The Journal Gazette
 
 
Wednesday, August 04, 2021 1:00 am

Recipe Swap: Muffins to grab for breakfast – or dessert

COREY MCMAKEN | The Journal Gazette

Like many other people this summer, I recently returned to working in an office.

There are a lot of things I miss about working remotely, probably most of all is easy access to my kitchen – especially in the morning. Gone are the days of checking my work email while eating an egg sandwich, omelet or (spoiler alert: I'm not fancy) the most exciting waffle my freezer has to offer.

I like my sleep too much to get up earlier just to make breakfast before I head out the door, so I once again need something quick and portable.

For a savory option, I sometimes make a batch of sandwiches with various cheeses and meats on English muffins. I'll first wrap them in parchment paper, then in foil and keep them in the freezer. I can grab one from the freezer, remove the foil and zap it in the microwave until it is warmed through. (Ham with dill havarti is my favorite, if you need a suggestion.)

Muffins are another on-the-go option, so I recently hunted up some recipes and made a few batches to have on hand for breakfast. And, honestly, more than a few desserts after dinner.

I had some small jars of jam hanging around from Christmas gift baskets that were about to expire, so Jam Muffins were first on my list. They are a favorite of mine, but I couldn't find my old recipe, so I tried a new one I found online. The batter for these muffins is thick and they come out with a texture reminiscent of a dense biscuit, which is perfect with the jam.

I used peach preserves and strawberry-fig jam, but use whatever flavors you like. For the peanut butter or other nut-butter lovers out there, try spreading a bit on top of the muffin before you eat it.

Looking around my kitchen, I also realized I had some sour cream that needed to be used up. So next, I made Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins from a recipe found online. They're a more traditional fluffy muffin with just a hint of tang from the sour cream balanced by the sweetness of the crumble.

I could have stopped there, but a few days later I was flipping through a cookbook borrowed digitally from the library and as soon as I saw the recipe title, I knew I had to give Hot Chocolate Muffins a try.

The recipe is slightly more technical than the other two – separating eggs and whipping egg whites is never my favorite thing to do – but the muffins taste exactly like the name suggests, even if they are a little boring to look at. I tried to spruce them up by adding mini marshmallows on top of a few of the muffins before baking. That ... um ... didn't work out for me, but if you have an idea of how to gussy these up, I'd love to hear it! My contact info is at the end of the column if you want to share a tip or another favorite on-the-go breakfast dish.

I don't generally use cupcake liners for muffins, but do what you prefer. I grease my muffin pan with nonstick spray. After baking, let the muffins sit in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes on a wire rack, and they should release from the pan on their own. Move them to the wire rack to cool the rest of the way.

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for a few days or wrapped individually in plastic and kept in the freezer.

Jam Muffins

Makes 12 muffins.

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup white sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup jam or preserves

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with liners or nonstick spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, butter, egg and vanilla. Add the wet mixture to the dry and stir until combined. Batter will be thick.

Reserve about 1/4 cup of batter and scoop the rest into the muffin tin. Each cup should be about 1/3 full. Drop about 1 teaspoon of jam into each cup, then add 1 teaspoon of the remaining batter on top (you aren't looking to seal the jam in).

Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly then remove muffins from the pan and move them to a wire rack to continue cooling.

– Adapted from HoneyAndBirch.com

Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins with Streusel

This recipe probably makes about enough batter for 13 muffins. I used it all, but a few of my muffin tops fused together. That's OK though. The scraps from the surgery to separate them were a delicious “cook's snack.”

For streusel:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cubed into about 24 pieces

For batter:

21/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup sour cream

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with liners or nonstick spray and set aside.

Make the streusel: In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together flour, sugar and cinnamon. Add butter and work with the fork until a crumbly mixture forms. Set aside.

Make the batter: In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Using a mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar in another bowl. Add eggs and mix.

With the mixer on low, add sour cream and vanilla to butter mixture. Add flour and mix until combined.

Spoon about 11/2 tablespoons of batter into each muffin cup. Sprinkle about 1 tablespoon of streusel into each cup, then fill will remaining batter. Sprinkle remaining streusel over the top of each cup.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly then remove muffins from the pan and move them to a wire rack to continue cooling.

– Adapted from AFamilyFeast.com

Hot Chocolate Muffins

Makes 12 muffins.

11/2 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon hot chocolate mix

1/4 cup boiling water

1/3 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare muffin pan with liners or nonstick spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, use a fork to stir together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a mug or small bowl, combine hot chocolate mix and water. Stir in milk and set aside.

Using a mixer, beat butter and sugar. Add egg yolks and continue beating until mixed. Add hot chocolate and vanilla, mixing to combine. Mix in the dry ingredients.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff peaks form (you'll know it's right when the little peaks don't collapse when you lift out your whisk or mixer beaters out of the foam).

Gently fold the egg whites into the batter until combined.

Divide batter into muffin cups. Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool slightly then remove muffins from the pan and move them to a wire rack to continue cooling.

– Adapted from “101 Breakfast & Brunch Recipes” (Gooseberry Patch; 2012)

Recipe Swap is published monthly in The Journal Gazette. Corey McMaken is a home cook, not a food expert. To share a comment or favorite recipe for possible inclusion, email cmcmaken@jg.net or write to Corey McMaken, c/o The Journal Gazette, 600 W. Main St. Fort Wayne, IN 46802; include recipe, cooking tips, full name, city of residence and a phone number so we can contact you.

 

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