Thursday, February 7, 2008

New Moons and Muffins

Well, the Chinese Lunar New Year is here! We seem to be having a lot of holidays this time of year, don't we? I guess the best part about the holidays (at least, the ones this week) is that we don't have to give into the Hallmark-yness of the season. That is, until the 14th when we become innundated by flowers, candy, and heart shaped everything for 24 hours. Not that it's necessarily a bad thing, mind you, as Andrew knows - I love my quirky flowers (vibrant orange tiger lilies are my ultimate favourite flowers, followed by deep red or orange Calla lilies, but when it comes to roses I'll take buttery, cheerful yellow or the rosy peach colours. No classic red for me, haha!).

So, holidays aside, I've been in a huge muffin-y mood lately. Not eating them (that's a bit tricky for me, you see), but rather baking them. All kinds, and new flavour blends... whatever tickles my fancy and uses up things like leftover frosting, flavourings and assorted dairy. And I'm still using up that frosting!! Sheesh, who'd have thought? Ah well, I guess another baked doughnut will be next to pop out of the old oven. I'm considering giving the poor beast a name, it's been very loyal in it's service to me and it seems unfair that I don't mention it often enough, haha. It will be getting a thorough workout in the next few days, in any case, seeing as my seminar garnered a rash of orders, followed by a secret special request that will be blogged about soon (if I ever get the e-mail reply from the potential customer, that is!).

So anyways, three muffins coming your way, each with a rather chocolate focus, and since two of them found their way quickly into my sister's hands (and subsequently stomach), and the remaining (and fruity) cakelette safe and sound with my ever willing to eat my stuff dad (and I thank him for it), I think my muffin skills are pretty well-established and my muffin pans are beginning to cry uncle.

I made these to satisfy a craving my sister (who's pet name is Schmee) was having for the jumbo double-chocolate-chip muffins that Costco sells. While they aren't AS big, they are still intensely chocolate, and sure to please any fiend out there when they're warm or cold! They also freeze well, and are delicious microwaved for a few seconds to warm em up.

Schmee Cakes
Makes 2
1/4 cup buttermilk pancake mix
1 tsp custard powder
1 tbsp icing sugar
1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
3 tbsp chocolate chips, divided
1/2 tsp salted butter
3 tbsp 1% milk
2 tsp chocolate syrup

  1. Preheat oven to 400F. Grease 2 muffin cups and the rims around the cups.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Melt 1 tbsp chocolate chips with the butter, stir in milk and chocolate syrup.
  4. Add the melted ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just blended. Fold in chocolate chips.
  5. Bake 15 minutes, turn out immediately and cool on wire racks for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Amount Per Serving
Calories: 204.3
Total Fat: 8.5 g
Cholesterol: 12.5 mg
Sodium: 225.3 mg
Total Carbs: 31.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 1.9 g
Protein: 3.4 g

One Mondo Muffin!
Serves 2, technically
1/3 cup flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp 1% milk
1 tbsp low-fat sour cream
1 tbsp part-skim ricotta cheese
1 tbsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp vinegar
3 tbsp chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 375F, and grease a jumbo muffin cup.
  2. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Seperately, whisk together all the wet ingredients.
  4. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry mixture.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Bake 30 minutes, or until tests done.
  7. Best served warm, or keep in the fridge one day unless freezing. Keeps in freezer 3-4 months.
Amount Per Serving
Calories: 291.1
Total Fat: 7.6 g
Cholesterol: 5.9 mg
Sodium: 32.7 mg
Total Carbs: 56.1 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.3 g
Protein: 5.2 g

A note for this last muffin / cupcake: it would probably have been better if I had used a jumbo muffin cup for this sucker, but since a) I'm too cheap to buy one for now and b) there was no way in heck I was going outside again after slipping and sliding on the snow and ice this morning, a very muffin-toppy looking cakelette is what I got. I doubt the taste changed, though!

Banana Cakelette with Nutty Chocolate Frosting
Makes 1 very large muffin
1/3 cup oatmeal muffin mix
pinch nutmeg
1/4 tsp baking soda
3 tbsp light sour cream
1-2 tbsp water
1 tsp banana extract
Hazelnut-Espresso Frosting, as needed

  1. Preheat oven to 400F, grease a muffin cup.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a small bowl.
  3. Stir in the sour cream, water and banana extract until just combined but still lumpy.
  4. Bake 15 minutes or until tests done. Cool completely.
  5. Using a piping bag, fill with frosting. Spread as much remaining frosting as you care to over the top of the cakelette, and dig in!
Amount per Serving (muffin only)
Calories: 220.8
Total Fat: 9.9 g
Cholesterol: 17.6 mg
Sodium: 188.5 mg
Total Carbs: 29.9 g
Dietary Fiber: 0.0 g
Protein: 4.3 g

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