Category: muffins

Recipe redux: pumpkin muffins with cream cheese icing!

Well, everyone, it’s finally October. Retail stores and blogs have been teasing me with fall since July, and now it’s finally here. Ahh. I can finally buy some fall stuff and not feel ridiculous because I have sandals and shorts on. It’s freezing cold today- a whopping 51° degrees. And pouring rain. So what does that mean? It means it’s time for horror movies, dragging the vintage Beistle out of the basement and decking the halls with black cats, witches and cobwebs.

Which I will be doing this week.

Pumpkin streusel muffins with cream cheese icing.

And it’s pumpkin time! REJOICE!

Actually. Let me make a confession: I don’t love pumpkin. I really don’t. And I find most pumpkin delectables (i.e. pumpkin spice lattes and most pumpkin spice treats) to be far over-spiced. Too much cinnamon and nutmeg and whatever. They taste like hand lotion or a candle to me. BUT, that said, I do like it when it isn’t too much. I prefer a more easy going pumpkin- not too spiced, not too overtly pumpkin-y. Simple.

I do enjoy this muffin, though.

Pumpkin streusel muffins with cream cheese icing.

Pumpkin streusel muffins with cream cheese icing.

But this muffin isn’t really simple. I mean it is. But it’s not. It’s really just a pumpkin-y brown sugar-y streusel muffin, with a cream cheese icing. So it is indeed simple. It just looks fancy. I made this recipe for the first time about 5 years ago, when my mom fell in love with Dunkin’ Donuts’ pumpkin muffins. I knew I could make ’em better, from scratch. So I looked around for a recipe that seemed similar… and I did it! Homemade is always better, don’t you think?

I’ve made them since but never thought to take better photos than the god awful ones that were on that old blog post. Until now.

So here, I present you with a newly photographed version of pumpkin streusel muffins with cream cheese icing.

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Banana yogurt chocolate chip muffins for back-to-school.

Banana yogurt chocolate chip muffins from!

OMG guys. I said it. I said “Back-To-School.” Ugh. I don’t have kids, but I do remember how much this week SUCKED HARDCORE. I mean, sure, new supplies are always super exciting and awesome. It was always great to open the notebook to the first clean, fresh, paper-smelling page and write the date with a brand new ballpoint pen.

But that wears off super quick. So does waking up early to catch a bus.

But… there’s always lunchtime! And if you’re lucky, mom packed you a cool lunch with awesome snackage. Like these muffins, in these adorbs little baking cups.

Banana yogurt chocolate chip muffins.

Packed with fresh banana, vanilla yogurt and chocolate chips, PLUS an added boost of banana flavor thanks to some banana extract, these muffins will totes help you get through the second half of the day. Annnnnnd, if you use these little cups, you can actually fit more muffinage in the lunch box, cause they’re a teensy bit smaller more petite than your average baking cup.

They’re way cuter, too.

Banana yogurt chocolate chip muffins.


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I didn’t know what to call these, so how about ‘peppery orange ginger muffins’?

After a while, coming up with names for things gets old. And tiresome. And when I’m doing 600 million other things (like for example: painting 5 rooms, 1 ceiling & a hallway, refinishing hardwoods, installing new light fixtures, getting new appliances, redoing my bathroom- there’s literally NO walls just studs & insulation, and of course on top of all that figuring out what’s going on for Thanksgiving) I can’t really focus well enough to come up with a name thats either a) clever or b) makes sense.

See, there’s been a lot of work going on at the house. There are a lot of people working very hard- myself included. I need to have snacks & goodies on hand to feed the troops… or else they might revolt. And the revolt might include not finishing my house! So I try to throw together things that are unique and not just your average snack repeated over & over. Being that it’s been so chilly & windy, I thought a warm, spicy, gingery muffin would work. Then I’d post the recipe if they came out good. Which they definitely did.

Peppery orange ginger muffins. Or spiced orange ginger muffins with black pepper. Whatever they are, they're amazing!

So I just gave up.

Peppery orange ginger muffins it is!

They’re like gingerbread cake, but with orange to sweeten it up a little more. There are so many flavors going on in these, you’d think they’d be “messy” tasting, but they’re not. They’re right on target.

Side note: they came out so delicate & perfectly rounded. Not big or obnoxious or overflowing out of the pans. I don’t know why that is, but they’re good. And I guess it really doesn’t matter. So I eat two instead of one. Big deal.

Ginger muffins with orange zest, candied ginger & black pepper.

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Gettin’ pumpkin apple sauce-y.

Happy October! My favorite month. It’s finally cool enough to bake more. It’s time for super fresh apples & tons of pumpkins. And all the best spices are fall-appropriate: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, etc. And let’s not forget that it’s the month of my favorite holiday- Halloween!

it's October!(Ironically, the dates are the same this year! Except Columbus Day)


So we’re going to celebrate my favorite month/upcoming holiday & get sauced! Or not. Or actually… yeah we are, but not in the way you think. A different kinda sauced.

Like I said, it’s both apple season & pumpkin season. Everyone is going apple picking, pumpkin picking, & shoving apple cider donuts & pumpkin lattes in their pie hole. You can’t go anywhere without tripping over pumpkins for sale & bushels of apples. So of course I had this big old batch of bright, shiny, fresh apples, right? Apples don’t last forever. So they had to be used up, right? And naturally I’ve already stocked up on organic canned pumpkin. Well…


I made applesauce. I know what you’re thinking:

 “Three posts in a row about apples!? BO-RING!”

But wait.

Yes, I made applesauce. But… it’s not what you think. I had to add pumpkin.


Uh huh. Yup.

I'm ready for applesauce. And you know what? Let's add a little pumpkin, shall we?

Gorgeous apples & organic canned pumpkin… together. With cinnamon streusel muffins to go with it.

Blame it on the Food Network magazine.

Blame it on the rain. I don’t know. Blame it on the fact that I can’t keep myself out of the kitchen once the fall comes!

Pumpkin applesauce! Because why make the same ol boring applesauce?

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Cheery lil’ cherry Christmas muffins.


It never fails; every holiday season, I try to come up with different pretty little muffins and things that can go from breakfast to lunch to “snack time.” Whether it’s breads or loaf cakes or muffins or rolls, I like to have things on hand that can be grabbed at any time of day, whenever anyone pops in or decides they want one with a cup of coffee or tea… or a glass of milk. Because this is the time of year when people are always coming by, stopping in, etc. and you’ve gotta have something on hand to give these wandering wassailers, whether they’re coming morning, noon or night.


Cupcakes don’t always go with breakfast. And they’ve also got a shorter table-life than muffins. Muffins last forever, it seems. And in the new issue of the Food Network magazine, there’s a buttload of inspiration in the form of a booklet with 50 muffin recipes! So I guess I’m not alone in my idea that muffins make great snacks for last-minute guests, eh?

A lot of the recipes sounded amazing, but the ones I really liked I had bigger plans for. So I gathered up some things I had in my cupboards- dried Bing cherries & white chocolate chips, namely- and threw ’em into my favorite muffin recipe base. If I had had some pistachios, I’d have thrown them in there too. Pistachio goes well with both cherry & white chocolate. Oh- and cranberries would work just fine instead of cherries- both fresh and dried. The tartness of both cherries & cranberries work because of the sweetness of the white chocolate.




  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar + 2 tablespoons set aside
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup butter — melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 1 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup unsalted shelled pistachios (optional, I didn’t have any)


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. and grease up 12 muffin cups or put liners in them (I prefer liners because it’s less messy that way).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, cooled butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in cherries, then white chocolate chips. DON’T OVERMIX THE BATTER.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them almost to the top; top each muffin with a sprinkling of sugar from reserved 2 tablespoons. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
  4. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling. Serve with whatever you like, whenever you like.


The cool thing about the white chocolate chips in this case is that they don’t melt like semisweet or milk chocolate chips would. They stay whole, as do the cherries, so you taste each of them separately & get the texture too. That’s why the addition of unsalted shelled pistachios would be great! Not only would it make the muffins Christmas colors, but the texture of the three separate things would be awesome. Chewy cherries, thick white chocolate and crunchy-ish pistachios.

And they go great with milk & pretty paper straws, too.

Table runner custom-made for me by Yoyo of


Jammin’ little 5-minute muffins.

Tis the season for  warm, yummy breakfasts before heading out to school. Even though it isn’t really cold at all yet (not here in New York at least) and even though in the morning most kids aren’t drinking this, at least not here in the states.


But I’m no kid. I love my coffee, and I love that mug. I also love snacking on something sweet while having my first cup (or second, or third) of the day. So of course, when there’s nothing around to snack on, I have to make something to snack on. And that’s how this post came to be. Jammy little muffins that are hearty & delicious, yet super quick to make.

And another thing? I’m not even writing up a recipe for these.



It’s not that I’m philosophically opposed to it all of a sudden. It’s just that you don’t need one.

All you need to start is the basic muffin recipe that I love & adore so much. It really is the BEST muffin base ever. Add chocolate chips, fresh berries, trail mix, top it off with some cinnamon-sugar, streusel or just some oats. You could even add a slice of plum or peach on top… whatever- and it always works. You can use cake flour, all-purpose flour, even whole wheat pastry flour. You can even substitute all granulated sugar or all light brown sugar instead of doing half/half, and I bet you could use honey or agave too (but I never tried). It’s the easiest and most customizable recipe in the history of muffin-making. For these, I used half dark brown sugar and half granulated.

So you start off with that recipe and a jar of your favorite jam. Or a few jars of jam. Same exact idea as with the Nutella muffins. You mix up the batter, pop it in some pretty liners


Then you just swirl a little jam into the top of each muffin before baking, or spoon it into the middle of the muffin before baking. I sprinkled the tops of mine with some sugar & steel cut oats, too. Add another dollop of jam of you want. If you want to make peanut butter & jelly/jam cupcakes, then just take out half the butter and replace it with an equal amount peanut butter. You might also need to use a mixer if you do that- peanut butter is thick.

Psst: If you’re using a homemade jam with fruit/berry chunks in it, you can push the chunks down inside of the muffin, leaving the looser part on top. That way it’s like an added surprise!


Bake it, take it out, let it cool a little… and eat it.


The end.


Yeah, your family is gonna love me.

Why? ‘Cause of these. Nutella swirl muffins.

Yeah. You’re welcome.

You all know how much I love Nutella, right? Well, I saw this idea on Pinterest (where else??) & decided to do it my way, or at least the way I imagined it being done in my head. I just used my basic muffin recipe as a base, then just swirled in some Nutella before I baked ’em. Probably one of the easiest muffins ever. Not that muffins are typically difficult. I always say I never understand using a muffin mix when they take literally minutes to make from scratch. No joke. But especially these. There’s practically no mixing required. Just a little stirring. And some swirling.

Seriously. Before you buy another muffin mix, make some from scratch. You’ll see.



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup light-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter — melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • jar of Nutella (don’t worry, you’re not using the whole jar)


  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. and grease up twelve muffin cups or put liners in them (I prefer liners because it’s less messy that way).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Don’t overmix!
  3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them almost to the top; top each muffin with 2 teaspoons Nutella. Using a sharp knife, swirl the Nutella into the batter. It doesn’t have to be perfect or go all the way to the bottom. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
  4. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling.

So that’s it. It’s a short & sweet post today ’cause this couldn’t really get any easier. Oh- I used some unprocessed unbleached paper liners from The Layer Cake Shop for these, in case you’re wondering.