Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch

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I guess it’s lemon season? Good thing because I’ve been getting sick often these days and nothing soothes a sore throat than a piping hot cup of water with a squeeze of lemon. Not only does lemon seem to work miracles on one who’s sick, but it makes amazing baked goods, such as this blueberry muffin recipe I came across from Cook’s Illustrated. What stood out about this recipe was that the actual ingredient of lemon wasn’t included in the batter, but was a part of a sugar crumb sprinkled on top of the muffin at the last second before baking.

These muffins have the perfect amount of sweetness from the blueberry “syrup” and remind me of a summer day from the brightness of the lemon. These are AMAZING right out of the oven while the sugar crunch is still warm and crispy. I’ve thrown all other blueberry muffins into the very back of the archives (sorry, blueberry muffins).

Seriously, look at that crunchy topping.

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Ultimate Blueberry Muffins With Lemon Sugar Crunch
Yield: 12 muffins

Sugar Crunch:

1/3 C. granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest or zest from 1 lemon

Blueberry syrup:
1 tsp. sugar
1 C. fresh blueberries

Muffins:
2 1/2 C. all purpose flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 1/8 C. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
4 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 C. canola oil
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 C. fresh blueberries

1. For the sugar crunch, combine sugar and lemon zest and mix to combine. Set aside and let sit so that the sugar absorbs the lemon flavor.

2. For the blueberry syrup, combine sugar and blueberries in a small pot and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently. As the blueberries heat up, they’ll start to plump up. Start smashing the blueberries to create a syrup. Turn the heat on low and simmer for about 5 minutes, until the mixture reduces to about 1/4 cup. Turn the heat off and set aside.

To make the muffins:

3. Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin pan with muffin liners.
4. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt. Mix to combine and set aside.
5. In another large bowl, beat sugar and eggs together until the mixture turns pale yellow – about 3 minutes.
6. To the sugar and egg mixture, stir in melted butter and oil. Next, add the buttermilk and vanilla extract. Mix to combine.
7. Now, add the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVER MIX.
8. Fold in blueberries with a rubber spatula.
9. Divide the muffin batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups.
10. For each cup, spoon about a teaspoon of the blueberry syrup onto the top and use a toothpick to swirl the syrup in with the muffin batter.
11. Next, evenly divide the lemon sugar mixture onto the top of the muffins.
12. Bake in the oven for 16-19 minutes, turning the pan 180 degrees once.
13. Poke a clean toothpick into the middle of a muffin. When the toothpick comes out clean, the muffins are fully baked.
14. Remove the muffins from the oven and set on a cooling rack to cool. Wait about 5 minutes before removing the muffins from the tin.
15. ENJOY!

Pecan Crumble Banana Muffins

Cast is off, now it’s time to muthafriggin bake! And when I say bake, I mean do everything by hand with no help from a machine (besides the oven). Perfect timing cause we bought bananas and weren’t able to finish them before they started getting brown. How many of you are guilty of buying food and forgetting about it? *guiltily raises hand…* We had a few very brown bananas sitting on the counter and I didn’t want to throw them out. Banana bread is the first thing people make when they want to get rid of their ripe bananas – something I didn’t want to bother with. I decided it was sexy muffin time.

muffin

Get your baking hats on cause this is a really easy recipe with a delicious outcome!

By all means, use your mixer. I just wanted to do everything by hand just cause I could! ūüėČ

PECAN CRUMBLE BANANA MUFFINS
Originally from Allrecipes then tweaked.
Yield: 12 delicious cupcake sized muffins.

Dry ingrediants
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. salt

Banana mixture
3 medium ripe bananas – mashed to smithereens
1 egg
3/4 C. granulated sugar
1/3 C. canola oil

Crumble
10 whole pecans – cut into small pieces
1/3 C. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. butter, softened

Preheat oven to 375 F.

In a small bowl, mix all of the crumble ingredients except for the butter. Next, mix the butter in with a fork, smashing the butter as you’re combining the ingredients. Keep doing this until little balls form. Set aside.

crumble

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients.

In another large bowl, mix the banana mixture ingredients together until well combined. Make sure the banana is mashed enough so that there are no large chunks. Add the banana mixture into the mixing bowl of dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Line your cupcake pan and separate the batter evenly. I placed about 1/3 cup of batter into each cup.

Top each cup with a heaping tablespoon of crumble mixture then evenly distribute the rest of the crumble mixture. Make sure the entire top of each cupcake is covered. After all, the crumble is the best part!

pan

Bake in the oven 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

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Moist Red Velvet Cupcakes

Ain’t these pretty?

To be honest, I’ve never been a fan of red velvet cakes.¬† Without the cream cheese frosting, I’ve always found the cake to be tasteless and often times quite dry.¬† In my baking lifetime, I’ve tried a handfull of red velvet recipes in hopes that my opinions on this pretty dessert would change.¬† A few years back, I found a recipe that was extremely moist and quite tasty.¬† Unfortunately, that recipe has vanished into thin air and it’s almost impossible to find it since I can’t remember anything about it.

If one was to do a red velvet cupcake recipe search on Google, an infinite number of results would show up; some recipes made with oil, some made with butter.¬† After my seventh time tweeking recipes here and there, I’ve come to the conclusion that red velvets made with butter taste so much better than the ones made with a whole bunch of oil.¬† The outcome of using butter is a much more¬†spongy and less airy cake, a tight crumble, and a flavorful cake.¬† I came across a recipe from Magnolia that looked like there was some potential so I tried it.¬†I paired it to my usual creamcheese frosting recipe. What was the outcome??¬† These are the second red velvet cupcakes that I actually don’t mind wasting the calories on!

I baked a whole bunch of cupcakes for a birthday and a wedding get-together.¬† These cupcakes came to mind not only because red velvet’s are quite popular, but because they are SO easy to make!¬† Also, I think I spent a maximum of 5 minutes washing dishes in the end!!!¬† Ain’t that somethin….

Red Velvet Cupcakes
From Magnolia
Yield: 30 cupcakes

3 1/2 C. cake flour
3/4 C. unsalted butter
2 1/4 C. granulated sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tablespoons cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons red food coloring
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat your oven to 350 F. Prepare your cupcake pans.

Sift your flour into a medium bowl, set aside.

In a measuring cup, add the buttermilk and salt, set aside.
Cream your butter and sugar with a mixer until fluffy and light yellow in color. Add one egg at a time making sure the egg is mixed in before adding the next. Turn off your mixer and add the vanilla extract, red food coloring and cocoa powder to the butter. Start at a slow speed and work your way up to a medium speed. Starting at a high speed may cause red stains all over your clothes!

Next, add a third of the flour. Once the flour and buttermilk in 3 parts, starting and ending with the flour. Do not overmix.

In a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar and baking soda together. You’ll hear fizzles once you add one ingredient to the other! Immediately add this to your batter and mix briefly.

Evenly distribute the batter into the cupcake pans. I used a quarter cup measuring cup to distribute the batter evenly, fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake 20-25 minutes. I baked mine for 22 minutes.

Cream Cheese Frosting
I perfectly frosted 30 cupcakes

1/2 C. unsalted butter, softened and at room temperature
8 oz. cream cheese, cold
2 C. powdered sugar, sifted
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Beat butter until fluffy. Add the cream cheese then turn the mixer to high. Beat the butter and creamcheese mixture until creamy. Stop the mixer and add 1 C. of the sifted powdered sugar. On low speed, mix until sugar is just incorporated. Repeat with the last cup of sugar. Keeping the machine on, add the vanilla extract. Beat on high for about 30 seconds.

Now smother your cupcakes!

Valentines Day Cupcakes-Chocolate and Vanilla Cupcakes

Happy Valentines Day everyone!¬†¬†Roses, Strawberries, and chocolate always come to¬†mind when I think of Valentines¬†Day.¬†¬†Chocolate covered strawberries¬†all of a sudden pop up everywhere¬†and the price of flowers become double the price than they were last week.¬† I’m not¬†a fan of chocolate covered strawberries as I feel the strawberries are too tart with the chocolate so how about dark chocolate cupcakes with strawberry frosting and… why not throw in some vanilla bean cupcakes??¬† After eating that yummy steak dinner and downing that large glass of wine, what’s more romantic than feeding each other bite sized cupcakes with little hearts on them…

 

 

I also made some espresso bean chocolate hearts to make the cupcakes look more festive.¬† It’s so simple and makes the cupcakes look that much more special.¬† Remember, Valentines Day isn’t just for couples.¬† Show your friends love and don’t be afraid to tell someone you love them ūüôā

Chocolate Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting

Chocolate Cupcakes:

With half the recipe, you get about 10 tall mini cupcakes.  Regular recipe gets about 15 regular sized cupcakes.

I used this recipe, but didn’t add the chocolate ganache filling and also cut the recipe in half.

https://cherylsfood.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/matcha-chocolate-cupcakes-with-chocolate-ganache-filling/

Strawberry Frosting:

1/2 C. (1 bar) unsalted butter, softened

8 0z. (1 brick) cream cheese, softened

3 C. powdered sugar, softened

1 C. frozen strawberries, thawed

1 Tbsp. sugar

1 Tbsp. strawberry liqueur

In a small pot, heat the strawberries and sugar until strawberries are heated and the sugar is melted.  Using a fork or a potato smasher, mash the strawberries until they almost look like jam.  Let simmer for about a minute.  Take the pot off the heat and stir in the strawberry liqueur and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, cream the butter until fluffy and light yellow. Add in the sifted powdered sugar and beat, 1 cup at a time until you feel the frosting is sweet enough.  Add the vanilla and 2 tablespoons of the strawberry mixture.  Mix until combined.  Feel free to add more of the strawberry mixture, but do not put in all of it as the frosting will become too runny.

Vanilla Bean Cupcakes:

I cut the recipe in half and ended up with about 30 mini cupcakes

Adapted from Dinnerordessert.com
http://www.dinnerordessert.com/2012/02/vanilla-bean-cupcakes.html

2 1/4 c. cake flour or all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 1/4 c. whole milk, room temperature

4 egg whites, room temperature 1 stick of butter, softened

1 1/2 c. sugar seeds from one vanilla bean 2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350¬įF.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt together.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk and egg whites.

In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla bean seeds at medium speed until butter and sugar is light and fluffy. Add in the vanilla extract and one third of the flour mixture and mix well. Beat in half of the milk/egg mixture and then beat in half of the remaining flour mixture. Add the rest of the milk and eggs and beat mixture until it is smooth. Then add the last of the flour mixture and beat until smooth. Pour batter into cupcake tins.

Vanilla Bean Frosting:

Same as Strawberry Frosting, but omit the strawberry mixture.  Instead, add seeds from one vanilla bean.

Chocolate Espresso Hearts:

1 C. semisweet chocolate chips

2 Tbsp. cream

1 Tbsp. honey

2 Tbsp. espresso bean, coarsely ground

In a small pot, melt chocolate chips, and cream.  Add honey and stir.  Turn off the heat and add the espresso beans.  Let the chocolate mixture slightly cool.

Line a cookie pan with silpat mat or wax paper.

When the chocolate mixture is slightly cooled,¬†pour it into a freezer ziplock bag or a pastry bag.¬† Cut the tip so that there is a very small opening.¬† Pipe whatever shapes you want and place the pan into the refrigerator so the chocolate hardens, about 30 minutes.¬† When they’ve hardened, you can use a spatula to lift them off.

Matcha Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache Filling

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because there’s always food around and¬†then there’s even more¬†food afterwards.¬†¬†How is that possible?!¬†¬†¬† Well, I don’t really care and I’m not complaining.¬†¬†My¬†other favorite holiday is Christmas.¬† Why, you ask?¬† Tis’ the season to be baking!!¬† To be honest with you,¬†I had a rough year and wasn’t really¬†feeling the holiday spirit so¬†I thought I’d lay low and stay away from doing¬†any Christmas festivities.¬† It wasn’t until about a week ago when¬†I started to feel a little happy that Christmas was quickly approaching.¬† Driving around¬†San Francisco¬†and seeing all of the pretty lights on many of the houses and walking in the extra crisp air made it official that this was going to be yet another great Christmas.¬†

This house gets super festive for every holiday.¬† Obviously, Halloween is their favorite holiday since they’ve permanently painted their house with a Halloween theme, but they don’t show any less love for Christmas!

My favorite house is a house that’s in my neighborhood.¬† For years, they’ve been putting up Christmas decorations.¬† They’ve even made it in the local newspaper!¬† Seeing the house on the corner of the block has always reminded me of why we celebrate Christmas with our loved ones.¬† More decorations used to be put up, but this still makes the little girl inside of me come out nonetheless.

When I think of holiday treats, I think of chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.¬† Whoever discovered chocolate, I owe my happiness to you.¬†¬†Something so simple like chocolate… the¬†smoothness… the¬†bitterness… it brings joy into my mouth and makes me do a happy dance every time I have a taste of it.¬† I knew I wanted to make something decadent, yet simple.¬† Simple? Cupcakes.¬† Decandent? …….dark chocolate ganache!¬† Okay.. got that part thought out.¬† Now, what kind of frosting?

I’ve been on a matcha kick ever since I received some shortbreads dipped in matcha chocolate straight from Hawaii, from someone special dear to my heart.¬†¬†So of course, I thought of making a matcha cream cheese¬†frosting.¬†¬†Matcha and chocolate are a perfect pair just like how¬†peanut butter and jelly are for each other and the tang from the cream cheese go great with both¬† matcha and chocolate.¬† I looked in the¬†pantry and pulled out all of the chocolates I’ve recently bought and decided that¬†I should do something with it.¬† Then a lightbulb turned on and I remembered a cupcake recipe that I’ve made before.¬† Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate ganache.¬† Oh my..¬†¬† they are definately decandent and a chocolate lovers dream.¬† The green frosting makes it interesting to people who have never tasted matcha before.¬†

These cupcakes are rich, chocolatey, and moist with a light crumble.¬† I didn’t pack on the frosting because both the cream cheese frosting and the cake itself are already rich on their own.¬† Make sure you double fist with a cupcake in one hand and a cup of hot tea in the other!¬† If you love chocolate, I promise you’ll love these.¬† I promise you, I don’t break promises…¬† The only problem is.. making these cupcakes create lots of dirty dishes, but they’re worth it!

Chocolate Ganache Cupcakes

Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Yield: 12-14 cupcakes

*I used semi-sweet Ghiradelli chocolate

Ganache Filling

2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine

¬ľ cup heavy cream

1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Chocolate Cupcakes

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa

¬ĺ cup hot coffee

¬ĺ cup bread flour

¬ĺ cup granulated sugar

¬Ĺ teaspoon table salt

¬Ĺ teaspoon baking soda

6 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons white vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions

Ganache filling

Place chocolate and confectioners’ sugar in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a pot until almost boiling.  Pour the cream into the chocolate and sugar and whisk until smooth.  Place the bowl into the refrigerator and let stand until just chilled, about 20 minutes.

Cupcakes

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line your muffin tins.

Place chocolate and cocoa in a large bowl. Pour hot coffee over mixture and whisk until smooth. Set in refrigerator to cool completely, about 20 minutes.

In another medium bow, combine  flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda; set aside.

Take the bowl of chocolates out of the refrigerator and whisk oil, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla into the cooled chocolate-cocoa mixture until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth.

Fill each liner about 1/2 way. Place one slightly rounded teaspoon ganache filling on top of each cupcake. Bake until cupcakes are set and just firm to touch, 17 to 19 minutes. Cool cupcakes in pan on wire rack until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes. Carefully lift each cupcake from muffin pan and set on wire rack.

Matcha Frosting

8 oz. cream cheese

1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature

2 c. confectioners’ sugar

1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp. matcha powder

Cream the butter until light yellow.  Add the cream cheese and vanilla and mix until combined.  Add the sugar and matcha powder and mix until smooth.  Pipe the frosting onto cooled cupcakes.

Brown Buttered Sweet Potato Cupcakes

I found tons of butter in my fridge.¬† Someone must’ve went to¬†Costco to prepare for the holiday baking.¬† Looked on¬†the shelf.. tons of flour, tons of¬†white and brown sugars.¬† Yep… someone prepared.¬† Wasn’t me!¬† My proscrastinating self would’ve waited until the week before Christmas and would’ve probably went to the store to find empty shelves.¬† Thanks Santa.¬† I can always count on you.

Instead of snacking on snap peas and carrots during studying,  I wanted chocolate chip cookes.  What a horrible substitution!  Whatever.

I threw some butter into a pot to melt then¬†the phone rang.¬† I ran to¬†answer it and stayed on the phone for a few minutes, forgetting that i had butter on the stove.¬† When I finally realized it, the butter¬†had already turned¬†dark brown.¬† I was about to throw it out until I got a whiff. “OH MY GAWD!¬† That smells HELLA good!”¬† I tasted it and… “OMG I was about to throw this out?!”

I’m late about discovering browned butter.¬† I’m kinda glad otherwise I would’ve been making as many things with browned butter as possible, including browning butter and sticking it into the fridge to put on my morning toast.¬† I’m fighting the urge to do it, but I’ll stick to my pumpkin butter to save my arteries.

Anyways, I turned around and saw some roasted sweet potatoes in the oven.¬† Forget the cookies, I’m making cupcakes.¬† And that’s exactly what I did.

They were extremely moist and weren’t crumbly at all.¬† The flavor of the¬†frosting is a ¬†perfect pairing¬†with the flavor of the cake and the richness¬†of the cream cheese and browned butter makes it almost impossible to stop dipping your finger in for a taste!

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Browned Butter Frosting

Adapted from Evil Shenanigans

Makes: 12 cupcakes

Cupcakes:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
6 ounces (or one small) sweet potato, peeled and diced
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla

Frosting:

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, browned and cooled
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3 ‚Äď 4 cups powdered sugar

Cook your sweet potatoes the way you like.  I bake them in the oven until fork tender.  Let them completely cool.   Mash it up until smooth and has no bumps.  Measure 6 ounces and put aside.  Put the rest in your mouth.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, buttermilk, vanilla, and sweet potato and beat until smooth.

Sift all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl and add the wet to the dry.  Mix until well combined, being careful not to overmix.

Fill up your baking cups and bake for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

Let them rest for a few minutes then transfer them onto a wire rack to cool

In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese and vanilla until soft.  Slowly add the browned butter while beating and keep adding according to your taste.  Add the cinnamon and the sugar a cup at a time and taste.  I ended up using  half of the butter and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.  Frost your cooled cupcakes.