What does every mom want for Mother’s Day? Clean bedrooms and no fighting siblings, right? Maybe quiet Mom pamper time, for sure lots of hugs and kisses AND of course, a yummy breakfast! I can help with that part! Here are two muffin recipes for mom’s breakfast tray that will really make her day.
Blueberry Lavender Lemon Muffins. For these muffins alone I wish computers had a smell feature. The combination of lemon zest, sugar and lavender mixed with the batter packed with blueberries smells fantastic. The use of lavender is fantastic here but if you can’t find it you can omit it using just the lemon and blueberry, still delicious. Did you know that dried lavender is edible? I first had it in the south of France, lavender gelato, it was amazing. I like to add it to simple cakes and muffins. I’m wondering if it would be good with a little honey on cheese? I’ll try that soon.
For the savory fans, Cheddar Onion and Bacon Muffins. All these need is an egg and you have a great breakfast. Oh and coffee, always coffee, please. These smell and taste exactly like they sound. Bacon, Cheddar Muffin, eat them hot, that’s how they are best, gooey, melty and delicious.
When you are reading through the recipes make sure to read through the tips. My family has owned a bakery and sandwich shop for many years. There’s something about muffins made in a commercial oven that gives them that big rise and wonderful muffin top. Well, I’ve explained a bit about how you can achieve this at home in your own oven. It’s a little food science and temperature. Read on.
Special Tips for Making Great Muffins Every Time
Never use a mixer to incorporate your dry ingredients to your wet. Use a spatula or spoon.
Do not over mix your batter.
Cover your batter and refrigerate for at least 1 hour (can go overnight as well).
Do you know why you should let your muffin batter rest?
During the resting period, starch molecules in the flour are absorbing the liquid in the batter. This causes them to swell and gives the batter a thicker, more viscous consistency. Any gluten formed during the mixing of the batter is also getting time to relax, and air bubbles are slowly working their way out. Now you know.
Preheat your oven to 425F. Yes, I know the recipe calls for 350 but trust me on this.this works! The baking/temp method is foolproof. By starting them off at such a high temperature the initial high heat of 425 degrees F causes the batter to have greater oven spring or the rapid rise during the first few minutes of baking. The higher heat creates a burst of steam that lifts the batter. Makes sense, right?
There are 2 important steps here – letting the batter rest at least an hour or overnight in the fridge (preferred) and how you bake them temp-wise. Here in lies the secret.
Spray the top of your muffin pan with non-stick spray.
Line the pan with cupcake/muffin liners.
Fill the muffin papers almost ALL THE WAY TO THE TOP OF THE PAPER. (just leave about an 1/8″ from the top). Just do it.
If you have empty cavities in your muffin tin (not enough batter), remove the liner and add 1/2 cup water in each.
Bake 6-9 minutes at 425. The muffins should be about a 1/4″-1/2″ above the paper. That’s the sign the heat can be turned down.
Reduce heat to 350° (DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR TO DROP THE TEMP) and bake for 6-12 more minutes or until tops are golden brown and a toothpick inserted comes out barely clean. The time will vary depending on your oven.
Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the muffins (they will be hot) from the pan and cool on the rack. Do not leave them in the pan to cool completely as they bottoms and sides will become soggy. Leaving them in the pan builds up too much moisture.
Blueberry Lavender Lemon Muffins
Makes approximately 10 muffins
For the muffins
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold is fine
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon dried lavender buds
- Finely grated zest from ½ a lemon
- ¾ cup plain unsweetened yogurt or sour cream
- 1 large egg
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea or table salt
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups blueberries, fresh or frozen (no need to defrost if frozen)
- ¼ cup of flour to dust the frozen blueberries with before folding them into the batter (if using frozen only)
For the crumb topping
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1 tablespoons granulated sugar or honey granules.
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line 10 muffin cups with paper or foil liners or spray muffin tins with cooking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the crumb topping ingredients – flour with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the melted butter, then pinch the mixture until it forms pea-size clumps and set aside. Add more flour if needed to achieve a crumb texture and then set aside.
- Combine the dried lavender, sugar, and lemon zest of one lemon. You can use your clean and dry hands to work the lavender into the sugar massaging it into the sugar to infuse it and break down the lavender further. Or I give it a whirl pulsing it a few times in my Vita Mix. Any high power blender or food processor will do.
- Melt butter in a large bowl and whisk in the sugar, lavender mixture, yogurt and egg until smooth.
- Then whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt until fully combined
- If using frozen berries, lightly dust or toss them in some all purpose flour which will help prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the pan, and then gently fold the flour and the berries into the batter. Batter will be very thick, like a cookie dough.
- At this point I put it in the refrigerator for one hour to let it rest. Did you read the muffin tips?
- Divide between prepared muffin cups using a scoop for even distribution then, sprinkle each generously with crumb topping.
- Bake at 425 for 6 minutes (roughly 6-9 minutes) if they have risen above the paper liner 1/4 to 1/2 inch then it’s time to turn temp to 350 for 10-15 more min. (time varies depending on oven) cook until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out. See tips below for an explanation for this cooking method.
- Remove and let cool in pan for 2 minutes then remove carefully to a cooling rack to cool the rest of the way
Don’t forget the coffee!!
Cheddar Bacon Onion Muffins
- 2 cups All-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 cup vegetable shortening (crisco, Etc)
- 1/2 cup and 2 Tablespoons milk (whole milk Is best)
- 4 Tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 whole egg
- 10 slices thick cut bacon, fried and crumbled
- 1 cup finely diced onion sautéed slowly until caramel colored.
- 11/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
Note, I usually recommend grating cheese by hand. Pre-grated cheese has additives to keep it from clumping. Usually I say don’t use it because it keeps the cheese from melting nicely. However, when it comes to muffins or breads the additive to keep it from clumping works in your favor. It will keep the cheese from sinking to the bottom of the pan allowing it to be evenly distributed in your baked goods.
- Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Using a pastry cutter, cut in shortening until all combined.
- Combine milk, oil, and egg in a separate bowl. Whisk together.
- Combine flour mixture, milk mixture, bacon, onions, and cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Stir gently until all combined.
- Spoon batter into greased muffin tins. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes on 375 degrees until golden Remove from pan and serve warm.
Before you clean up… WAIT, What are you going to do with the left over bacon fat?
Bacon fat makes for a delicious and versatile flavoring. Bacon fat can be stored in a small jar in the refrigerator and will last about a month. Add a tablespoon to your roasted potatoes. Throw it in some cornbread. Sauté cabbage in it. Cook your egg in it. Add it to a salad dressing. Sneak it into your hamburgers. Add a little to veggies like green beans, corn, or Brussel sprouts. There are so many ways to use it so don’t let it go to waste!
About the Author
Photographer Sally Roeckell specializes in contemporary lifestyle portraiture with an emphasis on food photography. Her Blog, Table and Dish is a website devoted to celebrating and curating the many ways that food binds us. Sally hopes that her recipes and images will inspire you to gather your friends and family in the kitchen to make memories, use the time to connect with busy kids, chat over mixing bowls, get messy, laugh, sing, set the table, clear the table, pass the salt, debate the days topics and pray. You can follow her here as a weekly contributor to 365Barrington and Heinen’s as well as via Table and Dish on Instagram and on her website at TableAndDish.com.
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Heinen’s Grocery is located at 500 N. Hough Street, between E. Main Street and Route 14 (next to Meatheads) in Barrington, Illinois. They’re open 7 days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. For more information, visit Heinens.com.