I know it seems too soon to post another muffin recipe, but the Tropical Muffins are gone, because my husband was eating them two and three at a time. Well, these are not so sweet, with only half the sugar, and they contain the one secret ingredient that will curb his appetite—cinnamon. I can’t understand who wouldn’t like cinnamon, but there it is, and I use it to my own benefit sometimes.
In addition to sour cream and carrots, there are chopped walnuts and flaked unsweetened coconut, so there are plenty of flavors and textures in these muffins—they’re just not sweet ones. None of the additions—carrots, coconut, nuts, sour cream—are sweet, except for the brown sugar. I think the muffins would be great with some cream cheese and a nice big cup of coffee in the morning. You could certainly sweeten them up with different additions or with a sweet spread. I just wanted something hearty for breakfast.
Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins
Preheat oven to 375°; prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or butter.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoons cinnamon
- 2 cups shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
- Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg and continue beating until well combined.
- Stir in dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon—just until lightly combined.
- Add carrots, nuts, and coconut and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick.
- Scoop the better into the muffin cups—it should mound high in the cups, but it will not spread out or run over.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25 minutes worked for me.
This recipe differs in both ingredients and method from the one I posted two years ago. I like both for different reasons, as you’ll see.
Two years ago I wrote about Homemade Muesli, one where I hand-chop all the fruit and nuts and toast the oats. It’s a great recipe because of the large pieces of everything—dried apricots, almonds, raisins, figs, coconut. As I wrote then, it’s great to get all the chewing from muesli. Maybe that’s why you don’t need much of it, 1/4-1/3 cup soaked in some almond milk. It’s plenty for breakfast and you don’t get a sugar high like you do from commercial cereals, including commercial muesli. You get more of a steady, balanced addition to your daily diet.
A few months ago, I started mixing part of the ingredients in the food processor—nuts, apricots, figs—where the results are these little clusters of energy balls that stick together even after mixing with grains and coconut and seeds. They still have some chewiness, but I would say less than the other muesli. That’s the one I’m showing you today.
Muesli Recipe II
Preheat oven to 350°; line a sheet pan with parchment paper, which makes it super easy to pour the toasted grains into a bowl.
- 1 lb whole grain rolled oats
- 1 cup wheat germ
- 1 cup unsweetened, flaked coconut
- 1/2-1 cup seasoned sunflower seeds
- 1/2-1 cup pumpkin seeds (my grocery was out of these!)
- 15 dried apricots
- 15 dried Sierra figs (a green-skinned fig, it is lighter in color and has a tougher dried skin than the mission fig, for example)
- 1 cup oven-roasted, lightly salted almonds
- 1 cup shelled walnuts
- Mix together the oats, wheat germ, and coconut. The coconut and wheat germ are less likely to scorch if you mix them with the oats. Spread out on parchment-lined pan and toast in oven for 5-10 minutes, keeping a close eye on it to make sure they don’t burn. Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before lifting the parchment and pouring all into a large mixing bowl with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
- Place the apricots, figs, almonds, and walnuts into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the ingredients reach a fairly uniform consistency with some variation, but don’t process too much or you will make a paste. Pour the fruit-nut mixture into the bowl with the grains and seeds and stir until well mixed. The pulsed fruit and nuts will form into little balls of varying sizes, and this is what you want. Some of the wheat germ will stick to them, as well as some of the little seeds.
- Let it all cool completely in the bowl, stirring occasionally, before pouring into a container with a tight lid.
Serve in 1/4-1/3 cup servings soaked for about 20 minutes in almond milk or the milk of your choice. You could alternately put the moistened muesli in the microwave for 30 seconds to warm up. I let mine sit while I drink that second cup of morning coffee.
We’ve had enough days of cold and snow to bring out a desire for some big bran muffins full of walnuts and raisins. Of course I already have a pretty perfect Buttermilk Bran Muffin recipe, just not all of its ingredients. So I just started throwing items in as substitutes, without doing the kinds of searches for correct substitutes that I might usually do.
- I had almost 1 1/3 cups of whole wheat flour, but needed 2 cups, so I filled the missing flour with all-purpose flour
- The wheat bran looked to be about 1 cup, but I needed 2 cups. Whatever, I just threw in what I had and moved on
- I didn’t have any molasses, so necessary to the typical bran muffin flavor, so I used some dark brown sugar in the same amount
- I didn’t have any buttermilk, but I had about 1 1/2 cups of sour cream, so I threw that in, plus one container of no-sugar-added vanilla Greek yogurt to make up the 2 cups or so
- I added a full cup of chopped walnuts instead of the 1/2 cup in the original and lots of raisins, probably more than the 1/2 cup called for
- Instead of filling the muffin cups to the usual 2/3 full, I scooped in the thick batter so that it towered over the tops like scoops of ice cream in a cone
I wondered if any of these substitutions would adversely affect the texture or flavor of the final bread, but they turned out very good. Lighter in color and sweeter than I expected, these alternative bran muffins fulfilled my desire for a hefty and flavorful winter muffin. Follow the link above for the original recipe and experiment with your own substitutions.
A high, rustic muffin
Imagine this with lots of butter
This is a merging of two recipes in my old Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961): “Cranberry-Orange Muffins” (p. 88) and “Oatmeal Muffins” (p. 90). The recipes are so similar in amounts of ingredients, that it didn’t take much to combine them. The only big decision I had to make was whether to use white or brown sugar, so I compromised and used half of each. Oatmeal takes the place of half the flour in the cranberry muffins, a formula you can use to add oatmeal to a variety of muffin recipes.
Soaking oats in almond milk
Cranberries and walnuts
Oatmeal Cranberry Walnut Muffins
Preheat oven to 400°; line a muffin pan with paper liners or butter the cups.
- 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup almond milk (or any kind of milk, even buttermilk)
- 1 cup fresh cranberries (thawed, if frozen)
- 1/2 cup shelled walnuts
- 1/3 cup softened butter
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup white granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- orange zest from one large orange
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Mix oats and milk; let soak for about 20 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
- Add cranberries and walnuts to the bowl of a food processor and pulse about 10 times until the ingredients are roughly chopped. Don’t worry about uniformity.
- Cream butter, sugars, and egg in the bowl of a mixer until creamy. Mix in orange zest.
- Add dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt) and oat/milk mixture. Carefully mix on low speed until combined.
- Stir in cranberry/walnut mixture.
- Fill muffin cups at least 2/3 full.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove muffins to rack to cool.