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Muffins - Scones

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Every once in a while I create a recipe that rocks (even modest) me to my baker’s core. This is one such exceptional recipe. These glorious muffins are a cradle of spice and brown sugar pumpkin batter on which a silky filling of cheesecake bakes and fuses itself to the muffin batter. On top, there is a crust of caramelized brown sugar. It’s easy as pumpkin pie but a totally ‘wow’ muffin. Mini ones would be perfect for Thanksgiving dessert. For the best pumpkin pie spice – forget the store variety. Check out King Arthur Flour – (and their cinnamon is worth its weight in gold!)

Canned pumpkin is convenient and the variety of pumpkin that canners use is best for baking. "Jack O'Lantern" pumpkins look pretty but they recycle into somewhat watery pumpkin pulp.

A unique way to present homey, sweet, spicy quick bread.You may use regular muffin pans or mini loaf molds. This recipe is also good if you want pumpkin quick bread or loaf or mini loaves. These are just nicely spicy, moist and delicious beyond compare.
 

I cannot resist these which is a surprise because the whole point of them was to make an extraordinary healthy muffin. I made them in muffin tops so as not to have a dense, thick, ‘tall’ muffin; muffin tops take a heavier batter and make them a bit more approachable. However, these are so absolutely, mouth-wateringly scrumptious, it wouldn’t matter if you baked them in an old pair of Nike running shoes. You can also substitute Splenda for the sugar and agave syrup for the honey and maple syrup (in which case, add ¼ teaspoon maple extract to retain the maple echo). A small amount of quinoa offers 15% of your daily iron intake.

 

 Whenever I stop at a cafe I usually have just coffee. Or sometimes, just a chamomile tea. But on a certain day at a certain cafe I happened to be famished and I spied these amazing scones. I assumed they were plain old raspberry scones. They were anything but! Raspberries vied with chunks of white chocolate and hunks (somehow) of cheesecake-like filling. Here is my rendition of these decadent, but somehow, spring-y bites.

 

Any tart/sweet plum would do nicely, such as Santa Rose or mini Damson Plums,  in this simple scone, dusted with spiced sugar before baking. You can substitute peach or nectarine for the plums.

Yes, that old chestnut -that recipe that is everywhere and that they tell you you can bake a bit of it each day, ultimately holding the batter for 6 weeks. Ummm, no thank you. The notion of raw eggs handing around has no appeal not to mention, 6 weeks in a cold, wet environment tries the patience of even Clabber Girl's outstanding baking powder. But that stuff notwithstanding, you know –these are rather good.  Bake it the whole batch (double the recipe if you want), and freeze the muffins. These have been respun with a touch of honey and banana chunks. You could even use half peanut butter to replace the oil.

Rhubarb is a favorite food of mine but now it's finding mainstream fans. Blood oranges seem to be the kiwi of the 21st Century. Together, they are a perfect union. This is a new spin on something old but ambrosial: stewed rhubarb of oven compote. Rhubarb marries well with sweet blood oranges (who also do their best to tint the rhubarb a deep rose colour). A touch of brown and white sugar and pomegranate molasses (honey is a fine substitute) make this rustic and sophisticated all at once. Serve over ice-cream, pound cake, with scones, or on with yogurt or Scottish oatmeal for a sweet, tart banquet. I tend to slice two of the blood oranges called for and grind up the last one but just slicing all three is fine.

This is the most flavourful banana muffin I know. It also features huge, umbrella sprawled tops, and is flecked with toasted sweet walnuts throughout. I also sometimes, use part flax seeds and part walnuts. These freeze like a dream and look gourmet but homemade in taste. This makes 18 muffins so feel free to half the recipe.

  What I love about these rustic scones is they are they are very pure of taste – there's no chocolate chips, chunks of Snickers, no vanilla extra or hunks of candied ginger - there's just amazing taste and texture from the basic (but choice) ingredients. This is the real deal, old-fashioned baking, with a not-too-sweet, satisfying wholesome taste.

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