Tag Archives: muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

I love muffins, and so does my family. Muffins and loaves are usually what they ask for when I ask “what should I bake today?” Apple muffins are a particular favourite of mine, especially in the fall and winter when apples are plentiful and inexpensive compared to other fruit. And given that my children eat apples like they’re going out of style, which necessitates me purchasing them by the bag pretty much every week, apples are something I always have on hand. This recipe was inspired by an apple coffee cake that I made. I wanted to make it smaller, easier to send with Eliza for her morning snack at school and in my husband’s lunch, and I wanted to spice it up a little, and not just go with the usual cinnamon and sugar streusel. The result is this: a lovely apple muffin that is moist and tender, with just a hint of chai spice. Perfect to enjoy with a morning cup of tea as a special breakfast treat.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Normally I’m not a “healthify your recipes” kinda girl – when I want to indulge, I want to indulge, if you know what I mean. But given that my family loves baked goods so much, I like to tweak my muffins to make them just a little bit healthier, and do things like use whole-grain flours, applesauce, less sugar {and substitute honey when I can}. This recipe uses a couple of my standard baking tweaks – some whole wheat flour subbed for white, and applesauce instead of some of the butter. When I make better choices with my ingredients, it might not be a super healthy option but at least I feel a little less guilty when I grab one on my way out the door.

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Apple Chai Coffee Cake Muffins

Spices:
1 tsp cardamom
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp ground star anise
1/8 tsp ground cloves

Batter:
Spice blend {less the reserved 3/4 tsp}
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3 small apples, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped

Streusel:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp reserved spice blend
5 Tbsp cold butter

Prepare muffin tins, greasing or lining 18 wells with paper liners. Preheat oven to 350.

In a small bowl, mix together spices – cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, anise, & cloves. Reserve 3/4 tsp of this mixture for the streusel.

In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and the larger portion of the chai spices. Blend well.

In a large bowl, combine brown sugar and eggs, whisking until smooth. Add yogurt and buttermilk, and mix until all the lumps are gone. Stir in butter and applesauce. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined, and then gently stir in the chopped apples.

To make the streusel, mix together brown sugar, flour, salt, and reserved spices. Cut in cold butter with a pastry cutter or two knives, until well blended and crumbly.

Fill muffin cups half way with batter. Top with a spoon of streusel, and then fill with more batter. {Tip: Press the batter in gently so that it sticks to the batter on the bottom and the layers bake together, otherwise the muffins can fall apart.} Top with a generous sprinkling of streusel, and bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Yield: 18 muffins

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Mini Meatloaves

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When it’s cold outside and the snow is piling up, my mind immediately turns to comfort food. Warm, hearty meals made from pantry staples, the kind of ingredients that are always on hand and don’t require braving the snow for a trip to the grocery store. We’ve had a bit of a winter storm here this weekend, and it’s almost grocery day. The last thing I wanted to do was trek out in the snow to fetch ingredients, so I needed to come up with something for dinner that would fit the comfort food craving, and didn’t require anything that I didn’t have in my pantry. Enter the meatloaf. Or, rather, the meatloaves.

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Meatloaf is one of those meals that I didn’t really like growing up. I don’t know what it was about it, but it was just so boring to me. Maybe I just didn’t appreciate all the effort my parents put into making it. But since having kids of my own, I’ve decided to revisit some of my childhood staples, and up the flavour ante a little. This is one that I’ve been working on for a while, and I feel like I’ve finally perfected it. I even hide some veggies in it for extra nutritional punch! I used to make it in one big loaf, but recently I’ve been experimenting with making it in muffin tins. Not only does it cut down the cooking time, but it also makes it really easy to watch your portion sizes, too! Needless to say, this is a hit. My husband loves it, my kids love it, and I love it too. It comes together quickly and makes enough for another meal, if leftovers are your thing. They certainly are my thing – two meals for the effort of one? I’m in.

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Mini Meatloaves

8 oz bread products that are getting stale {slices, crusts, buns, etc – about 6 slices}
1 cup milk
1 pound lean ground beef
1 pound medium ground pork {not pork sausage meat in a tube}
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp allspice
2 Tbsp dried parsley
1 cup grated asiago {or parmesan}
1 large carrot, grated finely
1 medium onion, grated
4 eggs
1 cup ketchup
2 Tbsp molasses
2 Tbsp honey
Hot sauce {I used 2 tsp sambal oelek, you can use any hot sauce of your choice in an appropriate amount}

Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare muffin tins (18 wells) by greasing lightly.

In a large bowl, tear bread up into small pieces. Pour milk over top and let sit for a few minutes.

To the bread, add beef, pork, salt, pepper, garlic powder, nutmeg, allspice, parsley, parmesan, carrot and onion. Mix well. {Tip: This is a good time to get in there with your hands. If you are squeamish about touching raw meat, keep some medical gloves on hand for this kind of thing!}

When the meat mixture is well-combined, add eggs and mix some more. Once everything is mixed together well, fill each muffin tin well with the meat mixture.

In a small bowl, combine ketchup, molasses, honey and chili sauce. Reserve half the sauce for later, and brush the remaining half over the tops of the meatloaf muffins.

Bake meatloaves at 350F for 25-30 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meatloaves is 160F. Serve with fluffy smashed potatoes and the reserved sauce for dipping. Yield: 18 mini meatloaves.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

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As a child, I remember my grandmother’s freezer being full of bananas. To my wee eyes, it seemed like there were dozens of them, a never-ending supply. One day, I discovered for myself that a thawed banana bears very little resemblance to a fresh banana, and I asked her why she kept them all. With a pair of sharp scissors, she snipped the end from the limp, black banana and squeezed it into a bowl like a tube of toothpaste, and we made banana bread. That was when I learned that nothing ever went to waste in her kitchen. Even bananas that I thought should be destined for the trash could be salvaged and used later. Ever since, my own freezer has become a gathering place for bananas past their prime, waiting to be baked into something delicious.

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Every so often, though, my husband sorts through the freezer and curses the number of frozen bananas I have hanging around. We buy bananas almost every week for the kids, and usually there’s a straggler or two that didn’t get eaten and is starting to get spotty and soft, so into the freezer it goes! It only takes a few weeks and I end up with an over-supply of frozen bananas and it’s time to do some baking.

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Enter the banana muffin. I prefer to make muffins over loaves for the kids, it’s just easier to portion out for them. When I’m feeling like Super Mom, I’ll even make mini muffins for them. I swear, my kids will eat anything in muffin form (just like their mom!). I found this recipe while searching for a reasonably healthy whole wheat recipe that would use a lot of bananas – most recipes use 2 or 3, but this one uses 5, maybe 6 if your bananas are on the small side. The result is a deliciously moist muffin, which can be hard to find in a whole wheat recipe. A batch of these muffins barely lasts 24 hours in my house – as soon as they’re out of the oven, my husband and kids are lining up in the kitchen to get one.

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Whole Wheat Banana Pecan Muffins

(adapted from Food Doodles)

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups mashed over-ripe (or previously frozen) banana (about 5 bananas)
1/2 cup pecans

Prep a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners (or grease), and set aside. Preheat oven to 350F.

In a bowl, mix together flour, oats, cinnamon, cardamom, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a second bowl, whisk together honey, butter, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Stir in mashed banana.

Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gently until just combined. Fold in pecans. Divide batter evenly between the 12 prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with oats.

Bake at 350F until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, ~15-18 minutes. Yield: 12 muffins

Nutritional Info (per muffin): 244 calories, 30g carbs, 13g fat, 5g protein, 4g fiber.

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