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Pumpkin Banana Streusel Muffins November 22, 2009

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It’s autumn, and fall flavors and spices are all the rage these days. Pumpkin everything, sweet potato pies, and stuffing recipes are popping up all over the place. A little late in the game, I finally made my first official autumn recipe – these pumpkin banana streusel muffins. And seriously, they’re perfect. So perfectly spiced and moist, bursting with banana, pumpkin, cinnamon, and nutmeg, these little darlings didn’t last even 24 hours.

So make these now. You will not regret it. In your eagerness to get these yummies in your tummy, you might even completely melt the butter instead of just softening it. But that’s okay, the streusel is still awesomely sweet and crumbly like it should be. And be generous. Very generous. Make extra if you’d like, because streusel topping makes the world that much better. And if you’re like me, you’ll even forget to take a decent picture of your muffins before trying one. And another. And another.

Pumpkin Banana Streusel Muffins
Adapted from The Crepes of Wrath

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup pure pumpkin puree
3/4 cup mashed bananas (about 2 small bananas)
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
turbinado sugar (optional)

Streusel topping:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
2 tablespoons firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium sized bowl. Add butter and, using your hands, combine until small clumps have formed throughout the mixture.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and allspice. Set aside.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Then add in the vegetable oil, sugar, brown sugar, eggs, pumpkin, and yogurt. Mix well, scraping down the sides of your bowl.

Gradually mix the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Do not overmix!

Pour batter into muffin tins prepared with muffin liners or cooking spray. Fill each with about 1/4 cup of batter. (I like to fill until about 3/4 full, but that’s because I prefer my muffins to bake up huge.) Top with a generous sprinkle of streusel topping and then a generous sprinkle of turbinado sugar. Bake for 15-20 minutes, and allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing. (I couldn’t wait more than five.)


Honey Cornbread Muffins November 22, 2009

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I love carbs. Rice, pasta, muffins, cookies, bread… oh the bread. And whoever came up with the idea of mixing cornmeal with flour was an absolute genius. With a touch of honey, these cornbread muffins will always be one of my top favorites. Fresh from the oven, they’re sweet with a lightly crisped top, crumbly like the perfect cornbread should be, and of course, have that characteristic grainy texture of cornmeal.  And the day after, if they can possibly last that long, they’ll have developed that slightly sticky, delicious, honeyed surface. And with a small pat of butter, how can you even resist? As if these muffins can’t get any better, they do. You know why? Because whipping a batch of these babies gets you in and out of the kitchen in under an hour. That is, if you can bring yourself to leave the golden muffins on the kitchen counter to cool.

Honey Cornbread Muffins
Recipe from here

Every time I’ve made a batch of these muffins, I’ve used lowfat or skim milk and they’ve turned out amazing. And as usual, I cut down the sugar just a bit. If you don’t use the muffin liners, like I did this time around, make sure to spray the muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk
2 large eggs
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Into a large bowl, mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together the whole milk, eggs, butter, and honey. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just mixed.

Place muffin paper liners in a 12-cup muffin tin. Evenly divide the cornbread mixture into the papers. Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.

Traffic lights and blueberry muffins August 22, 2009

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tdf blueberry muffins 2

Have you ever been stuck at a traffic light with your turn blinker on? For lack of anything better to do, have you ever tried to sync the rate of your blinker with the blinker of the car in front of you? I do sometimes. Today, I was stopped at a light in the turn lane, and the Camry in front of me turned on its blinker at the same time I did. And for the first thirty seconds, the signals flashed in sync. I grew increasingly excited as the seconds passed, for I had never found a car whose blinker worked at the same rate mine did. To my dismay, I watched as the togetherness of the lights began to fall apart and alternate instead. And so, the search for my blinker twin goes on.

On another note, do you ever try to make the wheels of your car pass between the little lane reflectors as you change lanes? I do that too.

Anyway, I was making blueberry muffins this morning, following a recipe I stumbled upon on allrecipes.com called “To Die For Blueberry Muffins.” I had bought a 2-pound box of fresh blueberries from the market the other day, looking forward to the chance to finally bake them into something. It was my way of rewarding myself after finishing my first round of midterms. Until today, I had never made anything with fresh blueberries. Just what exactly to make was the difficult part. I was debating between blueberry crumb bars, muffins, boy bait, cobbler, crisp… oh, the possibilities! I finally decided on making the muffins, seeing as it got rave reviews and didn’t require any butter. I’ve only one stick left and am saving it up for some sort of cookies. I’ve also had my eye on Dorie Greenspan’s Perfect Party Cake.

TDF Blueberry muffins

The recipe called for a streusel topping, but I was just too lazy to make it so I sprinkled them with turbinado sugar before popping them into the oven. (I know, a streusel is super easy to make, but I’m also super lazy sometimes.) It turned out ten beautiful golden brown muffins bursting with sweet (and some tangy) blueberries, with crisp sparkling tops from the sugar. The muffins were light and soft, without the density or greasiness of the store bought kind, and had just the right amount of sweetness to them. With the first bite into my muffin, I swear, I got the tangiest berry of the batch, but I was perfectly happy with that because it just shouted blueberry! My conclusion? Mission Blueberry: Accomplished.

Muffin wrapper