Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins

Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins
I have some firmer pears that my kids just weren’t eating, so I decided to bake them up, and see if that helped their appeal. I found this recipe in a darling British baking book called Family Baking, and I’ve changed it a bit, but loved the results. Very beautiful muffins, not very sweet, and the dab of dulce de leche on top seemed to be the perfect thing. A nice little treat to welcome in the almost-here fall weather.

Dulce de Leche Pear Muffins

8 T. butter
2/3 c. milk
3 large eggs
6 T. dulce de leche (I used Trader Joe’s)
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1 1/2 c. spelt flour (you may also use wheat, oat, or white flour, if you prefer)
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 t. salt
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. ginger
1/2 t. nutmeg
2 large, firm pears, cored, peeled, and finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a muffin tin with liners.

Microwave the butter for twenty-five seconds (or until melted) and let cool slightly.

In a large mixing bowl, and using a balloon whisk, whisk together the milk, eggs, 2 T. of the dulce de leche, the sugar, and the melted butter.

Sift the flours, baking powder, salt, and spices and whisk together. Scatter the chopped pear over the top and, using a wooden spoon, gently fold it in until just combined.

Divide the mixture between the muffin tins. Sprinkle each muffin with a little bit of sugar, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out of the center clean.

Let muffins cool slightly on a rack, then remove from the tin and place about a teaspoon of dulce de leche on the top of each muffin.


On the Go Morning Muffins

Good Morning Muffins from Flour

My jaw kind-of dropped the first time I read this recipe: zucchini, apples, coconut, pecans, raisins, oats and wheat bran! What wasn’t in this muffin? And could it really taste okay? And would any of my kids eat it? Well, I was pleasantly surprised by this success–it’s feels so satisfying to place all of these powerhouse ingredients together, and then for it to turn out beautifully. I enjoy them, and so do, well, two of my kids. That’s not bad success around here. The other great plus to these muffins: they stay soft for days, even though they tend to shrink down into their wrappers a bit. I wish I had the wherewithal to bake a batch of these every week! This recipe comes from the Flour cookbook. The recipe says it yields 12 muffins, but it works out to be more like 18 for me.

Good Morning Muffins

1/4 c. wheat bran
1/2 c. hot water
1 small zucchini, grated (about 1-1/2 c. packed)
1/2 c. raisins
1/2 c. pecan halves, roughly chopped, toasted
1/2 c. sweetened flaked coconut
1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped (about 1 c.)
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 c. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
1 1/2 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick cooking)
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground cinnamon

Position a rack in the center of the oven, and heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a standard 12-cup muffin tin, cot with nonstick cooking spray, or line with paper liners.

In a medium bowl, stir together the wheat bran and hot water until the bran is completely moistened. Add the zucchini, raisins, pecans, coconut, and apple and stir until well mixed.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment, beat together the sugar and eggs on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and lightens. (If you use a handheld mixer, this same step will take 6 to 8 minutes.) On low speed, slowly drizzle in the oil and then the vanilla. Don’t pour the oil in all at once. Add it slowly so it has time to incorporate into the eggs and doesn’t deflate the air you have just beaten into the batter. Adding it should take about 1 minute. When the oil and vanilla are incorporated, remove the bowl from the mixer stand.

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon until well mixed. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and fold carefully just until the dry and wet ingredients are well combined. Then add the bran mixture and fold again just until well combined. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, dividing it evenly and filling the cups to the rim (almost overflowing.)

Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the muffins are lightly browned on top and spring back when pressed in the middle with a fingertip. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove the muffins from the pan.

The muffins taste best the day you bake them, but they can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you keep them for longer than 1 day, refresh them in a 300 degree F oven for 4 to 5 minutes. Or, you can freeze them, wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, for up to 1 week, reheat, directly from the freezer, in a 300 degrees F oven for 8 to 10 minutes.

New Favorite Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Doughnut MuffinsA new favorite! I make a lot of blueberry muffins, because I love them, and this recipe is incredibly delicious, I would even say perfect. It has a delicate crumb (unlike ATK with the sour cream) and a beautiful appearance, even at high altitude–which is a little hard to do! I made two dozen of these the other morning, and all of them were gone within ten minutes. So, there’s seven of us, and I was a slow enough eater that I only got one (read: I was actually breathing while I ate), and my ten-year old confessed to eating 7! Incredible. Anyway, they are great, and delicious, and perhaps the best blueberry muffin I have made. I am using the rest of a flat of blueberries for this tomorrow. This recipe comes from Flo Braker’s Baking for Every Occasion. Many thanks to her for a perfect recipe! 

New Favorite Blueberry Muffins

  • 2 c. all purpose flour (can substitute with 1/2 whole wheat, too!)
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. well shaken cold buttermilk (or sour your milk with 1 T. lemon juice)
  • 6 T. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 t. finely grated lemon zest or orange zest
  • 1 t. pure vanilla extract
  • 11/2 c. blueberries

For Topping

  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 t. ground cinnamon or a 1 t. of ground cinnamon and 1/2 t. of ground cardamom
  • 6 T. butter, melted

Center rack in the oven and preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly coat a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick spray, then flour the cups, tapping out the excess flour. Or butter and flour the cups or line with fluted paper or foil liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, stir together the buttermilk, butter, eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla until combined.

Add the buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture and stir gently with a rubber spatula just until moistened. Do not beat until smooth, or the muffins will have a coarse texture.

Using the spatula, fold in the blueberries just enough to incorporated them into the batter. Fill the muffin cups three-fourths full. Bake the muffins until they are golden, spring back when gently pressed in the centre, and are starting to pull away from the muffin cups, 18 to 23 minutes. Cool in pan until they can be handled, about 10 to 15 minutes.


In a small bowl, stir together the sugar and cinnamon. While the muffins are still warm, gently remove them from the pan one at a time. Dip the tops in melted butter, roll in the cinnamon sugar to coat, and then place on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store at room temperature under a cake dome for up to 2 days, or freeze for up to 10 days in a sturdy covered container. Thaw at room temperature 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Blueberry Bran Muffins

This recipe, from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungrycookbook, is terrific. She makes a note that she used to bake these for a shop she worked in; the

I loved the appearance and great domed top on these

recipe was old with a hand-scribbled “the best blueberry muffins” on the side. With that kind-of endorsement, I had to try them! And they are wonderful. I think they might be the best I have made overall–they have a little bit of a strong baking soda taste, but for the texture, I think this might be necessary since the batter is quite runny. I’ve tried substituting half the all-purpose flour with whole wheat, and the muffins were still delicious, but tasted much more like a bran muffin than a blueberry one. Anyway, definitely a keeper muffin!

Blueberry Bran Muffins

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 T. baking soda
  • 1/2 t. coarse salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 T. pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/2 c. safflower (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 c. fresh or frozen blueberries (toss briefly in flour before incorporating to even out distribution)
  • 1/2 c. wheat bran or wheat germ
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Separately beat together the eggs, maple syrup, sugar, oil, and milk. Stir the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Stir in the berries and bran. Fill the muffin cups three-quarters full.
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan before removing.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

Pumpkin Doughnut 2Another great autumnal recipe for those of us who can’t get enough pumpkin. This recipe comes from November 2010 Everyday Food. I prefer making it in mini muffin tins, because they are pretty rich, and so good.

Pumpkin Doughnut Muffins

10 T. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3 c. all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1 t. coarse salt
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground allspice
1/3 c. buttermilk
1 1/4 c. pure pumpkin puree (from a 15-ounce can)
3/4 c. light brown sugar
2 large eggs

For the sugar coating
3/4 c. granulated sugar
2 1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 12 standard muffin cups. Make batter: In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and allspice. In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, scraping down bowl as needed. With mixer on low, add flour mixture in three additions, alternating with two additions pumpkin mixture, and beat to combine.

Spoon 1/3 cup batter into each muffin cup and bake until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine granulated sugar and cinnamon. Let muffins cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Working with one at a time, remove muffins from pan, brush all over with butter, then toss to coat in sugar mixture. Let muffins cool completely on a wire rack.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (or Muffins)

For anyone else who might be searching for new ways of using zucchini, I really, really like this recipe, and my kids have no idea that zucchini is in it–a definite plus. This recipe was originally published in Everyday Food as “Ian’s Sweet Zucchini Cupcakes” (May 2007), but I’ve changed it a bit (added the chocolate and the milk), because of a memory I had of a chocolate zucchini bread that I loved. If you want to go without the chocolate, just omit the milk as well, and you’ll have the original. Note: I used dutched cocoa, but if you only have baking cocoa like Hershey’s, I would love to hear if the recipe would still work as well–I imagine it would. Also, you can leave these cupcakes unfrosted to be more like a muffin, or you can insert the cream cheese frosting into the middle of the cupcake for a really fun surprise, or spread on top, and sprinkle with cinnamon. Also, as far as I can tell, muffins usually have one less egg than cupcakes, and sometimes a little less sugar. I think these could count as muffins as they are, but if you want them to be denser, omit one egg.

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Cupcakes (or Muffins)

I thought these to be pretty little things, even without frosting

1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. packed dark brown sugar
1/3 c. dutched cocoa
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. coarsely chopped pecans
1 zucchini (10 oz.), grated (1 1/2 c.)
1/3 c. vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 1/2 T. milk
1/2 t. pure vanilla
Cream Cheese Frosting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375. Line cups of a standard muffin tin with a paper or foil liners. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa, and salt. Mix in nuts.

3. In another bowl, combine zucchini, oil, eggs, milk, and vanilla,; add to flour mixture, and mix just until combined.

4. Divide batter evenly among cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 30-35 minutes.

5. Cool in tin on a wire rack for 10 minute; turn cupcakes out, right side up, and cool completely. Meanwhile, make Cream Cheese Frosting (if using–see below). Using an offset spatula or butter knife, spread frosting on cupcakes. The frosted cupcakes are best eaten within 1 day.

Cream Cheese Frosting
In a medium, with an electric mixer, beat 4 T. room-temperature butter with 4 oz. cream cheese until smooth. Add 2 c. powdered sugar and 1/2 t. vanilla. Beat until light and fluffy.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins

I’ve been on a bit of a chocolate fix lately–which actually isn’t too typical and may have something to do with images of Valentines, being 31 weeks pregnant, or whatever. So, for the first time, I actually wanted to bake something like unto Costco’s chocolate muffins. Strange craving, I know.  I tried this recipe from the Joy of Cooking and it is terrific. All the muffins were all gone within 2 hours of coming out of the oven, so a definite success  (the morning glory muffins I made last week lasted the whole week. Que ce que c’est? I ended up eating almost all of them). I didn’t post a picture because my mint chips exploded (too old? the brand?) and the appearance was not worthy of documentation, despite their taste. Incidentally, the only difference I found when comparing this recipe to popular chocolate cupcake recipes, was that cupcakes had 2 eggs, and sometimes 4 T. more of butter.

Chocolate Chocolate-Chip Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped (I substituted this for 1/3 c. dutched cocoa)
1 3/4 c. flour
1 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 c. buttermilk (or 1 c. milk with 1 T. lemon juice, set aside to sour for 5 minutes)
1 t. vanilla
8 T (1 stick) butter, softened
1 c. light brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
1 c. chocolate chips (mint chips work great too)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. Melt 2 oz. of chocolate and let cool (do this for 30 seconds at a time in the microwave in a glass bowl, or on low heat on the stove).

In a medium bowl, combine flour, soda and salt (and cocoa, if using instead of chocolate above).  In another small bowl, combine buttermilk and vanilla. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the butter until creamed and then add the brown sugar and beat for 4-5 minutes. Add the egg, and beat for 30 seconds, scraping the bottom of the bowl afterwards. Then, stir in the chocolate until combined. Add the flour mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the buttermilk mixture. Stir just until combined.

Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups, being as equal as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes in the middle of the oven, until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.  Let cool for 2-3 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a rack to cool completely. You may want to double this recipe.

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cupcakes

Oh Yum! This is from the September 2009 issue of Gourmet. They are a piece of cake (no pun intended..)


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 Tbsp unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil 

1 large egg

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 lb zucchini, coarsely grated (1 cup)

1 (6-oz) package semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 F with rack in middle. Whisk together flour, cocoa, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Beat together sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer until thick and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. At low speed, mix in flour mixture until just incorporated. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Divide among lined muffin cups and bake until tops spring back when lightly pressed, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out to cool completely. 

***The first time I made these I substituted apple sauce for half of the oil. The second time I substituted apple sauce for all the oil. Both are great alterations.

**Make sure you spray the muffin liners with PAM so they are easy to remove from your healthy but satisfying treat.

Strawberry Muffins

I modified this slightly from a recipe on a Stonyfield Farm yogurt container. When I made them the first time, I forgot the sugar, and that worked fine. The second time, I used vanilla flavored yogurt, which has plenty of sugar, and so left it out (and left out the vanilla too). But I include it here since muffins are supposed to be sweet, right?

1 cup white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 cup sugar (optional)

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

2 eggs

1 cup plain yogurt, lowfat or regular

1/4 cup melted butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)

Mix eggs, yogurt, butter, and vanilla. In another bowl, mix flour, sugar and baking soda. Toss strawberries in the flour mixture, then add egg mixture and stir. Pour into greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

Banana Pina Colada Muffins

Based on Nat/Aunt Caryn’s Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins, I substituted and added enough things that I figured it would be simpler just to post this as a whole new recipe.  My family devoured them ALL in under 15 minutes – my 3-yr-old eating the most.  Note: I happened to have Cream of Coconut on hand.  If you don’t, I’d probably keep to the 1/4 c butter &  3/4 c sugar and increase the coconut extract a slight bit.

3 ripe bananas

3/4 cup crushed pineapple, juice squeezed out (unless using some to replace butter)

1 cup flaked coconut

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup Cream of Coconut (found in the drink/mixer or “Goya” section at the grocery store)

1 egg

2 Tablespoons butter, melted

1/4 teaspoon coconut extract

1 1/2 cups flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Mash the bananas, then add sugar, butter, egg, pineapple, cream of coconut, extract and combine. Stir the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl and then add to the banana mixture. Combine. Stir in coconut, then fill a muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes or until browned on top.