Monday, August 10, 2020

Pink Lemonade Muffins

The quintessential summer activity for kids is building their own lemonade stand. You set up shop on a little table at the bottom of your driveway, squeeze lemons and mix it with sugar and water and charge a nickel a cup. I personally never had one, but they looked like so much fun! 


Lemonade is such a great drink for summer it's thirst-quenching and over lots of ice, it's super refreshing. Pink lemonade is made by adding food coloring to change the color to pink, but if you add strawberries then you're adding more flavor and natural coloring to an already delicious drink. In the US, strawberries are in abundance in the summer so they are the perfect addition to a summer beverage. 


In Israel, strawberries are in season in the winter so for this recipe I had to use frozen strawberries and they were still great. 

Pink Lemonade Muffins 

1 3/4 cups flour 

1/2 tsp salt 

2 tsp baking powder 

1/3 cup milk of your choice

1/4 cup oil 

1 egg

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice - about 2 lemons 

1 tsp lemon zest 

1/3 cup sugar + 2 Tbs for sprinkling over the tops of the muffins 

1 cup diced strawberries - about 7-10 medium strawberries*


Preheat oven to 200°/400°F

Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners 

In a large bowl mix together flour, salt, and baking powder until combined. In a liquid measuring cup mix together the milk, oil, egg, and lemon juice. Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture along with the lemon zest and sugar. Mix until just combined and then gently fold in the strawberries. 

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and sprinkle each muffin with sugar. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

Enjoy these muffins at your next picnic with a tall refreshing glass of lemonade. 

*if using frozen strawberries let them defrost slightly to cut them  

Yield: 12 muffins 


Monday, August 3, 2020

The Best Time of Day Muffins

If you've been following me on Instagram for the past several months then I'm sure you have seen that I drink a cup of coffee every day at 4 PM. 

I'm going to admit something that might shock you - I am actually not a big coffee drinker and until a few months ago I had the occasional cup when I was in the mood or went out to a cafe, definitely not every day on schedule. I do very much enjoy the flavor and aroma of coffee, but unlike many people, I don't need a cup of coffee to start my day. 

Everyone in my family drinks a cup of coffee or two every morning, growing up I remember my father turning on the coffee maker every morning when he went down to the kitchen and I would wake up to the smell of coffee wafting up the stairs. 

When I was in college I did drink a lot of coffee with a Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and many other coffee shops on every corner. Back then I think I did it for the caffeine to get through writing papers and studying for exams, but actually, late-night tv/movie watching with my roommate. I think after a while the caffeine stopped having an effect on me. 

At the beginning of coronavirus, I moved into my brother and sister in law's house and they are big coffee drinkers. Every day at 4 PM my sister in law would make iced coffee for the three of us and we would enjoy it with a yummy baked good leftover from shabbat or something that we made that day because like many of you during the beginning of this pandemic we baked a lot. Every day I would post my sister in law pouring the milk into our cups of coffee and would caption it with "the best time of day". I began to get so many messages of people who would ask me how I make my coffee and who started drinking coffee at 4 PM to join our best time of day. When I moved back to my apartment I got many concerned messages of people wondering if I would continue with the 4 PM coffee and I'm very happy that did I think that 4 PM caffeine jolt really gets you through the rest of your day.

Every Monday when I make muffins for #muffinmonday my cup of joe for #thebesttimeofday is enjoyed with a fresh muffin so I thought why not combine the two and make a coffee-flavored muffin?! 



The batter has a pinch of cinnamon, a good amount of vanilla extract, and mini chocolate chips which are all great flavors with coffee. 

When these muffins were baking it smelled like my parents' kitchen with the smell of coffee wafting through the air. 

Coffee Muffins

1/2 cup hot water 
3 Tbs instant coffee granules 
2 1/2 cups flour 
2 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
1/2 cup milk of your choice 
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil 
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs sugar 
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips + a handful to sprinkle over the muffins before baking. 

Preheat oven to 400°F/200°C 
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

Dissolve the coffee in the hot water and set aside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl mix together the milk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry along with the coffee and the sugar. Mix until just combined and then fold in the mini chocolate chips. 
Scoop into prepared muffin cups and bake for 15-18 minutes. 

Yield: 12 standard size muffins 









Monday, July 27, 2020

Halva Muffins

I'm always thinking of how I can get more techina into my life so I thought maybe I can make a techina muffin and then I realized sweet techina is basically halva. Halva is a mixture of techina and sugar that is turned into a sweet confection. I remember growing up in NY at my shul kiddushes there would be a loaf of halva on a platter garnished with candy corn, Twizzlers, and Swedish fish. I loved the halva then and I love it even more now that I live in Israel. If you've walked around Machane Yehuda you've seen a few stands that sell all different flavors of halva. There are loaves of halva filled with different types of nuts, some are flavored with coffee, I've seen halva that's been soaked in whiskey to impart that intense alcohol flavor and even one that has chili flakes in it. 



If you've been following my Instagram page you know how much I love techina. The funny thing is I didn't eat techina until I moved to Israel. When I lived in America my only knowledge of techina is the watery stuff in a squeeze bottle at the falafel and pizza place. Then I moved to Israel and I was a madricha at a seminary in Jerusalem. My co-madricha who would soon become one of my closest friends would put techina on everything and I thought it was so weird because techina goes on falafel and that's it. She convinced me to give it a try and my life was changed for the better.

Fun fact - the summer after we were madrichot we were counselors on a summer program together and the two of us along with the other two female counselors loved techina so much that we were actually known as the techinis.


I also learned from her how to properly make techina (you can too check out this blog post).
I now drizzle techina on pretty much everything.

This recipe calls for plain halva, but you can use one with nuts or fold in chopped nuts like pistachios and almonds, or chocolate chips would be a great addition too! 



2 cups flour 
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup techina/tahini paste*
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk of your choice 
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon for sprinkling 
3/4 cup halva chips - halva cut into small cubes like chocolate chips 
1/3 cup halva to crumble over the top 
1 Tbs sesame seeds 

*make sure to stir the oil that's at the top of the jar of techina back into the techina. 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C
Line a standard-size muffin tin with paper liners. 

In a medium bowl mix the flour, baking powder, and salt together.
In a large bowl whisk together the techina, oil, eggs, vanilla, milk, and sugar until thick and creamy. Slowly whisk in the dry ingredient mixture until just combined. Fold in the halva chips. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and crumble the halva over the top pressing the halva slightly into the batter. Sprinkle with sugar and sesame seeds. Bake for 20-25 minutes. 


When you take these out of the oven don't be worried if you have halva exploding out the tops of the muffins those little bits of toasted halva are the best part. If there is batter and halva stuck to the pan soak for a few minutes in water and it will wash off easily. 

Monday, July 20, 2020

Mango Muffins

It's mango season here in Israel and I am so happy because we get to enjoy this delicious fruit from now all the way until around October. During these hot summer months, I always have mangoes on hand because they make for a great snack, a sweet and tangy salsa on grilled meats and fish, mixed into yogurt, the list goes on and on.



I know many people find mangoes delicious when they are ice cold and I do agree, but I happen to have a very fond memory of enjoying hot mangoes warmed by the sun. Seven years ago I was a counselor on a summer program and we went jeeping in northern Israel. At one point the jeep drivers stopped in a field of mango trees. They handed us ripe mangoes straight from the tree and they were so warm from the Israeli summer sun that it just enhanced the sweetness of these delicious mangoes.

I was remembering those warm mangoes and got me thinking maybe I should add mangoes to a muffin to have a warm sweet treat.
Another fruit that is in season now is limes and I use that citrus all year long by stashing whole limes in my freezer so I can have the juice and the flavorful zest even when the season is over.
Mangoes and limes are a match made in heaven, that bright citrus with the sweet fruit is a great combo that makes me feel like I'm relaxing on some tropical island. For these muffins, I combined the great flavors of mango and lime and then ran with the tropical theme by topping them with coconut flakes that add great texture and flavor.


Mango Muffins 
1 3/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk of your choice
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/4 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 cup sugar + 1 tablespoon for topping
1 cup finely diced mango, about 1 medium mango
1/3 cup coconut shavings



Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C
Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper cups or coat with non-stick cooking spray.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup mix together the milk, lime juice, oil, vanilla, and the egg. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry along with the lime zest and the sugar. Mix until just combined and then fold in the diced mango.


Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pan and top with the coconut and sprinkle with the one tablespoon of sugar. Bake for 18-22 minutes.



Yield: 12 standard size muffins







Monday, July 13, 2020

Peanut Butter Muffins

When I was trying to come up with this week's #muffinmonday flavor I was thinking of what I like to eat and that is peanut butter. I have a true weakness for peanut butter. It's dangerous for me to have peanut butter cups in the house and I love sneaking a spoonful late at night (you know you do it too).

This week's recipe is a twofer. Make one basic peanut butter batter and then either you can mix in chocolate chips for the greatest combo of peanut butter and chocolate or you can fill the center of each muffin with a scoop of jelly for a muffin take on the classic pb&j.



Batter 
1 3/4 cups flour
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup oil
1 cup milk of your choice
2 eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C
Spray a standard-size muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners.
In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup mix together the oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the sugar and peanut butter. Stir until just combined.

For Peanut Butter Chocolate Muffins fold in 1 cup mini chocolate chips. Scoop into prepared muffin pan.
For Peanut Butter and Jelly Muffins fill up each muffin cup halfway with batter. Press the batter down slightly in the middle with the back of a spoon. Fill the space with 1/2 tablespoon of jelly of your choice. Top with the remaining batter.



Bake for 18-22 muffins. Allow to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan and then using a knife run around the outside of each muffin to release from the pan and allow to cool completely on a cooling rack.

To go super all out peanut butter you can top the muffin batter before baking with a peanut butter streusel.

Peanut Butter Streusel 
1/3 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs creamy peanut butter
2-3 Tbs oil

In a small bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and peanut butter. Drizzle in the oil until the mixture resembles wet sand. Top each muffin with a big pinch of the streusel slightly pressing the crumbs into the batter. Bake according to directions above.










Monday, July 6, 2020

Zucchini Cinnamon Oat Crumble Muffins


Batter
1 cup all-purpose flour*
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
3/4 tsp salt 
1/3 cup oil 
1/4 cup milk of your choice 
1 tsp lemon juice
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 2 large zucchini)
1/2 tsp orange zest (optional)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or almonds (optional) 
1/4 cup chopped dried cranberries (optional)

Cinnamon Oat Crumble 
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup rolled or instant oats 
3 Tbs flour 
1/2 tsp cinnamon 
pinch of salt 
2-3 Tbs oil 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C 

Line a standard muffin tin with paper liners or set up hard paper liners on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.  

In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a liquid measuring cup mix together the oil, milk, lemon juice, and eggs. Add the liquid mixture to the dry ingredients along with the sugar and mix until just combined. Fold in the zucchini and zest, nuts, and dried fruit if using. 
In a small bowl mix together the dry ingredients for the topping. Add the oil until the ingredients combine into a crumbly mixture.
Fill prepared muffin cups and top with a pinch of crumb topping, gently pressing the topping into the batter.  
Bake in preheated oven for 18-22 minutes until golden on top and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
Enjoy warm! 

*feel free to use all whole wheat, all-purpose, or spelt flour.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Peach Cobbler Muffins

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about my love for summer fruit in my Cherry Garcia muffin blog post. Ever since then I've been thinking of ways to incorporate the beautiful summer fruit we have in abundance at the moment into my muffin recipes. A super traditional summer dessert is a peach cobbler, a soft and juicy baked fruit dish topped with flaky biscuits. That was the inspiration behind these muffins. Ripe peaches or nectarines cut into chunks and folded into a cinnamon-scented batter and topped with a cinnamon streusel.



Cinnamon Streusel
3 Tbs sugar
1/4 cup flour 
1/4 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
2 Tbs oil

Batter
2-3 peaches or nectarines
2 cups flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, spelt)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup milk (any type)
1/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar

In a small bowl mix together the streusel until it resembles wet sand and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190°C

Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners

Dice the peaches or nectarines into small cubes and set aside.

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon until combined. 
In a liquid measuring cup mix together the milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry and add the 1/2 cup sugar.
Fold the diced fruit into the batter.
Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle each muffin with some cinnamon streusel slightly pressing the streusel into the batter. 
Bake for 18-20 minutes.