Breakfast · Fruit

Triple Berry Muffins

As a lover of all things sweet for breakfast, I often wake up with a craving for muffins. However, daunted by the thought of finding a recipe and gathering the ingredients, I tend to settle for something simpler – and right out of the cereal box.

That is, until I found this recipe. There’s a short list of ingredients, so it’s likely that you have them all on hand in your pantry at this very moment. Flour? Yes. Sugar? Yes. Eggs and milk? In the refrigerator and ready for use. In addition, there’s a ton of flexibility built right into the recipe. Granulated sugar can be easily replaced with brown, vegetable oil can be swapped for butter (or another variety of oil), and berries can be removed entirely or accompanied by nuts (pecans and walnuts would be ideal).

For those of you that see this recipe as a base for future experimentation, there’s plenty of room to play around with spices. Cinnamon, allspice, and cardamom come quickly to mind, but other spices would work just as well. Add lemon zest, lime juice, or other citrus flavors if you like muffins with an extra tangy bite.

When it comes to mixing together the ingredients, that’s where this recipe really begins to shine. Most importantly, you’ll only need two bowls from start to finish. If you’re like me and loved baking but hate dishes, that’s a huge win. And, if you opt for oil instead of butter, there’s no need to break out the mixer – a large mixing spoon will do. Give the batter a few stirs, divide it between the 12 muffin cups, and all the sudden you’re done.

Berry Muffin Breakfast

Once in the oven, these muffins come out warm and toasty in under 20 minutes. Combined with prep time, that means the entire recipe comes together easily in under 35 minutes. Now, baking breakfast doesn’t have to last into the early afternoon.

Triple Berry Muffins Recipe (adapted from The Joy of Cooking)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (1/2 cup if you want a very moist muffin)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed berries (I used raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries)
  • Lemon zest

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and lightly butter two muffin trays (6 muffins each).
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and vegetable oil. Stir in the eggs and vanilla.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until just incorporated. Gently stir in the berries and divide muffins into the prepared muffin cups.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.

 

 

Breakfast

Simple French Toast

Long weekends beg for decadent breakfasts. French toast, with its custard-like texture and sweet, crispy crust, is the perfect answer.

Like many of my favorite sweet breakfast treats, french toast comes together quickly and requires ingredients frequently found in the fridge. Eggs? Check. Milk? Check. Bread? Check. If I’m really trying to impress, I’ll throw a loaf of challah into the mix.

Sweetly Seasoned - French Toast

To make a truly great piece of french toast – one that rivals your favorite brunch establishments – There are a few tricks. First, use thick slices of day-old bread. Your bread should be soft enough to soak up the egg mixture, but not so soft that it will fall apart. Secondly, make sure that you have the right proportion of milk to eggs. If you’re looking for a rich, melt-in-your-mouth piece of french toast, use whole milk or heavy cream.  If you’re looking for something slightly healthier, stick with a low-fat milk like 1%. Lastly, let the bread soak in the custard mixture on both sides before cooking. This is the key to creating a creamy center – arguably the best part of the dish.

For those of you savory folks that are skeptical of sweet breakfast, give this one a try.

French Toast Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of cinnamon or nutmeg
  • 4 medium slices of bread (preferably challah), cut into 1″ thick slices
  • unsalted butter for frying

Instructions:

  1. Beat eggs in a large bowl. Add milk, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon and whisk until combined.
  2. Dip slices of bread one at a time into the bowl.  Let sit for 30 seconds on one side and then flip. Let sit for 30 more seconds and then remove bread from egg mixture, letting excess egg drip off. Repeat with remaining slices of bread.
  3. Heat skillet over medium high heat.  Add butter and swirl around pan to coat. Add slices of bread to the pan and cook for 3-4 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Flip bread and let cook on other side for 2-3 minutes longer.
  4. Remove bread from pan and top with strawberries and maple syrup.  Serve warm and enjoy!
Breakfast

Olive Oil Granola

granola with yogurt

I’ve been a granola binge lately.  It all started with this recipe, which tastes so good (and sweet) that it should probably be topped with vanilla ice cream instead of Greek yogurt. My tastes evolved when I met this granola recipe developed by the guys over at Baked NYC, which quickly became my go-to recipe and earned a spot on Sweetly Seasoned back in September. I made it about a half dozen times, stopping only when I ran through an entire bottle of canola oil.

mixing granola

I scribbled “canola oil” onto my grocery list of essentials, but then I started thinking.  Is canola oil (relatively) good for you? Is there an alternative?

That’s when I found this recipe. It’s unique claim to fame is the use of olive oil, which adds a certain hearty flavor that’s missing from its canola oil cousins. It also substitutes maple syrup for the honey, which I think adds a rich, sweet, caramel-like taste to the finished product.

olive oil granola

Still, the original recipe didn’t have all the add-ins that I’ve come to love. That’s when I decided to make a few tweaks to the recipe.  I added some cinnamon to the dry oats mixture and tossed some cranberries and dried cherries in at the end. I was also concerned about burning the coconut, so I left this out at the beginning and stirred it in during the last ten minutes of baking. The result is something sweet, satisfying, and maybe even good for you!

Olive Oil Granola (adapted from this recipe by Nekisia Davis on Food52*)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 2/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2/3 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut chips
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and tart cherries)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees and line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, mix together the oats, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, pecans, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and light brown sugar.
  4. Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until the oats are evenly coated and shiny.
  5. Pour oat mixture onto the prepared pan and spread evenly into a thin layer.
  6. Bake for 40-45 minutes, stirring granola every 10 minutes. Add coconut chips during the last 10 minutes of baking.
  7. Once granola is evenly browned, remove from the oven and add dried fruit.  Let cool and store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

*Note: this recipe is cut down in size from the original.

Breakfast

Pumpkin Waffles

pumpkin waffle

The last waffle I ate was back in college.  It was topped with soft serve, plenty of hot fudge, sprinkles, and whipped cream.  Once I was done putting it together, it looked more like a brownie sundae than breakfast.

Needless to say, this waffle is very different. The flavor comes from the batter itself, rather than the toppings.  And, while it has significantly less sugar than my freshman favorite, it is still sweet enough to enjoy without syrup.

There’s literally no better way to begin a weekend.

mixing waffles

A big thanks to my friend Hannah for providing the waffle iron, and for being patient as I took photographs of our every move!

Pumpkin Waffles Recipe (adapted from this recipe at Smitten Kitchen):

Ingredients:

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 oz buttermilk
  • 1 cup pumpkin (I used Libby’s)
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and  cooled

Instructions:

  1. Separate the eggs into two medium sized bowls.  In the bowl filled with the four egg yolks, whisk the yolks until smooth and add the remaining wet ingredients (buttermilk, pumpkin, melted butter).  Mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. In another medium sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices).
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the bowl with the egg yolks and other wet ingredients.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks.  I did this by hand for 5-10 minutes, but it can also be done using a stand mixer.  Once the egg whites are ready, fold them into the batter carefully.
  5. Heat up the waffle iron and brush it with oil (follow the directions from your iron. When it’s warm, pour about 3/4 cup of the batter into the lower iron and spread it to the edges (this step will vary depending on the size of the iron).
  6. Follow the cooking directions for your iron, since every waffle iron is different.
  7. When it’s fully cooked, carefully remove the waffle from the iron with a fork.  Serve with maple syrup and enjoy!

*note: this recipe makes A LOT of batter.  We saved the rest, but I’m guessing it could serve 5-6 people at least.

Breakfast

Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

photo (3)

I have a short list of things that I always keep on hand for baking.  This list includes the basics (flour, sugar, eggs, etc.), as well as a few useful add-ins (chocolate chips, oats, dried cranberries, nuts).  And, at the bottom of that list, I have blueberries.  They’re a mainstay in my freezer, and they come in handy whenever I have a breakfast craving for something sweet.

In the past, I’ve used blueberries to amp up my pancakes, scones, and crumb cakes.  This week, they were my inspiration for muffins.  I happened to have some fresh ricotta on hand, so I decided to try out this recipe by Dorie Greenspan (you may be noticing that I pick favorites, and Dorie Greenspan is one of them).  The ricotta here substitutes in for other common dairy ingredients (whole milk, buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream), giving the muffins a hearty but fluffy texture once baked.

blueberry muffins

While I really liked the look of this recipe, I found myself questioning some of the proportions midway through. The batter was much thicker than usual,  and it was almost impossible to coax into muffin cups.   I added in 1/4 cup of whole milk to change the texture a bit, and it seemed to balance the recipe out.

Also, while the recipe suggests lime zest, I’d be curious to try other varieties.  I’m pretty obsessed with orange zest right now, but lemon zest would be great as well. If you happen to have raspberries or blackberries hanging around, this batter would be a great foundation for a mixed berry muffin.

Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

Ricotta Blueberry Muffins (adapted from this recipe by Dorie Greenspan):

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest of half a lime
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two cupcake pans with butter (or use cupcake liners).
  2. Mix together the sugar and the lime zest in a large bowl until it’s well incorporated.  Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Using a wire whisk, stir all the ingredients together.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the ricotta cheese, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix in the butter until combined.  Slowly add in the whole milk, if desired.
  4. Add the ricotta mixture to the dry ingredients using a spatula.  Mix slowly, being careful not to over mix the batter (this will make your muffins tough!).  Once the batter is combined, add the blueberries.
  5. Divide batter into the 12 muffin cups.  Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.  Cool for 10-15 minutes.

Note: These muffins are definitely best within 1-2 days.  If you’re keeping them for longer, I would freeze or refrigerate them.

Breakfast

Homemade Granola

photo (3)

This is the best snack food ever. We ate the first batch entirely by the handful, and it wasn’t until the second batch that I had the chance to try it over yogurt. I absolutely love the sweetness of the honey and brown sugar over the tartness of the Greek yogurt, and I have a feeling this recipe may be about to revolutionize my morning routine.

What’s more, it is extremely easy to make.  For years I avoided it, thinking that the long list of ingredients translated into long hours spent in the kitchen.  This could not be further from the truth.  Granola can be thrown together in under 45 minutes, and most of that time is spent waiting (and salivating!).  It’s also cost effective, and many of the ingredients can be found in your pantry or easily substituted for something similar.  As long as you have oats, oil, some type of sweetener, and a few great add-ins, you’re good to go.

This particular recipe comes from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, a cookbook developed by two bakers in Brooklyn and one of my all-time favorites.  It’s close to a few other recipes that I’ve tried, but I chose it because of its high proportion of nuts and dried fruit.  I also like the addition of hazelnuts, which can be easily peeled and prepared if you follow the method suggested here.

photo 4

Homemade Granola Recipe (adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts, peeled
  • 2/3 cup dried fruit (golden raisins, dried cherries, and dried cranberries)

Instructions:

  1. Heat the oven to 325 degrees and line a 9″x 13″ baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the canola oil, honey, light brown sugar, and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients.  Using a rubber spatula (or your hands!), stir the mixture until the wet ingredients are evenly distributed and there are no large clumps.
  5. Pour the mixture onto the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes.
  6. Take the pan out of the oven and flip the granola with a spatula.  Add the almonds and hazelnuts and bake for another 10 minutes.
  7. Remove from the oven and check for doneness.  If the granola is golden brown and toasted, it’s ready.  If not, put it back in the oven and bake for another 5 minutes.
  8. Add dried fruit and let the granola cool.  If you like your granola to be clumpy, let it sit for longer before stirring.
  9. Once cool, break the granola up into small pieces and store it in an airtight container for up to a week.