Blueberry Muffins with Raspberry Swirls.

Soft and fluffy muffins bursting with juicy blueberries and a sweet raspberry jam swirl!

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It’s July and blueberries are in season! What better way to use them up than in some homemade muffins? You can actually use frozen blueberries, too, so don’t worry–this is  a recipe you will want to keep handy year-round.

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These muffins are incredibly soft, mostly due to using actual butter. This sweet treat is not the healthiest, but it is a great recipe to use if you want to impress your friends at a brunch! If you’re watching your waistline, I do have many lighter and healthier muffin recipes on the blog, such as these skinny blueberry banana muffins, banana chocolate fudge muffins, and peanut butter banana chocolate chip muffins.

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Don’t you just love that little bit of raspberry jam peaking through the tops of the muffins? Let’s talk about how to achieve this. There are 2 methods, and you’ll have to decide which one to use based on what you want your final muffin to look like.

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Option #1: Mix the batter and gently fold in the jam into all the batter at one time. This will give you a very subtle swirl because the jam gets distributed evenly into the batter. See my pictures? That’s the method I used this time. It’s very subtle.

Option #2: Mix the batter together except for the jam. Spoon the batter evenly into the muffin cups. Add about a teaspoon of jam right on top of each muffin cup, then gently swirl it into the batter using a toothpick or a knife. Next time, I’ll be using this method so the swirls (and raspberry flavor) are more pronounced.

Either method will work, it just depends on what you want your final muffin to be like!

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Want to know what’s awesome about these muffins? You can whip these up quickly, and you’ll only dirty one bowl. That’s always a win in my book. One bowl baking = less dishes to wash!

Blueberry Muffins with Raspberry Swirls

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar + 1 tbsp sugar for dusting (optional)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used skim)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (white whole wheat could be substituted)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups blueberries fresh or frozen (if frozen do not thaw)
  • 1/2 cup raspberry jam (bonne maman is my favorite!)

1). Preheat the oven to 350F and line a regular sized muffin pan with paper liners.

2). Cream the butter and 1 cup sugar together in a large bowl (or stand mixer) on medium-high to high until light, fluffy, and well-blended, about 5 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape the bowl occasionally. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat for an additional 2 minutes. Scrape the bowl again.

3). Gently add the flour, baking powder, and salt, mixing just until combined. Using a spatula, gently fold in the blueberries by hand.

3). Now, either: add all the raspberry jam at once and gently fold into the batter, or evenly distribute the batter into the muffin cups and add 1 teaspoon of jam on top, then swirl. See my in-depth explanation in the post for more information.

4). Sprinkle a little bit of sugar on top of the muffins (optional–this just gives it a crunchy top) and bake for about 22-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the muffin comes out clean. All ovens are different so it is possible yours may need more/less time.

5). Allow the muffins to cool about 10 minutes in the pan before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container.

Servings: about 14 muffins. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 222 Carbs: 35g Fat: 8g Protein: 3g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 20g Points+: 6

Recipe adapted from: http://www.averiecooks.com/2012/08/blueberry-muffins-with-raspberry-jam-swirls.html 

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Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

IMG_0810 Good-for-you banana muffins studded with semi-sweet chocolate chips! These muffins are perfect for breakfast, an afternoon snack, or even dessert. These are my usual go-to muffins when I have an abundance of ripe bananas on my counter or in my freezer. IMG_0806 Besides the delicious, sweet flavor and fluffy texture of these muffins, my favorite part about this recipe is that it only requires one bowl! I am always a fan of easy clean up. I LOVE cooking but hate to do a ton of dishes as a result. Many muffin recipes require a separate bowl for wet/dry ingredients, but not this one! IMG_0808 These are muffins you can feel good about. I always use white whole wheat to make these and it does not compromise the texture or flavor at all. There is NO oil or butter in these muffins; the addition of unsweetened applesauce adds moisture with no fat. The chocolate chips are optional…sortof. The muffins are still great without them, but the chocolate adds another dimension of flavor. Last year, I made these muffins before we went skiing with my husband’s parents. I opted to make half with chocolate chips and half without, thinking that since we had to wake up at 4:30am to get to the airport, it might be too early for chocolate. I was w.r.o.n.g.! We all went for the chocolate ones, because, let’s face it, they’re hard to resist. I should have known there is no such thing as “too early for chocolate”! IMG_0812 Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins Makes about 15 muffins. Ingredients:

  • 3 large, ripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups AP Flour (or white whole wheat!)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1). Preheat oven to 350F. Place muffin liners in muffin tin. 2). In a large bowl, mash bananas, then add sugar and slightly beaten egg.  Stir in applesauce and vanilla. 3). Stir in all the dry ingredients until combined, being careful not to overmix. 4). Divide the batter evenly until each muffin cup is at least 3/4 full. Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Nutritional information per muffin: Calories: 141 Carbs: 26g Fat: 3g Protein: 2g Sugar: 14g Fiber: 1g Points+:4 Recipe adapted from: http://www.food.com/recipe/easy-banana-muffins-8603 Just for comparison’s sake, here’s what these muffins looked like when I took a picture with my cell phone’s camera. Yikes!! Image

Eggnog Muffins.

The Christmas baking posts continue! If you like the flavors of eggnog, you will love these muffins. Even if you do not like eggnog (I don’t!), you too will love these muffins!

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These festive muffins are a great way to get you in the Christmas spirit and make for a lovely Christmas breakfast. It’s also a great way to use up extra eggnog you have after the holidays. All the eggnog does is add moisture and flavor to the muffins. They’re not overly sweet and have a nice hint of nutmeg, vanilla, and cinnamon. They’re not exactly health food, but certainly are a better choice than some other muffins! They do have oats in them, after all!

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These muffins are easy to make; all you need are two bowls, a whisk, and a spatula! I love that I don’t even need to get out my electric mixer for to make these.

After the muffin batter is spooned into the pan, the muffins get an extra sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. This little addition makes the tops beautiful and just a tad sweet. Christmas is in 2 days…it’s not too late to add these to your holiday baking list!

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Eggnog Muffins

  • 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour or white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups light eggnog
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Cinnamon-sugar for sprinkling (or make your own…mix 1/4 cup sugar with 1 tsp cinnamon)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
  2. Place flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Use a whisk to combine the dry ingredients.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggnog, oil, egg, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Do not overmix or your muffins won’t rise properly. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar over each. Bake in preheated over at 400F for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Servings: 12-14 (I got 14). Nutritional Information per serving: Calories: 171 Carbs: 24g Fat: 7g Protien: 4g Sugar: 12g Fiber: 2g WW PointsPlus: 5 

I found the original recipe on Atthebakersbench.com a few years ago, however they have since removed the link. Adapted recipe courtesy of Audreysparon.wordpress.com. 

Apple Crisp Muffins

If you love the flavors of apple crisp, you will love these muffins. They are very sweet, with a warm autumnal flavor thanks to the combination of apples and cinnamon. The crumb topping is to die for and really makes these look and taste like bakery style muffins!

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Thanksgiving is next week and these would be a delicious recipe to share with your family for breakfast, or dessert. They are soo moist (thanks to apple sauce and a little bit of oil and butter) and by far the best apple muffins I have ever made. But, just for the record: these are not healthy muffins. They do have white whole wheat flour and fruit in them, though. : )

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I almost went ahead and declared them cupcakes because they are more dessert than breakfast fare, but I then considered the absence of frosting and decided to leave them as muffins. Let’s be honest, though, there’s not THAT much of a  difference between muffins and cupcakes, right? Calling them muffins just makes it acceptable to eat one for breakfast!

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I used my handy apple peeler/corer/slicer machine to make these apple slices thin. Each muffin has layers of apple slices throughout, making each bite tasty and the overall appearance beautiful! I actually do not think the photos do them justice; these muffins are seriously yummy and will also make your home smell delicious!

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Apple Crisp Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped apple (about 2 medium-sized apples. I typically use Honeycrisp or Granny Smith)

For the crisp topping:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1). Preheat the oven to 350F. Line muffin pans with foil liners.

2). In a large bowl, mix together the butter, oil, sugars, and apple sauce with an electric mixer until very well combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat another minute.

3). In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Remove 2 tablespoons of this flour mixture and toss well with the apples in a small bowl.

4). Using a spatula, add half remaining flour mixture to wet ingredients, mixing just to combine. Add remaining half of flour and apples. Fold the apples into the batter until combined, being careful not to over mix. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.

5). Prepare the crisp topping. In a small bowl, combine all of the crisp topping ingredients until very well combined. Sprinkle a heaping tablespoon over each muffin.

6). Bake muffins for 15-17 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the muffins cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing to wire rack.

Servings: 12. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 275 Carbs: 36 Fat: 13g Protein: 3g Sugar: 23g Fiber: 3g WW Points+:7 

Recipe adapted from: http://iowagirleats.com/2013/09/20/apple-crisp-muffins/ 

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Mmm…pumpkin spice muffins! How appropriate for the season! These are my favorite pumpkin muffins I have ever made. I recently made the mistake of deviating from this recipe and was so disappointed that I had to make these to redeem myself. I stumbled upon this particular recipe a few years ago and it remains a favorite to this day. I’m so excited to share it with you!

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Just look at those beautiful specks of sugar and cinnamon on top! Don’t skip that step–the cinnamon sugar adds flavor, texture, and really makes these muffins gorgeous. The recipe calls for combining a tablespoon of sugar with cinnamon, but if you have a spice container of pre-made cinnamon sugar, by all means use that!

The pumpkin flavor in each muffin is subtle and no one flavor stands out. I actually like to increase the amount of pumpkin pie spice included to elevate the fall flavors a little more than the original recipe stated. My husband does not love pumpkin flavored things, but he loves these muffins. One big advantage of this recipe is how quick and easy these come together; all you need is a bowl and a whisk! With no special equipment necessary and little clean-up, these are perfect to whip up on a whim for breakfast.

IMG_20131012_100504This recipe is very adaptable. To keep these muffins on the healthy side, I substituted apple sauce for the vegetable oil and white whole wheat flour for all-purpose, but you can use whatever you prefer. If you’re feeling creative, try adding some fun mix-ins at the end! I think dried cranberries or chocolate chips could be delicious! If you try it, let me know!

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1½ cups white-whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin (from a 15-oz can)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or vegetable oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin-pie spice (I like to use 1 1/2 tsp)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • CInnamon sugar (1 teaspoon cinnamon + 1 tbsp sugar)

1) Put oven racks in middle position and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Put liners in muffin cups. Whisk together pumpkin, applesauce or oil, eggs, pumpkin-pie spice, 1 cup sugar, baking powder/baking soda, and salt in a large bowl until smooth, then whisk in flour with mixture until just combined.

2) Stir together cinnamon and remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in another bowl.

3). Divide batter among muffin cups (each should be about three-fourths full), then sprinkle tops with cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 20-25 minutes. (Mine were done before 25)

4). Cool in pan on a rack 5 minutes, then transfer muffins from pan to rack and cool. Enjoy!

Servings: 15. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 114 Carbs: 24g Fat: 1g Protein: 3g Sugar: 15g Fiber: 2g  WW PointsPlus: 3

Adapted from: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2006/10/promise-keeper-pumpkin-eater/ 

Egg White French Toast

When I think of french toast, I think of one of my dear college roommates. She would randomly whip up a batch of french toast for us all to share for breakfast from time to time. The first time she made it for us was the first time I watched anyone make french toast, and I couldn’t believe how simple it was! Previously I always assumed it was a labor intensive task, but she inspired me to make it more often. I actually prefer it to pancakes or other typical breakfast items because it seems to be more filling, specifically due to the protein in this version of the classic.

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Who said french toast needs to result in a heavy meal? I used mostly egg whites to increase the protein and used light bread to keep this dish lighter. You can certainly use whatever kind of bread you have on hand!

I love topping this off with fresh berries or some of my homemade crock pot apple butter. It is so much better (and lighter!) than maple syrup!

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One last thing–a neat trick I have is to preheat the oven to 250F so you can keep the first few slices of french toast warm while the second round is cooking. This is really important if you are cooking for a large crowd because you can ensure all the french toast is warm when you serve it!

Egg White French Toast (Serves 3)

Ingredients:

  • 6 slices Light bread (I used Sara Lee 45 calorie bread)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup skim milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

1. Pre-heat oven to 250F. Heat a large skillet/ non-stick pan over medium heat. In a shallow dish or large bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the bread. Coat all slices in the mixture.

2. Add bread to the heated pan. Cook until both sides are golden, about 4-5 minutes per side. Remove from pan and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Enjoy!

Servings: 3. Nutritional information per 2 slices of french toast: Calories: 142 Carbs: 21g Fat: 2g Protein: 13 Sugar: 2g Fiber: 5g          WW PointsPlus: 4

Recipe adapted from: http://theskinnyconfidential.com/2012/03/13/egg-white-french-toast/ 

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

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Banana bread has always been my baking nemesis. For whatever reason, I have never been able to bake banana bread successfully. Banana muffins, yes, but not banana bread. Each time my banana bread would turn out under cooked in the middle and burned on top. It still tasted delicious but the texture was completely wrong. What was it about banana bread that was so difficult to master? Why could I make seemingly much more difficult recipes with ease (like homemade pie crusts, for example), but not this particular baked good? After several failed attempts, I decided to write off ever making banana bread. It was the one thing I couldn’t make. Audrey: 0, Banana bread: 1.

I was perfectly content not ever being able to make banana bread until a couple weeks ago. It was a Saturday morning and I had several ripe bananas staring at me, desperately needing to be used. Those bananas, couple with an intriguing find on Pinterest, convinced me to give it one more try. I hoped that I would not end up wasting precious ingredients, but came to terms with the fact that it might happen. I got out my mixing bowls and got to mashing those bananas.

I had a slight panic attack when, after the suggested 45 minutes of baking, the toothpick I used to test the bread did not come out clean. I was certain this would be another one of those recipes to add to my failed banana bread attempts. I checked it after 5 more minutes. Still not done. Finally, 5 minutes later, the toothpick test was successful and I took the golden banana bread out of the oven. It looked amazing, and I had high hopes that it would taste equally good.

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I am so happy to report that it turned out AMAZING. It was perfectly cooked through, not too dense, and full of flavor due to the cinnamon swirl in the middle and the glaze on top. The glaze is certainly not necessary, but it is a wonderful addition! In truth, it makes this recipe fall somewhere in between banana bread and banana cake. Regardless, it’s worth the time and effort!

Now I just might start experimenting with other banana bread recipes!

Cinnamon Swirl Banana Bread

Ingredients:

For the Bread:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, not packed
  • 4 Tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter or margarine, soften to room temp
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed very ripe bananas (about three bananas)
  • 1/3 cup plain or vanilla yogurt (I used vanilla Greek yogurt), or 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon

For the Glaze:

  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1 Tbs heavy cream or half-and-half or milk

Directions

1). Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, and 1 tsp ground cinnamon.  Set aside.  In a separate large bowl, use a stand or hand mixer to beat the brown sugar and butter.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.  Using a spoon or spatula, stir in the mashed bananas, yogurt/buttermilk, and vanilla extract.  Then slowly mix in the dry ingredients with the mix, but be sure to not over mix.

2). Pour half the batter into a greased 9×5 inch loaf pan (will need to adjust cooking time if using a different size).  Mix the cinnamon swirl ingredients together and then pour over the batter in the loaf pan.  Top with the remaining batter.

3). Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes (or for my oven, 55 minutes!) or until wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let it cool for about ten minutes in the pan on a wire cooling rack, then remove the bread from the pan to let it finish cooling just on the rack.

4). While the bread is cooling, mix the glaze ingredients together in a small bowl.  Add more powdered sugar to reach your desired thickness.  Finally, drizzle the glaze over the bread before enjoying.

Servings: 9 Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 251 Carbs: 41g Fat: 7g Protein: 6g Sugar: 11g Fiber: 4g

WW PointsPlus: 6

Recipe adapted from: http://mckinneyliving.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/cinnamon-swirl-banana-bread/