What makes these muffins glorious is that though they are low fat they are the moistest and most tender “healthy” muffin I’ve ever had. This version, which came out of a little bit of on the fly recipe testing, has considerably more fibre and less sugar then the original but yet I think the end result is even better.

One thing that is going to trip you up in this, admittedly, very long ingredient list, is the carrot baby food. I know. It’s weird. Why would I use carrot baby food in a grown up’s muffin? Well, a) it calls for it in the original recipe b) I think it adds a tremendous flavor and c) just because sometimes it’s good to do things that scare you. Don’t be freaked out. Just buy the baby food and embrace the deliciousness of this muffin.

Glorious Morning Glory Muffins (adapted from Great Good Food)

Makes about 16 muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

½ cup oats, not quick cooking (optional)

1 ½ cups brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger

½ teaspoon cloves

¼ cup vegetable or canola oil

½ cup applesauce or apple butter

1 egg

1 egg white

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or paste

2 small jars carrot baby food

½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice

½ cup crushed pineapple in its own juice

½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two 12-cup muffin tins with muffin cups. If you fill the cups ⅔ full, you will not need to use both pans fully.

In a large bowl, whisk to combine the flours, oats, if using, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Into the well, add the oil, applesauce or butter, eggs, vanilla, baby food, orange juice, coconut, and crushed pineapple. Carefully mix the batter until just combined. Portion the batter into the muffin cups, ½ to ⅔ full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of a couple of the muffins comes out clean. Cool for at least one hour. Enjoy.

We happen to be bulk buyers of oats in my house — seriously, if you need a bag or two, drop by. Our tiny pantry has all varieties, quick cooking, icky flavored peach instant oatmeal (Collin Murray can be blamed for that) and good ol’ old fashioned oats. So basically, if I see a recipe where I can use some up, I take full advantage. Then I found this lovely recipe and knew it was going to be an instant hit. You see, just as we have buckets of oats in the house, we also have no less then three varieties of maple syrup because a certain someone, ahem, not me, loves maple syrup.

These scones are really lovely. They are moist, dense, hearty and have just a hint of maple-y goodness. Perfect for a hearty, quick breakfast for a busy oat and maple-loving hubby.

Maple Oat Scones (adapted from Flour)

Makes about 10 scones

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

1 ¼ cups oats, not quick cooking

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon baking soda

¼ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup dried cherries

½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

⅓ cup heavy cream

½ cup maple syrup

1 egg

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the flour, oats, baking powder, soda, salt and cherries. Add the cut butter and mix for about 1 minutes, or until the butter resembles the size of peas.

In a small bowl, whisk to combine the cream, maple syrup and egg.

Pour the liquid into stand mixer and mix on a low speed until the mixture is just combined, about 30 seconds. The mixture will be slightly wet.

Using a ⅓ cup measure, scoop out the batter onto a parchment lined baking sheet about 2-inches apart. Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes or until the scones are lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into the middle of one of the scones comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes. Enjoy.

I don’t know how it happens. Wait a minute, yes I do. I know exactly how I end up with 23 bananas in my freezer. I don’t eat them; they go bad; I feel bad; I can’t throw them out. So I freeze the bananas and then they tumble out of the freezer when I’m digging for…the ice cream…and then I get mad and find a way to make something out of at least a few of them. Does this ever happen to you?

This recipe is a new take on an old favorite. Originally, this banana bread (which praise name uses four bananas!) didn’t have chocolate chips in it, it had raspberries. However, being that there is still snow on the ground and fresh raspberries aren’t necessarily all that seasonal, I decided to use chocolate chips and I must say that I’m pretty happy with the results.

Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf (adapted from Self Magazine)

Makes one 1-pound loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour

¾ cup sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

4 large very ripe bananas, mashed

¼ cup milk

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

½ to ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Spray a 1-pound loaf pan with non-stick spray and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk to combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the flour mixture and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the mashed bananas, milk, egg and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture into the flour well and fold together the batter with a spatula until not quite all the flour is absorbed. Add the chocolate chips and continue folding with the spatula until the batter just comes together.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top with the spatula. Bake for about 1 hour or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool for about 30 minutes before removing from the pan. Enjoy.

If you’re looking for a way to dress up your average muffin, try adding a streusel topping. It’s not hard, it’s just a matter of making a chunky buttery topping similar to the ones that top fruit crisps.

After you have scooped the muffin batter into the pan, sprinkle a couple of tablespoons on the top of the un-baked muffins and you’re laughing your way to a dressed up delicious muffin.

Streusel Topping (adapted from too many sources to name)

Makes about 1½ cups

½ cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed

¼ cup brown sugar

¾ cup flour

*1 teaspoon cinnamon, if desired

In a small bowl, combine the ingredients with your hands until you get a nice crumbly topping. Place the streusel in the fridge until ready to use.

Sprinkle about two tablespoons of the topping over the top of the un-baked muffin and bake as the muffin recipe directs. Enjoy.

You and me friendly reader, we are friends. So since we’re friends, I guess it’s time to come clean. I’m in love. With Ina Garten. The Barefoot Contessa. My love for her is pure and totally one-sided (I’m quite positive about that one). I have never ever made a recipe from Ina that hasn’t turned out. Honestly people, she’s the best and these lovely blueberry muffins are just the beginning.

Blueberry muffins are classic, aren’t they. Kind of like the little black dress of breakfasts on the go…sort of, kind of. These muffins are sweet and cake-like and not healthy at all but they do taste fantastic.

This is the third recipe from Ina in less then a month…once again, another sign of my love. Please try this one and then immediately go and order some of her cookbooks. They are instant classics and will never lead you wrong — perhaps you will fall in love too.

Best Blueberry Muffins (adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style)

Makes about 16-20 muffins

¾ cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 ½ cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract or paste

1 cup Greek yogurt

¼ cup milk, any percentage

2 ½ cup all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line two standard-size muffin pans with liners and set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the butter and sugar and beat until pale and light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at time, beating the batter until the egg is absorbed before adding the next one. Add the vanilla, Greek yogurt and milk and continue mixing for one minute.

With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture to the liquid mixture until just combined;  fold in the blueberries with a rubber spatula.

Using a large ice cream scoop (about two inches across), scoop the batter into the paper liners. Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the tops of the muffins are lightly browned and a cake tester inserted into the centre of the muffin comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly. Enjoy.

I seem to be on a bit of a citrus theme…and honestly, it shows no signs of stopping, I just bought key limes.  But, you know what? I’m really a-ok with this theme. Citrus is simple, clean, and oh-so flavorful in the month after the excess of December.

This recipe for loaf is infused with lemon three times — there is zest in the cake, juice in the simple syrup that you use to soak the loaf and then more juice in the thin glaze that finishes this little nugget. I eat it as a snack cake but you could always serve it with a lovely Blueberry Sauce for an addition to brunch or afternoon tea.

Triple Lemon Loaf (adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa at Home)

Makes one-1 pound loaf

For the cake:

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup Greek yogurt

1 cup granulated sugar

3 eggs

Zest of 1 lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste

½ cup canola or other neutral flavored oil

For the soaking syrup:

⅓ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)

⅓ cup granulated sugar

For the glaze:

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

2-4 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1-2 lemons)

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Butter and flour a 1-pound loaf pan and set aside.

In a medium-size bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together the yogurt, sugar, eggs, zest and vanilla. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a spatula. Add the oil and quickly fold into the batter until all the oil has been incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the centre of loaf comes out clean. Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes.

While the cake is cooking, combine the ⅓ cup of the sugar and the ⅓ lemon juice in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar is dissolved, the syrup will be fairly clear and a soft yellow when it’s complete. Allow to cool slightly.

After the cake has cooled, set it over a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet and slowly pour the glaze over the top. The glaze takes a little bit of time to absorb so don’t go too quickly or the glaze won’t sink in. Allow the cake to finish cooling completely

While the cake finishes cooling, combine the confectioner’s sugar and lemon juice. If you want a thicker glaze, use less lemon juice; thinner glaze, use more lemon juice. Mix the glaze till no lumps remain. Pour over the cake evenly and allow 10 minutes for the glaze to set. Enjoy.

These scones have caused many frown lines. I worked and worked on them and poor Collin Murray had to taste them all. He has a heavy cross to bear.

Y’all remember my Cream Biscuits, right? Well I love those little biscuits so very much that I couldn’t help by wonder if I could turn them into scones. Enter the testing… I tried different fresh fruits; I played with the sweetness; I baked them for what seemed like hours and then baked them some more; I tried a lot of things to get these little nuggets right.  

In the end, what I realized was that even though I really wanted to use fresh fruit, it just made the batter to wet and the end result was just the pits. So I turned to dried fruit and my work was done. Once baked, the blueberries that I used in this recipe plumped right up and Collin Murray declared them downright juicy in the scones.

Now that I’ve figured out the basic formula, I have to warn y’all that you might see a lot of scones in the not-so-distant future. I love these and I can’t wait to go crazy with all the flavor possibilities. Poor Collin Murray, looks like his cross about to get heavier.

Lemon Blueberry Cream Scones (inspired by Beard on Bread)

Makes 12 to 14 scones, depending on size

2 cups flour, plus more for dusting

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ cup dried blueberries

Zest of one lemon

1 teaspoon vanilla paste or vanilla extract

1 ½  cups heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Combine flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a medium sized bowl and whisk to incorporate. Stir in the blueberries and lemon zest

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the vanilla and almost all the heavy cream, reserving about 1/4 of a cup as it may not all be needed to moisten the dough. With a spoon, gently mix the cream into the flour, using your hands once the dough comes together and adding the rest of the cream if the dough doesn’t come together or is very dry. Dust the work surface with flour. Place the dough on your work surface and push it flat with your hands till the dough is about a ½ inch thick.

Using a 2 ½ to 3-inch round cutter (or a juice glass) punch out the scones. Continue by bunching up the scraps and punching out the dough till you’ve cut out as many scones as possible and the dough is used up. Place scones on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake till lightly golden and slightly firm, about 15 to 18 minutes. Enjoy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love a snack cake. However, in my house, snack cakes can be devious little numbers ’cause certain people just keep on snacking…and snacking…and snacking.

You know, I keep going on and on and on about how excited I am to be baking with all the wonderful summer fruits, but friends, don’t forget about vegetables. Carrots and zucchini are great in baked goods and this case in a prime example of that. Even people who hate zucchini normally, ahem, Collin Murray, love this cake.

As a little note, this cake batter becomes quite stiff and so you will need your muscles to fold in the coarsely grated zucchini and chocolate chips. And, if you are a chocolate fan, feel free to add more chips to the batter or to scatter them over the top of the cake before baking. Yum.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake (adapted from Mama)

Makes 1-9×13 inch cake or 1-10 inch bundt cake

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon cloves

¾ cup canola oil

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ cup buttermilk

2 cups grated coarsely grated zucchini (2 small or 1 medium-large zucchini(s))

½ cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325˚F. Butter or spray a 9×13 inch cake pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together canola oil and granulated sugar; whisk in eggs, vanilla and buttermilk. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients being careful not to over-mix. Add in the grated and chocolate chips and mix until just incorporated. Spread in the prepared pan. Bake for 40-50 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean. Cool, cut and enjoy.

I recently bought a little cookbooklet called Chiquita Banana’s Cookbook. It’s a delight. It’s full of delicious looking recipes for cakes and shakes and disgusting recipes for dips and curries… Since I’ve yet to post a recipe for muffins on this site (trust me, I’m as surprised as you), I thought this little diddy from Chiquita Banana’s Cookbook might just be the perfect recipe to start the muffin train a-rolling.

In the original recipe, Chiquita suggested that one use bran flakes to flavor the muffin batter. I’m not so in to bran and so I used what I thought might work: crushed graham crackers. Turns out my inclination was pretty darn correct, the muffins turned out to have a wonderful graham flavor that caused Collin Murray to eat several of the warm muffins right out of the pan.

Now I must admit that my freezer is absolutely full of frozen bananas because I’m one of those strange people who doesn’t like an over-ripe banana and as soon as though brown spots appear, in the freezer those bananas go. So, if you have a freezer full of bananas, feel free to use them in this recipe but I will warn that I did use fresh and was quite happy with the results.

And here’s a hot tip for y’all, I mashed my bananas with a whisk. It works quite well for ripe bananas in need of a coarse mash but I’m not overly sure that it would produce the same results for the frozen variety.

 

I made these muffins as minis, and got about 30 little gems out of the batter. However, if you wanted to make them larger, I would say the mix would make about 12 and that you should just extend the baking time a wee bit.

These muffins were so tasty I could hardly stand it. Collin Murray and I ate them warm with salted butter and milk for a nice afternoon snack but I have a feeling that we will be just as likely to be eating them in the morning…as a mid-morning snack…after lunch…as a mid-afternoon snack…well, I think you get the idea.

Banana Graham Muffins (adapted from Chiquita Banana’s Cookbook)

Makes about 30 mini muffins (or 12 standard-size)

1 cup crushed graham crackers

1 cup all purpose flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 cup mashed bananas (about 3 of a medium size)

¼ cup milk

1 egg

¼ cup canola oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚F and line a mini muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, combine the graham crackers, flour, baking powder, salt and sugar and lightly whisk to combine. In a separate bowl, combine the mashed bananas, oil, milk, egg and vanilla and stir to combine.

Make a well in the center of the large bowl and add in the wet ingredients. Use a spatula to stir the batter together being careful not to over mix. Portion the batter into the muffin cups using a small cookie scoop. Bake for 15 minutes or a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.

Serve with salted butter and enjoy.