blueberry muffins

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It’s almost July 4th, and your RSS feeds are probably glutted with cakes decorated as American flags and recipes for red, white, and blue Jell-O.  As fun as the strawberry stripes and blueberry stars are on a bed of white buttercream, though, I’ve seen the patriotic desserts enough to be over it.  I’m all for providing content that’s timely and useful – which, admittedly, flag-themed desserts sometimes are – but if I were a really good blogger, I would have offered up something boozy and refreshing here instead of the arguably hypocritical blueberry muffins I’m about to show you.

It’s my birthday weekend, though, and this year, that means more drinking of alcohol than cooking with it.  So instead, I’m bringing you these blueberry muffins.  It happens, of course, that these are half patriotic already, meaning I’ve already broken my own rule – and which also means that you now have free reign to make them additionally so with the addition of some chopped-up strawberries.  I’ll be busy drinking the alcohol I wasn’t cooking with – and thus will be far too busy to judge.

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours

1 1/3 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs, separated

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup yogurt

2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen and un-thawed

Line 2 muffins pans with paper liners.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Whisk together dry ingredients; set aside.

With the whisk attachment, in the (very clean) bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg whites with a pinch of salt to glossy peaks.  Gently scrape whites into a separate (also clean) bowl.

In the same mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar until creamy.  Add egg yolks; beat about 2 minutes.  With mixer on low speed, gradually add half of the dry ingredients, then yogurt, then other half of dry ingredients.  Stir until just combined (there should still be some visible traces of flour).  Gently fold in egg whites, then blueberries.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups.  Bake 30 minutes, or until edges are golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Cool completely.

gluten-free chocolate cupcakes

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The last time I tried to make something that was gluten-free (white chocolate macadamia nut cookies), I made a point not to tell anyone until after they tasted it.  And it worked really well – every single person raved about how good they were and couldn’t believe that they were gluten-free.

chuck it all in the food processor

The one person with whom I didn’t pull my shenanigans, though, was my food snob coworker, and he took full advantage.

Me: “Here, Nick.  Try one.  These are gluten-free, but I made some regular ones that I’ll bring over in a sec.”

Nick (taking a bite): “Eh, they’re not bad.  For gluten-free.”

ready for the oven

Yeah, okay.  I get it.  Gluten-free is a turnoff, as are vegan and vegetarian and all of those food philosophies that require dietary modification.  And, to be honest, I kind of agree, if only because a “food philosophy” just sounds radically pretentious.

The one exception, though, is those recipes that are unintentionally dietarily philosophical, the ones that don’t require rice flour or fermented cashews or whatever the digestively challenged substitute for real food in their baked goods.  This is one of those recipes.  You won’t find any suspicious health food store ingredients in here – just chocolate, almonds, honey, and a pinch here and there of things you probably already have sitting in your pantry.  And even if you work in an office that houses all breeds of eaters, I defy them all to find a reason to abstain.

 

drizzled and cute

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes

Adapted generously from Jen

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup almonds (I used lightly salted)

3 eggs

1/4 cup honey

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Line a mini-muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease each cup.

In a food processor, combine chocolate chips and almonds until they have the consistency of coarse sand.  Add eggs, agave, vanilla, and salt; pulse ten seconds or until combined.

Fill each cup to just over 3/4 full.  Bake 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cupcake comes out clean.  Let cool in pan five minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.  Decorate with your favorite frosting, or just drizzle on some melted chocolate like I did.

banana mini-muffins

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It’s been hot here, blasphemously hot, a crime at a time of year that normally has me dreaming of pumpkin and stopping to inhale hungrily when I’m walking to my car in the morning.  Instead, the hill next to my apartment is on fire, and it was 107 degrees yesterday.  If the heat is blasphemous, we have certainly earned our place in this level of purgatory.  107 barely belongs in the middle of July, much less the end of September.
Naturally, I have chosen to spend these blistering days in the kitchen with my oven on and my hair piled on top of my head, because there are so many recipes that simply won’t wait.  It began with the homemade Oreos that won the hearts of the food blogging world, turned into brownies and banana bread, and culminated yesterday evening with far too many delicious banana mini-muffins – because the bananas were getting spotty, you see, and couldn’t sit any longer.  That was my excuse.
So now, despite the record-breaking heat, I have a small colony of banana and banana chocolate chip mini-muffins, sprinkled generously with sugar, huddling on my kitchen table.  Waiting for…someone…to eat them.
Banana Mini-Muffins
Adapted from Deb at Smitten Kitchen
3 to 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted salted butter
3/4 to 1 cup light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 1/2 cup of flour
Cinnamon sugar, for sprinkling
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare 1-2 mini-muffin tins with paper liners.  With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, vanilla and bourbon, then the spices. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in. Add the flour last; mix. Spoon batter into each mini-muffin cup, filling almost to the top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out with only a few crumbs clinging to it.  Cool on racks.