Monday, September 14, 2020

Pomegranate Chocolate Muffins

Pomegranates really are one of the most beautiful fruits. They're sweet, tart, juicy, and those little jewel-like arils are truly stunning. One of the reasons I think this fruit is really beautiful is because you have to work hard to actually enjoy it which makes you appreciate it even more.

Pomegranates are one of the symbolic foods of Rosh Hashana. 

I remember when I was first grade, my teacher split us into groups and gave us pieces of pomegranate and we had to count the seeds. I'm pretty sure we didn't get the exact number because if I remember correctly some of us couldn't resist the delicious fruit and ate some of this math project. The reason my teacher had us count the seeds is that many people think that the pomegranate has 613 seeds to symbolize the 613 mitzvot/commandments. While this is not the case and every pomegranate does not have the same amount of seeds there are still hundreds of arils inside the pomegranate. We eat this fruit on Rosh Hashana in the hopes that we are blessed in abundance like the abundant amount of seeds in a pomegranate.

During Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, we reflect on our lives and our relationship with G-d. If we look at the pomegranate we can find some inspiration as to how we can improve both. Before you can enjoy a pomegranate you have to cut through the thick outer skin and then you have to remove the arils by peeling away the membranes. You really have to put in some work before you are able to enjoy the fruit. Sometimes in life, you want to take the easy route, but that might not always be the best thing for you. If you work hard towards fulfilling your goals you will appreciate those sweet hard-earned results even more. When it comes to our relationship with G-d, sometimes you might think that He isn't there and that He isn't listening to you. G-d is always there if you just look past the hardships you're going through you will see that He has been there all along. Even during difficult times, He is there caring for and watching over each and every one of us.

I've never baked with pomegranate seeds before, but the results really are beautiful. Pair the sweet-tart crunchy seeds with some bittersweet chocolate and orange zest and you've got yourself a flavorful and well-balanced muffin as a delicious treat to bring in the new year. 

Pomegranate Chocolate Muffins 

2 1/2 cups flour 

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt 

1 tsp orange zest 

2 eggs, lightly beaten 

1/3 cup oil 

1 cup pomegranate juice 

1/2 cup sugar 

1 cup pomegranate seeds plus a few more to sprinkle on top 

3/4 cup chocolate chips 


Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C 

In a large bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and orange zest. Add the eggs, oil, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Mix until just combined making sure not to overmix as this will result in a tough muffin. Fold in the pomegranate seeds and chocolate chips. Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes.

Yield: 12 standard-size muffins 





Monday, September 7, 2020

Dip the Apple in the Honey Muffin

Rosh Hashana is just around the corner and I'm sure the song Dip the Apple in the Honey has been in your head for the past few weeks. It certainly has been in my head and that was the inspiration behind this muffin flavor. 

These muffins are sweetened with a good amount of honey, of course, and have just a hint of cinnamon in the batter that really compliments the honey and the chunks of apple. 

The batter comes together really quickly and you can make these this week, stash them in the freezer and you have a great treat for Rosh Hashana already done! 

Apple and Honey Muffins 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour 

1 cup whole wheat flour*

2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 

3/4 cup milk of your choice 

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup oil

3/4 cup honey 

1 apple, diced about 1 1/2 cups - you can leave the skin on or peel it whatever you like

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190° 

Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners or coat with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup mix together the milk, eggs, and vanilla. Add that to the flour mixture and then measure out the oil and honey - this way the honey will slide right out. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Add the apples and gently fold them in being careful not to overmix the batter. 

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 18-22 minutes. 

Yield: 12 standard size muffins 

*feel free to use all white flour or all whole wheat of a combination of the two as listed in the recipe. 

Monday, August 31, 2020

Oatmeal Breakfast Cups

When I'm coming up with a muffin flavor to get inspiration I try to think about what season we're in. Summer is coming to an end, but it's not yet Fall. Do you know what season it is? It's Back to School season! I remember loving back to school season when I was a kid. The tv commercials, the rows and rows of school supplies at the store, and all of the new clothing that is perfect to wear when the weather starts changing. In Israel, the weather won't start changing until October, but it's still Back to School season here. The supermarket's seasonal display is back to school items and the lamp posts have banners hung by the municipality wishing everyone a successful school year.

School starts tomorrow and after the crazy past few months, we've had, many of you will be going back to a somewhat normal schedule. I'm sure it's going to be very different than what we're used to as I've heard many kids are going to be having zoom school or going to school some days, but at home on the others. Whatever school schedule you have there's still school, which means there isn't so much time in the morning for lazy breakfasts that many of us have grown accustomed to these past few months. 

Whether you're looking for an easy breakfast on the go for your kids running off to school or for yourself to munch on during your next office zoom meeting that could have been done over email these oatmeal breakfast cups are perfect for you! 


These muffins bake at a lower temperature and for longer than the usual muffins because the oats need time to cook and soften. 

Oatmeal Breakfast Cups 

3 cups instant or old fashioned oats* 

1 tsp baking powder 

3/4 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon 

1 1/4 cups milk of your choice 

1/4 cup silan/honey/maple syrup

2 eggs 

2 tsp vanilla extract 

3 Tbs peanut butter 

2 small bananas smashed - about 1/2 cup 

1/2 cup mini chocolate chips 

1 banana thinly sliced for garnish (optional)

 

Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C

Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners or with a generous coating of non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup mix together the milk, silan/honey/maple syrup, eggs, and vanilla extract. Add the liquid ingredients to the oat mixture along with the mashed bananas, peanut butter, and chocolate chips. 

The batter is going to be liquidy and that's ok because the oats need that liquid to cook and soften. 


Scoop into the prepared muffin pan, you can fill the muffins up all the way as these don't rise too much. Top each muffin with a few pieces of sliced banana and bake for 25-30 minutes. 

Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes in the muffin pan and then run a knife around the muffins to pop them out of the pan. 

These freeze beautifully - just warm them up in the microwave for 30 seconds to a minute.

You can leave out the chocolate chips (why would you want to??) and add in blueberries or diced apples. 

Yield: 12 standard-size muffins 

Store in an airtight container or ziptop bag in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for 3 months.  

*If you want to make these muffins gluten-free just swap in gluten-free oats 


Sunday, August 23, 2020

Sweet Date Muffins

Save the date! Rosh Hashana is less than a month away and I'm trying to come up with ways to turn the symbolic foods of this holiday into muffin form. 


Dates are one of the symbolic foods we eat on Rosh Hashana. The Hebrew word for date is tamar which is similar to the word sheyitamu which means to be consumed - we hope that this coming year our enemies be consumed. 

Dates are also super sweet and are turned into silan or date honey which is one of the main ingredients in these muffins and give the muffins their sweetness instead of sugar. 

Make these muffins today and stash them in the freezer for Rosh Hashana or eat them all this week, that's ok too. 

Date Muffins 

2 cups flour 

2 tsp cinnamon 

2 tsp baking powder 

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt 

10 dates, pitted and chopped*

1/2 cup silan - date syrup 

3/4 cup milk of your choice 

1/3 cup oil 

1 tsp vanilla 

2 eggs 

Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C 

Line a standard-size muffin pan with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the dates and using your fingers, break up the sticky chunks and coat them with the flour so they don't stick to each other. 

In a 2 cup liquid measuring cup mix together the silan, milk, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Make sure not to overmix the batter as this will result in chewy and dense muffins. 

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan and bake for 15-18 minutes. 

Enjoy and Shana Tova U'metuka!! 

Yield:12 standard size muffins 

*Feel free to leave the dates out of the muffin batter and just have a silan and cinnamon-flavored muffin with no chunks :) 



Monday, August 17, 2020

Chocolate Chip Muffins

After posting all different types of muffin recipes for the past 17 weeks straight I figured it was time to go back to basics and just make a classic chocolate chip muffin. 

I wanted a muffin that had good height, a golden crisp top, tender crumb, not too sweet, and bursting with chocolate chips! 

In high school, there was a Dunkin Donuts not far from my school and we would go there a bit too often. I remember the chocolate chip muffin there had a sugary topping that gave it an amazing glistening crunch. I don't think I've had one of those muffins since high school which was quite a few years ago, but that muffin top is something I remember. 

This batter is really simple it is flavored with a good amount of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon which enhances the chocolate flavor. 

This recipe uses buttermilk which adds to the flavor and more importantly the texture of the muffin. If you want to make them dairy-free, no problem! Just mix some acid in the form of lemon juice or white vinegar to the dairy-free milk of your choice let it stand for 5 minutes and you're good to go. 

Chocolate Chip Muffins 

2 1/2 cups flour 

1 Tbs baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt 

1/4 tsp cinnamon 

1 cup buttermilk*

1/4 cup oil 

2 eggs 

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 cup sugar + 2 Tbs for sprinkling on top 

1 cup chocolate chips + 2 Tbs for sprinkling on top


*1 cup milk or dairy-free milk of your choice + 1 Tbs lemon juice or white vinegar


Preheat your oven to 400°F/200°C 

Coat a standard-size muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray or line with paper liners. When I make a muffin without a crumb topping I just spray the pans to pop the muffins right out because there's no issue of losing some crumb topping. 

In a large bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. 

In a liquid measuring cup mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients along with the sugar. Mix until just combined. Make sure not to overmix your batter or else your muffins will be dense and chewy. Fold in the chocolate chips. 

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle the tops with the chocolate chips gently pressing them into the top of the muffin batter and sprinkle with a little bit of sugar. 

Bake for 15-18 minutes 

Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin tin before popping out and cooling on a rack. 

Yield: 12 standard-size muffins 

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