banana muffins, I really, really hoped that they would be good. And they were! Faith claimed that they were the best muffins ever, and I have to agree that they were pretty darn spectacular.

What makes these muffins so irresistible is the amazing peanut butter and banana filling. I’m surprised that there was any left to fill the muffins – I couldn’t stop sampling it! I’ll be making these muffins again for sure, but I’ll also be whipping up batches of just the filling to snack on. I can’t get enough! 🙂

Peanut Butter Banana Filled Oat Muffins

Source: adapted from Gracefulfitness

Ingredients

For the muffins:

  • 1/2  cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons whole flax seeds (I didn’t have any, so I used sunflower seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 medium ripe bananas
  • 1/2 plain yogurt
  • 1 large egg

For the filling:

  • 1 medium ripe banana
  • 1/4 cup salted peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 6 muffin cups.

2. In a large bowl, combine flours, oats, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.

3. In a food processor, process bananas, yogurt, and egg until smooth. Pour mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not overmix.

4. To make the filling, blend banana, peanut butter, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth.

5. Scoop just under 1/4 cup of batter into each muffin cup. Place a heaping tablespoon of filling on center of each cup of batter. Top each muffin cup with another scant 1/4 cup batter.

6. Bake in preheated oven for about 15 minutes. Do not overbake. Leave muffins in pan for 5-10 minutes before removing and cooling completely on a wire rack.

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Oil-Free Apple Pie Muffin Tops

The gorgeous weather last week was so wonderful! I did things that I haven’t been able to do in ages!

I went outdoors without bundling up in my big puffy white coat, gloves, scarf, hat, and boots. During the winter, I transform into an oversized marshmallow whenever I go outside, but for a few days I looked like a human being again. I even wore heels once! 🙂

Also, I went on a lovely midnight stroll with Deborah during the middle of the week. I absolutely love  late night walks in the dark – they’re SO peaceful and relaxing! It was so nice to be able to walk outside without freezing to death.

On Friday afternoon, I ran 5 miles outside, and it was glorious. The treadmill is my best friend during the winter, but sometimes I get bored out of my mind during long runs!

And I had apple pie! Well, sort of. 🙂 They were actually apple pie muffin tops. And actually, this really has nothing to do with the beautiful weather. Just my random cravings for Thanksgiving desserts during the middle of February!

I was so pleased at how pronounced the apple pie flavor was in these muffin tops! They were wonderfully moist, dense and chewy, and they smelled so delicious that I ate two straight off the baking pan just moments after they came out of the oven!

Another reason why I love these apple pie muffin tops is that they are completely oil-free. They’re made made with whole wheat flour, so they make a great healthy breakfast or snack that tastes like dessert!

Note: The original recipe for these muffin tops is vegan, but as I didn’t have any ground flax seeds to make a flax egg, I just used two egg whites. If you’d like to make this recipe vegan, just substitute the two egg whites with 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal mixed with 3 tablespoons of water.

Oil-Free Apple Pie Muffin Tops

Source: adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients

Apple Pie Mixture:

  • 2 Granny Smith apples (I used Fuji)
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup (I only used 2 tablespoons because my apples were sweet)
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I omitted these)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Wet ingredients:

  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk)
  • 1/3 cup mashed banana (about 1 ripe medium-sized banana)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Finely grate one of the apples and chop the other into 1-inch pieces. (I left the peels on, but feel free to remove them if you prefer). Combine the grated and chopped apples to a pot along with maple syrup and lemon juice. Cook over medium-low heat for 5-10 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

3. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients until thoroughly combined.

4. When the apple pie mixture has cooked and softened for about 5-10 minutes, add it to the wet ingredients and mix well. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.

5. Scoop about 2 tablespoons of batter for each muffin top and place them 1 1/2 – 2 inches apart on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 13-14 minutes, until slightly golden in color, but still soft.

6. Allow to cool on pan for about 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely. Makes about 18 muffin tops.

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Whole Wheat Vanilla Crunch Muffins

It’s finally Friday! For some reason, I felt like this week was dragging on foreverrr. I’m SO glad that it’s over!! 🙂

The boyfriend sensed that I was having a pretty blah week (or maybe he was just tired of hearing me complain :)), so he took me out for drinks and dessert last night. I ordered the apple and almond tart with burnt caramel ice cream, which is seriously the most amazing dessert EVER. I realize I say this a lot, but I really do mean it every time! The burnt caramel ice cream is TO DIE FOR. I think I would even turn down a piece of the chocolatiest chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream for this dessert!

But that wasn’t the only treat I enjoyed that night! I’ve been pretty disciplined about limiting myself to one serving of dessert each day, but last night was an exception. 🙂 I also had a lovely vanilla crunch muffin from my therapeutic baking session earlier in the day. It was quite vanilla-y and had the most delightful crunchy topping. Yum!

Although I had two desserts (okay, three- I also had a small piece of dark chocolate!), I didn’t feel too guilty about it because the muffins were actually pretty healthy! They were made with whole wheat flour, contained no oil or butter, and were low in sugar (less than 6 grams per muffin). Also, each muffin was only about 150 calories, and provided 10% of the daily value of fiber! They’re almost too healthy to call dessert. 🙂

So basically, these are pretty much the perfect muffin – delicious AND nutritious! 🙂

Whole Wheat Vanilla Crunch Muffins

Source: adapted from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients

  • 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I used homemade)
  • 1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup nonfat milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, plus more for garnish
  • raw coarse sugar for garnish

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix sugar, applesauce, yogurt, egg, and vanilla until thouroughly combined.

3. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Gently stir in milk, then fold in the pecans.

4. Spoon batter evenly into prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with coarse sugar and additional pecans.

5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center of muffin comes out clean.

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Blueberry Muffins

I am officially tired of winter. After the excitement of the first snow fall and the holidays, winter just gets old. In Cleveland, winter tends to last until April, so I am NOT looking forward to the next three months of wet, gray weather. I usually prefer winter to summer, but the crazy weather earlier this week had me desperately wishing for sunshine and blue skies.

After a weekend of unbearably cold weather, the temperature shot up into the high 30’s on Tuesday. Snow piled up on road sides melted into huge slush puddles, and it also started raining on my way to class. Conveniently, I forgot to wear my rain boots and bring my umbrella, so I arrived at the lecture hall with my shoes and socks completely soaked, and my hair dripping wet. Gross.

I sat through two classes feeling, looking, and smelling like a big soggy mess, so I was not in the best mood when I had to trudge home in the rain again. A couple of days ago, Deborah had requested that I make blueberry muffins, and that sounded like the perfect thing to cheer me up. I’ve tried a bunch of blueberry muffin recipes, but the batch I baked on Tuesday night were my favorite by far!

The muffins were incredibly fluffy and moist, with just the right amount of sweetness. They were a lovely dose of summer that brightened up my day instantly! The muffins disappeared before I could have one for breakfast the next morning, so I just mixed some frozen blueberries into my oatmeal. I love the pretty purple color! 🙂

P.S. For more blueberry muffin goodness, enter this giveaway to try the new Larabar flavor!

Blueberry Muffins

Source: Smitten Kitchen, orginially from Cook’s Illustrated

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup blueberries (I used frozen wild blueberries)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and line a muffin tin with 10 (I used 11) paper liners.

2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well-incorporated. Then add yogurt and lemon zest and beat until combined.

3. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add half of the flour mixture into the batter and mix until combined. Add remaining dry ingredients to the batter and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries.

4. Scoop batter into muffin cups, filling each cup about 3/4 full. Bake for 25-30 minutes (I only baked my muffins for about 18 minutes, so start checking muffins for doneness after 15 minutes) in preheated oven, until tops are golden and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean.

5. Remove muffins from tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.

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Filed under Breakfast, Dessert, Muffins