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Everything Muffins

18 Jul

I eat a bowl of cereal most days for breakfast. I usually like to mix together at least two kinds of cereal because it gives my mouth a bit more excitement.

Some days I go for oatmeal (my fav. oatmeal combo is banana, peanut butter, and dates). Sometimes on the weekend I will have eggs or French toast or whip up a Dutch Baby if I’m in the mood.

But most days I eat cereal.

I often feel like I need to branch out and eat different easy-to-prepare breakfasts:

-cottage cheese on top of toast with sliced fruit and honey

yogurt parfaits

-frozen waffle, toasted, with peanut butter and honey

-banana “shake” (blend up 1-2 frozen bananas with milk and/or yogurt)

This morning (after finishing my bowl of cereal) I decided to bake an alternative breakfast item to add to my repertoire. It is a variation on the well-known “Morning Glory Muffin” except, well, I had no carrots and I had no shredded coconut. Alas, I improvised and used up some miscellaneous ingredients that I had handy–an apple, raisins, walnuts, dates, candied ginger, flaxseed, wheat germ…

I call these “Everything Muffins” because you really can put everything and anything you feel like in them. Try shredded zucchini, or chocolate chunks, or oats, or Raisin Bran, or use fresh grated ginger, add some peanut butter, pumpkin seeds and cranberries, and instead of an apple use some fresh berries.

These muffins baked up to look and taste quite similar to the fresh apple coffee cake that I made a few months ago.

I used to have a job where I had to get up very early in the morning. Now I begin work at 4 pm and I no longer have to rush out of the house before a proper breakfast hour. But I do need a mid-work snack, and these are the perfect on-the-go energy boost that I need to help me get through my shift (mind you, I am already surrounded by food and pastries at work, but it is nice to bring my own snack than nibble constantly at work).

Everything Muffins

aka I have been eating way too much cereal and it is time to change things up…

loosely adapted from Marcigilbert.com

2 eggs

2/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup flour (I used AP, you can use whole wheat pastry flour if you like)

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp salt

1 apple, peeled cored and diced

1/2 c. chopped walnuts

1/2 c. raisins

1/2 c. dates, pitted and chopped

2 T. chopped candied (crystallized) ginger

2 T. wheat germ

2 T. flaxseed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk your eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Chop up your apples, nuts, dried fruit and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together your dry ingredients (flour through salt). Make a little well in the center of your dry ingredients and add your wet ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Add in your apples, nuts, raisins, dates, ginger, wheat germ, flaxseed.

Using an ice cream scoop or 1/4 cup measure, drop into lightly sprayed or oiled muffin tins (fill each tin about 3/4 of the way). Sprinkle with a touch of sugar. Bake for about 22-25 minutes.

Serve warmed with coffee, jam, peanut butter, yogurt, fruit, etc. Or take it on-the-go when you are rushing to go to work or school. Instant energy!

Oooo Oooo by the way, my absolute FAVORITE morning glory muffin to date has definitely got to be from Venus Restaurant in Berkeley. You must go!

Banana Crumb Muffins

24 Dec

Tender muffins made with bananas and a sweet crumb top.

Bananas are delicious in baked goods, in smoothies, in pancakes and with nut butter.

Bananas, why do you sometimes attract little fruit flies? Why do the flies love you so?


Banana Crumb Muffins
from pipandebby

serves 12

Ingredients:

Muffins:
1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 large ripened bananas, mashed
3⁄4 cup white sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

Crumb top:
2/3 cup packed (light or golden) brown sugar
4 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 12 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.

2. In a large bowl, mix together 11⁄2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and 1/3 cup melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.

3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 4 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Pour in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, just until moistened. It will resemble coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Brunch Brunch Brunch!!

3 Jan

January in Los Angeles—warm, sunny, perfect. January 3rd, the Beckerman family could not have asked for a more perfect day to gather friends and family together for a booming brunch in honor of the birth of baby Mika.

Check out these gorgeous flowers!

And no brunch can be complete without some bubbling mimosas!


Bagels, of course.


Cheese soufflé. Wow. Enough said.


A lovely and light salad: spicy arugula, slivered pears, pine nuts, goat cheese.


There were so many people and so much food it was ridiculous (This is why I wear dresses, people. I can just let it all hang out and no one has to know!).

My job? Pastries, of course. I prepared a selection of homemade croissants, meyer lemon and fresh cranberry scones a la SmittenKitchen, and two choices of mini muffins, browned butter blueberry crumb and buttermilk meyer lemon poppy seed:


Brunch is always a winner in my eyes– tons of salads, cheeses, breads, and munchies, and lets not forget pastries, fruit, coffee, drinks, and dessert. Go on and invite your friends over for brunch! Make it a potluck and have each guest bring their best dish. Then sit back, schmooz, and soak up the sun (or if you are somewhere where it actually gets cold, then well, stay inside and warm your tootsies!).


P.S. If you have dogs (or any pets), make sure that you keep your pastries up where they cannot reach. Penny the dog snatched a raw scone off one of the cookie sheets. Sneaky sneaky. I guess that was partly my fault for leaving the tray on a chair. This must mean that she approves of my baking, right? Or that she will eat anything in sight. Actually, her favorite is licking the dirty dishes in the dishwasher. Mmmm.

Browned Butter Banana Nut Muffins

1 Nov

Browned Butter. You are my hero. You are the apple of my eye, the sunshine in my sky, the secret to my magic!

Yes, magic, I create magic. Magic in the kitchen. Seriously. You know when you walk into a café or a bakery and see a gorgeous display of pastries and you think, “Wow, whoever makes these is a genius, literally a holy person?” Well, that person is now officially me.


Every week I look forward to waking up at 6 am (on Friday and Saturday mornings, mind you) to spend my day amongst my good friends Butter, Flour, and Sugar to create pastries and desserts just for you! The smile on your face when you ask for a nibble of that cookie or a taste of that little donut hole, glazed and sprinkled, just makes my day! Really, you should see yourself—when you take that first bite your eyes light up like you were a kid again! It’s great. Really, really great.


Anyway, back to browned butter. And muffins. And Sunday morning breakfast. And sunshine, on November 1st!


I made these muffins a few months ago with fresh summer blueberries and boy oh boy were they addicting! I ate 3 in just one day! Muffin overdose (but totally worth it, mmm).

This morning I needed to make muffins. It was just one of those days—a muffin day. Since fresh blueberries were not around today, I decided to use chopped bananas and toasted walnuts instead.

So now after making both a blueberry and banana nut version, tons of add-in ideas are flying around inside my head, etching to get out:

  • Lemon rosemary muffins (inspired by a lemon rosemary pound cake; any herb/flavor of choice will do…lavender, lemon verbena, fresh ginger, basil?)
  • Fresh and dried cranberry combo (Dried cherries sound yummers, too! Maybe some slivered almonds and white chocolate chips?)
  • Persimmon pulp muffins
  • Roasty butternut squash muffins
  • Chunks of avocado…and…raspberry? (I don’t even know if this would really work but it sounds so good in my head…)

Ok Stephanie, enough. Focus. Browned Butter. Bananas. Toasted Walnuts. Fresh vanilla beans. Crumb topping. Enough said. Go make these muffins.



Browned Butter Banana Nut Muffins (Infinitely adaptable)

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients:
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk (I used 2 % this time)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (I used the seeds of half a vanilla bean…I love those bean flecks!)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped bananas (I used 3 large bananas)

about a cup of toasted walnuts

For the Topping:
3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into little cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a muffin tin or line it with paper or foil liners.

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. Once the butter stops crackling or “singing,” it will begin to brown fairly quickly. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.

3. Toast the walnuts.

4. Whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla bean seeds until combined. Slowly add the brown butter and stir to combine (careful not to cook the eggs).

5. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine.

6. Gently but thoroughly fold in the bananas and walnuts and the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly. (You can use an ice cream scoop to plop the batter in the muffin cups!)

7. To make the topping: combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

8. Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.


Oh yah, and here is a picture of browned butter. It is a really ugly picture but trust me, this stuff is GOLDEN! Those little brown bits are where all the flavor is at!

Presenting…Crumb-tastic, Make Me Weak in the Knees, Bursting with Glory BLUEBERRY MUFFINS!

3 Aug

Oh Berkeley…how I love thee…

I am currently sitting at an outdoor café next to a woman who is feeding her large colorful bird while simultaneously typing on her laptop and drinking coffee…

Last week I received an anonymous love note from the man at the carwash. He called me “princess!”…

Yesterday I was reading Julia Child’s My Life in France when a man approached me and proceeded to tell me about how he is not only the “KING of the Macarena dance” but that he is also a self proclaimed “vegequarian” (equivalent of a pescetarian—one who mainly eats vegetarian but also eats fish and other fishy products)…

I attempted to go to the Berkeley Kite Festival last weekend but turned around once I saw that I had to pay 10 dollars to park to see a bunch of kites flying in the sky…

More importantly…


I baked these blueberry muffins yesterday and have already eaten 4 of them in the past 20 hours! I had to have one fresh out of the oven. Then I ate another one a few hours later for dessert. This morning I had one for breakfast, but I couldn’t eat just one, so then I ate another one right after!


By golly, these precious treats are the best blueberry muffins I have ever tasted! Hands down.

Now friends, this is really a surprise to me because I am the queen of making disappointing blueberry muffins. They usually come out too chewy and grainy…too small…too ugly…not enough blueberry…bleh

These muffins, however, are just golden! They are PACKED with fresh bursting blueberries!


The tops are puffed to perfection and overflowing with crumb topping goodness!


I think I spent a good 30 minutes just scraping the leftover bits from the muffin tin and eating them! The browned butter in these muffins really kicks it up a notch, too!

Browned Butter Fresh Blueberry Muffins
adapted from JoytheBaker
makes 12 muffins
Ingredients:
7 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1/3 cup milk (I used nonfat)

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh blueberries (I ended up only using 1 ½ cups because I ate the other ½ cup in the process!! Oops!)

For the Topping:
3 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into little cubes

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

3 1/2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Grease a muffin tin or line it with paper or foil liners.

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Keep an eye on the butter. Melt and cook down the butter until little brown bits appear in the pan. The crackling will subside and butter will begin to brown fairly quickly after that. Keep a close eye. Remove from heat.

3. Whisk milk, egg, yolk, and vanilla until combined. Slowly add the brown butter and stir to combine (careful not to cook the eggs).

4. Whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Add milk and butter mixture all at one and stir gently to combine.

5. Gently but thoroughly fold in the blueberries and divide the batter among muffin cups and spread evenly (I used an ice cream scoop to plop the batter in the muffin cups!).

6. To make the topping: combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly. Sprinkle evenly over the batter in the cups.

7. Bake until golden and crisp and a wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 18-20 minutes.

8. Mmm mmm good!