Saturday, November 7, 2009

Muffins, Cakes and Bread...Oh My!

Here are a collection of muffin recipes that I love to make. I do a lot of baking for my mother-in-law. My MIL has a whole host of very serious medical problems that keep her bed ridden. So, she loves to watch baking shows and often calls me begging for something she saw on TV that made her mouth water. How can I resist the challenge of a new recipe or the delight when I show up with her grandson and some delicious homemade goodie. One of the things she loves are fruit breads/muffins/ here are some of Baka's (Gramma in croatian) favorites.

Lemony Lemon Muffins
For the muffins:

3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
1 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice

For the streusel:

1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cold butter

For the glaze:
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, yogurt, butter, lemon peel and lemon juice. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix, just until moistened. Grease or paper line muffin cups and fill the batter 3/4 full.

2. In a small bowl, combine flour, sugar and butter. Using your hands or a pastry blender, mix until it resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the streusel over the batter.
3. Bake muffins at 350 degrees for about 22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes and remove onto a wire rack.
4. Mix together the confectioners’ sugar and lemon juice and drizzle over muffins.

(I have a huge lemon tree in my yard that produces HUGE juicy lemons. So, I am always looking for new recipes to try to use up as many as I the way lemons are in season right now! Let m eknow if you would like any!)

Strawberry Muffins with Pecan Crumble
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
1/2 cup whole milk, at room temperature
zest of 1 lemon
1 cup strawberries, cut into 1/4-1/2 inch pieces

1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling

Pecan crumble
1/4 cup pecans, chopped
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon peal
1 tablespoon melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12- cup muffin tin with muffin papers (or butter and flour the cups, or spray with nonstick cooking spray.)

1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, granulated sugar, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, and eggs until smooth - no lumps. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk until combined.
3. Add the zest to the flour mixture and with you hands, gently rub the mixture together, releasing the oils and breaking up the bits. Add the fresh fruit and gently toss with you fingers to combine. Make a well in the center of the bowl. Pour the butter mixture into the center of the well and, using a rubber spatula, gently pull the flour mixture into the center of the well until just combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups, filling each cup until full. Sprinkle pecan crumble (if using) evenly among muffin tops and gently press. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and sprinkle with sugar (if not using pecan crumble.) Let cool to warm.

(Strawberries are my absolute favorite fruit...Ante's also! I never understood why you would want to cook a perfectly good strawberry, but what Baka wants...Baka gets! :) BTW, I would use frozen stawberries. Save your money!)

Pineapple Carrot Bread
3 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups shredded carrots
1 cup vegetable oil
1 can (8oz) crushed pineapple, drained
2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Preheat the oven for 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, beat the eggs; add carrots, oil, pineapple, and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. The batter will be very thick. Fold in nuts, if desired.

2. Spoon into two greased 8-in. by 4-in. loaf pans. Bake for 50-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Remove loaves from pans and cool completely on wire racks.

(Note: This bread was great the day-of, but it wasn’t until after I wrapped it up and let it sit over night, that I fell in love with it.)

Orange Spice Cake
For the cake:

2 cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature
1-1/4 cups sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons grated orange peel 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk

For the glaze:
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon orange juice

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a fluted tube (bundt) pan. Stir cake flour, baking powder and salt in medium bowl to blend. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, orange peel, and spices until light and creamy. Mix in vanilla extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in dry ingredients alternately with milk in 3 additions.

2. Spoon batter into pan. Smooth top. Bake until tester inserted near center of cake comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack. Turn out onto platter (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; let stand at room temperature).

3. For glaze: Mix powdered sugar and orange juice in a small bowl. Drizzle or brush glaze over cake. Let stand until glaze sets, about 30 minutes.

(I also have a nice orange tree in my backyard that produces awesome Honeybells. They are so sweet, juicy and delicious. Needless to say, you can only make so much marmalade and, here is a nice alternative)

Zucchini Pineapple Loaf
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups grated zucchini
1 cup crushed pineapple
3 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup raisins (optional...or chocolate chips)

1. Whisk eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl. Stir in zucchini and pineapple.
2. In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, nuts and raisins.
3. Mix dry ingredients together with wet ingredients...and stir until moistened.
4. Pour into two large, greased loaf pans. Bake at 350° F for 1 hour.


Peaches and Cream Muffins

2 eggs
3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt 1 cup sour cream
1 cup chopped peaches, canned or fresh

Streusel Topping..(optional)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp soft butter

1. Beat eggs, add sugar gradually. Continue beating while adding oil. Stir in vanilla.In separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda and salt.
2. Stir dry ingredients into egg mixture alternately with the sour cream only until dry ingredients are moistened.Fold in chopped peaches.Spoon into greased muffin tins.
3. Topping: Mix till crumbly and sprinkle on muffins before baking.Bake at 400ยบ for 20 min.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread
1 1/2 cup shredded raw zucchini
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and spray a loaf pan (9×5x3) with nonstick cooking oil.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt, then setaside.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand mixer beat the oil, sugars, eggs, vanilla extract and coffee granules for about 2 minutes.
4. Add the shredded zucchini to the dry ingredients and then in batches add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients; use a spatula to incorporate everything until just mixed. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and bake in the oven for 55 – 65 minutes or until a toothpick can be inserted in the bread and then be removed clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack.

(This is a bread, but is so delicious it should be a dessert cake. Hey, atleast you can say it is has zucchini...right! Work with me here!)

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