Apple Cider Muffins

What does the smell of apple and cinnamon baking say? Fall is here! Given that I had a bunch of Jonagold Apples still left (excellent for baking, just like Golden Delicious), as well as some apple cider, I decided to combine the two to make some great fall muffins. Within 2 minutes of putting these in the heaven, the house smelled liked heaven. Plus, they don’t use a lot of sugar, so they’re not that sweet, making them great morning muffins. The only thing I regret is not putting some streusel topping, but let’s face it – these muffins are small explosion of flavors even without it!

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour’s Apple Muffins. Gives 18 muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup yogurt (I used vanilla)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup apple cider
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped (to fill 1.5-2 cups). I used Jonagold apples, which are a cross between Jonathan and Golden Delicious – the latter is particularly great for baking.

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease and flour 18 muffin cups or line with paper cups and set aside.
  • Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and set aside.
  • In a separate bowl, cream the butter and add the granulated sugar and 1/4 cup of the brown sugar. Beat until fluffy. Add the egg and mix well. Mix in the yogurt, milk and apple cider.
  • Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apple chunks

  • Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, sprinkling the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar on top. Bake for around 15-20 minutes,  or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins for 5 minutes in the tin, then turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon-Poppy Seed Muffins

What do you make when you have to whip up something fast? This weekend I realized 2 hours before going out that I should probably make something in order to take to this party I was going to later in the evening. My first thought went to cake mix, and it turned out I had a lemon and chocolate cake mix lying around. So I thought – why not turn my lemon cake mix into lemon-poppy seed muffins? It turned out to be an incredibly easy procedure, and I just added a few things on the fly. Quick, moist, and you can even deck these up further – drizzle the muffins with a lemon glaze or top with lemon cream cheese frosting!

Ingredients (Makes around 20 cupcakes)

  • 1 package (18.25 ounces) yellow cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon lemon extract

 Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin cups with paper baking cups.

2. Mix all ingredients in large bowl with a whisk until all the ingredients are mixed. Batter will be slightly lumpy. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each cup 2/3 full.

Pour the muffin batter in for baking, about 2/3 way into the pan

3. Bake 18 to 23 minutes or until a toothpick or a fork inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Cool completely on wire rack. Drizzle with a lemon glaze while the muffins are still warm, or if using frosting, wait until they get cold.

Lemon Muffins with Poppy Seeds, warm from the oven!

Allergic to gluten? Try these gluten-free lemon-poppy seed muffins!

Strawberry Muffins

While I often lament the non-existence of good mangoes in the States, I’m also really appreciative of the delicious berries that flood the  market during the summer. I’ve baked with blueberries often in the past, so this time I decided to change things up a bit and bake something with strawberries.

Recipe adapted from Obsessed with Baking

Ingredients

1 1/4 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tbsp butter, melted (I used unsalted butter)

3 tbsp vegetable oil

1/2 cup strawberry yogurt (I used greek yogurt)

1/2 cup milk (I used organic fat-free milk)

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 400 F

2. Grease muffin pan

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

4. Whisk sugar and eggs together. Slowly whisk in butter, vanilla and oil until combined. Add the yogurt and the milk. Mix all together for about a minute.

Getting the batter ready

5. Using a rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and flour mixture until just moistened (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not overmix). Fold in sliced strawberries

Folding in the strawberries

6. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin pan, filling up 3/4th of the muffin cups.

7. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 17-19 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. To check if the muffins are done, put a fork inside the muffins, and if it comes out dry, it means the muffins are ready.

8. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving.

 

Strawberry Muffins – ready to be eaten with a refreshing smoothie or just some plain, simple berries!

 

So how do you like to eat summer berries?

Gluten-Free Lemon Muffins

Growing up in India, I had never heard of gluten-free foods, and first heard of this term only when I moved to the States. For a really long time after that, I didn’t bother try baking anything without gluten given that’s it is way more complicated than baking with gluten. But this weekend, one of my friends who can’t have gluten finally pinned me down and we baked gluten-free goodies for the first time. What did we bake? Lemon Muffins with poppy seeds

Gluten-Free Lemon Muffins with Poppy Seeds

What should I know before I bake my first gluten-free dessert?

1. Picking good recipes – The reason I was never enthusiastic about baking gluten-free goods was because whenever I’ve had them on previous occasions, they just did not taste as good as desserts that did have gluten. To find a tasty gluten-free recipe, try following recipes that have a bunch of comments on them so you can be sure they’re tried and tested, and don’t simply use poor substitutes for ingredients that do have gluten. Two excellent sources seem to be:

King Arthur Flour’s Gluten Free Recipes

Gluten Free Goddess

2. Gluten-free ingredients are expensive – Not only does your number of ingredients double, so does their price. Unless you/a family member/close friend cannot eat food with gluten, there’s a high chance that you will not find it worth it to invest in these ingredients.

With that in mind, here’s the recipe for Gluten-Free Lemon Muffins. It makes approximately 12 muffins.

(adapted from Gluten Free Goddess)

Ingredients:

1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup white rice flour
1/2 cup potato starch or tapioca starch
1/4 cup gluten-free corn flour/starch
1/4 cup almond or hazelnut flour
2 tablespoons lemon zest
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon guar gum (or xanthan gum)
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2/3 cup cane sugar
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup almond or non-dairy milk
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon poppy seeds

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.

2. In a bowl whisk together the flours, starch, baking powder, guar gum and sea salt. Set aside.

Getting all the different kinds of flour together

3. In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the sugar, melted butter and eggs until smooth.

Mixing in the sugar with the melted butter and eggs

4. Add in the whisked flour blend. Beat to combine. Add in the almond milk and lemon juice and beat for two minutes until the batter is smooth and slightly sticky.

5. Add in the lemon zest and poppy seeds and stir thoroughly.

Adding in the poppy seeds

Final step – Mixing in the lemon zest

6. Spoon the batter evenly into the twelve muffin cups.

Pouring the batter into the paper cups, and ready to be put in the oven!

7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or so. To check if your muffins have baked, take a fork and push it into the muffin. If it doesn’t come out runny or with any batter on it, your muffins are done!

Serve warm with cream cheese and tea!

Unlike other kinds of muffins, these ones have a slightly more compact texture, are less airy, and are more grainy. The fresh taste of lemon however is perfect for them to be had in breakfast, and is a perfect summer snack – not sweet, and yet so refreshing with a glass of juice or a smoothie.

So what are your favorite gluten-free desserts?

Blueberry Muffins

Christmas baking has started 🙂 First up, blueberry muffins. This was the first time I made blueberry muffins, since I’m so biased towards bananas and chocolate stuff. This recipe makes 12 medium-sized muffins. You can double it if you want more (which is what I did). Just remember, you’re only supposed to use frozen fresh blueberries with no preservatives  in this recipe, as recipes normally change a bit when unfrozen fruit is involved.

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2/3 cup frozen blueberries (though I might have increased it slightly more just because I love them so much)

Getting the batter ready

Getting ready to put in the oven

Directions

1. Switch on the oven to 375 F.

2. Sift into a bowl flour, baking powder and salt. Add to this,  brown sugar and white sugar.

3. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, milk and oil.

4. Add the above mixture to the flour mixture, beating it until it moistens. It is best to use a an electric beater, though if you don’t have one, you can use a fork. Do not over-beat the mixture – mix it only until the batter is properly mixed, no need to have uniform consistency. Add the blueberries to this mixture in the end.

5. Spray the muffin pan with some cooking spray. There is no need to use  paper cups as long as you have a non-stick pan. Pour the batter in the muffin pan and put it in the oven for 15-20 minutes (depends on the oven).

How to check if a muffin is done:

1. Poke the muffin with a toothpick or fork. If it comes back without any crumbs or batter on it, they should be done. If it has the mixture/crumbs on them, let it bake some more.

2. Also, if you lightly press the top of the muffin and it bounces back, then it should be done.

Next time I want to try and find blueberry sugar (small granules of sugar that taste of blueberry) so I can sprinkle it on top of the muffins.

Muffins I: Banana & Chocolate Chip

So after a lot of procrastination, I finally bought a muffin pan. I originally planned to make blueberry muffins, but due to poor planning, I didn’t have enough blueberries, so I just decided to use good ol’ chocolate chips and bananas. They turned out delicious – I really think bananas and chocolate chips are a great combination (Though sometimes I’m conflicted because peanut butter and chocolate chips seem to go together really well also). Here’s the recipe I used (it made 16 large muffins):

  • 1 and a 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (white should work too)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup  yogurt (I used vanilla yogurt. I’m guessing plain yogurt/greek yogurt works equally well. Not so sure about these flavored yogurts)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 mashed ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup of milk (to be used just in case the batter is too dry)

 

 

 

 

Preparing the tray

 

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the egg, oil, yogurt and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Put in bananas and chocolate chips and mix gently (do not overbeat the mixture).
  2. Depending on whether you measure exactly or not/the kind of yogurt that you used and/or the size of the bananas, the mixture may be too dry or too moist. If it’s too dry (which it was for me because I put too much flour), just pour some milk until it has a squishy consistency. If it’s too moist/squishy, use some more flour. Remember, unlike cookie dough, muffin batter should not be over-beaten. The batter does not need to have perfect consistency.
  3. Switch on the oven to 350 F.
  4. I didn’t have paper cups, so I sprayed the muffin tray with cooking spray. If you end up spraying too much, just sprinkle some flour on to the tray. Alternatively, you could also take a paper tissue and wipe a thin layer of vegetable oil over the tray.
  5. Fill the muffin cups 3/4th of the way. Insert inside oven. Depending on your oven and muffin cup sizes, it may take anytime between 10-25 minutes for the muffin to bake.

Banana-Chocolate Chip Muffins!

How to check if a muffin is done:

1. Poke the muffin with a toothpick or fork. If it comes back without anything on it, they should be done. If it has the mixture/crumbs on them, let it bake some more.

2. Also, if you lightly press the top of the muffin and it bounces back, then it should be done.

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On an unrelated note, my new favorite ice cream (actually, gelato) is Talenti Gelato. The Caramel Cookie Crunch and the Sea Salt Caramel flavors are to die for. And this is coming from someone who is not even such a huge fan of caramel. Check out their website and head to a grocery store soon!

My new favorite flavor