Glorious Morning Scratch Muffins

 

For the past few years, we have served a variety of fresh baked muffins at work and my customers have grown accustomed to a nice hot muffin. Like many foodservice establishments, we cheated. Our muffins were fresh baked, but not fresh made. We bought muffin batter that you “scooped and baked” to save time (and labor costs). Customers loved them, so it was a win-win situation.

Things changed when I switched companies recently. I had the same customers looking for their usual breakfast muffins, but our new grocery supplier offered a “less than favorable” alternative for muffin batter. My customers have not been happy, so I promised them I would make some scratch muffin batter this weekend to serve this coming week in the cafe.

Since baking is not my thing (I love to cook but I DESPISE following recipes), I had to scour magazines and internet recipes to try and find something I felt was comparable to what my customers are expecting tomorrow morning. This recipe is a tweak; I started with a basic muffin recipe and made it my own. They turned out delicious, so I thought I’d share with you this extremely easy recipe for making homemade muffins. You can use this recipe for for a variety of muffins by substituting the flavorful ingredients. In fact, I used the basic part of this recipe (as noted below) to create 5 varieties of muffins for breakfast tomorrow (Glorious Morning, Chocolate Chip, Blueberry, Banana Nut and Cranberry-Orange-Almond). I’m sharing the whole recipe for the Glorious Morning muffins which are by far my biggest seller, but noting where you can substitute to make other varieties.

There’s no need to buy muffin mix in a bag or box when most all these ingredients can be found in most of your pantries! Give them a shot! The good thing is, you can mix them up on Friday evening and refrigerate the batter. Then scoop into your muffin tins and bake Saturday morning!

Basic Muffin Batter:

  • 1 8oz container of sour cream
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

In the bowl of a mixer, combine the sour cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla and mix for 30 seconds. In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, soda and cinnamon and mix to incorporate (I use a wire whisk to mix dry ingredients). Add the dry ingredients to the wet in the mixer and run on low just long enough to incorporate into a batter. That’s your basic muffin mix.

For Glorious Morning Muffins:

To the batter add 1 peeled and diced Granny Smith apple, 1/4 cup minced carrots (I use shredded carrots and pulse them in the food processor), 1 tbsp orange marmalade, 1/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup chopped pecans or almonds, 1/2 cup raisins or dried cranberries

If you wanted to make blueberry, to the batter add some fresh or thawed, frozen blueberries and add the orange marmalade.

For cranberry-orange-almond, use dried cranberries, sliced almonds and orange marmalade.

For banana nut, I use crushed pecans and 2 overly ripe bananas, smashed up with your hands or run through the food processor.

For chocolate chip, just add chocolate chip morsels straight from the bag.

Scoop muffin mix into a 12 muffin tin pan or 6 jumbo muffin pan. Bake at 325F for 18-25 minutes (depending on the size, less time for smaller muffins, more for larger) or until brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

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Redneck Cobbler

This recipe is so simple, I almost feel bad for sharing it, but it was so delicious and so ridiculously simple, I thought why not share it with everyone. Cobblers are made all over the south. They are a great way to use up ripe fruit from the trees in your yard, or fruit sold out of pickup trucks and car trunks on the side of the road all over the south come summer. Everyone loves a cobbler and this is probably the easiest cobbler I’ve ever made that tasted like a homemade dessert. Sure, you can open a couple of cans of fruit pie filling and throw on a pre-made cobbler crust, but this recipe actually tastes homemade. Give it a shot and you’re sure to impress your family and friends!

  • 2 pounds of fresh fruit (your choice of fruits including peaches, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc) OR you can purchase a 2 pound bag of frozen fruit from the grocery store if making out of season
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 box Duncan Hines BUTTER recipe yellow cake mix
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • Sliced Almonds or Pecans (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350F. In a heavy bottom saucepan, cook the fruit and brown sugar until hot and bubbly. Pour fruit into a greased casserole dish (I use a deep dish Corningware French White lasagna casserole, about 3″-4″ deep so it won’t bubble out when baking). If you want to add nuts, sprinkle them liberally over the top of the fruit.

Open the butter cake mix and pour over the top of the fruit. Don’t mix up the mix, use the mix in its dry form straight from the box. Melt the butter in a glass measuring cup and pour over the top of the cake mix, covering as much of the surface with the butter as possible.

Bake for 30-40 minutes, until bubbly and golden brown.

If you really want a rich version of this recipe, use 3 sticks of butter instead of 2. It’s delicious, but will surely clog your arteries. We’d call the 3 stick version the Paula Dean Redneck Cobbler!

 

Asian Cabbage Salad

It’s official.. I’m 40 and fat! In an attempt to lose some weight, I’ve been trying to eat healthier food. We’ve been buying a lot of fish and chicken in place of red meat and pork, and we’re watching our fiber intake. Lower fat and higher fiber seem to be the new trend in weight loss, along with exercise.

Tonight we’re having some grilled tuna fillets that are marinating in an Asian-inspired sauce right now. To go with our fish, I whipped up this refreshing Asian style salad. It’s flavorful and high in fiber, but it does have some fat because of the peanut butter. Still, it’s a healthy alternative to a high fat side dish and it’s delicious… and simple. Simplicity is my main requirement when I find or create a recipe, because now that I spend my whole day in a kitchen at work, I like to get out of the kitchen as quickly as possible in the evenings. Give this one a try and I think you’ll be pleased with the results!

 

  • 1/3 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp each salt, garlic powder and ground ginger
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 6 cups shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw) mix OR 4 cups coleslaw mix and 2 cups broccoli slaw mix (which is how I made it)
  • 1 cup fresh sugar snap peas, trimmed and sliced
  • 1/2 cup coarsely shredded, peeled jicama
  • 1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted
  • fresh cilantro

In a large mixing bowl, prepare the dressing by mixing together everything from the peanut butter to the water. Toss in the slaw mix and fold well to combine. Add peas, jicama and green onions. Toss and cover. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to several hours. Garnish with toasted almonds and cilantro.

Makes 6-8 servings

Italian Wedding Cookies

I’ve decided to share all my family’s holiday cookie recipes with my readers! I’ll be posting more over the next few days. This recipe is for Italian Wedding Cookies, which by nature are given as wedding gifts or eaten at bridal showers, but they are also one of the many cookies Italian families will make around the holidays. They are very simple to make and delicious with a cup of coffee, espresso or cappuccino.

  • 8 cups all purpose flour, sifted
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 5 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 1/4 cups Crisco or other shortening
  • 1 cup cold milk
  • 2 tbsp Amaretto di Serrano
  • 6 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups slivered almonds, chopped
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Combine the baking powder and flour in a large bowl. Add the shortening to the flour mixture, working with a pastry blender, 2 knives, or with your clean hand, until it resembles a coarse meal. Add the sugar, then add the eggs and milk, alternating. Stir in the Amaretto, then add the nuts and mix well to combine. Shape the dough into small balls and bake in a preheated 350F oven for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies to a wire rack set over a piece of aluminum foil (to catch excess sugar) and dust the cookies with powdered sugar when they are still warm, but not straight out of the oven. Makes about 60 cookies.