Muffins and Scones

Strawberry Muffins

by Shawnda on April 17, 2012

in Breakfast,Fruit,Lighter & Healthier,Muffins and Scones,Strawberries

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

The first signs of spring hit southeast Texas nearly two months ago. We swam (with a leeeettle help from the pool heater), we started putting in this year’s spring garden plants, and we hit up a nearby farm to pick strawberries.

14 pounds of strawberries.

And I was leaving for a California trip in less than 2 days.

My husband took one look in the fridge, one look at me, and then walked away with the “at least it’s [strawberries] and not cats” face. His Daddy To-Do List while I was gone was two items long: 1) Make sure she really brushes her teeth, not just licks off the toothpaste and 2) Eat as many strawberries as humanly possible. And then eat a few more.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

The first thing we did was make fresh strawberry muffins. Last year, we made countless batches of Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins with our strawberry haul… but they’re a little less figure friendly than I’d like. We took our favorite muffin recipe, lightened it a bit, and added plenty of those “must eat tomorrow” strawberries. The resulting muffin is moist and tender, and studded with juicy chunks of ripe strawberries.

When strawberry season rolls around to your side of town, grab a bucket. Or to unlock the Hoarder Badge, 4 buckets. And your muffin pan.

Strawberry Muffins

A lighter muffin studded with fresh strawberry chunks.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • Generous 1 1/2 cup chopped strawberries (~8 oz by weight, after hulling)
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
  6. Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
  7. Toss strawberries with the remaining 1 Tbsp flour and add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
  8. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among cups, using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
  10. Sprinkle tops lightly with coarse sugar, if using.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
  13. Will keep ~3 days in a covered cake plate.

Notes

Yields: ~18 muffins

Adapted from Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Muffins

Estimated time: 1 hour

Nutritional Information
Calories: 188.8 | Fat: 7.2g | Fiber .9g | Protein 4.9g | Carbs 26.1g
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 5

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{ 29 comments }

Lighter Grapefruit Scones

With a bounty (15 lbs!) of beautiful Texas grapefruit, Grapefruit Scones were one of the first things on my list to tackle after we replaced our broken oven. I wanted a simple cream scone, studded with grapefruit, that wasn’t to sweet and not too terrible for my waistline.

I started with the Basic Cream Scone from Cook’s Illustrated. And then I kind of hit it with a wrecking ball.

What usually makes a scone so melt-in-your-mouth tender is fat, usually from butter and cream. I don’t know about you, but those are two of my favorite food groups :) I knocked out 75% of the heavy cream and replaced it with fat-free greek yogurt and grapefruit juice, two items that would keep the batter thick and flavorful. In addition to flavor, the small chunks of cold butter also contribute to lift and texture so I increased the baking powder after reducing the butter just a bit.

Lighter Grapefruit Scones

The upside: You still get that crumbly scone goodness, with significantly less fat.

The downside: Without all the extra fat to keep them moist, they don’t keep as long (2-3 days vs 4-5+)

I added a generous dose of chopped grapefruit and zest, and just a little extra sugar to help offset the bitterness from the fruit (my husband required a drizzle of honey at breakfast to make his even sweeter). And there’s no mistaking that each bite belongs to a grapefruit scone :)

Grapefruit Scones

Slightly sweet, tender scones studded with grapefruit.

Ingredients

  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 1/4 cup + 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 Tbsp butter, cut into pieces or grated
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp fat-free Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp coarse sugar, for topping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Zest half the fruit to get 1 Tbsp (unpacked) zest.
  3. Cut the tops and bottoms of the grapefruit off.
  4. Remove the peel and pith with a knife and cut the grapefruit segments from the membranes over a bowl to catch the juice.
  5. Cut each segment into 2-3 pieces and set a side.
  6. Squeeze the leftover membranes into the bowl. Reserve 2 Tbsp of the grapefruit juice and discard the rest.
  7. Pulse the sugar, zest, flour, baking powder, and salt a few times in a food processor.
  8. Add the butter and pulse until the butter is about the size of peas.
  9. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  10. In a small bowl, stir together the 2 Tbsp grapefruit juice, heavy cream, and yogurt.
  11. Add the yogurt mixture and grapefruit segments to the dry ingredients, stirring until most of the dry ingredients are incorporated
  12. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a rectangle 1-inch thick.
  13. Cut in quarters and cut each rectangle diagonally.
  14. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
  15. Top with sugar and bake 12-15 minutes, until lightly browned.
  16. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.
  17. Store for a couple of days in an airtight container. Warm for 10-12 seconds in the microwave before serving.

Notes

Yields: 8 servings

Adapted from Cooks Illustrated's Cream Scones

Estimated time: 45 minutes

Nutritional Information
Calories: 238.5 | Fat: 8.5g | Fiber 1.3g | Protein 5.2g | Carbs 34.9
Weight Watchers PointsPlus: 6

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{ 18 comments }

Gingerbread Muffins

by Shawnda on December 10, 2011

in Holiday Favorites,Muffins and Scones

Gingerbread Muffins

The smell of gingerbread reminds me of home.

During the 10 days leading up to Christmas, my mom was always in full Gingerbread Mode, making gingerbread houses to give to friends and family at Christmas. And with each passing year, her list seemed to get longer and longer – there were teachers, and coaches, the neighbors. And then my dad wanted “a few” (read: a dozen) for his co-workers.

As if the sheer volume of 3 dozen gingerbread houses wasn’t enough, royal icing is a pain to work with when it’s humid. And it’s always humid in Texas. My three siblings and I sat for a couple of hours each night, assembly line, constructing and decorating gingerbread houses while listening to Christmas music. Aside from the occasional red and green foil-wrapped peanut butter cup that we’d sneak, it was torture. And we were usually less than cooperative.

I honestly don’t know how she’s not sitting in a corner in a straight jacket somewhere, rocking back and forth and humming Silent Night.

These muffins smell every bit as wonderful as mom’s gingerbread cookies. And unlike the cookies, you won’t get hit with that “I’m disappointed in you,” look when you snag one for breakfast. They’re clovey and spicy, a perfect balance of warmth and flavor. And they’ll make your house smell like Christmas.

Gingerbread Muffins

Clovey, spicey gingerbread muffins perfect for a holiday breakfast.

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup molasses
  • 3/4 cup fat-free greek yogurt
  • Coarse sugar for garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Line a muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter with brown sugar until light and fluffy, 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the eggs, one at a time until mixed well.
  6. Add the molasses and mix until well blended.
  7. Add half of the dry ingredients, mixing only low until just incorporated and add the yogurt.
  8. Mix until the yogurt is well distributed and add the remaining dry ingredients.
  9. Mix on low only until the flour just disappears.
  10. Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle coarse sugar over the tops of the muffin batter.
  11. Bake 5 minutes and then reduce the oven temperature to 350.
  12. Bake another ~15 minutes, until a skewer comes out with moist crumbs attached.
  13. Cool 5 minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.
  14. Store in an airtight container for 3-5 days.

Notes

Yields: 14 muffins

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Estimated time: 40 minutes

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{ 15 comments }

White Chocolate-Mango Muffins

I grew up in a small town. We had a Dairy Queen, a McDonald’s, and a Hartz Chicken. And a restaurant called the Hot Biscuit. We also had a single small grocery store. If they didn’t have it, you didn’t need it. And if you did, you were out of luck.

That small town is still small but there are at least two places to buy groceries and several other options nearby. And I think that the Hot Biscuit might still be open :)

Our grocery store today is a far cry from that single small store. There’s a large prepared food counter for quick-fix dinners, a beer case full of “fancy” beer, a full-service bakery, a live cooking grill, a sushi bar, and my absolute favorite: a counter where you can get fresh, made-right-in-front-of-your-face tortillas. It’ll sure spoil a person, real quick!

That bakery also cranks out a White Chocolate-Mango Muffin that’s pretty much heaven in a cupcake liner. It’s a little heavy on the almond extract but it’s chock-full of fresh mango and white chocolate chunks. And it’s got one of those pretty, sky-high “I came from a real bakery” muffin tops. Once a week, the toddler and I split one while we’re shopping. It’s well worth the money but the “I can do this myself for less” in me knows that I can buy 2 mangos for the price of one muffin. And I can make a dozen muffins at home to have for breakfast all week.

To recreate the muffins, we used our favorite muffin base which is a stripped-down blueberry muffin recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. It’s produces a reliably moist muffin and the batter is really thick so it doesn’t spread and leave you with a flat top. We loaded it with a full cup each of diced mango and white chocolate chips – and were a little lighter-handed with the almond extract. To get a big, puffy muffin top like a commercial bakery, we paired our favorite recipe with a higher-than-usual temperature for the first half-ish of the baking time. The end result is a pretty muffin with a big, dramatic dome that looks just like it came from the bakery down the street.

Only you don’t have to shell out $1.50 per muffin. And you don’t have to put on pants to get one.

White Chocolate-Mango Muffins

Moist, domed bakery-like muffins studded with fresh mango and white chocolate.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups + 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 10 Tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1 1/2 cup plain fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup diced mango
  • 1 cup white chocolate chunks/chips
  • Coarse sugar, for sprinkling tops (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Mix 3 cups flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt in medium bowl; set aside.
  3. Cream butter and sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by the vanilla and almond extract.
  5. Beat in half of dry ingredients, followed by a third of the yogurt.
  6. Add remaining dry ingredients in two batches, alternating with the yogurt, until incorporated.
  7. Toss mango and white chocolate with the remaining 1 Tbsp flour and add to the mixer, mixing for just a few more seconds to distribute evenly (the batter will be very, very thick).
  8. Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray or line with paper liners. And if you find that you're 3 paper liners short, you can improvise with some parchment paper cut in ~5-6 inch squares. But it's a total pain.
  9. Divide the batter evenly among cups, using a large cookie scoop (my scoop is ~2.25 inches across).
  10. Sprinkle top lightly with coarse sugar, if using.
  11. Bake for 8 minutes and then decrease oven temperature to 375 and bake for ~12 more minutes until golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
  12. Let cool 5 minutes in the pan before removing and cooling completely.
  13. Will keep ~4 days in a covered cake plate, can be frozen.

Notes

Yields: ~15 muffins

Inspired by HEB

Estimated time: 45 minutes

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{ 28 comments }