October 1, 2023

Lecafe moustache

Delicious food

Say goodbye to boring breakfast muffins

Jolene Lamb

Jolene Lamb

I’m a fan of eating breakfast foods anytime of the day, all day. I often make a traditional breakfast on Sundays. Once a month or so, breakfast foods such as omelets, biscuits and gravy, waffles, bacon, eggs and hash browns make their way to my dinner table. But breakfast through the week is a bit more of a challenge. I don’t have the time, well I don’t want to get up any earlier to make the time, to cook and eat a breakfast before heading off to work.

Breakfast muffins are a great option. They can be made days in advance, or even longer and frozen for weeks, then just pulled and warmed up for an on-the-go weekday breakfast. Plus, the ingredient and flavor combinations are pretty much endless, so I can keep changing them up and not get bored with a daily muffin.

Whether sweet or savory, healthy or indulgent, there are a million recipes out there to try. Most recipes can be slightly altered, so if you find one that has fruit and/or nuts in it, you can easily change the type of fruit or sub out the nuts. It’s even possible to change up the flour to a whole grain or oat. You may need to adjust the liquid in the recipe when changing the flour or swapping from a fresh berry to a dried fruit.

Previous column: The foods of New Orleans

When making muffins, it is important to not overmix the batter which causes the muffins to become tough. Most recipes call for the ingredients to be mixed in stages. Butter, sugar, spices and eggs are often mixed first, then the flour is added. Flour contains proteins which when hydrated will start to form gluten chains. As the dough is mixed, the chains strengthen. The more mixing, the more the gluten develops, the tougher the finished product will be. Once the flour is added, mix just until it is incorporated, and you’ll end up with a perfect soft, crumbly muffin.

Here are few recipes featuring some not-so-common flavors. I’ve even included a savory/sweet gluten-free option. Say bye-bye to the boring blueberry muffin and grab some flavor on your way out the door this week.

More: Epicuriosity 101: For the new year, try these dishes featuring healthy, ancient grains

Rhubarb, Apple and White Chocolate Muffins

Sweet white chocolate balances the sharp rhubarb and apple flavors.

Yield 6 jumbo muffins or 12 standard

*2 stalks rhubarb, chopped into 2cm pieces

*3/4 cup sugar

*9 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

*½ cup sour cream, at room temperature

*1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*1 egg, at room temperature

*1 2/3 cups self-rising flour, sifted

*1 Granny Smith apple, coarsely grated

*½ cup white chocolate, finely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a 6-hole jumbo muffin pan with large paper liners or 12 regular size.

Place the rhubarb and 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes until the rhubarb has just softened. Strain rhubarb through a sieve and set aside to cool to room temperature. Discard liquid.

Place remaining sugar in a bowl with the butter and beat until smooth. Beat in sour cream, vanilla and egg, followed by the flour until smooth. Fold in the cooled rhubarb mixture. Squeeze out excess liquid from the apple and add grated apple to the bowl, then the white chocolate and fold to combine. Divide mixture among muffin tin and bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of each muffin comes out clean. Store covered at room temp for 3-4 days or freeze for longer storage.

Triple-ginger Muffins

Yield 12 standard muffins

A baked good for the true ginger fanatic, these muffins pack some serious spice thanks to the addition of grated fresh ginger, ground ginger and minced crystallized ginger. Molasses, a key ingredient in traditional gingerbread, gives the muffins a beautiful golden hue and helps keep them moist for days.

Directions:

*1 cup granulated sugar

*½ cup unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled

*2 large eggs, at room temperature

*¾ cup whole milk

*¼ cup molasses

*1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)

*2 cups all-purpose flour

*2 teaspoons baking powder

*1 teaspoon ground ginger

*1 teaspoon salt

*¾ cup, plus 3 tablespoons minced crystallized ginger

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and line a standard muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, butter, eggs, milk, molasses and grated ginger, and whisk until smooth.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground ginger and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just combined. (Be careful not to overmix! The batter will be slightly lumpy.) Stir in 3/4 cup crystallized ginger, reserving the remaining 3 tablespoons for the topping.

Using an ice cream scoop or a large spoon, divide the batter between the 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle the reserved crystallized ginger onto the tops of the muffins, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the muffins spring back when lightly pressed. Cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then carefully transfer muffins to a cooling rack and cool completely.

Gluten-Free Cornmeal, Fig and Orange Muffins

Yield 12 muffins

Fig and orange is always a delicious combination, and both ingredients go very well with this sweet and grainy cornmeal mixture.

Directions

*1 cup figs, chopped

*1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

*1 cup cornmeal

*1 cup gluten-free whole grain flour mix

*3/4 teaspoon salt

*1 tablespoon baking powder

*1/2 teaspoon baking soda

*2 eggs

*1 1/4 cups buttermilk

*2 tablespoons mild honey, such as clover

*1/4 cup canola or grape seed oil

Place the figs in a bowl and pour in the orange juice. Let steep for 1 hour. Drain and weigh or measure out 1/4 cup of the orange juice and add it to the buttermilk. Set aside the rest for another purpose.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Oil or butter muffin tins. Sift together the cornmeal, gluten free flour mix, salt, baking powder and baking soda into a medium bowl. Pour in any grainy bits that remain in the sifter.

In a separate large bowl whisk the eggs with the buttermilk, orange juice, honey, and oil. Quickly whisk in the flour and cornmeal mixture. Fold in the figs.

Using a spoon or ice cream scoop, fill muffin cups to the top. Place in the oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes, until lightly browned and well risen. Remove from the heat and if the muffins come out of the tins easily, remove from the tins and allow to cool on a rack. If they don’t release easily, allow to cool and then remove from the tins.

Jolene Lamb is culinary coordinator, communication education, at Lincoln Land Community College.

Want to know more?

Lincoln Land Community College offers associate degree programs in culinary arts and hospitality management, certificates in culinary arts and baking/pastry and non-credit community classes through the Culinary Institute.

Information: bit.ly/Culinary_LLCC

Questions? Email [email protected]

This article originally appeared on State Journal-Register: Say bye-bye to boring breakfast muffins