Tag Archives: brunch

Apple Granola Muffins

3 Mar

I love muffins. What’s not to love? Other than muffin pans, you don’t need any special equipment. They’re simple to throw together and are basically your own personal mini-cake. You can also take a basic recipe and add all sorts of fruits, spices or other flavorings.

For these muffins, I’ve taken my basic sour cream muffin recipe and added granola, apples and cinnamon. You can use any granola you like, homemade or one you like from the cereal aisle. Mixing some into the batter adds a little texture and sprinkling some on top gives you an instant crumble topping. Yum.

I use diced apples tossed with cinnamon and brown sugar in this recipe, but you can replace the apples with fresh or frozen blueberries, diced peaches or pears or any other fruit. The fruit to batter ratio is high – and that’s what I want. The fruit keeps the muffin moist and I think every bite should have fruit in it.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup oil (canola, grapeseed, or other similar oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour (plus 1 tbsp to toss with the apples)
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 3/4 cup granola (plus more for sprinkling on top)
  • 2 large apples, peeled, cored and diced small (I like to use Pink Lady, Ambrosia or similar apple)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Using a sturdy spoon, cream the granulated sugar and oil in a mixing bowl. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Add the salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix in. Add the flour and stir until JUST combined. You don’t want to overmix the batter and having some small lumps is good. Add the granola and stir through.

In another bowl, combine the diced apples, 1 Tbsp flour, cinnamon and brown sugar. Stir together until all of the apples are coated in the sugar/ flour/ cinnamon mixture.

Add the apples to the batter, including any excess sugar that may be at the bottom of the bowl. Gently stir the apples into the batter. Don’t worry about the apples being enveloped in better – you should see lots of chunks of apples and streaks of the cinnamon/ sugar should still be visible.

Spray your muffin tins – I prefer using baking spray that contains flour. Using standard muffin/ cupcake tins, fill the cups to the top. You should get approximately 18 muffins. Sprinkle each muffin with more granola, about 1 tsp per muffin.

I like to bake one pan at a time on the middle rack of the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the pan and bake another 10 to 15 minutes, or until the muffins are golden brown.

Remove and let cool. These are best eaten the day you bake them, but kept in a sealed container will be good on the counter for a couple of days.

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Smoked Cheddar and Green Onion Biscuits

4 Feb

Between the snow that fell last night and the continuing frigid temperatures, I declared today a personal snow day.

For me, snow days usually include making something in the kitchen and after looking through the cupboards and fridge I decided today’s project would be smoked cheddar and green onion biscuits. I say project, but really this is a simple recipe that takes just a few minutes to pull together.

Smoked old cheddar is one of my favorite favorite cheeses, so I often have a chunk in my fridge, but if you don’t have it or don’t like the smokiness, you can use cheddar, gouda, swiss or any other hard cheese you like. I love cheese and green onion together, but you can leave them out if you don’t like them — or add even more if you do!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup cold butter, cut into small cubes plus 1 Tbsp butter melted
  • 1 1/2 cups smoked cheddar, grated
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 3/4 cup 2% milk
  • 1 large egg

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together all of the dry ingredients.

Add the cold butter and use a pastry cutter if you have one to break up the butter and mix it in. If you don’t have a pastry cutter, you can use your hands – just toss the butter and the flour so that the butter is coated in flour, then use your fingertips to press the butter into the flour, breaking it up until the butter is in smaller, pea-size chunks.

Add the grated cheese and green onions and stir into the flour/butter mixture until it’s evenly distributed. Form a well in the center.

Whisk the milk and egg together and pour into the well. Use a fork to stir the wet ingredients into the dry until it forms a dough, being careful not to overmix. If there is some flour that hasn’t mixed in, use your hand to bring it altogether.

Turn the mixture out onto a piece of parchment on a baking sheet and gently push it together to form a square approximately 1″ thick.

At this point, you can use cookie cutters to cut circles or other shapes, but I usually just cut the dough into 12 equal size squares. Gently pull the squares apart and space them out so there is about one inch of space surrounding each biscuit. They’re going to grow as they bake so they need a little room.

Brush the tops of the biscuits with the 1 Tbsp of melted butter and then place in the preheated oven. Bake for 10 minutes, turn the tray and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until the biscuits are golden brown.

Enjoy!

Cinnamon Apple Dutch Baby Pancake

30 Jan

When I was in junior high, we were taught how to make what we called ‘apple pancakes’ in cooking class. It was many years later that I learned this was a version of a Dutch-Baby pancake which may be a version of a German pancake and is oddly similar to a popover.

I remember that after I learned to make these, I was trotted out by my parents to make them for guests on a few occasions, but then the recipe was forgotten and the only time we enjoyed an apple pancake was when we visited a local restaurant chain.

This morning, about 30 years after I made my last Dutch Baby, I woke up after dreaming about them and decided it was time to reintroduce them into my cooking repertoire (though I no longer had the original recipe).

The thing about Dutch Babies is that they’re delicious, seem really impressive but are absolutely easy to make.

You can do different things with the basic recipe, like leaving out the apples, cinnamon and brown sugar and making a vanilla pancake that you dust with icing sugar and sprinkle with fresh berries. Or leave out the apples, cook the butter, brown sugar and cinnamon for a few minutes and then add a couple of handfuls of fresh blueberries or diced fresh peaches right before you pour the pancake batter in. But I think the apple cinnamon version is my favorite.

Batter

  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup 2% milk
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

Apples

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 large apples (Ambrosia, Pink Lady or similar), peeled, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup lightly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450°F.

Place all of the batter ingredients into a blender and blend until combined and all of the lumps are gone. You can also use an immersion blender or a good whisk to combine well. Set aside while the apples cook.

Most recipes call for a cast iron skillet, but if you don’t have one, don’t worry. Use a 10 to 12 inch oven safe skillet to melt the butter over medium-high heat. Add the sliced apples, brown sugar and cinnamon and cook for about 5 minutes, until the apples start to soften and the butter/ sugar mixture is simmering and has thickened slightly.

Pull the pan off the heat, move the apple slices around so that they’re evenly distributed and slowly pour the batter over all of the apples.

Place in the preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until the pancake has puffed up and is golden brown across the top and dark, caramelized brown around the edges. Dust with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup on the side and serve immediately.

Serves 4