Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Breakfast, Muffins, Unfussy

These muffins pop up in my kitchen and my sister-in-law’s kitchen frequently – pretty much whenever there are 3 ripe bananas that need to be used. They stay moist and are kinda healthy.

This recipe is from King Arthur Whole Grain Baking.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (3 large)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla, banana and honey and mix until smooth. Beat in eggs. Whisk dry ingredients together. Add to egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Remove from mixer and give a good stir to make sure all the ingredients are incorporated.

Fill muffin cups almost to the top. Bake 20-25 minutes, until firm in the center.

Bran Muffins

Breakfast, Muffins, Unfussy

These muffins are super moist, light, and delicious. Mix them by hand in a large bowl, bake what you want, then refrigerate the batter for up to 2 weeks and bake them as needed. This is my mom’s recipe.

  • 3 cups All Bran cereal
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 1/2 cups flour (you can substitute up to 1 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 2 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease or line your muffin tin.

In a large bowl, mix bran with hot water until moistened. Stir in brown sugar. Add buttermilk, eggs and oil, stirring until well combined. Add flour and baking soda, then raisins, if desired.

Scoop batter into greased muffin cups, filling about 3/4 full. Bake for 15-18 minutes until the tops spring back when touched. Serve hot with butter or jam or both or none.

Makes 24 muffins

Granola

Breakfast, Unfussy

This is my favorite granola recipe – adapted from an Alton Brown recipe. This time I used cashews, Craisins AND raisins because I don’t want to get on Big Raisin’s bad side.

  • 6 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 cups sweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup flaxseed meal
  • 3 cups whole or chopped nuts
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 cups dried fruit

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine oats, coconut, flaxseed, nuts and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Pour over oat mixture and stir to combine really well, about 5 minutes- making sure the oat mixture is well coated.

Divide between two rimmed baking sheets and spread evenly. Bake at 250 degrees for 25 minutes. Rotate trays and bake for another 25 minutes. At this point I usually turn the oven off and let the granola cool down completely with the oven.

Toss dried fruit and granola together. This makes a large batch, but keeps in an airtight container for several weeks.

Pan O’ Raisins

Breakfast, Fussy

I firmly believe there is a time and a place for raisins: the oatmeal raisin cookie, rice pudding, and the (underrated) French pastry, Pain Aux Raisins – which I prefer to pronounce “Pan O’ Raisins” because I might as well double down on my horrific french pronunciation.

  • Danish dough:
  • 1/3 cup warm milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp rapid-rise yeast
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • Butter square:
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 TBSP all-purpose flour
  • Filling:
  • 1 cups whole milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 5 TBSP cornstarch
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 TBSP butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Take butter out of fridge to let soften a bit while you mix the dough.

For the dough: Combine flour, sugar, yeast, and slat in stand mixer fitted with dough hook. Combine milk and egg in a liquid measuring cup. Add to dry ingredients with mixer on low and mix until dough comes together. Increase speed and knead until the dough comes together. You will need to scrape the bowl a few times. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Cut one stick of butter in half so you have 3 even pieces. On a piece of plastic wrap, sprinkle half of the tablespoon of dough and place the butter on top. Sprinkle remaining half tablespoon flour on top. Cover lightly with plastic wrap. Gently pound the butter with a rolling pin until it is pliable, then roll it out to a 5-inch square. Refrigerate.

Roll the dough out on a floured surface until it is a 9-inch square. Place the butter square diagonally on the dough square. Fold the corners of the dough in so they meet in the middle and cover the butter diamond entirely. Gently roll the dough out to a 14″ square. Fold the dough in thirds to form a rectangle, then fold the rectangle in thirds to form a square. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Remove the dough and let soften for 10 minutes. Roll the dough out again for the second “turn” to a 14″ square and fold again, as you did previously. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours again.

For the filling: Pour boiling water over the raisins to cover and let soften for at least 30 minutes. Combine sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan. Combine yolks and milk in a measuring cup. Whisk milk into sugar mixture and heat over medium-low heat until the mixture starts to thicken. Continue whisking until the mixture is very thick and at least one bubble has popped. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla extract. Strain, if you like (I don’t), into a bowl. Cut butter into pieces and whisk in butter a piece at a time until fully incorporated. Drain raisins and stir into pastry cream. Refrigerate until needed, stir vigorously to soften before using.

Roll out danish dough into a very large rectangle – about 12″ by 16″. Spread raisin cream evenly on top, leaving a 1-inch border on the long edge. Beat an egg in a small bowl and brush the exposed edge with egg wash to help seal (save egg wash). Roll up loosely and seal at the long edge. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm it up a bit.

Cut the roll into 1/3-1/2-inch slices – the pastry cream will ooze a bit, just do your best to keep it in shape. Place on a lined baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap. It can also be frozen at this time for a later date. Let come to room temperature (both if you freeze it or if it’s from the fridge) and let rise until it has gotten a little puffy (it won’t get super puffy, and it may take an hour or more, depending on how cold your kitchen is).

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush tops and sides with reserved egg wash. Bake for 15-20 minutes until they are golden brown. Eat them immediately.

Danish dough recipe from America’s Test Kitchen

Cherry Poptarts

A little bit fussy, Breakfast, Food Hoarding Confessions

Guys guys guys- after years of trying I finally nailed homemade pop tarts. Happy little accident involving self-rising flour I bought for no reason other than I heard a story about Loretta Lynn using it for biscuits. It makes the perfectly delicious cardboard-y tasting pastry I’ve been hunting for. The filling ended up being a great use of the half jar of morello cherries that was taking up fridge space.

  • Cherry Filling:
  • 1 1/2 cup jarred morello cherries, drained (reserve 3 TBSP liquid for optional glaze)
  • 12 pitted dates
  • 4 TBSP sugar
  • 1 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • Crust:
  • 2 cups self-rising flour, if you have it
  • (or 2 cups cake flour, 3 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp salt)
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 stick cold butter, cut in chunks
  • 1/2 cup milk

In food processor, process cherries and dates until crushed. Combine sugar and cornstarch in small saucepan. Whisk in cherries and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat until thickened. Add almond extract and set aside to cool. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated.

Combine flour and sugar. Cut in butter in and work until it’s the size of peas, or a bit smaller (by hand or food processor). Stir in milk until combined and dough holds together. Divide the dough in half. Roll out each half between long sheets of wax paper until very thin – 1/8″ or so and the shape of a long rectangle. Dust with flour as needed to keep from sticking. Using a ruler or straight edge, trim the edges of the dough. Cut the dough in half, the long way, then cut every 3″ or so to make 3″x5″ rectangles. You should get 16 total from all the dough. Spread about 2 TBSP filling in half the rectangles, but leave about 1/2″ from the sides free of filling. You will have extra filling, which you can freeze for another poptarting. Brush the edges with egg wash. Poke the other dough rectangles with a fork 3 or 4 times, then sandwich the pop tarts. Place on a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Brush tarts with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes, until golden brown on the edges. Dust with powdered sugar, leave unfrosted, or glaze.

  • Cherry Glaze:
  • 3 TBSP reserved cherry liquid
  • enough powdered sugar to thicken

Crepes

Breakfast, Unfussy

So, on Saturday or Sunday morning you might hear my kids say insufferable things like, “Will you make crepes?! You didn’t make crepes LAST weekend…” I will defend myself only by saying crepes are really quite simple to make and are totally delicious, not to mention they cook faster than pancakes. This is one of the recipes I have memorized.

  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 eggs
  • 6 TBSP melted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • dash of salt

Heat the largest non-stick skillet you have over medium-low heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk flour, sugar and salt. Combine milk and eggs in large measuring cup and whisk to combine then whisk in melted butter. Slowly pour milk mixture into flour mixture, whisking constantly until combined and smooth. You can also put everything in the blender, or blend with an immersion blender if you don’t want to stress about lumps.

Lightly grease the hot skillet with butter for the first crepe only.

Pour or ladle enough batter into the skillet so when you swirl the skillet around, the batter will form a very thin layer covering the bottom of the skillet (about 1/4 cup for a 10″ skillet). Cook for a minute, then using a spatula, flip the crepe and cook the other side, just until it starts to brown in a few places. The crepes are pretty forgiving during the flipping process, and if you rip one, just eat it quickly over the stove so no one knows.

Serve immediately, with:

  • A) Nutella and sliced bananas
  • B) maple syrup
  • C) butter and cinnamon sugar

Overnight Waffles

Breakfast, Unfussy

I kept hearing about overnight waffles but I ignored them because I couldn’t be bothered to start breakfast on a Friday or Saturday night. But, I also couldn’t be bothered to whip egg whites (which most waffle recipes require) on a Saturday or Sunday morning, so we just never ate waffles. But, my curiosity got the best of me last weekend, so I said, “FINE, I’ll make overnight waffles”. And it really wasn’t bad at all.

To enter flavor country: Sprinkle chopped pecans on the batter before cooking. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 large egg
  • 6 TBSP melted butter

Combine flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large bowl. Whisk in milk until blended. Cover and let stand overnight at room temperature.

Beat egg and melted butter into the batter.
Heat the waffle iron, spray with nonstick spray. Add enough batter to just fill the waffle iron and cook until crisp and brown.

Makes 8 waffles

This recipe is from Mollie Katzen

Bakery-Style Pumpkin Muffins

Breakfast, Muffins, Unfussy

My mom always puts chopped dates in these muffins. When I was a child I thought the dates were gross. Now that I’m older and my palate has changed, I find that chopped dates in these muffins are still gross. So I leave them out.

This recipe makes SO many muffins – they not only have that bakery-quality taste, but you could actually fill an entire bakery case with them. You know how in some recipes there’s that issue of only using part of a can of pumpkin? Well, buckle up- this uses 2 whole cans of pumpkin. That’s right. Let’s just say you won’t be needing to get out that tiny tupperware (smug laughter).

You could probably halve this recipe, but I’ve never tried. Makes 12 GIANT muffins. Or 4 pumpkin loaves. Or so many regular size muffins you lost count.

  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cans pumpkin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup oil
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped dates (optional)
  • Streusel topping:
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 old-fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 giant muffin tins or 4 loaf pans or as many regular muffin tins as you have. Combine sugar, pumpkin and eggs in large bowl. Add oil and beat. Blend in flour, soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Stir in dates if using. Fill prepared pans 3/4 full with batter.

Make streusel: In small bowl, combine all ingredients together, using fingertips to incorporate butter, pinching together streusel into small clumps. Top batter with streusel, pressing in slightly.

Bake until firm to touch.
Regular muffins: 20 minutes
Giant muffins: 30-35 minutes
Loaves: 45 minutes