Cozy Autumn Treat ~ Pumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

Pumpkin Spiced Latte MuffinsNothing says autumn in Seattle more to me than a warm pumpkin spice latte. I got my first cup of the season and sipped it by the lake under the colorful autumn leaves. Ahh…

To recreate the flavors at home, I made a batch of pumpkin spice latte muffins. 🙂 They are filled with a good bit of pumpkin puree, warm spices, and a generous amount of espresso. A perfect breakfast treat to start any autumn day.

The cute (and free!) printables are from a website called Weigh to Maintain. They were actually meant for another purpose, but I thought they were a perfect way to dress up these little muffins.Pumpkin Spiced Latte MuffinsPumpkin Spice Latte Muffins

Makes about 16 muffins

1 3/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

5 teaspoons instant espresso powder

1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice

Pinch of kosher salt

2 large eggs

1 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup light olive oil

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

2/3 cup skim milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat your oven to 350 F.

Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk all of the dry ingredients, from the flour through the salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk all of the wet ingredients, from the eggs to the vanilla.

Then add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and whisk until just combined. Take care not to mix the batter too much at this point.

Fill your paper liners about 3/4 full. Bake the muffins for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the muffins comes out clean.Pumpkin Spiced Latte Muffins

Savoring the end of summer ~ Corn Dog Muffins

Corn Dog MuffinsI hope you have enjoyed your summer so far! For me, it has been a summer filled with time at the beach, several good books, and visits to local festivals. But summer isn’t over yet. 🙂 I am trying to savor the last of the warm weather before it’s time to enjoy autumn’s pleasures!

Before August comes to a close, I wanted to share one more summery recipe. These little corn dog mini muffins were inspired by the fun food I see at festivals and carnivals. Dip these little muffins into ketchup for the full corn dog experience.

The sweet little summer printables on top of my muffins are from a blog called Glued To My Crafts. So adorable! They are free to print for personal use, so maybe you can incorporate them into your end-of-summer celebrations. 🙂

Corn Dog Muffins

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup finely ground cornmeal

1/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk

3 tablespoons light olive oil

1 large egg

3 vegetarian frankfurters cut into approximately 1/4-inch pieces (I used frankfurters from Field Roast)

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners. Spray the inside of the liners with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (from the flour to the salt.)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (from the buttermilk to the egg.)

Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and whisk until just combined. Add the chopped frankfurters, and stir until they are coated in batter.

Fill the muffin liners about 3/4 of the way full.

Bake for about 13 minutes, or until the muffins spring back to the touch.Corn Dog Muffins

It’s Oktoberfest! ~ Beer, Sauerkraut, and Cheese Muffins

Oktoberfest MuffinsHappy Oktoberfest!

Even though I am typically a wine kind of girl, when Oktoberfest rolls around, I love to try the autumn beer at the market. Many of our local breweries make special beer just for the season. I picked up one from Pyramid Brewery, and instead of just drinking it, I decided to use it in some muffins. 🙂 Then I took these muffins one step further…I wanted to add one more Oktoberfest flavor, so I added a little sauerkraut! I know it sounds a little odd, but it actually added a lot of moisture and flavor to the muffins without making them taste like pickles. These go well with chili, or they are great just as a snack (with a little beer of course! 😉 )

Oktoberfest MuffinsBeer, Sauerkraut, and Cheese Muffins

Makes 12

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, minced

3 cups ivory whole-wheat flour

1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

4 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup sauerkraut, squeezed to remove excess brine and finely chopped

12 ounces Oktoberfest beer

1/4 cup skim milk

Cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 375.

Heat a small sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oil and onion, and cook until the onion is slightly caramelized. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Then stir in the caramelized onions, cheese, sauerkraut, beer, and milk. You may need to work it with your hands to make sure everything is well combined because the batter is very thick.

Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. Divide the batter evenly into 12 muffins.

Bake for about 35 minutes, until cooked through but still moist.

The cute little flags came from I actually used the artwork for the party banner, but printed it very small to make muffin flags instead. There are a lot of other sweet Oktoberfest printables in the same place that you might want to check out this season. 🙂

Prost!Oktoberfest Muffins


First Date Anniversary ~ Hot Date Muffins

Date and Banana Muffins17 years ago today, my hubby and I went on our first date together. To celebrate this little anniversary, I thought I would bake him some Hot Date Muffins! 😉

Date and Banana MuffinsI wanted to try making a muffin that was 100% fruit sweetened, with no refined sugar. These are sweetened three ways, with dates, applesauce, and a ripe banana. They are also vegan, gluten free, and almost fat free. And I should add, they are quite delicious, which is probably the most important point of all! 😉 If a recipe is super healthy but not very tasty, it doesn’t make the cut for me. My hubby and I both thought these were pleasantly surprising. (Kind of like our first date! 😉 ) They are concentrated moist sweet morsels, perfect for a quick and hearty breakfast or snack.

Date and Banana MuffinsHot Date Muffins

1 ¾ cups oat flour

2 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground ginger

Pinch of salt

1 ¼ cups Medjool dates, pitted

1 cup applesauce

1 very ripe banana

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

¾ cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 325. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the oat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and salt.

In a food processor, add the dates, applesauce, banana, and vanilla. Process until smooth.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until well combined. Add chopped walnuts if you are using them, and stir to distribute evenly.

Fill 12 muffin cups evenly with batter. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle of one comes out clean.

Let cool completely, or they will stick to the paper liners.

Date and Banana Muffins

Teashop Mystery ~ Chamomile Muffins

This month, I am thoroughly enjoying a cozy mystery that is set in a Charleston, South Carolina tearoom entitled Steeped in Evil. It is such a descriptive book and the characters are so vividly written, that I feel like I am taking a virtual vacation to Charleston! When I find an absorbing book like this, I often get inspired to make a recipe to compliment the story. It’s my way to get a little more into the storyline, and to make it come to life. 🙂 With this book, I wanted to make something small and sweet that might be served in a tearoom, and I also wanted to incorporate tea within the treat. Chamomile muffins fit the bill! They are perfect to nibble on a lazy and decadent afternoon of reading. I enjoyed some quiet time alone outside on this lovely summer day with a cup of tea, a muffin, and my book. 🙂 I even got out my teapot and poured a glass of bubbly as the fancy teashops do. I felt a little like I was a part of an afternoon tea at the main character’s store, the Indigo Tea Shop.

I based these muffins on a recipe from Joy the Baker. I substituted whole-wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, light olive oil for the butter, and I reduced the sugar from the original recipe. The end result was moist, delicate, and delicious! The chamomile flavor really shines through. I didn’t top them with a glaze, but just a light dusting of powdered sugar.

Chamomile Muffins

Based on a recipe from Joy the Baker

1/4 cup light olive oil

1 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons dried chamomile (from tea bags)

1/2 cup skim milk

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line a muffin pan with paper or foil liners and set aside. (It makes about 12 standard size muffins.)

To make the cakes:  in the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix together oil, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, pinch of salt, and chamomile leaves.  Mix on medium speed until the mixture is slightly coarse and sandy.

While the mixture beats, in a small bowl, whisk together milk, egg, and vanilla extract.

Pour half of the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Beat until just incorporated.  Pour in the remaining milk mixture, turn the mixer up to medium-high speed and beat for 1 minute, until well blended.

Divide the batter between the prepared cups, filling only half way.

Bake the muffins for 17 to 20 minutes for the standard size, 10 to 14 minutes for the mini size, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Remove the muffins from the pan to cool completely before frosting.

Cakes will last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to three days.

Steeped in Evil is the latest release in the series, but I am looking forward to reading more of the teashop mysteries by Laura Childs. If you are looking for a fun and light summer book, you might enjoy one of these mysteries, too!

First Day of Summer! ~ Banana Coconut Muffins

Happy summer! It is officially here! The weather in Seattle feels a little tropical in the summertime, so I decided to make my tropical banana coconut bread recipe into muffins to celebrate the season. 🙂

Dividing the batter into individual muffin portions allowed me to use whole-wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour. (I tried using whole-wheat pastry flour in the original loaf recipe, however it didn’t turn out very well.) I like to use whole grains when I can, so I was happy that these turned out wonderfully moist and delicious. 🙂

Banana Coconut Muffins

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 cup granulated sugar (a little less if the bananas are very very ripe)

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 3/4 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 bananas)

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut

Cooking spray

Preheat your oven to 350. Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and oil until they are well blended. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add the mashed banana and vanilla, and whisk until they are incorporated. Add the flour mixture, and mix until everything is moist. Stir in 1/2 cup of coconut. Spoon the batter into 14 muffin tin cups, (about 3/4 full), either lined with paper or sprayed with cooking spray. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

I found cute little tropical Hawaiian cupcake flags on a website called Party Planning Center. They are so adorable, and also free! I love to add a little pizzazz to my cupcakes and muffins with printables. Then I don’t need to use frosting or food coloring to make them look festive, and I think they are so pretty!

Mother’s Day Weekend ~ Healthy Morning Muffins

Almost every Mother’s Day weekend, my mom and I get together for a girls’ weekend to celebrate! We love to spend the time together doing our favorite things like shopping, exploring wineries, and staying up late chatting. 🙂 Given that I am less of a morning person than she is, I made sure she had a bunch of muffins for breakfast when she got up before me. 😉 I decided to make these healthy morning muffins this year.

I replaced the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry flour, and I also added a tad more skim milk to make sure they stayed moist. I replaced the raisins with currants, since Mom is not a big raisin fan. 😉 I also reduced the salt to a pinch.

Healthy Morning Muffins

Based on a recipe from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour (spooned and leveled)

1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of coarse salt

1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats

1/4 cup currants

3 tablespoons light olive oil

1 large egg

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon skim milk

4 medium carrots, shredded

1 medium ripe banana, mashed

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup muffin pan with cupcake liners. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, and salt until there are no lumps. Stir in oats and currants. Add oil, egg, milk, carrots, and banana and stir until blended.

Fill each muffin cup with 1/4 cup batter. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 23 to 25 minutes. Serve muffins warm or at room temperature.

The super cute little decorations are from They have a large collection of free and printable decorations for all sorts of celebrations, and I would highly recommend checking them out! I made cupcake flags and matching votive wraps from the pretty Mother’s Day “Blossoms” design.

Warm Muffins for a Chilly Day ~ Pear and Granola Muffins

Here’s a sweet treat for the New Year. Perfect for a light breakfast, or a pick-me-up in the middle of the day. We enjoyed them for our first breakfast of 2014. 🙂

I replaced the low fat yogurt with non-fat, and the butter with Earth Balance. Since Earth Balance already has salt in the mix, no extra salt was needed. I couldn’t find store bought plain granola, so I used an apple cinnamon flavor instead of making some from scratch. It was a really nice combination with the pears. I tried replacing the all purpose flour with 100% whole wheat pastry flour, as well. It is a heartier (and healthier) muffin if you choose to do it that way. They are lighter and fluffier with a mixture of the two types of flours. Your choice. 🙂 I think I preferred the blend, however, so that is how the recipe is as follows:

Pear and Granola Muffins

Based on a Recipe from

For the muffins:

1 cup all-purpose flour

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 large eggs

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

1/2 cup plain non-fat yogurt

2 tablespoons Earth Balance, melted

2 D’Anjou pears (2 cups), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

3/4 cup plain or apple cinnamon granola

For the topping:

1/2 cup granola

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar

3 tablespoons chilled Earth Balance

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, yogurt, and Earth Balance. Make a well in the center of flour mixture. Add egg mixture to well, and mix in flour mixture until just combined. Gently fold in the granola and pears.

 Make Granola Crisp Topping: In a bowl, toss together 1/2 cup granola, and 1/4 cup each all-purpose flour and packed light-brown sugar. Cut 3 tablespoons chilled Earth Balance into pieces; add to granola mixture, and rub in with fingertips until clumps form.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each 3/4 full. Sprinkle with granola topping. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Cool 5 minutes before removing from tin. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The Cottage at Glass Beach ~ Rhubarb Muffins

I am enjoying a summery book named The Cottage at Glass Beach by a local Seattle author, Heather Barbieri. I discovered the book on a fun little book and food website called Books and Bites. I’ve been choosing a lot of my recent book selections from the recommendations on that site. Not only do I get many good book suggestions from other authors I enjoy, but I also get a recipe that fits the theme of every book. So fun!

I tried the rhubarb muffins that the website pairs with The Cottage at Glass Beach. The author shared her own recipe for her delicious muffins. I put my own spin on them by using whole-wheat pastry flour instead of all-purpose flour and sprinkling simple cinnamon sugar on the top without the butter. They are so good for breakfast, or for a little mid day snack (while taking an afternoon break to read, of course! ;-))

Rhubarb Muffins

1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

1/2 cup light olive oil

1 egg

2 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 cups diced rhubarb

2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

Pinch of salt

3 tablespoons granulated sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Combine the brown sugar, oil, egg, vanilla and buttermilk in a mixer bowl, and beat until well incorporated. Stir in the rhubarb by hand. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir into the rhubarb mixture until just blended.

Spoon the batter into a muffin tin filled with paper linings, about 2/3 full.

For the topping, combine the granulated sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle evenly over the muffins.

Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the center of a muffin.

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day ~ Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! (Well, almost ;-). I start to get in the Irish holiday mood once March begins).

I love this holiday, even though I’m not even a wee bit Irish. I make a different Irish inspired recipe every year to celebrate. (Check out some of the fun and festive recipes from years past ~ ’10, ’11, and ‘12).

This year, I decided to make Irish soda bread muffins, which my hubby and I have been enjoying for breakfast. They have unique flavors between the caraway seeds and the dried currants, so they are a really refreshing change from the usual banana or berry muffin recipes I usually make. I found the original recipe on the website hosted by King Arthur Flour. They make high quality flours that pastry chefs I know swear by. I did bake my version of the muffins with 100% whole-wheat pastry flour instead of using any all-purpose flour to make them a little healthier. I only used 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds, but you can add as many or as few as you’d like. I chose vegetable oil instead of butter, and I used buttermilk instead of the other options. (The yogurt and sour cream are perfectly fine substitutes if you choose the low fat versions, however). I omitted the sugar topping, as well, since I thought they were sweet enough with all of the currants. (My hubby, who is Irish, said they are some of the best muffins he’s ever had :)). I hope you’ll give them a try this month!

Irish Soda Bread Muffins

Based on a recipe from

2 1/4 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cups currants

1/2 to 2 teaspoons caraway seeds, to taste

1 large egg

1 cup buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1) Preheat the oven to 400°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin pan; or line with papers, and grease the papers.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, sugar, currants, and caraway seeds.

3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk (or equivalent) and oil.

4) Quickly and gently combine the dry and wet ingredients; honestly, this won’t take more than a few stirs with a bowl scraper or large spoon. As soon as everything is evenly moistened, quit; further stirring will cause the muffins to be tough.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, filling the cups about 3/4 full; the stiff batter will look mounded in the cups.

6) Bake the muffins for 20 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Remove them from the oven. Tip the muffins in the pan, so their bottoms don’t get soggy. Wait 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a rack to cool.

I hope you have fun on the 17th, whether you are in the Emerald City, the Emerald Isle, or someplace without even a wee bit of green ;).

(PS. Thanks for the cute clover napkins, Mom! Someone else who loves this holiday as much as I do. Must be the 17 connection ;-)).

Snow Day = Muffin Day

Seattle woke up to quite a bit of snow today, which is a rare treat for us! It is so gorgeous and white outside of my window.

The snow inspired me to bake some muffins to warm up our kitchen and make the house cozy :). After several batches, these banana buttermilk muffins were our favorite. I used all whole-wheat pastry flour instead of mixing it with all-purpose flour. I think banana muffins can stand up well to the nuttier flavor of whole-wheat flour. Other than that, I followed the recipe pretty closely. They are tender from the buttermilk and nice and sweet from the ripe bananas I pulled out of our freezer. It will definitely be a good one to go with our morning coffee even after the snow melts :).

Banana Buttermilk Muffins

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma

1 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup low-fat buttermilk

1 cup well-mashed ripe banana

2 Tbs. canola oil

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat an oven to 375°F. Spray 12 standard muffin cups with canola-oil cooking spray, or use paper liners.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

In another bowl or a large, glass measuring pitcher, whisk together the buttermilk, banana, oil, egg and vanilla. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir just until blended. Do not over mix. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full. Sprinkle the tops evenly with the walnuts.

Bake the muffins until they are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then turn out onto the rack and let cool completely. The muffins will keep in a zippered plastic bag at room temperature for 2 or 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 2 months. Makes 12 muffins.

A little holiday treat ~ Pumpkin Muffins

I have tried many pumpkin muffin recipes since pumpkin is one of my favorite fall flavors, but this is the one I keep coming back to. They are now an autumn/holiday treat that I make every year. (Sometimes I even make them in the spring or summer since they are so good, and canned pumpkin is available year round!) I follow the original recipe pretty closely, except I use 100% whole-wheat pastry flour instead of any white flour. I think the spices and the pumpkin combine well with the nuttier flavors in the whole grain flour. I hope you’ll give these a try! They are definitely a favorite at our house :).

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Ellie Krieger’s book The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life

Cooking spray

2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

Pinch of salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar

3 tablespoons unsulphered molasses

1/4 cup canola oil

2 large eggs

1 cup canned pumpkin

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup lowfat buttermilk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, molasses, oil and 1 egg until combined. Add the other egg and whisk well. Whisk in the pumpkin and vanilla. Whisk in the flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk. Whisk just until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared muffin pan. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to remove any air bubbles. Bake for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center of 1 of the muffins comes out clean.

Let cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the muffins to loosen them and unmold. Cool completely on the rack.

PS. If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, reduced fat sour cream can be a good substitute.

Halloween Season ~ Applesauce Spice Muffins

I made a couple of batches of applesauce spice muffins to warm up the house on chilly October days. The original recipe was from Gourmet magazine, and it can be found at I used a few tricks to make these treats a little healthier, though ;).  I substituted whole-wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour, I reduced the sugar a little and I replaced the butter with a blend of canola oil and light sour cream.

Applesauce Spice Muffins

Muffin Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pinch of salt

2 large eggs

1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar

¼ cup canola oil

¼ cup and 3 tablespoons light sour cream

1 cup unsweetened applesauce (cinnamon or plain work well)

1 cup pecans or walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional)

Topping Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

¼ cup sliced almonds (optional)

Put your oven rack in the middle position and preheat to 400 degrees. Grease the muffin pan or line it with cupcake papers.

Stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and brown sugar, then whisk in the canola oil and sour cream until well combined. Stir in the applesauce. Add the flour mixture to the wet mixture until the flour is just moistened. Stir in the nuts at this point if you are using them. Divide the batter between 12 muffin cups.

For the topping, stir together all of the topping ingredients with the almonds if you are using them.  Sprinkle evenly over the muffins.

Bake until the muffins are puffed and golden, about 20 minutes. A wooden skewer inserted should come out clean.

Happy Halloween!

Happy Seafair ~ Blueberry Blue Angel Muffins

*About the photos

This is Seafair weekend in Seattle, which is an annual summer celebration including hydroplane racing and an air show featuring the Blue Angels. We live very close to the flight path where the Blue Angels fly, so I get a great view of the synchronized air show from my kitchen. Occasionally, the jets come close to breaking the sound barrier and they cause the kitchen to rumble and shake a bit as they fly over!

This year happens to be a cooler and wetter weekend than usual.  I find that when the weather cools down I like to make our home cozy and warm with baked goodies. That along with all of the Seafair festivities inspired me to bake what I’d like to call “Blueberry Blue Angel Muffins!” 🙂

I found a really good blueberry muffin recipe from America’s Test Kitchen and I changed a few things to make it a little healthier. (I used less sugar, I substituted whole-wheat pastry flour for the all-purpose flour and I switched the butter to applesauce.) It takes advantage of the fresh summer blueberries at the market now. The extra non-traditional step of swirling homemade blueberry jam into the muffins makes them very flavorful and special. The lemon zest and sugar topping also gives them a fresh and crunchy finishing touch.

Blueberry Blue Angel Muffins


Cooking spray

1/2 tablespoon lemon zest

cups fresh blueberries

cup sugar, plus 1 teaspoon, plus 2 tablespoons

2 1/2
cups whole-wheat pastry flour

2 1/2
teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt


1/4 cup applesauce

cup canola oil

cup buttermilk

1 1/2
teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees with the rack in the upper middle position. Spray a muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.

Bring 1 cup of blueberries and 1 teaspoon of sugar to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mash the berries with a potato masher and stir frequently until the mixture is a little thickened and reduced to about ¼ cup. Take off the heat, and let cool.

For the topping, stir together 2 tablespoons of sugar and the lemon zest in a small bowl until combined.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk 1 cup of sugar and the eggs together until they are well incorporated. Slowly whisk in the applesauce and oil. Then whisk in the buttermilk and vanilla until everything is blended well. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture and the remaining blueberries into the flour mixture until everything is just moistened.

Divide the batter equally into the 12 muffin cups. Each cup should be completely full. Then put about a teaspoon of the cooked berry jam mixture onto the center of each muffin. Using a chopstick or other skewer, swirl the jam into the batter. Then sprinkle the lemon sugar equally over the muffins.

Bake about 17 minutes, until the muffin tops are firm and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool slightly before serving.

Happy Seafair!

*Watching the Blue Angels air show while enjoying a plate of blueberry muffins on the deck :). As a funny side note, the right photo would have been very very cool since the plane on the right proceded to come straight over our house, but I ran into the kitchen when he got closer! Ha ha! They are *loud.*