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Arsip Tag: muffins
Do you think carrots get nervous around me? I managed to go a full two years after launching this site to bake with them the first time (classic cupcakes, not egregiously carrot-y) and from there, I haven’t stopped harassing them. They’re in salads with harissa and feta, and roasted with cumin in avocado salads, in savory Japanese fritters and in sweet American breakfast pancakes, in afternoon-ish cakes with apple cider and olive oil, and in celebration layer cakes with graham cracker crumbs and cream cheese frosting. They’re in miso-ginger dressing, and then a miso-ginger soup, and then in another soup-salad twinset with crispy chickpeas and tahini.
These last two are, of course, my favorites because I think carrots and tahini are exceptional together — it was just a matter of time before they collided again in muffin format. And isn’t it timely, too? Tahini, the Middle Eastern paste of ground sesame seeds that’s the “other” ingredient in hummus, baba ganoush, falafel and halva candy, despite having been around since at least the 13th century, is currently having a moment in the food world. These days, it’s the recipient a level of PR ardor previously reserved for kale, and has even launched an artisanal mill in Chelsea Market (that I’m bummed is never open when I do mad dashes through some mornings).
Fortunately, even if you’re (gleefully) outside a foodie media bubble, I think you’re going to love these. Loaded with carrot, the sesame seed paste provides a nutty background flavor and an even more indulgent and pronounced one if you use the glaze. They also keep exceptionally well, so if you make them today you can enjoy them right through the weekend, which is so close, I think we should kick it off right after I hit publish. It works like that, doesn’t it?
More tahini: Fortunately, we here at the SK have always known its greatness, in everything from a warm butternut squash salad, a miso-broccoli bowl, lentil salad, with crushed peas and many delicious cold noodles.
One year ago: Obsessively Good Avocado Cucumber Salad
Two years ago: Asparagus-Stuffed Eggs
Three years ago: Spinach and Smashed Egg Toast
Four years ago: Over-the-Top Mushroom Quiche
Five years ago: French Onion Soup
Six years ago: Tangy Spiced Brisket
Seven years ago: Homemade Chocolate Wafers + Icebox Cupcakes
Eight years ago: Spring Panzanella
Nine years ago: Artichoke Cranberry Bean and Arugula Salad
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: My Old-School Baked Ziti
1.5 Years Ago: Better Chicken Pot Pies
2.5 Years Ago: Miso Sweet Potato and Broccoli Bowl
3.5 Years Ago: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls
4.5 Years Ago: Apple Pie Cookies
Carrot Tahini Muffins
As ever with muffins, I found myself skirting the is-this-cake or is-this-breakfast line. On the breakfast side, do know that these taste excellent with up to a 2/3 (1 1/3 cup) flour swap with whole wheat flour (possibly more, but I only tested them that far). I also ended up retesting them with more carrots than you’ll see the in photos, a full 2 cups (in the final recipe below) to make them even more vegetable-packed. They’re very lightly sweet and practically one-bowl for those of us who do not motivate willingly in the morning. And then there’s the glaze — I’m pretty sure a sweet glaze puts these squarely in the cake-or-afternoon-tea category, and less a breakfast, but that’s for you to decide. Indecisive myself, I only glazed half. Finally, please note that while the tahini provides a nutty background the muffins, the glaze is only for tahini junkies as the flavor is front and center.
Yield: 12 to 14 muffins
1/4 cup (60 ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (30 grams) well-stirred tahini
1/2 cup (80 grams) firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup (175 ml) buttermilk, almond milk or (nonalcoholic) apple cider
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour (see Note)
2 cup packed coarsely grated carrots (from about 9 ounces or 5 slim carrots)
1/2 cup (60 grams) powdered sugar
3 tablespoons (25 grams) tahini
2 tablespoons (30 ml) water
Toasted sesame seeds for garnish
Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Whisk olive oil, tahini and brown sugar together in the bottom of a large bowl. Whisk in eggs, then buttermilk and vanilla. Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt, then switch to a spoon or flexible spatula and stir in flour, then carrots, mixing just until combined.
Either line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with paper liners or coat them with a nonstick spray. Fill each about 3/4 of the way with batter. You’ll probably have enough for 2 more after this, so you can hold some back if needed. Bake muffins for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out batter-free. Muffins should be domed and lightly golden on top. Let them cool in pan for 5 minutes on a rack before transferring them to the cooling rack to cool completely.
If you’d like to glaze your muffins, whisk powdered sugar, tahini and water together in a medium dish. Either drizzle this over the cooled muffins or dunk them into the puddle. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if desired.
[Get the recipe for Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins right here]
Since we rolled out the redesign, I’ve been flagging recipes in the archives I can’t stand looking at the pictures of anymore with plans to reshoot them. The perfect blueberry muffins were on this list except on my way to prettying them up, I made four other recipes first. Why make four other batches of blueberry muffins when you already have a favorite, is a pretty reasonable question, only if you’ve never shopped for jeans before even while wearing the pair you like most… or ordered steak at a restaurant besides the place you think makes it best. What I mean is, when a lot of people say “but the steak/jeans/cake here are amazing!” it’s hard not to wonder if maybe they’re onto something. What if they were just my favorite blueberry muffins at the time and there’s better out there that I didn’t know about yet? It’s been six years. Maybe it was time for a re-review. [Note: The prospect of a re-review with outside sources every few years is not recommended to be applied to spouses, children or hairdressers.]
New: Watch me make these muffins on YouTube!
Needless to say, this was a fun side project. There were a couple duds, but from most recipes, I picked up something new and worthwhile. From Stella Parks at Serious Eats, I came to agree that a full teaspoon of coarse sugar on top of each muffin sounds crazy but actually makes a delightfully crunchy lid. If the muffin underneath it isn’t too sweet, it doesn’t put it over the top at all — it’s just right. I also found her combination of coriander (I know!) and nutmeg crazy good and worth trying if you’re curious, even if I’m still defaulting to my lemon zest only here. From Blythe Danner, I realized you could put an inordinate amount of berries in each muffin and still have a very good muffin. I ended up doubling the berries in my go-to in the last batch and regret not-a-thing. (Should you be hesitant, just an increase from 3/4 cups to 1 1/4 is excellent but not over-the-top improvement.) From my own muffin recipes over the years, I knew I could one-bowl this (yes, a verb, at least around here) and while I was at it ditching the creaming of the butter, sifting (sifting! to make muffins! NO.) and ftlog, who — in practice, not just ambitious recipe writing — measures zest in half-teaspoons? Finally, it had always bothered me that my recipe made 10 to 11 muffins only. A muffin recipe should make an even dozen! Did I make it happen? Nope, I went the other way. I found in other recipes that very full cups of batter, so long as it’s a thick one, didn’t spill over but grew into perfect bronzed domes in the oven. The batter here is very thick. It makes 9 much prettier muffins that it ever made 10 to 11 of.
But mostly, I found that my go-to was still going to be my go-to, but with a bunch of improvements, improvements that have led to more blueberry muffins in our lives, and I hope yours too. I think you know what needs to be done.
[Get the updated recipe for Even More Perfect Blueberry Muffins right here]
Vacation Dispatch: Can you guess where I am right now? GUESS. GUESS! We’re in Portugal! Last week we dragged a very excited almost 7-year old and a 1 year-old who I’d expected to be the source of the next longform thinkpiece on “why do people have to bring kids on planes, whhhy” but ended up being perfectly wonderful. (They shall save the full extent of their true selves for the return flight, I expect.) We started in Lisbon and have now made it to the Algarve region; we plan a day in Sintra before we return in a week. If you’d like vacation dispatches, you should follow my personal Instagram @debperelman or on Snapchat @smittenkitchen for some outtakes. This is a beautiful country (and everyone is so nice to kids).
There is a lot of ingredient flexibility here, too. You can use any oil you like to bake with or butter. You can use non-dairy milk, or even coffee or water for the milk. You can use a thicker Greek yogurt or a “regular” one, though I prefer the latter here. You can use white or raw sugar instead, but if you’re choosing one, I love brown sugar the most with chocolate cakes. Any kind of cocoa powder will work; I tested this with both Hershey’s Dark and Valrhona (a Dutched cocoa) and both were dreamy. The chocolate chips, however, are not optional.
- 1/2 cup (100 to 115 grams) oil or melted butter
- 2/3 cup (140 grams) light or dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup (120 grams) milk, any kind
- 1 cup (225 grams) plain yogurt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder, any kind
- 1 3/4 cups (230 grams) flour
- 1 1/3 cups (225 grams) chocolate chips, divided
Spoon the batter into the 12 muffin cups; don’t fret if it goes all the way to the top. Scatter the remaining 1/3 cup chips over the tops of the muffins. Bake muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out batter-free.
Eat right away or store muffins a few days in an airtight container at room temperature. Muffins get a bit more dry each day that they rest, but will rewarm nicely.
Once upon a time, I spent approximately a whole summer making blueberry muffins, gripped with an obsession (that would be worrisome anywhere but this page) to make what I hoped would be the last blueberry muffin recipe we’d ever need. You’d think after all that that the path to these raspberry muffins would be simpler, but it took five raspberry seasons to get here.
A very logical question you’re about to ask is: Why not just swap the blueberries in your blueberry muffins with raspberries? And the answer is that while it works, they’re not bad at all, they’re just not the raspberry muffin I dreamed of. These are and they’re utterly perfect: hefty, moist, lemony, not too sweet, and absolutely tie-dyed with a constellation of raspberries inside. I think they might be the best muffins I have ever made. Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:
Raspberries: Let me just get this out of the way: The correct amount of raspberries for 6 muffins is half a pound, or about 1 2/3 to 1 3/4 cups. This is a higher berry concentration than the blueberry muffins. Raspberries are not blueberries; they spill less into the batter around them so you need more to get the right oomph.
Frozen raspberries: Because fresh raspberries can be particularly pricey, rather than tell you “go for it!” if you wanted to use frozen raspberries instead, I developed these with them. This was the surprise: Frozen raspberries work even better here. Because we stir them in still frozen, they don’t get juicy until they’re baked so you end up with a thicker muffin batter that domes higher and spreads less. “But I just went raspberry picking!” First, I’m jealous. Second, yes, you can still use them here, just keep in mind that the muffins can be flatter.
Size: On a rushed, distracted morning at the end of the school year, I realized that if you accidentally divide my Perfect Blueberry Muffin batter into 6 muffins instead of the intended 9, you get an even more towering, generous, bakery-like muffin that feels every bit like the gift I’d intended them to be for teachers*. In this recipe, that size is not an accident. It makes 6 and it’s easily doubled to make 12. The muffins clock in at 4 to 5 ounces each and more than one-third that weight is from raspberries, but they’re made in a standard-sized tin. I told you they were dreamy!
Streusel: I don’t make the rules of the universe; I cannot explain to you why raspberry muffins need streusel but blueberry muffins do not, but trust me that the streusel here is nonnegotiable. Yet I loathe making a muffin batter and scooping it out only to realize I have another step: making a “quick” streusel. In Smitten Kitchen Keepers’ Peach Crumb Muffins, I ran into this as well but it gnawed at me that streusel is just butter, sugar, and flour, right? And that’s already in the batter? A bit of math later, my solution is to work the streusel step into the early part of the batter, so when you’re done, you’re really done.
* Speaking of teachers! The Smitten Kitchen Classroom Wishlist Project 2023 is now live! In the US, a tremendous number of teachers don’t get the funding they need to set their classrooms up for success. Most will end up paying out of their own pockets to buy educational materials, which feels all wrong and makes me sad. I’ve asked teachers to send me their wishlists in hopes that we can help clear as many as possible, as we did last summer. Help out if you feel you’re able — you will unquestionably make a teacher’s (and their students’) day! [Project information. Direct link to spreadsheet.]