Category Archives: Breakfast/Brunch

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread: where summer and autumn collide in a great tasting snack. This is a great way to use an over-abundance of zucchini from your garden (or local farmers’ market) and incorporate the great fall flavors of pumpkin and spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom.

You can also make these in muffin form for a delicious on-the-go breakfast or lunch box treat. There is no easier way to get your kids to eat their veges. Chocolate chips are optional, but always appreciated (unless you are a certain son of mine).

Pumpkin Zucchini Muffin

RECIPE:

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

  • Servings: Makes 2 loaves
  • Print

Pumpkin Zucchini Bread

3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
2 cups shredded zucchini
½ cup butter, melted
1 Tbs vanilla
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground cardamom
¼ tsp ground ground nutmeg (or cloves)
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, optional
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour 2 medium loaf pans.

Combine eggs and sugar in a mixing bowl. Add pumpkin, zucchini, melted butter and vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture and stir until just incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips and nuts. Pour into 2 loaf pans.

Bake at 350°F for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes. Remove and cool on a wire rack.

FOR MUFFINS: Line muffin pans with paper liners (or grease pan). Bake at 375°F for 15-18 minutes.

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Pumpkin Oat Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup

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Happy Halloween!

It is not feeling much like Halloween here in western Pennsylvania. On Monday, in anticipation of Hurricane Sandy, school was cancelled (Tue) and delayed (Wed), trick-or-treating was moved to Saturday, and school Halloween parties and parades moved to Friday. Gratefully, we had much less of an impact from the storm than was predicted, so kids are back at school today (on time!). But with all of the Halloween activities for today postponed, it feels like just another wet, slushy Wednesday.

We were all prepared to wake up on Tuesday without power, but instead we had a great day at home together with nothing on the schedule! I love days like that. Days that can start with a great breakfast full of healthy things like pumpkin and oats and topped with unhealthy things like a thick homemade cinnamon syrup.

New at waffle making? Try these Tips for Making Great Waffles.

RECIPES:

Pumpkin Oat Waffles

  • Servings: Makes 20 small waffles
  • Print

PumpkinWaffles1

2 cups flour
¾ cup rolled oats
2 Tbs cornstarch
2 tsp baking powder
1 ½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups buttermilk
4 eggs
1 cup pumpkin puree
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup brown sugar

Combine dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Use a whisk to mix. Combine wet ingredients in a separate mixing bowl. Use a mixer to beat thoroughly. Beat in dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not stir batter after mixing.

Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour batter evenly into hot waffle maker (about 2 cups for the 4 small Belgian waffles in my waffle maker). Cook for about 3-5 minutes, or according to directions on your waffle maker. Remove waffles from waffle maker and place on a wire rack (not a plate). Serve immediately or keep warm in a warm oven (very low heat).

Makes about 5 large Belgian waffles (20 small squares)

Cinnamon Syrup

¾ cup pure maple syrup
¼ cup sweetened condensed milk
2 Tbs butter
½ tsp cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 5 minutes. Serve warm.

 

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

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Fall and pumpkin just seem to go hand in hand. Cream cheese, however, that is an all-season ingredient. Paired together you get a moist, delicious muffin perfect for any time of the year.

A crunchy, sugary topping on a pumpkin-pie-spiced-cheesecakey muffin. Now all we need is some hot cocoa.

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RECIPE:

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Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins

Muffin Batter:
1 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
2 Tbs buttermilk powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground allspice

Cream Cheese Swirl:
8 oz (1 pkg) cream cheese, softened
1 egg
1 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbs flour

Topping:
2 Tbs sugar
1 Tbs flour
1 tsp  cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, cold

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Line muffin pans with paper liners.

Muffin Batter: Using an electric mixer, beat together the pumpkin, oil, sugars, eggs and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, buttermilk powder, salt, baking soda and spices. Add dry ingredients to mixing bowl and beat until just combined.

Cream Cheese Swirl: With a mixer, beat cream cheese and egg until combined. Beat in powdered sugar and flour.

Topping: Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until crumbly.

Fill each muffin paper about 1/3 full with muffin batter (about 2 Tbs). Add a small spoonful of filling (about 1-2 tsp). Repeat layers in each muffin cup. Using a table knife, gently swirl batters. Sprinkle topping over the swirled muffin batter.

Bake at 350˚ F for 17-20 minutes. Cool in pan for 5 minutes before removing.

Makes 15-18 muffins.

 

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

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This is a basic chicken salad recipe with a few extras that add a nice zing. Dried cranberries provide just the right amount of sweetness. Toasted pecans, which I always love paired with cranberries, add the perfect crunch.

This is a very adaptable recipe. I usually have shredded chicken in the freezer, so I often use that. But leftover roast chicken makes a really great salad. And you can’t beat the price and ease of pre-cooked roasted chickens these days!

You can use halved grapes instead of cranberries, but if you haven’t tried chicken salad with cranberries, it really is amazing. I have also made this with walnuts or slivered almonds. Be sure to toast the nuts first. This keeps the nuts from being bitter and helps them retain their crunch when mixed with the dressing.

Crumbled bacon is listed as an optional ingredient in the recipe below, but around here it is mandatory. My family always wants crumbled bacon sprinkled on the top of their sandwiches, but “Did you make bacon?” is a pretty standard question around here, regardless of what the meal is.

RECIPE:

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Cranberry Pecan Chicken Salad

4 cups shredded or diced cooked chicken (about 2 lb)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 green onions, sliced
1/2  cup dried cranberries  (or use 1 cup halved grapes)
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or use walnuts or slivered almonds), toasted
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup sour cream
3 Tbs white balsamic vinegar (or white wine vinegar or lemon juice)
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (or 1 tsp dried)
1 tsp dried dill (or tarragon)
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
6-8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled, optional

In a large bowl, mix cooked chicken, celery, green onions, cranberries or grapes, and toasted nuts.

In a small bowl mix dressing ingredients: mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, parsley, dill, salt and pepper. Pour dressing over chicken until salad is desired consistency. There may be a little extra, depending on how moist you like your chicken salad.

Garnish with cooked and crumbled bacon, if desired. Do not mix the cooked bacon into the salad. It becomes too soft and mushy. Sprinkle over individual sandwiches just before serving.

 

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Triple Chocolate Nutella Zucchini Muffins

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We are still working on getting through the numerous monster zucchini that came out of our zucchini forest this summer.

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After a fall at a church young women camp, I spent most of the summer in this:

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I had spent a good portion of spring digging out old dirt and hauling in new topsoil to help rejuvenate our garden. The new soil made a huge difference and we ended up with zucchini plants that were almost as tall as me. I realize that at 5’2”, that is not a huge accomplishment, but for zucchini, I thought that was pretty impressive. Our garden is planted on a tiered hill, which was impossible for me to navigate in my new fashionable summer footwear. The plants were so tall that I had a really hard time getting my kids to wade through the jungle looking for squash. For some reason ratatouille and zucchini fritters (some of my favorites) were not a huge motivation for them to risk life and limb in the outback. However, when I switched to making zucchini brownies, pumpkin zucchini muffins and these chocolate zucchini muffins, I found I had ample volunteers!

And when they came across this little guy hiding out in the cucumber plants, they spent a good portion of the rest of the summer searching for living, crawling things in the garden.

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If you still have zucchini that you are working your way through, these muffins, spiked with Nutella and chocolate chips, make for a great breakfast (especially for a couple dozen awesome teenagers at 6am!) or a much appreciated lunchbox addition.

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RECIPE:

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Triple Chocolate Nutella Zucchini Muffins

3 eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Nutella
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup buttermilk or kefir (or sour milk**)
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini
3 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cardamom or nutmeg
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line regular muffin pans with paper or foil cups. Or use large Reynolds Foil 3 1/2” baking cups (these are self-standing-just arrange on a baking sheet).

In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, oil, Nutella, brown sugar, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix well. Stir in zucchini.

In a separate bowl, use a whisk to mix flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and cardamom or nutmeg. Add mixed dry ingredients to wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon into muffin cups (fill about 3/4 full).

For regular muffins: Bake 15-18 minutes.
For large muffins: Bake 20-25 minutes.

Yield: About 36 regular muffins or 20 large muffins (made with 3 1/2” baking cups)

**To make sour milk: place 1 tsp lemon juice or vinegar in a 1/2 cup measuring cup. Add milk to 1/2 cup line. Let sit 5 minutes

 

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Looking for a banana muffin that is moist and full of banana flavor? This recipe (slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated) is your answer. It packs FIVE bananas into a single loaf of bread (or batch of 15-18 muffins).

I like bananas, but only if they are on the slightly green side. Once they are completely yellow or start to brown, I won’t touch them. I can push them on the kids for a little longer, but none of us are squishy banana fans. So I regularly have one or two bananas from a bunch that go “bad” before we eat them. So I peel and throw these overripe bananas into my freezer in Ziploc bags. Eventually those bags get to the bursting point, and I know I need to do some banana baking.

This recipe is one of our favorites. The bananas are cooked (in the microwave) until they are liquidy, and then the liquid is reduced to concentrate the banana flavor. You can add chocolate chips and/or chopped nuts to your liking.

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The muffins also freeze nicely if you happen to have A LOT of bananas to use up and want to make multiple batches!

RECIPE:

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Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (or Bread)
——————————(adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)

1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
5 large very ripe bananas
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Line muffin tins with 15-18 paper liners, or grease muffin tins.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt.

Place bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover with waxed paper. Microwave on high power until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Pour bananas into a strainer placed over a medium saucepan. Allow to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. Set banana pulp aside.

Place the saucepan with the banana liquid over medium-high heat and cook until reduced to ¼ cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat and stir banana pulp into the reduced liquid. Mash with a potato masher or a fork until fairly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.

Pour banana mixture into flour mixture and stir until just combined. Gently fold in chocolate chips and walnuts, if using.

Pour batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake for 15 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Makes 15-18 muffins

FOR BANANA BREAD: Spray a medium loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350°F for 55 to 70 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool bread in pan on wire rack 15 minutes, then remove loaf from pan and continue to cool on a wire rack.

 

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Pear Cardamom Bundt Cake with Lime Glaze

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I love the smells of fall baking. That combination of fruits like apples and pears with heavily fragrant cinnamon, cardamom and other spices. This recipe makes a highly adaptable batter that can be made into a bundt cake, quick-bread loaves, or muffins. Or if your bundt pan is on the small side, like mine, a combination of both cake and muffins. Breakfast and dessert all in one shot!

The lime glaze provides a tart, but sweet contrast to the fragrant fall flavors in the pear cake.

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I love cinnamon, but I don’t enjoy large amounts of nutmeg. Small amounts are fine, but I find that it can be very overpowering. One of my favorite fall spices to bake with is cardamom, and I will often swap out nutmeg in a recipe and replace it with cardamom. Cardamom is in the same family as ginger, but it is the seeds and pods that are ground and used for cooking, unlike the root with ginger. It is often used in Indian cooking, but is also a great compliment to cinnamon. It is a versatile spice that can be used in both sweet and savory cooking.

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The recipe below makes enough batter for a 12-cup bundt pan. My bundt pan only holds 10 cups, so I use the recipe to make 6 muffins (measure these out first) and the smaller bundt cake. Without the glaze, the muffins make a great breakfast, and they bake up light and airy.

The pears in this recipe are very finely chopped, or grated. I use a food processor to chop them finely. Pear skins are very thin, so I leave those on. They are not noticeable at all in the baked goods.

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RECIPE:

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Pear Cardamom Bundt Cake with Lime Glaze

Cake:
3 medium pears
about 1/2 cup buttermilk, milk or plain yogurt (see recipe for exact amount)
3/4 cup butter (1 1/2 sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans

Lime Glaze, recipe below (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour desired pans: one 12-cup bundt pan; one 10-cup bundt pan plus 6 muffin cups; 2 loaf pans; or 24 muffin cups.

Core pears. Finely chop or grate unpeeled pears (I use a food processor) and place in a 2-cup measuring cup. Use a fork to slightly mash the pears (you should have about 1 1/2 cups chopped, mashed pears). Add buttermilk to the pears to equal 2 cups. Set aside.

In a medium mixing bowl, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Mix in pear/buttermilk mixture.

In a small bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom. Mix into pear batter just until combined. Fold in nuts. Pour batter into desired pans and bake as directed below.

FOR A 12 CUP BUNDT PAN: Bake for 50-60 minutes.

FOR A 10-CUP BUNDT PAN: First scoop batter into 6 muffin cups. Pour remaining batter into 10-cup bundt pan. Bake bundt for 35-45 minutes and muffins for 18-20 minutes.

FOR TWO LOAF PANS: Bake for 50-60 minutes.

FOR 24-26 MUFFINS: Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Lime Glaze (optional):
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 Tbs lime juice
zest of one lime

Combine all glaze ingredients and mix until smooth. Add additional lime juice or cream until glaze can be drizzled over cake. Cool cake or loaves completely before drizzling with glaze.

 

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Nutella (or Cinnamon) Swirled Buttermilk Coffee Cake

091711 023-1Nutella Swirled Coffee Cake

Last week we were swimming in coffee cake around here. Unfortunately, it was not the kind of swimming that helps trim inches off of my waistline. Good thing there were lots of hungry skinny children lurking around!

I was bringing breakfast to our seminary class on Friday, and wanted to try a new recipe, so I had to give it a test run at home earlier in the week. I ended up making quite a few changes to the original recipe, including swapping out the traditional cinnamon topping on one batch with one made from ooey, gooey chocolaty Nutella.

The first batches I made for home (shown in the pictures) used pecans, but I used walnuts the second time around for our class. I preferred the walnuts, but I almost always prefer walnuts over pecans, so choose whichever nut you prefer. Both the cinnamon and Nutella topped varieties were really good. The cake part was moist and light, and just slightly tangy from using buttermilk.

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To distribute the chocolaty/cinnamony goodness throughout the cake, I layered half of the batter in the pan, added half of the topping, then repeated the layers.  The Nutella topping was very sticky; it was easiest to just use my fingers to drop small amounts onto the batter. It melts nicely into the cake while cooking.091711 002-1For an extra dose of chocolate, sprinkle some chocolate chips (not shown in this picture) on top of the Nutella layers.

091711 003-1The cinnamon topping is crumbly and can be sprinkled easily.

I split the batter and made one of each variety in two 8×8” square pans, instead of one large 9×13” pan. Just an FYI: the full batch that I made later in a standard 9×13” pan rose right to the top edge of the pan when baked, so be sure to use a pan that doesn’t have low sides!

The only down-side of this recipe is that it uses a lot of mixing bowls (four!), but the end result is definitely worth an extra run of the dishwasher.

Recipe:

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Buttermilk Coffee Cake
————–(adapted from Pioneer Woman)

3 cups flour
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

3 egg whites, beaten until stiff

1 1/2  cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter (1-½ sticks), softened
1 1/2 cups sugar

Nutella Swirl or Cinnamon Streusel Topping

Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare topping in a small bowl; set aside.(Choose your topping below for a 9×13” cake, or make one of each in two 8×8” pans, halving topping amounts)

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Beat egg whites until stiff; set aside. Stir vanilla into buttermilk. In a separate bowl, cream butter and sugar with a mixer. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately until barely combined. Beat just until flour is incorporated; do not overmix. Using a rubber spatula, fold in beaten egg whites.

Spread half of the batter in a well-greased 9 x 13” baking pan (I used baking spray with flour). Sprinkle with half of the topping. Spread remaining batter into pan; sprinkle with remaining topping.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until center is set.
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NUTELLA SWIRL TOPPING:

3/4 cup butter (1-½ sticks), softened
3/4 cup Nutella
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 scant tsp cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix together all ingredients, except chocolate chips. Mixture will be sticky. Using your fingers, drop small amounts of Nutella filling onto first layer of batter. Sprinkle with half of the chocolate chips. Repeat layers.

CINNAMON STREUSEL TOPPING:

1/2 cup cold butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs cinnamon
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix together all ingredients, except nuts, using a pastry cutter or two knifes until crumbly. Stir in nuts. Sprinkle half of topping onto first layer of batter. Repeat layers.

 

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Strawberry Nutella Muffins

051711 074-1After bringing these muffins to our early morning seminary class, I have had several requests for the recipe. So I am going to take a break from days full of never-ending weeding in my yard and nights full of endless softball games to share them with you. Strawberries are just beginning to arrive at the farmers markets and pick-your-own farms here in western PA, so it is a perfect time to make these muffins. And everything tastes better with a little Nutella swirled in!

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I found this recipe on Two Peas & Their Pod, and just couldn’t resist making them. The only changes that I made to the recipe were to add more strawberries than called for, and probably more Nutella. I didn’t actually measure the Nutella; I just scooped it out of the jar to put in the center of the muffins.

As with most muffin batters, to keep them from being dry and dense, you do not want to overstir the batter. There should still be some streaks of flour in the batter.

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Fill the muffin cups halfway with batter. Place a dollop (about a tablespoon: I just used a soup spoon straight from the jar) of Nutella on the batter. You do not need to spread it around. Nutella can be kind of thick at room temperature. I warmed the Nutella first in the microwave for about 30 seconds. This made it really easy to drizzle the Nutella from a spoon onto the batter. My jar was almost empty, so I just heated the Nutella in the jar. If you are only using part of your jar, you might want to spoon some into a small bowl before heating it.

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Top with another scoop of batter, until the muffin cups are about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar. This is a coarse raw sugar. You could use regular sugar if you don’t have it, but turbinado sugar does make a nice crystally (I’m sure that’s not a real word, but it should be) crust.

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These are best served warm while the Nutella is soft and gooey.

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Here is the original recipe from Maria, with my notes at the end on the slight changes that I made.

RECIPE:

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Strawberry Nutella Muffins
————(from Two Peas & Their Pod)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped fresh strawberries
1/3 cup Nutella
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top of muffins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease well. Set aside.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and sugar.

3. In a small bowl, combine canola oil, egg, buttermilk, and vanilla. Use a fork or whisk and mix until well combined.

5. Incorporate the wet ingredients into flour mixture.  Add slowly and gently stir, you don’t want to over mix.  The batter will be thick. Carefully fold in the strawberries.

6. Fill each muffin cup half way with batter. Next, add a small spoonful of Nutella to each muffin cup. Cover the Nutella filling with the remaining batter. Sprinkle each muffin with turbinado sugar.

7. Bake muffins for 17-20 minutes, or until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the pan and let cool on a cooling rack.

Makes 9 muffins

Kelly’s notes: I used coconut oil instead of canola oil. I didn’t measure the Nutella, I just used a spoon and scooped straight from the jar, but I probably used a little more than 1/3 cup. I heated the Nutella for about 30 seconds in the microwave before using (to make for easier drizzling). I also used more strawberries than called for (about 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 cups). I ended up with 12 muffins, and I needed to bake mine for 23 minutes before they were cooked through.

 

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Triple Berry Syrup

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Triple Berry Syrup
————-(Adapted from Our Best Bites)

4 cups mixed frozen berries
1/3 cup raspberry jam (I used this homemade Raspberry Nectarine Jam)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 Tbs cornstarch

Combine berries, jam and sugar in a saucepan. Mix together water and cornstarch and mix into berries in pan. Over medium heat, cook sauce until thickened and just barely beginning to boil. Serve warm or cold. Refrigerate leftovers.

Makes about 3 cups syrup.

Serve over Waffles, Pancakes, Cheesecake, Ice Cream

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