Breakfasts, Musing, Snacks

Breakfast [or Anytime You Damn Well Please] Muffins

Who do you want to be when you grow up? I was asked a few weeks ago at an interview. I knew I wouldn’t find the answer scribbled in my notes, between ideas for recipe development and the blurb about what makes my voice ~unique~. I’ve never been asked something like this by a potential employer, and it was a decently pleasant surprise. And I bet its answer gives a little more insight into a person than asking whether they’re a strategic or tactical thinker, or where they see themself in five years.

When I was very small, I wanted to be an actress. I was that obnoxious eight year old who sang all the time: at family gatherings, in the grocery store, in the bathrooms at school for optimal echoes. I wanted to be on stage so badly. Itching to play Cosette or Belle or Maureen, I memorized the words to every soundtrack I got my hands on. I sang along with the familiar lyrics every week as I spooned out cookie dough onto baking sheets after school.

Then came the crippling stage fright. The heart-pounding, voice-shaking panic overtook me all at once—while I was onstage, no less. I was thirteen, auditioning for the middle school musical. Fourteen seconds into singing, I couldn’t hear the music over the pounding in my chest. I don’t remember if I even made it to the chorus. We heard Becca was a really good singer. I overheard one of the girls in the audience say. I wonder what happened? 

My greatest dream a crumbled mess of embarrassment, I moved backstage. With the faintest taste of bitter on my tongue, I sewed the hems and smeared foundation and lipstick on the kids who weren’t rendered mute under the spotlight. But I liked being close to the stage, and costuming was fun. I sliced through my best trays of thick fudgy brownies, brought the dark squares to tech week and thought, this is something I could do with myself.

While I applied to college with “journalism” and “studio art” selected on the Common App’s Major intention section, I rolled up to day one at Smith planning to declare theatre design the bulk of my coursework. Which shoes would a Chekhovian woman woman wear to walk around the orchard? How do six identical suits convey the hierarchy of office politics? Who would paint their nails red; why wouldn’t he wear this hat, but that one? I thought about color and exposed skin.

Cutting patterns didn’t give me the same feeling of purpose as it seemed to give my peers and professors. I was good at it, and felt proud seeing the finished productions, but I didn’t enjoy it. I took a job in the art museum over the costume shop. I stopped sketching for fun. I grew to dread those orange walls. The building smelled like stress.

I graduated with a specific degree in this field I’d entered into by default. I wouldn’t be applying to theatres or MFA programs, but I left the Pioneer Valley knowing what I wanted to do.

Food is what drives me, and writing is the way I package ingredients into substance. This past weekend was the fourth anniversary of writing this blog, and this is my 200th official post. I’ve been out of school for a long year. A year of cover letters and internships and almosts.

I snapped to attention to give an answer at the interview. I pretty good one, I think.


I’ve taken to making these muffins every two weeks or so, for easily transportable snacking. There are a million ingredients, yes, but I think they’re worth it.

Breakfast Muffins (GF, makes 12-15)

1 cup oats
3/4 cup almond flour
1/4 cup chickpea flour
2/3 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons arrowroot starch (cornstarch gets the job done too)
1½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon allspice
½ black pepper
½ teaspoon sea salt
6 dried prunes
1 large carrot
1/2 green apple
2 very ripe bananas
2/3 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
zest of 1 orange
1/3 cup olive or melted coconut oil
3 eggs

coconut sugar (though any sugar will do)
sunflower seeds or pepitas

Preheat the oven to 400º F and grease a muffin tin. Place the oats in a food processor and grind into a course flour. In a large bowl, whisk the oat flour with the rest of the dry ingredients and set aside.

Place the prunes in a bowl of very hot water and set aside. Grate the carrot and apple and set aside.

In a bowl, mash the bananas, then mix in buttermilk or yogurt, orange zest and oil. Blend the prunes into a paste in the food processor, then blend into the banana mixture. Add the banana mixture to the dry ingredients, then fold in the carrot and apple. Crack the eggs into a small bowl and beat for about a minute, then fold into the batter.

Scoop into the prepped muffin tin, then top with a sprinkling of coconut sugar and sunflower seeds. Bake 18-20 minutes.

Advertisements
Standard
Breakfasts, Snacks

173

Zucchini Carrot Muffins (GF)

In the past few days, I’ve realized it’s completely possible to lose hours upon hours in the food internet world. I’m home alone for the most part now, which was an extreme rarity at school. Someone was always around to break up my excessive perusal of food blogs and goodfoodjobs.com and Grub Street and Eater and Munchies and– I think I should stop there. The moment of realization came the other day when I sat down at my computer with a giant mug of coffee at 9 in the morning and was in a media haze until my phone rang well past noon. Not the best. And while baking can break up the day to an extent, even that can get a little cumbersome. There are only so many cookies I can bake before I need to either get a bigger freezer or more friends to help me eat everything (speaking of which, if anyone is hungry and in Montclair, there are at least three brownies or compost cookies with your name on them. I’ve gotten rave reviews by the smart folks who’ve taken me up on this so far, just saying.)

I want to get into more ambitious kitchen projects now that I’m no longer a full-time student. Recipes than don’t have to come together in less than an hour and then are just dumped in the freezer. That always seemed to be the case this past year as I did my best to keep up the blog and an acceptable GPA and some semblance of a social life. I really want to throw a fancy food party complete with lots of unique kitchen experiments and some sort of festive theme (something like this or this. Or this if I really dreamed big/had more than ten square feet of table space.) But planning a food party takes a lot of time and energy. And cleanup. So the few parties we ended up throwing turned out much more akin to a typical college soiree..the only food that was ever present was Jello shots. And one time someone who worked at a bakery in town showed up with freshly baked bread and cookies. As proud as I am of my Jello shot makin’ skills, I’m just dying to tackle a more intense food party. Hopefully this summer I can make it happen. Not to brag or anything, but I do have a very snazzy fire pit in my backyard soooo.

Some things I plan to make for these food parties that may not actually ever happen:

This Fig And Walnut Bostock. Looks like if french toast and bread pudding got together inside a really trendy cafe.

A fluffy, crunchy (two adjectives you didn’t think go together, I bet) Pavlova with strawberry rhubarb cream and pistachios.

I think I’d forget how on the fence I am about tomatoes while making this heirloom tomato tart..it’s just so pretty.

These savory cheddar waffles are also making me question my tomato ambivalence.

I’m 100% invested in learning how to grill and these jerk chicken kebobs are calling to me. As are these shrimp skewers.

Who isn’t a fan of anything cooked in beer? I want to make these mussels asap. They’re also apparently the best thing to serve at a dinner party anyway so I think I’m on the right track.

And also because I’ve spent so much of this post talking about food parties, I think it’s only fair you all watch a few episodes of this, as that is its title. And it is the weirdest, coolest thing ever.

Until I can gather up some people to actually eat all the things I plan to make for these food parties, I’m sticking with recipes that can be easily frozen and defrosted as family and friends want to indulge. Hence these muffins. Don’t be scared by the veggies in the title, cooked carrots are super sweet and zucchini has essentially no flavor alone, and when baked up with sugar and coconut oil and cinnamon it has no flavor at all! Some baked recipes that involve zucchini instruct one to squeeze all the water out of the veggies before adding them to the batter. Not the case here; the water helps loosen up the very thick batter and ultimately makes a more tender muffin. Also, don’t be afraid of garbanzo bean flour. It may seem weird to use a chickpea-based ingredient in a sweet breakfast item, but it’s really just mild and creamy. And it’s full of protein- in fact, it has the same amount as almond flour, so it’s a really great alternative if you’re looking for an alternative to putting nuts in everything, as I’m currently attempting. I also used coconut sugar, which has the same ratio as regular sugar when swapping, but is infinitely better for the body. I felt like they were sweet enough with 1/4 cup of sugar (mostly because I love slathering jam on muffins, which obviously adds a lot of sweetness,) but you do what makes you happy. I also feel like 1/4 cup of cocoa nibs or chocolate chips would be extremely good thrown in here for good luck. Happy breakfasting!

Muffins (makes 12-15)

1 1/2 cups garbanzo bean flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/4- 1/2 cup coconut sugar (depending on how sweet you like muffins)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup full-fat Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup finely shredded carrots
1 cup finely shredded zucchini
1/4 cup raisins or craisins (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a muffin tin with solid coconut oil or cooking spray.

In a mixing bowl combine both flours, baking powder, sugar, salt, and spices.

Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the melted coconut oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla; stir to combine. The batter will be thick, resembling cookie dough.

Add the shredded carrots and zucchini (and raisins if using) and combine. F

ill the muffin tins halfway-3/4 of the way full and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the edges are golden. Devour with butter, honey, jam, date cream, yogurt, or au naturel!

 


You might also like…

      

      

Standard
Breakfasts, Snacks

141

Morning Glory Muffins (V)

I love breakfast. I don’t love rushing out the door because I’ve actually taken time to eat breakfast. This usually points to muffins, as they are both breakfast and portable. I’ve had morning glory muffins many times before (except for the raisins) and always wanted to make them for myself, but I never have until now! These muffins are particularly great because there’s no added sugar happening here. And as Emily mentioned, most muffins are literally just unfrosted cupcakes. And in my opinion, if you want a cupcake you should just eat a damn cupcake! You don’t have to pretend it’s a muffin in order to enjoy it. It’s okay, no one’s judging you! At least, I’m not. Regardless of which meal you want to consist entirely of cupcakes I’m going to talk to you about why actual breakfast muffins matter for a sec. As I’ve mentioned many times, I’m not living in the school dorms this year. So, when I want breakfast I have to MAKE breakfast. Which might seem like a big “duh” moment to most adults living normal lives, but let me tell you, waking up at 7:30 and making it to class by 9 is something of a challenge. I don’t know how or why it takes me so long to get ready in the morning, but it does. And since there’s no dining hall where I can grab oatmeal that’s already been cooked or eggs that have already been boiled or coffee that’s already been brewed this concept of breakfast becomes a faint memory. Again, I’m sure many people out there reading that are like “boo freaking hoo I get up at 5 and then walk uphill both ways to work every morning”, and to you I say congratulations, I’m really looking forward to joining you upon my impending graduation but until then just let me complain from my place of privilege, this is my blog after all!

Anyway, I’ve never been able to do that “complete breakfast” thing cereal commercials used to brag about -really, who eats THAT MUCH at 8am??!- but this fact does not stop my stomach from growling before noon. That was a really long way of saying I’m glad these muffins are a thing. I studied a great many morning glory muffin recipes (many of which, surprise surprise, had a LOT of sugar) before making the final ingredient list. I swapped out the sugar for date paste, which sounds difficult but is not in the slightest, and used coconut oil instead of butter/canola oil because it’s just a more beneficial fat. I like to make about several batches at a time, which results in roughly 8300 muffins and then I freeze them all and defrost one anytime I need quick food! It’s so handy and there’s no dining hall (OR DIRTY DISHES!!!) involved whatsoever.

Muffins (loosely adapted from Food52)

1 1/3 c whole wheat flour

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

2 tbsp ground flaxseed

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/4 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 c pitted dates

1 banana, mashed

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 c coconut oil, melted

1 apple, peeled and diced

1/2 c raisins (or whatever dried fruit strikes your fancy)

3 carrots, grated

1/2 c walnuts (or any nuts you’re feelin’)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease a muffin tin. Puree dates with 1/2-1 cup hot (not boiling) water in a food processor and set aside.  Add dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk together. Combine wet ingredients (including date paste) in another bowl, then add to dry ingredients and mix well. Use an ice cream scoop to fill muffin tin equally with batter and bake for about 30 minutes! If you’re saving them for an extended period of time, wrap in parchment paper and then foil and place in a freezer bag/tupperware and freeeeeze them! They’ll last for a good long while.

Standard
Breakfasts, Snacks

134

BBBB (Brown Butter Berry Buttermilk) Muffins

Hi everyone! It’s Emily, here to share another guest post. Muffins are tricky little things. They are essentially unfrosted cupcakes. Yet somehow, they have been fooling moms and dads for decades that they are a breakfast food. Now, I have no problems with this. Sometimes it seems like I am on personal quest to set the world record for most cake consumed in a lifetime. The real reason I exercise is to make more room for cake in my life so as to achieve this goal. Cake is my main food group and I would like to thank muffins for being a part of it. When coming up with this recipe, I did try to make these muffins more ‘breakfasty’ for those of you into that sort of thing. I threw in a little whole-wheat flour, cut back on the sugar, and threw in a ton of fruit. And, sticking with my #1 baking philosophy, anything can be improved by brown butter. This imparts a warm, nutty flavor that pairs wonderfully with the freshness of the tart berries.

Muffins

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

1 1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

2/3 c. raw sugar

1 T. baking powder

1/2 t. baking soda

1/2 t. salt

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 c. buttermilk, at room temperature

1 1/2 T. milk, at room temperature

8 T. (1 stick) butter, browned and cooled (see note below*)

1 1/2 c. berries of your choice, fresh or frozen, do not thaw (I used a frozen berry mix)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a twelve-cup muffin tin. I find that doing this rather than using muffin liners yields a more golden and puffy muffin.

Combine the all-purpose flour, whole-wheat flour, raw sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and milk. Fold this mixture into the dry ingredients until just combined. Fold in the brown butter. Gently fold in the berries. Be careful not to overmix or you will have tough muffins.

Using a 1/3 c. measuring cup, divide the batter evenly in the muffin tin. If you wanted to top with sanding sugar or streusel, now is the time. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 10 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely. Muffins will keep in an airtight container for a week. I like to keep them in the freezer, take one out before going to bed, and enjoy in the morning.

*To brown the butter – Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a medium skillet over medium heat. A light bottomed skillet is better, but not necessary. Swirl the pan occasionally. The butter will foam and make popping noises. This is normal. Keep a close eye on the butter and continue to swirl, you do not want the butter to burn. It will start to smell nutty, and brown bits will begin to appear on the bottom of the pan. Once the bits take on an amber color, remove the pan from the stove and immediately pour it into a bowl, bits included. Allow it to cool.

Standard
Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

ninety

Blood Orange and Raspberry Muffins

Time to admit a secret: most of the stuff I’ll be posting for the foreseeable future were made in advance over the long break from school I just finished. Good thing, too, because the idea of cooking and writing here right now doesn’t make me as happy as it usually does. Luckily my usual amount of excitement regarding food/drink was captured in the posts I’ve already written. Readers, (that may or may not actually exist) I hope that the recipes and crafts I publish here brighten your life. Sorry about the #feelings, I promise I don’t plan on sharing this much again (and honestly, I don’t really know why I’m doing it now) so don’t stop reading or anything…but give me a break, I don’t keep a diary.

I can honestly say these were the best muffins I’ve ever tasted. I’m assuming it’s the blood orange, because how could something this beautiful not taste amazing?! But, maybe it’s the raspberries, considering they are one of my favorite foods. Or maybe it’s because I made them with Emily (guest poster extraordinaire) and her positive cooking vibes (yeah, I said cooking vibes) were absorbed in the batter. Who knows? Regardless of the reason, I knew we’d succeeded with these muffins when the I went to their container the following morning after we made them and my family had devoured all but a few crumbs.

Muffins (makes about 12; adapted from “Baking: From My Home to Yours”)
– Grated zest and juice of 1 blood orange

– 3/4 cup buttermilk (I used dried, as per usual. Follow the instructions according to the container)

– 2 large eggs at room temperature

– 3 tbsp. honey

– 1 stick unsalted butter, melted and cooled

– 1/3 cup sugar

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder

– 1/4 tsp. baking soda

– 1/4 tsp. salt

– 1 cup raspberries, fresh or frozen (I used frozen, as I often do, and lived to tell the tale- but don’t thaw them unless you want a soggy muffin!)

– Raw sugar, for topping (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter or spray 12 molds in a regular-size muffin tin. Place the muffin pan on a baking sheet (this will prevent the muffin bottoms from cooking too quickly and burning!)

Pour the blood orange juice into a large bowl and add enough buttermilk to make 1 cup. Whisk in the eggs, honey and melted butter.

In another large bowl, rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingertips until the sugar begins to dampen. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and gently fold together with a rubber spatula. The batter will be lumpy, but that’s okay. Fold in the raspberries. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. If using, sprinkle on the raw sugar after the muffins have baked for 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool for 5 minutes before carefully removing muffins from the tin.

I absolutely LOVE the way these bad boys look in pictures!

Processed with VSCOcamProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with f2 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with t1 preset

Standard