Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

So here I am again. Back on the blog, because these pumpkin muffins deserve serious attention. 
These are the best pumpkin muffins I’ve ever made. These might even be the best muffins of any kind I’ve ever made. SO SOFT AND SO MOIST. So perfectly pumpkin-y, you can’t deny fall isn’t the best season ever. Then just add some chocolate chips, because chocolate makes everything better. I know I already have a Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe on this blog somewhere, but this is new and improved. 
I got really into fall spirit by re-decorating a little this weekend too. If you can even call it that. My idea of “decorating” is buying a couple of sparkly fake pumpkins and a seasonal candle from Hobby Lobby and setting them on my mantle. Good enough! 
In other news, after semi-consistent beach walks with Zoey this spring/summer, she FINALLY lovessss the beach. We took her for a long stroll yesterday, off the leash and all, and she did so well. I’m such a proud puppy-mama. She still isn’t crazy about the water, but is showing more curiosity each time and will at least walk a few inches in to splash around for a minute or two. 
…in case you cared to know. 
But, FALL! What festive seasonal treats and eats have you made so far? I get into pumpkin for a couple weeks, but then it’s time to move on (until Thanksgiving comes around when I NEED pumpkin pie). 
Spaghetti squash and chili are calling my name. I’m dying for some apple cider doughnuts too, which I’ve seen on blog after blog, instagram pic after instagram pic. I’d rather just go buy one than even attempt to make those on my own. Where can I get a good one in Charleston?! Someone please tell me. Thanks. Then go make some of these muffins. You won’t regret it. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Adapted from Flourishing Foodie)

Makes about 18 muffins

Ingredients: 
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut oil
1 15-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup dark chocolate chips
Powdered sugar for topping

Directions: 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin with liners and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and sugars. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil and pumpkin puree. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Add chocolate chips and gently stir until evenly distributed.
4. Pour batter into muffin cups, about 3/4 full.
5. Bake 26-28 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Serve warm with butter.

*Store extras at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days. 

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Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins

I have been dreaming of lemon yogurt muffins ever since I saw some at a bakery in Breckenridge. The same bakery where I indulged in a giant oatmeal raisin cookie and hot chocolate. I couldn’t get the lemon yogurt muffin off my mind. I made a mental note to return to the bakery on our way out of town to put an end to my obsessive thoughts, but unfortunately it never happened. So here I am, making my own lemon yogurt muffins.

As much as I love to bake, I am well aware I am very much an amateur. I know how to follow recipes and can make modifications if I feel experimental. I usually have a general idea of what certain ingredients will do when combined with one another, but sometimes I’m just guessing. I have borrowed books from the library to learn about the science of baking, but have failed to actually read them enough to learn. Thumbs down to me.

Maybe one day I will gain a better understanding of what actually happens when mixing flour with baking soda (or is it baking powder? or both??) and salt and butter and eggs. Geesh. Baking is a complicated thing when think about it. Soooo let’s just not think about it, deal?

No thinking, just doing. Shortly followed by eating. Don’t forget that step, it’s the most important of all. Breakfast time or snack time, these refreshing little muffins are sure to brighten your day.

I almost didn’t include poppy seeds at all, simply because I had never bought poppy seeds. I get intimidated by new ingredients. Where will I find them store? They’re probably expensive. Will I ever use them for anything else or will they just sit and take up space for the rest of their existence? 

I obviously have issues with even the slightest changes or new experiences. 

Looking back, poppy seeds were the last thing that should have intimidated me. I mean…really? Poppy seeds? What’s there to be afraid of?

Nothing! Guess what? They’re located with all of the spices in the baking aisle (genius!) and if you’re lucky enough to find them on clearance like I did, they’ll only set you back two dollars. Bada boom, bada bing. No big deal.

The brief anxiety was so worth it. Also worth it? Using fresh lemons for zesting and juicing. It’s a must. And when you’re done with the muffins and want to use more of your new poppy seed purchase, you can make these Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt PANCAKES. Yes, puh-lease.



Lemon Poppy Seed Yogurt Muffins
Recipe via The Tasty Bite

Ingredients:
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 large eggs
3/4 cup vanilla yogurt
zest of two lemons
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, melted

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, mix four, sugar, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and poppy seeds. Set aside.
3. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, lemon zest and juice, vanilla extract and butter. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined. Fill muffin wells about 3/4 full with batter.
4. Bake for 16-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle of a muffin comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes before removing from muffin tin and serving.

Store any remaining muffins in airtight container. Best eaten within about three days.

Apple Butterscotch Muffins

Welcome to 2013! I hope you all had a fantastic New Year celebration. I kept things super low-key on New Year’s Eve by staying home and making dinner for my sister and me. We watched a movie then turned on Ryan Seacrest to watch the ball drop. A small glass of champagne later, I was passed out. 
It’s been an amazing holiday break from work and although it pains me a little to go back to the office this morning, I am super excited to get back on track with a regular schedule. Not to mention this is the year of my WEDDING!!!! Lots of good things to come 🙂

I’m not one for making New Year resolutions. Instead, I like to continue to simply do the best I can each day, taking one day at a time. Sure, things (aka eating and exercise habits) get a little out of control over the holidays and it feels good to restart, but breaks from a more healthful routine are all part of it.
I know this isn’t the first day of the new year, but this is my first post. For that, I bring you my favorite muffin recipe to kick 2013 off the right way – a sweet muffin filled with some healthful fruit!

Salt and pepper. Bread and butter. Milk and cookies. 
Apples and butterscotch. 
It’s not a cupcake or made with chocolate, but something about butterscotch and apples just works

Enjoy!

Apple Cinnamon Butterscotch Muffins
(Adapted from Annie’s Eats)

Makes 1 dozen muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup old fashioned oats
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
1/3 cup applesauce
1 egg
1 1/4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk (I used almond milk)
1/2 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup chopped apples

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill cupcake tin with paper liners and set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and oats. Whisk to combine.
3. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add butter and sugar and blend until creamy. Beat in yogurt, applesauce, eggs and vanilla until well incorporated. While continually beating on low speed, add the dry ingredients to the mixture, alternating with the milk. Fold in the butterscotch chips and chopped apples.
4. Divide batter among cupcake wells. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let cool about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cinnamon Banana Nut Muffins

Muffins are the epitome of coffee shop food. Every trip to Starbucks tests my willpower to resist the giant muffins in the bakery case. If I’m standing in line, that means I’m already about to splurge on sugary, empty calories; so I avoid the double whammy and rarely ever buy a pastry too. 
But, seriously, how good is a hot steamy latte along side a big old muffin (or doughnut or scone or what ever other your baked good of choice may be)?
So good. That’s the answer I was looking for. 

Unlike the ones at the coffee shop, you don’t have too feel too guilty with these muffins, because they are made in part with whole wheat flour and bananas. Walnuts even add some healthy fats into mix. 

Now let me ask you this- what will you be eating for breakfast this lovely fall Friday?

Cinnamon Banana Nut Muffins
(Adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

Makes 12 standard size muffins

Ingredients:
1 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup mashed brown bananas (about 2 bananas)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup mini cinnamon chips
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray muffin tin with cooking spray and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, whisk flours, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk buttermilk, mashed banana, oil, egg and vanilla. Add wed ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir until just combined. Gently fold in cinnamon chips. Pour batter into muffin tin wells. Spoon walnut pieces evenly across the tops of each muffin.
4. Bake 15-18 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from pan. Place on cooling rack to finish cooling.

Banana Chocolate Cupcakes

Cereals? 
That’s my new word for “seriously.” Get it? Good. I say it all. the. time. 
As in, “Are you for cereals?!” Or, “Cereals, these cupcakes are more like muffins, but that’s okay because they still taste divine. Cereals.” 

Sometimes I worry I don’t make sense on here when I’m trying to explain myself and my weird lingo. Sorry.

What is important for you to gain from this ridiculous rant is that you appreciate these beautiful little treats. Cupcakes that actually taste like muffins only means one thing- they’re more than acceptable to eat for breakfast. Oh yeah, and they are made with real whole bananas, so there’s your fruit serving. The chocolate frosting on top? Well, we can’t win ’em all can we?
Banana Chocolate Cupcakes
(Cake recipe directly from How Sweet It Is)
Makes 12 cupcakes
Ingredients:
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1 egg
3/4 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large extra ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
Chocolate frosting (I used Duncan Hines frosting)
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a separate bowl, whisk egg and brown sugar. Add vanilla and stir. Add melted butter and stir until combined. 
3. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients. Mix to combine. Add mashed bananas and stir until just combined. 
4. Drop batter by the heaping spoonful into muffin tin wells. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. 
5. Cool completely then frost as desired with chocolate frosting. 

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Just because it’s the beginning of summertime doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy a little pumpkin in their life. It doesn’t have to be a strictly fall flavor, you know. 
All week I was planning on baking with Brooke during her and my mom’s short stay with us in Charleston. Then on Thursday, while I was waiting for them to arrive, I realized something. We weren’t actually going to have time to bake. I guess we could have squeezed it in if we really wanted, but I still had to work all day and pack for vacation, then we wanted to spend time out and about in Charleston too. So it just wasn’t going to happen. 
I figured that even though we couldn’t fit in sisterly baking time, we could still enjoy some homemade baked goods. I wanted to do something easy (what else is new) and found a bag of pumpkin pancake/muffin mix in the back of the pantry. I followed the directions on the back with a few minor tweaks and before I knew it, I had a batch of these babies!

Then I ate one or two while patiently waiting for my long lost sister to arrive. 
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Adapted from recipe on pumpkin mix bag)
Makes 12 muffins
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups pumpkin muffin mix
1/2 cup rolled oats
2 eggs, beaten
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill muffin tin will paper liners.
2. In a large bowl, combine eggs, sugar and butter. Whisk thoroughly. Add muffin mix, oats and milk. Stir to combine. Fold in chocolate chips.
3. Pour batter evenly into muffin wells.
4. Bake for 12-13 minutes.

Cranberry Muffin Bites

I made these baby tarts last week when I had had an abundance of cranberries. By abundance, I mean one bag. But I quickly realized I didn’t care for them as much as I thought I did, so it felt like it took me forever and a half to get through the seemingly small bag. 
I will say, the Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad was a great, tasty use of the berries. But when it came to trying to bake a sweet dessert (or breakfast treat), I just couldn’t get past the tartness. 
Even though this wasn’t my favorite recipe, I figured some of you may have different tastes and really like cranberries!

What you don’t see in the pictures is a white chocolate drizzle overtop of each mini muffin. The addition of the drizzle was an afterthought, but helped to play down the tartness. I think it could be great to even mix white chocolate chips into the mix before baking.

All gone 🙂 And now I can move onto better fruit-filled things.
Cranberry Muffin Bites
Makes about 12 mini muffins
Ingredients:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup oats
1/3 cup sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 egg
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/4 cup white chocolate morsels, melted
Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Fill mini muffin tin with liners.
2. In a medium bowl, combine first four ingredients. Stir well.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk applesauce, melted butter and the egg. Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, then fold in cranberries.
4. Use a small spoon to fill muffin cups with about 2 teaspoons of filling. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until tops become golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool on wire rack.
5. Allow to cool for about ten minutes before drizzling with white chocolate.