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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Cinnamon muffin insanity

A while back I made a huge order from King Arthur flour.  In fact, it was just as we were embarking on the kitchen remodel.  Therefore, many of the things I purchased, I have yet to have the opportunity to use. 

Well, that is no longer the case for one item. 

One of the things I ordered was a bag of cinnamon baking chips.  I couldn’t wait to use these in a good batch of muffins.  But I had to wait because as soon as the kitchen was at least functional again, we had 8 am tee-ball games every Saturday morning.  Tee-ball games at 8 am are not conducive to muffin making.  Just sayin’.

Well, finally got my chance late in the season when my son’s tee-ball game was cancelled one Saturday morning due to rain the night before.  It was time to have a lazy Saturday and celebrate with some cinnamon muffins.

I had to hunt for a while before I found a recipe that I felt would be a good starting place at CooksCountry.com (where I have recently purchased a membership).  I told my man that I was toying with decreasing the amounts of cinnamon elsewhere since I was adding cinnamon chips.  I asked, “Would it be too much cinnamon?”

“Is that even possible?” was his response.

Right.

Some might say that it’s too much cinnamon, but in this house there is no such thing.

And I don’t mind telling ya.  These were goooo-ooood!

So here’s the recipe for some Insanely Cinnamon Muffins

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Insanely Cinnamon Muffins

Adapted from: Cook’s Country “Coffeecake Muffins” (http://www.cookscountry.com)

Makes 12 muffins.

Be sure to use muffin-tin liners for this recipe or the cinnamon filling will stick to the pan.

Ingredients:

Streusel
8 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces and chilled

Muffin batter
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks and softened
½ cup cinnamon chips


You will also need:

Muffin “tin” liners
1 Muffin “tin”
Food processor
1 medium – large mixing bowl
1 medium mixing bowl
Whisk
Rubber/silicone spatula
Small & medium spring loaded scoops (if available)


Method:

For the streusel:
Pulse 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and butter in food processor until just combined. Place in a small bowl and set aside in the refrigerator while mixing the muffin batter.

Do not wash food processor.

For the muffins:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease muffin tin with cooking spray and line with paper liners.

Whisk eggs, sour cream, and vanilla in a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Pulse flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in food processor until thoroughly combined. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles wet sand then transfer to a large bowl.

Pour egg mixture over the flour mixture; using rubber spatula, gently fold it in a few times. Add cinnamon chips and continue to fold together until just combined. The resulting batter will be very thick. Using a small spring-loaded scoop, place 1 tablespoon of batter into each muffin cup and top with 1 tablespoon cinnamon filling. Using back of spoon (or fingers), press cinnamon filling lightly into batter, then top with remaining batter (using a heaping medium-sized spring loaded scoop). Sprinkle streusel topping evenly over batter.

Bake until muffins are light golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out with a few dry crumbs attached, 22 to 28 minutes. Cool muffins in tin for 30 minutes, then carefully transfer to rack to cool.

Serve.

(The muffins will keep in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days but taste SO much better on the first day that it would surprise me if they make it past that.)

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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

R2D2 Birthday Cake

We recently celebrated my son’s 6th birthday and if you didn’t know, he’s a little bit of a Star Wars fan.

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Just a little.

So it only stands to reason that he would have a Star Wars birthday cake.

Well, it just so happens, that Mike was a bit of a Star Wars fan when he was a little guy as well and his mom thought he should have a Star Wars birthday cake, too.  And when she moved out of the house Mike grew up in several years ago, we came into possession of the “Empire Strikes Back” R2D2 character cake pan that she used some thirty years ago for Mike’s birthday cakes.

R2D2 cake pan

So now it was my turn to make an R2D2 cake for my son using that same pan.

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IMG_1666This six year old was pretty happy!

I made a strawberry cake (from cookscountry.com) and used cream cheese icing (which is always a challenge to work with because of the relative ease with which it melts). 

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Poor R2 (Artoo?).