Category: muffins

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…

*siiiiiiiiigh*

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.

I know. SAY WHAT?  APPLESAUCE WITH 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.

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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.

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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.

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WHITE CHOCOLATE CHERRY MUFFINS

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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.

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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 topstitch.org/topstitch.artfire.com

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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.

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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.

Nope.

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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

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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!

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

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The end.

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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.

NUTELLA SWIRL MUFFINS

Ingredients:

  • 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)

Directions:

  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.

Hot cross muffins, hot cross muffins, one ha’ penny, two ha’ penny…

My grandma loved hot cross buns. LOVED them. Every spring, she had to have her hot cross buns for Easter. It was tradition, yes, but more so she just really enjoyed them. However I never really knew the full meaning behind them until I decided to make a batch in her honor this year. Thanks Wikipedia!

A hot cross bun, or cross-bun,[1] is a sweet, yeast-leavened, spiced bun made with currants or raisins, often with candied citrus fruits,[2] marked with a cross on the top. The cross can be made in a variety of ways including: of pastry; flour and water mixture; rice paper; icing; two intersecting cuts. They are traditionally eaten on Good Friday but in the UK they are now sold all year round.[3]

In many historically Christian countries, buns are traditionally eaten hot or toasted on Good Friday, with the cross standing as a symbol of the Crucifixion. They are believed by some to pre-date Christianity, although the first recorded use of the term “hot cross bun” was not until 1733;[1] it is believed that buns marked with a cross were eaten by Saxons in honour of the goddess Eostre (the cross is thought to have symbolised the four quarters of the moon);[4] “Eostre” is probably the origin of the name “Easter”.[1] Others claim that the Greeks marked cakes with a cross, much earlier.[5]

According to cookery writer Elizabeth David, Protestant English monarchs saw the buns as a dangerous hold-over of Catholic belief in England, being baked from the dough used in making the communion wafer. Protestant England attempted to ban the sale of the buns by bakers but they were too popular, and instead Elizabeth I passed a law permitting bakeries to sell them, but only at Easter and Christmas.

English folklore includes many superstitions surrounding hot cross buns. One of them says that buns baked and served on Good Friday will not spoil or become mouldy during the subsequent year. Another encourages keeping such a bun for medicinal purposes. A piece of it given to someone who is ill is said to help them recover.[6]

Sharing a hot cross bun with another is supposed to ensure friendship throughout the coming year, particularly if “Half for you and half for me, Between us two shall goodwill be” is said at the time. Because of the cross on the buns, some say they should be kissed before being eaten. If taken on a sea voyage, hot cross buns are said to protect against shipwreck. If hung in the kitchen, they are said to protect against fires and ensure that all breads turn out perfectly. The hanging bun is replaced each year.[6]

Amazing. As a self-admitted total history nerd, the part about Elizabeth I blew my mind! It also cemented my desire to make my own hot cross buns. But see, my idea was to translate them into a muffin type of deal. Not really, since they’re really just hot cross buns, except baked in buttered paper in muffin tins. But they resemble muffins more than buns this way. I got the idea from the panettone I made for Christmas which was both much talked about and much devoured. Is that proper grammar? Doesn’t sound like it. But you get the idea. Either way, hot cross buns are incredibly similar to panettones in terms of the dough & ingredients, so there wasn’t really much difference in making them.

HOT CROSS BUNS (adapted slightly from Ree Drummond/Pioneer Woman)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • ½ cup canola oil
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 package (2 ¼ teaspoons) Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (additional) flour
  • ½ teaspoon (heaping) baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon (scant) baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • spices: cardamom, nutmeg, allspice (optional)
  • ½ cup golden raisins
Glaze:
  • 1 whole egg white
  • splash of milk

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Icing:
  • 1 whole egg white
  • powdered sugar
  • splash of milk

Directions:

  1. Combine 2 cups milk, canola oil, and ½ cup sugar in a saucepan. Stir and heat until very warm but not boiling. Turn off the heat and allow to cool until mixture is still warm, but not hot–about 30 minutes. Sprinkle yeast over mixture. Add 4 cups of flour and stir to combine. Mixture will be very sticky. Cover with a towel and set aside for 1 hour.
  2. Meanwhile, cut large squarish circles out of brown paper bags. Melt two tablespoons butter and brush each one with some butter. Line muffin tins with them and press down, making them fit.
  3. Add ½ cup flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir till combined. Combine ¼ cup sugar with cinnamon and whatever other spices you want to use. Lightly flour surface. Press to slightly flatten dough. Sprinkle a couple tablespoons of the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Sprinkle on about a third of the raisins. Then fold the dough over on itself and flatten again so the dough is “plain” again. Repeat the sugar/raisin process, then fold the dough again. Repeat a third time until all the raisins are used. (You won’t use all the sugar/cinnamon mixture.)
  4. Pinch off ping pong or golf ball-size bunches of dough. With floured hands, quickly roll it into a ball, then turn the edges under themselves slightly. Place each ball in the buttered paper. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for at least 30 minutes, an hour-plus is better. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  5. Make glaze: mix 1 egg white with a splash of milk. Brush onto each roll. Bake for 20 minutes, give or take, or until tops of buns have turned nice and golden brown. Remove from pan and allow to cool on a cooling rack.
  6. Make the icing: Mix 1 egg white with enough powdered sugar for icing to be very thick. Splash in milk as needed for consistency. Add icing to a small Ziploc bag or disposable pastry bag and snip the corner. Make icing crosses on each roll, making sure they’re completely cooled first.

I halved the above recipe and ended up with 14 total: 6 in the buttered-brown-paper-muffin version, without raisins, and 8 in an 8″-inch cake pan with raisins. As soon as the dough was made, I split it in half after adding the cinnamon mix and just added raisins to one lump and left them out of the other one. Makes sense, right?

These are the original buns that were baked in a pan & contain raisins

If you’re making the full batch, you could easily use brownie pans instead of a round cake pan, if you’re not into the buttered paper idea. You also don’t have to use golden raisins, or even raisins at all. Dried currants work too, as does citron if you’re into that. I’m definitely not. I’m sure any kind of small dried fruit would do the trick. And if you’d really like to, I’m sure little mini chocolate chips would taste delicious too. And if you’re really adventurous, why not soak the raisins in a bit of liquor first?

I have to say these were much easier than I anticipated. I made them while watching a few episodes of Shameless & before I knew it they were ready to eat. Best hot cross bun muffins ever!

English muffins that make use of all those jams, jellies, preserves… & extra canning rings.

It’s no secret I’ve made a LOT of canned items in the last year. I currently have in my “larder”: three different kinds of marmalade, five different jellies, five different conserves, one preserve, two kinds of curd and three jams (not to mention the pickles, pickled peppers, and the savory sort). Pretty nuts, although not as nuts as it would be if I hadn’t given so much away, if I had more room & if I preserved to actually get through the winter/for sustenance as opposed to just for fun. I started canning last June and I’ve done a ton of canning since then. Maybe too much- Jay actually mentioned the other day that the last time there were ‘actual cupcakes’ posted on Cupcake Rehab was back in early February. Uhm. Yeah. I do apologize for that, but you understand that I’m trying to expand my repertoire, right? By trying new things like making my own salsa & jelly. That means I’ve bought a lot of jars, which in turn translates to having a lot of lids/rings. Or bands, if you prefer that term.

And that’s not even all of them. There’s plenty more. If you’re a “canner” or preserver, you know that those rings/bands can be reused; so long as they aren’t rusty or there isn’t anything impeding them from doing their job. Lids are a one-off thing, so you never end up with extra boxes of used ones laying around. But rings? I have an assload. I can’t bear to just toss them, so I save them, and then I end up with way more rings than jars or lids. They’re tucked in plastic jars, in drawers, in boxes. What to do with them? Well.. how about make English muffins?

Yeah, seriously.

I’m just crazy about this idea. Talk about recycling! I don’t even like Alton Brown & yet between the amazing canning ring idea & how easy these were to make, I’m reconsidering my hatred. I enjoyed making these (and eating them) immensely. I’d like to make them again, perhaps this time using a little cornmeal to mimic Thomas’ English muffins. Also, a word to the wise: make sure you let them cook enough. They’ll seem like they’re fine, but the inside will still be a little undercooked. Be 100% sure about them but don’t let them burn!

ALTON BROWN’S ENGLISH MUFFINS MADE IN CANNING RINGS (adapted by Dishing the Divine)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup non-fat powdered milk
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon shortening
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • ⅛ teaspoon sugar
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Non-stick vegetable spray and oil for brushing
  • Wide-mouth canning jar rings

Directions:

  1. In a bowl combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, ¼ teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water; stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and ⅛ teaspoon of sugar in ⅓ cup of warm water and rest until yeast has dissolved. Add this to the dry milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes (longer = more holes!).
  2. Preheat the griddle to 300° degrees F and brush the bottom of skillet with a thin coat of oil. I don’t have an electric griddle with a temperature gauge, so I just cooked my muffins on the stove-top with the heat set to low. If you are in the same situation, I recommend cooking one muffin as a tester muffin before filling your skillet with as many rings as you can. Because the muffins cook for 5 minutes per side, they are easy to burn. You want a temperature that will allow the outsides to brown nicely while the insides are just cooked.
  3. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Coat the metal rings with vegetable spray and place them on the griddle. Using an ice cream scoop, place 1-2 scoops of batter into each ring and cover with a lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve. Note that these must be split open with a fork. If you cut them open with a knife, you can kiss all those beautiful holes goodbye!

I personally like to make English muffins in a White Zombie t-shirt. Doesn’t everyone? No?

Anyway, not only does this make use of those extra rings, but it helps you use up some of those opened preserves, jellies, jams, curds & conserves you have in your fridge! Or maybe that’s just me. I’ve mentioned this before, but my fridge is jam-packed (pun intended!) with a crazy amount of preserves. So I made up some muffins and I had a little brunch-type thing, and I served thee muffins with a spread of various preserved items I’d made, and of course some delicious salted butter. There was Guinness jelly, Meyer lemon curd, two kinds of conserves (the cherry/cranberry/dark chocolate/almond & the fig/plum/walnut), vanilla-brandy chestnut jam, candy apple jelly, that blood orange marmalade from the other day, Meyer lemon-cranberry jelly, orange/lemon marmalade, c-lemon-tine marmalade (clementine/lemon) & lemon-orange whiskey marmalade at everyone’s disposal. But the option to have them plain was there, too.

If you don’t have canning rings, you can use muffin rings or mini-tart rings or cans that used to house tuna fish; just remove the top as well as the bottom and make sure to clean them thoroughly. You don’t want English muffins with the scent of tuna. As a matter of fact that’s kind of nauseating. And if you use the rings for this purpose, do not use them for canning again. Clean ‘em off and keep them for doing this, or toss ‘em.

And I do promise that very soon… there will be cupcakes!

Fi, fie, fo, fum, I smell soda cake & Jameson.

Sometimes when I make Irish soda cake, I feel like I’m in the story Jack in the Beanstalk & I’m Jack, but everyone around me are the giants. It’s so amazing, and it smells so good, that people just go nuts for it. I think if I fell on the floor & was unconscious, they’d step over me to grab a piece. I’m serious. And I don’t really blame them. Don’t believe me? Check this out. Chrisie told me she loves my Irish soda cake and she even took to Facebook & elaborated on how much:

I guess that means she really likes it. See what she said about the tea-soaked raisins? It gave me an idea. Now me personally? I’m not into raisins. I did like the California Raisins, though. But anyway, I thought of her tea-soaked raisins which made me think of rum-raisin, and then my brain went straight to Jameson Irish whiskey. And then it went to Jameson-soaked raisins. I wasn’t going to put them in the cake, but on top. And I decided, like Chrisie, to make the cake into little muffins or cupcakes. Then I’d top them with a vanilla-Jameson glaze & some Irish whiskey-soaked golden raisins.

Shut the front door, right?

And yes, I left some plain with just a nice, sugary crust on top.

IRISH SODA MUFFINCAKES WITH JAMESON-SOAKED RAISINS & JAMESON GLAZE

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar, plus more for sprinkling on top
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsps. melted shortening (or butter)
  • 1 cup buttermilk

Directions:

  1. Make wet dough: mix salt, baking powder, baking soda, flour and sugar. Beat eggs lightly and add melted shortening and buttermilk.
  2. Mix all together until combined. If too watery, add a bit more flour. If too thick, add a bit more buttermilk.
  3. Prepare a muffin tin with liners. Fill each liner with two-three tablespoons of batter.
  4. Before putting in the oven, sprinkle sugar on top (if not using the raisins & glaze).
  5. Bake at 375 degrees° F for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

JAMESON-SOAKED RAISINS

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup golden raisins
  • 3-4 tablespoons Jameson Irish Whiskey (enough to cover the raisins)

Directions:

  1. Place raisins in a small bowl and pour whiskey over them.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to sit in a cool, dry place for about a half hour, 45 minutes.
  3. When ready to use, remove raisins using a small strainer to remove excess whiskey. Use the whiskey in a drink or even in the glaze (below).

JAMESON WHISKEY GLAZE

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons Jameson Irish whiskey (or whatever brand you prefer), you can use whatever is left after the raisins have soaked too
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. For glaze, pour sugar & Jameson into a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat; boil rapidly for 1 full minute. Remove from heat, whisk in butter & vanilla. Let set to thicken slightly for a few minutes. Place raisins on top of the muffins. Using a spoon, drizzle glaze over cooled muffincakes, making sure to cover the raisins.

Forreals, yo.

I prefer to use golden raisins on these because let’s face it- regular raisins can look like mouse crap. Sorry if that ruined your appetite, haha. And of course, the colors of the golden raisins go better with the color of the cakes and the green liners anyway. Those fancy “ruffled” liners are by Wilton. I baked the muffincakes in regular white liners, then put them in the fancier ones after they’d cooled.

So basically, feedback on these has been “holy balls” & “wow” & statements along those lines. I didn’t have any, ’cause like I said, I don’t like raisins. But.. if you want to be on a super Jameson kick, then pair these with some Irish coffee. Or Irish coffee my way, which is coffee with milk & sugar & Jameson, then topped with whipped cream.

Faith & begorrah, it’s almost St. Patty’s Day!

Yes, it’s almost the day for the wearin’ o’ the green. Traditionally, everything is green this time of year. The grass is starting to green (somewhat) and it’s a sign that spring is indeed coming. Green is a color of youth, promise & growth. The cold, harsh days & nights of winter are starting to wane & it’s time to bring out the spring clothes.

At least a little bit. Okay, in New York that’s rarely true. Last year we definitely had snow in March. But it’s still a nice thought, especially since this winter has been so mild. I’m hoping it stays that way & we have an quick spring. In the meantime… there’s St. Patrick’s Day!

Saint Patrick’s Day (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig; Ulster-Scots: Saunt Petherick’s Day)[2] is a cultural and religious holiday celebrated internationally on 17 March. It commemorates Saint Patrick (c. AD 387–461), the most commonly recognised of the patron saints of Ireland, and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.[1] It is observed by the Catholic Church, the Anglican Communion (especially the Church of Ireland),[3] the Eastern Orthodox Church and Lutheran Church. Saint Patrick’s Day was made an official feast day in the early 17th century, and has gradually become a secular celebration of Irish culture in general.[4]

The day is generally characterised by the attendance of church services,[4][5] wearing of green attire (especially shamrocks),[6] and the lifting of Lenten restrictions on eating and drinking alcohol,[6][7][8] which is often proscribed during the rest of the season.[4][6][7][8]

Saint Patrick’s Day is a public holiday in the Republic of Ireland,[9] Northern Ireland,[10] Newfoundland and Labrador and in Montserrat. It is also widely celebrated by the Irish diaspora, especially in places such as Great Britain, Canada, the United States, Argentina, Australia, and New Zealand, among others. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is probably the most widely celebrated saints day in the world.[11]

So we celebrate by eating a lot of green-colored confections. And Irish soda bread. And cake. And muffins. And beer. Shit, even if I wasn’t Irish… I can get down with a celebration like that.

So every holiday I do these compilation, or “Best Of” posts, where I link to all my previous cupcake/cookie/muffin/etc ideas. That way, they’re all in one place & it makes it easy for you to quickly find ideas early on. Then I just continue with my holiday-themed posts, and I add those on to the compilation the next year, and so on. Does that make any sense? I don’t know. Either way, here we go. The 2012 Best Of St. Patrick’s Day post! Click each image to view the original post & recipe.

And I’ll be back soon with some new(ish) ideas!

This is a staple around here, from right after Valentine’s Day until almost April. An authentic recipe from Ireland, it’s a sweeter version of the regular Irish soda bread. Jay can eat an entire loaf himself, so if you make it I suggest making two at a time. I guarantee you you’ll love it.

This is a new favorite; I made these last year & they immediately became a much-requested item. The maple & Jameson frosting is so spectacular you can’t use it on anything but a vanilla cupcake, or else you’ll lose the amazingness.

Another favorite: Bailey’s Irish cream cupcakes. Bailey’s in the cake, Bailey’s in the frosting. Too good.

Irish soda bread muffins with caraway seeds. For those of you who like your Irish soda bread a little more portable, or portion-friendly.

Green velvet cupcakes with mini-shamrock “chocolates”! How absolutely perfect are these? Crazy perfect.

Other than the color, they have nothing to do with St. Patrick’s Day. But they’re cute.

Like the ones above, they have nothing to do with St. Patty’s Day, except for the color (& the green coconut, which I did because it reminded me of the green grass Ireland is known for), but boy are they damn good. DAMN GOOD I SAY.

Okay now these were good, too. Made with Guinness stout… how could you go wrong? They taste like an incredibly rich chocolate cupcake, with just a hint of Guinness. Not overpowering at all.

And here are just a few more ideas, none of which are particularly St. Patty’s related but all are 100% easily adapted for use on March 17th.

Black & Tan Irish macaroni & cheese

Guinness Stout Shepherd’s pie

Quick ‘n’ easy Shepherd’s pie

Linzer cookies (use shamrock-shaped cutters & mint jelly or kiwi jelly/jam filling to make them more appropriate)

Chocolate whoopie pies with mint filling & chocolate ganache (make the filling green instead of pink!)

Shortbread cookies dipped in chocolate (use shamrock cookie cutters, & dip them in white chocolate & shamrock sprinkles)

Mint jelly

Just as one little added tidbit (droppin’ some knowledge on ya, as always)…

Soda bread first appeared in Ireland during the 1800′s, when the use of baking soda as a leavening agent was introduced. Baking was done in the Irish home. They had little time to bake and ingredients were often at a premium. Soda breads contained little more than flour, buttermilk, baking soda and salt. Buttermilk was used because it was often leftover from the butter making process. Soda bread was served warm from the oven with a Lashing of Irish butter. Soda bread caught on quickly and soon became a staple of the Irish diet still popular in Ireland and in many parts of the world today.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Morning on 71st Street, NY

Or so I’ve heard.

‘Cause I’m not a big morning person. I’m actually mostly anti-mornings, being a total night owl. That makes me an anti-breakfast person by default, so I don’t truly believe that old adage. I’ve always been a “grab a quick bagel with butter on the way to work/school/etc” girl myself, & somehow I always managed to get through the day without crashing & burning. At least, not completely.

However that is my kind of breakfast. A mini-coffee cake muffin topped with a spoonful of homemade vanilla-brandy chestnut jam. Say whaaaaaaat.

I made these muffins in my babycakes mini-cupcake maker, which kind of compressed the streusel to make a caramelized, crunchy top. A total surprise, but a welcome one. Streusel hates my face anyway; it never works out for me. Well except for these muffins & these muffins, both of which were properly streusel-fied. But otherwise, no. In all four (and almost one half) years of having a blog, those are the only two times it ever worked for me. So this way, I didn’t have to worry. I ended up with a lovely crust on top and just acted like I meant to do that. Heh.

Mmm, mmm good. The jam is really rich, very “expensive” tasting. And because of the brandy, it’s warming. On top of a warm coffee cake muffin it’s just over-the-top amazing. Okay, okay, so maybe it’s not your everyday breakfast. But Sunday mornings beg for stuff like this. A cold Sunday morning, the sun coming up through your window, you reading the Times & having a cup of hazelnut coffee fresh out of the Keurig… a plate of hot coffee cake muffins with a welcoming jar of vanilla-brandy chestnut jam waiting for you at the table? Perfection. Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe its not your idea of a breakfast. Even if it’s your afternoon or evening snack, it’s way better than a bag of chips, right?

It’s something comforting, and sometimes you need that. I’ve been thinking of my grandma a lot lately, so I especially need some comfort. St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, how could I not think of my little Irish red-headed grandma? It’s hard. It’s even harder still to think it’s only been a little over 7 months. On one hand it feels like it’s been 100 years since I saw her last, on the other hand it feels just like yesterday she was still here. I miss her. Not even always in a sad way- sometimes I just miss her being; her laugh, her voice, just her presence.

Yeah. I know, eating muffins doesn’t really help with grief, but we can sure try.

MINI-COFFEE CAKE MUFFINS (from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

Streusel topping:
  • ¼ cup light-brown sugar
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Coffee cakes:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Nonstick cooking spray, for pans, or use liners

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° degrees. To make the topping, in a medium bowl, combine brown sugar, flour, salt, and cinnamon. Add butter, and work in, using your fingers or a pastry cutter, until well combined; set aside
  2. To make the batter, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg and vanilla, and beat to combine. Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the sour cream and buttermilk, and beginning and ending with the dry ingredients; scrape down the bowl as necessary.
  3. Spray eighteen cups of a mini-muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray. Divide batter evenly between cups. Sprinkle topping over batter. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 15 minutes. Let stand in pans for 5 minutes. Remove to wire racks to cool. Eat while warm.

If you’re using a mini-cupcake maker to bake them, use one teaspoon of batter in each (otherwise it will overflow) and bake for 8 minutes. If not, then disregard. I used liners because I hate gunking up my cupcake maker (or my muffin tins) unless I absolutely have to. But if you’d rather just pop ‘em in your mouth without the extra work of taking off the liner, then have at it.

Yeah, you know you want it.

They’d be delicious with any kind of jam or preserve (or conserve). But because they’re sweet with the spicy cinnamon topping, they’re extra good with something rich & sweet like the chestnut jam. Although the gingerbread spice jelly would probably be good, as would banana brown sugar butter. If you’re into clotted cream you could try that. They’re delicious alone, though, too. Or you can do what my grandma would do & have it with a pat or two of butter. My grandma put butter on everything… even pizza.

Speaking of butter… and baked goods… my Alfajores cookies were featured in an L Magazine piece about the best cookie recipes from local bloggers! AWESOME! Thank you Kara!