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Archive for the ‘Muffins & Scones’ Category

Cornbread Muffins

Cornbread Muffins… fresh hot from the oven!

Last time I made corn bread it didn’t turn out as good as I expected– it wasn’t as fluffy as promised in the recipe, and quite dry too. I used a rectangle pan so when I sliced the corn bread it was full of crumbs… Well, this time I searched recipes for cornbread muffins, in the hope that texture will be more like fluffy muffins. I came acrossed this Recipe from Brown Eyed Baker (I believe the author got the recipe from Cooks Illustrated) , and decided to give it a try (even it only has one review). Why? Because this recipe uses more corn meal than other cornbread recipes, and the method really catches my eyes– it calls for cooking some corn meal with milk to trap the liquid, and thus producing moist cornbread muffins (as explained in Cooks Illustrated). I made a small change– increase sugar to 1/2 cup instead of 1/3 cup.

Results? 12 golden, happy cornbread muffins, fluffy and moist, waiting to be slathered with butter! Oh yes! 

Cornbread Muffins (yields 12 Muffins– adapted from Brown Eyed Baker)

Ingredients:

2 cups corn meals (divide to 1 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup sour cream
1/2 cup (1 stick)  unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Method:

  1. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan with butter. 
  2. In a medium bowl, Whisk together 1½ cups of the cornmeal, the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining ½ cup cornmeal and the milk. Microwave for 1½ minutes, then whisk thoroughly and continue to microwave, whisking every 30 seconds, until thickened to a batter-like consistency (the whisk will leave a distinct trail in the bottom of the bowl that slowly fills in), 1 to 3 additional minutes. [Note: If you do not have a microwave, you can do this step in a saucepan on the stovetop.]
  4. Whisk in the sour cream, melted butter, and sugar until combined, then whisk in the eggs. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture until thoroughly combined (the batter will be very thick). Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (the batter will mound slightly above the rim).
  5. Bake until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 15-20 minutes, rotating the muffin tin halfway through baking. Let the muffins cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove muffins from the muffin tin and let cool 5 minutes longer. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or wrapped in plastic wrap, placed in a freezer bag and frozen for up to 2 months.

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Okay, last time I made strawberry chocolate muffins, I used 3/4 cup milk for 10 muffins– it was good, but a little too moist and too soft to hold its shape. The batter was kinda runny because I used milk, which contains more water. This time I fine tuned the recipe around– changed the ingredient proportion for 12 muffins, used whipping cream (which is thicker than milk), and switched to egg separation method. I believe the egg separation method is the main key to fluffy muffins. It’s the same principle as making a chiffon cake, and the outcome is really fluffy baked goods. Yes, it requires more work, but not too bad in this case. Give it a try!

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Strawberry & Chocolate Muffins #2

Strawberry & Chocolate Muffin #2 Recipe (makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients:
1 1/3 cup flour
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
4 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and keep warm

Egg yolk mixture:
2 egg yolks– room temperature– see note below
3/4 cup whipping cream– see note below
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Egg White mixture:
2 egg whites– room temperature
2 tbsp sugar

1/2 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin pans with muffin cup liners.
  2. In a large bowl, sift flour, 4 tbsp sugar, baking power and salt. Make a well in the center.
  3. Whisk all ingredients in egg yolk mixture to blend well. Add in melted butter and mix well again. Pour into flour mixture. Use a spatula to fold in just enough to moist. The batter will be very lumpy and thick like  wet dough. Do not over mix the batter.
  4. In a separate clean bowl, whip egg whites on high speed until it looks white and bubbles are very tiny. Gradually add in sugar. Continue whipping on high speed until soft peak (curve tip) forms.
  5. Fold in whipped egg whites into the batter in 2 batches, until all whipped egg whites just blend well. The batter at this point will still be lumpy but a little loose. Add in strawberries and chocolate chips, fold in a few more times.
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Bake for 20-22 minutes and the muffin top springs back when lightly pressed. Remove to cool on a rack for 5 minutes before serving.

Regina’s Note:

  • Eggs: be sure to use room temperature eggs. A quick way is to soak eggs in luke warm water for 10-15 minutes to bring to room temperature.
  • Whipping cream: I used whipping cream instead of milk because whipping cream is thicker, and thus the batter was not as runny compared to using same amount of milk. If you use milk (preferably whole milk), start with 2/3 cup first to get the batter moist enough (batter should be dense like scone batter). You can always add a little more if needed. You can also use whipping cream/milk combination or substitute milk for cream, but if milk is used then cut down amount of liquid (starts with 1/2 cup then gradually adding a little more as you fold in batter) because milk contains more water and better absorbed by flour mixture, and thus you don’t need as much amount as cream.
  • If you have hot cocoa mix sitting in your pantry too long, you can use it too instead of unsweetened cocoa powder, but cut down sugar to 2 tbsp as there is sugar in hot cocoa mix. The chocolate flavor won’t be as strong but the muffins still taste good.
  • Other tangy berries like raspberry and blackberry are also good choices for making these muffins.

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I got a bag of organic dried sliced plantain bananas from Costco just to give it a try, but found out they are quite chewy and dense. Great... now I’m stuck with a big bag of chewy dried bananas! What can I do with it? What can I do with it??… I know! Banana chocolate scones! It’s quick and easy to make, and a new flavor for the family.:-)

Results: Even I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften the bananas, I could’t taste any alcohol at all after baking. I didn’t want the taste of bananas take over the overall taste of the scones, so I just coarsely chopped. As a result, there are bites of the scones that comes with the sweet fragrance of banana, but no bananas in those bites at all… interesting!

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones

Banana Chocolate Scones (makes 12 small scones)

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
4 tbsp cold unsalted butter– cut into pieces
1/2 cup toasted walnut– chopped
1/2 cup bitter-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup dried banana slices– chopped, and soak in 1 tbsp golden rum for at least 1 hour– see note below
2 eggs
2/3 cup whipping cream
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

  1. In a large bowl, stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt to combine. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles of coarse crumbs. Add walnut, chocolate chip and chopped dried banana. Toss to mix well.
  2. Add eggs, vanilla extract and milk (or cream) in a small bowl, whisk to combine. Scoop out 2 tbsp to reserve for glaze. Pour the egg mixture all at once into the flour mixture. Use a spatula gently stir until the dough comes together. Do not over mix or the scones will be tough.
  3. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently 4-6 times, then divide the dough in half. Pat each half into 6 inch circle, then cut into 6 small wedges, for a total of 12 wedges.
  4. Place scones on a lined baking sheet, 2 inches apart, and chill in freezer for 30 minutes. In the meantime, preheat oven to 400°F.
  5. Brush scones with reserved egg wash and bake for 15-18 minutes, until the center is baked through and golden brown on the edge. Serve immediately.

Regina’s Note:

  • Dried banana slices: The banana I used are dried sliced plantain banana that I got from Costco. They are a bit sticky, chewy and a bit dense in texture, so I added 1 tbsp of rum to soften up a little (and rum makes it more flavorful, you can’t taste the alcohol at all after baking). you can substitute rum with water.

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Geez… I think I’m in a muffin land lately can you tell?! It all started with a day with zero breakfast food for the family, so I decided to make rum and raisin muffins AND blueberry muffins on the same day– and this just happened few days ago. And now I’m making rum raisin muffins again (perfecting recipe) and strawberry muffins!

There are several ways to make muffins, but I like this method that I’m using– which uses melted butter and the folding technique (vs. other method that calls for creaming butter and beating eggs and mix in flour). I find this method works pretty fast, and makes fluffier muffins.

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins

Strawberry Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
10 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter– melted
3/4 cup whipping cream
2 eggs– room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup shopped fresh strawberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line muffin molds with muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a big bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine whipping, eggs, vanilla extract. Whisk to blend well.
  4. Add cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Gently FOLD the batter with a spatula. FOLD in strawberries.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds. Bake at preheated 400F oven for 20-22 minutes, until muffin tops springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove muffins from molds immediately. Transfer to cooling rack. Let muffins cool slightly before serving. Best if served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Other berries (raspberry, blueberry) can also be used for this recipe.

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Why sour cream? Because that was what I had in the fridge at the moment, and it worked quite well as a substitute for whipping cream. This recipe calls for 10 tbsp of sugar, which is quite a lot for a typical muffin recipe, but surprisingly it doesn’t taste awfully sweet like store bought muffins. I consider myself not a big fan for sweet stuff and I think the amount of of sugar is just right.

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 tbsp baking powder
10 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter– melted
1 tub (8 oz) sour cream
milk– enough milk to combine with sour cream to fill 1 cup
2 eggs– room temperature
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin molds with muffin cup liners.
  2. Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a big bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine sour cream, milk, eggs, vanilla extract. Whisk to blend well.
  4. Add cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Gently FOLD the batter with a spatula until just moist. FOLD in blueberries.
  5. Scoop batter into muffin molds. Bake at preheated 375F oven for 20-25 minutes, until the muffin tops springs back when gently pressed.
  6. Remove muffins from molds immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. Let muffins cool slightly before serving. Best if served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Sour cream: I had only about 5 oz of sour cream so I added a little more milk to fill to 1 cup (milk is a thinning agent here as sour cream is pretty thick). Alternatively, you can also use whipping or heavy whipping cream alone without combining with milk.
  • Oven temperature: If you want crusty muffin tops that resemble of the crust of a cornbread, you can bake muffins at preheated 400F oven for 20-22 minutes.

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I got this recipe from my auntie’s muffin recipe book last year back in Singapore, but unfortunately I only took a picture of the recipe and don’t know the book cover nor the author. I tried to find the same recipe book online but with no success.

Back then, what caught my eyes was the flavor– rum and raisin! I had rum and raisin ice cream before, and so I thought the same flavor will taste good too on muffin (or even on scones!) The first time I tried out the recipe, I used the full amount of rum as directed in the recipe. And let me tell you it’s very alcoholic– I could smell the alcohol coming out from the freshly baked muffins. Took a bite, the alcohol taste was there, and the rum flavor stayed in the mouth and throat even after eating the muffins. My husband was joking that he can’t drive to work after eating these muffins for breakfast. The original recipe uses muscovado sugar and demerara sugar, but I just used brown sugar. How about heavy cream? Nope, didn’t have that either– I used 2% milk. I think the milk made the batter very liquid-y like pancake batter. The texture of muffins turned out to be a bit dense. The flavor was awesome though.

This time around, I changed cut down the amount of rum to 1/4 cup. Results? Much better. The rum flavor is still there but smooth to the taste. I also increased oven temperature to 400 degree F, just because I like my muffin tops crusty like cornbread. If you like rum and raisin ice cream, you may like this recipe.

Rum and Raisin Muffins

Rum and Raisin Muffins

Rum and Raisin Muffins (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
1 cup raisins
1/4 cup golden rum– for soaking raisins
2 cups flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
7 tbsp unsalted butter– melted and cooled
2/3 cup whipping cream– see note below
1/4 cup golden rum
2 eggs– room temperature

walnuts– for topping

Method:

  1. Soak raisins in 1/4 cup rum for at least 3 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin pan with muffin cup liners.
  3. Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a big bowl. Add in brown sugar. Mix to blend well.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine whipping cream, golden rum and eggs. Whisk to blend well.
  5. Pour cream mixture and melted butter to flour mixture. Fold in the batter with a spatula until just moist. Fold in raisins (including any residual rum that was not absorbed by the raisins).
  6. Spoon batter into muffin cups. Arrange some walnut pieces on the top.
  7. Bake at preheated 400°F oven for 20-22 minutes, until the muffin tops spring back when gently pressed. Remove from muffin pans immediately and transfer to a cooling rack. Best if the muffins are served warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Whipping cream: You can use whipping cream or heavy whipping cream, or even thick cream like sour cream (combine with milk to 2/3 cup, mix well). If used only milk then the batter maybe liquid-y instead of thick batter, may make the muffins a bit dense.
  • Oven temperature: I like the muffin tops crusty like cornbread crust, so I set to 400°F. If you are not picky like me, baking at 375°F for 20-22 minutes is just as fine.

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Coconut Chocolate Muffins

Coconut Chocolate Muffins

Coconut & Chocolate Chip Muffins Recipe (makes 12 pieces)

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
4 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking powder
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
2 eggs
1 small can (5.6 oz) coconut milk
1/2 cup oil
2 tbsp golden rum

Fillings:
bittersweet chocolate chips (about 4-5 chips per muffin)

Toppings:
Sweetened shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar and salt into a big bowl. Stir in shredded coconut.
  3. Combine eggs, coconut milk, oil and golden rum in a medium bowl. Mix to blend well.
  4. Pour egg mixture to flour mixture. Fold together with a spatula until just combined.
  5. Spoon batter into muffin molds, about 1/3 full. Add in chocolate chips (about 4-5 chips in each muffin mold), then cover with more batter. Sprinkle top with some shredded coconut.
  6. Bake at preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when gently pressed with a finger.
  7. Remove from muffin molds and cool on a rack. Serve warm.

Regina’s Note:

  • Baking time: I baked for 22 minutes but found out the muffins were a little dry. So maybe 18-20 minutes?
  • Flavor: Full of chocolate flavor, not too sweet, but didn’t taste any rum nor coconut flavor other than from the topping.
  • Texture: the texture was okay, not super fluffy that I was looking for.

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