My Go-To Blueberry Muffins

I have been all about fast breakfasts lately. I don’t know if I’m getting lazier or if we’re getting busier, but there seems to be less time in the mornings around here. OK, so maybe that has something to do with chilly mornings and my desire to hit “snooze” as many times as possible before getting out of bed, but still. There just isn’t always enough time for a bowl of oatmeal before work.

Even on my busiest days though, I still need some sort of fuel in the mornings. I can be somewhat unpleasant when I’m hungry. (Andy will vouch for this. Hangry Beth = no good to anyone.) Enter muffins. They’re portable. They taste good either at room temperature or warmed up, and honestly, the flavor combinations are almost endless. (Don’t believe me? You should see Kirsten’s list.)

Blueberry muffins are one of my favorite kinds, and they’re one of the easiest ones to put together, at least in my opinion. You don’t have to peel or chop the fruit, and odds are, all of the ingredients are hanging out in your pantry/fridge/freezer right now.

These are great with fresh blueberries, but they work just as well with frozen blueberries, which is helpful when a). it’s not blueberry season and b). you froze several pounds of blueberries last July. And like I heard last night on Cook’s Country: “Frozen fruit is always in season.” (Yes, I watch PBS, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.) 

I swap about one-third to one-half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat pie and pastry flour, since this is breakfast, not dessert. I go heavy on the blueberries, since we’re kind of addicted to fruit around here. Finally, I add the lemon zest to the sugar and give it a spin in the mixer before creaming the butter and sugar together. I feel like that gives the muffins a better lemon flavor. Of course, that could all be in my head, since I get a big whiff of fresh lemon while I’m working.

I’ll admit that these are best fresh, straight out of the oven, but they keep fairly well in an airtight container for the few days that it takes us to polish off a batch. And since nine muffins just won’t cut it at our house, I always double the recipe, which are the amounts reflected below. That way, we have breakfast (and snacks) for the entire week, which means I can hit snooze one more time. Again. 😉

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt
3 cups AP flour (can substitute up to half with whole wheat pie and pastry flour)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
heavy 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (If using frozen blueberries, do not thaw them beforehand.)

Preheat the oven to 375° and line a muffin tin with paper liners. (Alternatively, you could spray the tins with cooking spray, but that never works well for me. Besides, paper liners are so cute!) 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, then set them aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the sugar and lemon zest. Mix on medium-low speed for a few minutes, or until the zest has been evenly distributed throughout the sugar and smells lemony. Add the butter and cream together until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Add the eggs and beat well, then add the yogurt. Sift about half of the dry ingredient mixture over the batter and mix on low speed until just combined. Sift the rest of the dry ingredients into the batter and mix until the flour has almost disappeared.

Add the blueberries to the bowl and gently fold them in to the batter, which will be very thick. Make sure that the flour is fully incorporated into the batter when you’re done adding the blueberries.

Using a cookie scoop (or two spoons, if the spring on your scoop breaks halfway through the process…), fill the muffin cups about 3/4 of the way full. Bake until golden brown and the muffins test clean with a toothpick, about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: Approximately 18-20 muffins

From Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

Click here for a printable version.

Apple Butter In My Muffins

A couple of years ago, I started using the crockpot to make apple butter. It was an easy solution for the hundreds of apples we brought home from the orchard, and it makes the house smell incredible. Plus, it cooks while I sleep, and then I store the apple butter in the freezer. That’s a win-win in my world.

My apple butter usually winds up on biscuits or in baked brie, but when Andy requested muffins for a work potluck, I decided to see if anyone had ever put apple butter in the muffins before they baked, rather than on the muffins afterwards.

A few seconds later, Google came back with more than four million results. (Further proof that there’s nothing new left under the sun.) After skimming the first few items (does anyone really get past the first page of search results?), I narrowed it down to two choices. And from there, I simply went with the one that had the streusel topping. Although, I would have preferred a recipe that had the apple butter mixed into the batter, instead of spooned into the center. Maybe I’ll experiment with that someday.

Like any good muffin recipe, these came together quickly and easily. After all, if I’m going to spend hours in the kitchen, I’m going to make something fancier than muffins. I decided to skip the glaze (mostly because I was feeling lazy), and while I’m sure it would be fantastic, you can’t miss what you don’t know. The muffin itself isn’t overly sweet, but the apple butter and the streusel make up for it. And then I don’t feel like I’m completing negating my evening bike ride by eating one. (Please don’t tell me if that’s not true, OK? Ignorance is bliss.) 😉



Apple Butter Muffins
Makes about 16 standard-sized muffins

For the muffins: 
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup apple butter (I didn’t actually measure this out. I just scooped spoonfuls from the jar.) 

For the streusel topping:
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup walnuts
4 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 425. Line a muffin pan with liners and set aside.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl. Whisk to combine.

In a large bowl, beat the egg, milk and vegetable oil together until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and gently mix until the ingredients are just combined. (Don’t overmix!) 

To make the topping, use your now-empty dry-ingredients bowl and stir the flour, cinnamon, brown sugar walnuts together. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the mixture is well-blended.

Place a heaping teaspoon of the muffin batter in the bottom of the prepared muffin cups, and then place a heaping teaspoon of apple butter on top of the muffin batter. Sprinkle a hearty pinch of streusel on top of the apple butter, and then top the streusel with another heaping teaspoon of batter. When all of the muffin cups are filled and the batter is gone, top the muffins with the remaining streusel.

Bake at 425 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 375 degrees. Bake for another 15 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and test done with a toothpick. Remove the muffins from the oven and allow them to cool on a wire rack before serving.

From Tastes of Lizzy T’s

Click here for a printable version.

My Kind of Pumpkin

I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t go nuts over pumpkin. I don’t rush to Starbucks each September for a pumpkin spice latte. I’ve been known to bypass the pumpkin pie in favor of other goodies at Thanksgiving, and while I’ll eat a piece of pumpkin roll or a pumpkin square, I don’t hide the fact that for me, those goodies are all about the frosting/filling.

We did, however, receive a couple of pie pumpkins at the end of our CSA, and since I wasn’t ready to make pie, I roasted them (per Annie’s method) and froze the puree. I figured I’d find a use for it sooner or later! I stumbled on a muffin recipe over at Smitten Kitchen, and, in spite of my ambivalence toward most things pumpkin, I will be the first to admit that these are a keeper.

First of all, they’re incredibly easy to make. In my mind, muffins should be quick and easy. If I want a breakfast with multiple steps, I’ll make cinnamon rolls or something. Since I upped the amount of pumpkin in the recipe, I figured I could also add some oatmeal (these ARE muffins, after all, not cupcakes). They’re nice and moist (thanks to all of that pumpkin!), and they go well with the handful of mini chocolate chips that just happened to find their way into the mixing bowl. 🙂


Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour (I used a combination of white whole wheat, whole wheat pastry flour and regular all-purpose flour)
scant 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1 lb. pumpkin puree (Deb’s recipe calls for 1 1/3 cups of puree, which is what I used the first time I made these. The second time, I discovered that there was just a little left in the freezer bag, so I added it all.) 
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
cinnamon-sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners. (I got 24 mini-muffins and then another 10 or so regular-sized muffins out of one batch.) 

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

Mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the pumpkin mixture and gently stir until almost combined. Pour the chocolate chips into the bowl and stir the batter a couple more times, until the chips are incorporated and the flour is all mixed into the batter.

Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin cups, filling them about two-thirds of the way full. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with cinnamon sugar. Bake until muffins test done with a toothpick, about 22 minutes. (I start checking them around 18 minutes or so.) Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen, who got the recipe from the American Club in Kohler, Wisconsin, via Gourmet magazine

Click here for a printable version.

Good Morning Muffins

I’ve been on a muffin kick lately. Blueberry muffins. Pumpkin muffins (I added chocolate chips). Apple cider chocolate cranberry muffins.

Yep, you read that right. Apple cider. With chocolate. In muffins. Weird, right? (No weirder than some other things I’ve tried.) Who would have thought to put apple cider in muffins?! Not me, that’s for sure. But Kirsten at Farm Fresh Feasts makes a lot of muffins, so I figured she knows what she’s doing. And since apple cider is one of my favorite things, I knew I had to give them a try. Of course, I saw this recipe after apple cider season ended, which meant they went on the back burner for a few months.

Thankfully, cider season rolled around again, so I dug through my saved recipes and gave this one a whirl. My only changes were to use dried cranberries instead of cherries and regular chocolate chips instead of mini ones (all based on what was in my cupboard at the time). I thought about adding some diced apple pieces as well, but chose not to since I threw these together before work one morning and didn’t have time for extra peeling/chopping.

I love the fact that these are one-bowl muffins. And as long as you remember to soak the oats the night before, you can have fresh muffins by the time you leave for work in the morning. (Seriously… mix them up, bake them while you shower/prep for the day and then snag one – or three, whatever floats your boat – on your way out the door.) 


Apple Cider Muffins with Cranberries & Chocolate Chips

1 cup old-fashioned oats
1 cup apple cider
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour (I used whole wheat pastry flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup chocolate chips

In a large bowl, combine oats, cranberries and cider. Let mixture soak until oats are well-hydrated (I soaked mine overnight). 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

Once oats are thoroughly soaked, whisk the oil, brown sugar, egg and vanilla into the oat mixture. Make a well in the middle of the wet ingredients, and then pour the dry ingredients into the well. Stir until the mixture is almost combined, then add the chocolate chips. Give the mixture another stir or two to fully combine things.

Evenly divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups. (I ended up filling 13 muffin cups! The frustration!) Bake for 15 minutes, or until tops are golden and muffins test done with a toothpick. Remove from pans and enjoy.

From Farm Fresh Feasts

Click here for a printable version.

Dessert for Breakfast

I’ll be the first to admit that we mix up meals in our house. Breakfast for dinner, for instance. And I fully believe that there’s nothing better than starting your day with a piece of pie. Or cold pizza. (Or having your morning coffee in ice cream form. Hehe.) 

And while these babies have cocoa powder and chocolate chips, there’s only one stick of butter and 3/4 of a cup of sugar in a batch of 24. Plus, there’s Greek yogurt and cherries! (I bet if you swapped out some of the flour for a whole-wheat variety, they’d be even healthier.) So… totally acceptable for breakfast. And lunch. And dessert. 

The most time-consuming part of making these guys is pitting the cherries, and even with that step, I was still able to get a batch of these in and out of the oven before work one day. They baked up into these jumbo-sized, perfectly domed beauties too. We enjoyed the first batch fairly well, but decided that they needed more cherries and chocolate chips. So, I upped the mix-ins the second time around, and they are going fast around here. 🙂


Chocolate Cherry Muffins

2 2/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark.) 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened and cut into cubes
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt or sour cream (I used half yogurt, half sour cream.) 
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 cups chopped, pitted sweet cherries
1 1/3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together 2 2/3 cups of flour, the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

Meanwhile, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, scrapping down the bowl as needed. Mix in the vanilla.

Stir in half of the dry ingredients until just combined, then add one-third of the yogurt. Stir in half of the remaining flour and then another third of the yogurt. Mix in the remaining flour, followed by the last of the yogurt.

Toss the cherries with the remaining tablespoon of flour. Gently fold in the chopped cherries and chocolate chips in to the batter, which will be very thick. Divide the mixture between the prepared muffin pans. Bake at 400 degrees for 8 minutes, then reduce the oven temperature to 375. Bake for an additional 8 to 10 minutes, or until muffins test done with a toothpick.

Remove from oven and cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Yield: 24 generous muffins

Barely adapted from Confections of a Foodie Bride, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

Click here for a printable version.

March Muffins

Is it just me, or does March feel like a long month? We’re well past the excitement of the holidays, and at least in this part of the world, everyone feels “done” with the cold, gray weather. There isn’t a long weekend on the horizon until May, and, worst of all, NOTHING is in season any more. We’re done with pumpkins and squash, and January’s citrus explosion is over. It seems like an eternity until strawberry season starts, and my fruit stash in the freezer is getting dangerously low!

All is not lost, however. I still have some rhubarb squirreled away, so I whipped up a batch of muffins last week to share with some girlfriends on a road trip to Milwaukee. (I thought about making blueberry muffins, but then I discovered I’m almost out of frozen blueberries as well. COME ON SPRING!) These are ideal for making the night before a trip because they come together in just a few minutes. And while they’re best warm, right out of the oven, they’re also pretty tasty the next morning. 

The recipe was originally published in the now-defunct “Cooking for 2” magazine, and while it’s nice to have a muffin recipe that doesn’t feed an army, I end up doubling (or even tripling) it most days, especially when I plan on sharing with someone besides Andy. (My doubled amounts are reflected below.) I also discovered that you can swap the sour cream for Greek yogurt with no ill effects. I add oatmeal to the topping and use whole wheat pastry flour for half of the flour, in an attempt to feel a little better about eating two or three for breakfast. 🙂


Rhubarb Cream Muffins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream or Greek yogurt
2 cups fresh or frozen rhubarb*
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For topping:
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons oatmeal
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat well.

Meanwhile, in a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, and then add the sour cream. Add the remaining dry ingredients and stir until almost mixed. Gently fold in the rhubarb and walnuts (this should mix in the rest of the dry ingredients).

To make the topping, whisk the sugar, cinnamon and oatmeal together in a bowl. (Save a dish here and reuse the bowl you mixed the dry ingredients in!) Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter until the butter is evenly distributed and  is about the size of small pebbles.

Fill the prepared muffin cups about two-thirds of the way full. (I use my large cookie scoop to evenly portion out the batter.) Top with the prepared topping.

Bake until muffins are golden brown and test “done” with a toothpick, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes in the pans. Remove the muffins from the pans and allow to cool.

*To use frozen rhubarb, measure while frozen, then allow rhubarb to thaw completely in a colander. Drain, but don’t press out the extra liquid. 

Adapted from Cooking for 2, Spring 2007

Click here for a printable version.

Muffins to the Rescue!

Sometimes, I feel like I’m caught in a mad race against time with my produce. The lettuce is wilting in the fridge!  The peaches are seconds away from dissolving into a syrupy mess on the counter! The cilantro has turned black! NOW. IS. THE. TIME. TO. PANIC. AHHHH!!! (Over-dramatic? Who, me? Never.) 

These muffins were made in one of those produce-induced panics. The apples were moments away from turning into applesauce in the fruit bowl, so it was either bake or send them to the trash can. I do my best to avoid pitching food, so “to bake” it was. This happened a few days before Thanksgiving, and since Thanksgiving means a road trip for us, I decided that muffins would be a good solution to my apple problems. After all, muffins are portable and individually packaged – perfect road food, right?

Karen suggested her apple muffins, and while I know they would have been good (and MUCH healthier than these!), I didn’t have several of the ingredients. So, to I went, and came up with this recipe. It came together quickly (a plus, as I had about 15 other things on my to-do list that night) and featured pantry staples. As I mixed up the batter, I noticed that the recipe didn’t have any spices in it – what kind of “apple pie” is this? I added cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and cloves. I also left off the crumb topping – mostly because I felt like the muffins were already sweet enough. Surprisingly enough, we didn’t miss it at all. (Guess that goes to show that you can’t miss what you don’t know!)
They may not be the flashiest muffins, but they sure did hit the spot halfway through our road trip!

Apple Pie Muffins

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
pinch of cloves
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (I subbed milk with lemon juice this time.) 
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups diced apples

Preheat oven to 375. Line muffin tins with paper liners. (I ended up with 20 muffins, but I think the original recipe had me overfill the tins. You might be able to get 24 muffins out of this.)

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and stir until the sugar dissolves. Stir the egg, buttermilk and vanilla into the sugar mixture.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients and the apple chunks into the well. Gently fold the wet ingredients and the apples into the flour mixture, being careful not to over-mix.

Fill the muffin wells two-thirds of the way full. Bake until muffins test done with a toothpick, about 25 minutes. Let cool in pans 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Adapted from