A Tale of Two Muffins

I went to our Wisconsin State Fair this week.  My son wore a squid hat the entire time.  Yes, I said squid hat.  He was trying to embarrass me, apparently we have never met because I don’t shame easily.  I did think it was sad that my grandchildren would never come to be, because who is going to mate with a man walking around with a giant squid on his head?  The real answer to that is everyone.  Strangers, some of them cute women, came up to us all day to tell him how much they enjoyed his hat or to have their picture taken with him.  Just proves how little I know.
Oh, how I digress…I just can’t help it though, I mean a squid hat?  Really?  Maybe my brain is just trying to distract me from these muffins.  See, the reason I chose to make this recipe is that I had eaten a apple cider donut at the fair.  Sprinkled lightly with cinnamon and sugar, it was awesome.  I had this recipe I had gotten from Eating Well Magazine for Cinnamon Steusel Cider Muffins lying around and I couldn’t wait to try it.

Per my usual optimism, I followed the recipe exactly the first time.  The results were not pretty.  The muffins did not rise much and all you could taste was cinnamon.  For hours.

The second time, I used the recipe below and they were less cinnamony.  I also did some research, and it turns out my muffin tin is black-nonstick.  This is one of the 5,845,321 things that your mother should have warned you about and did not.  Turns out you need to lower temp of your oven when cooking with black-nonstick pans.  I adjusted the oven temp and this helped a lot.  The recipe still needs some tweaking, but I loved the apple taste of the “take 2” muffins.



  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 beaten egg
  • 3/4 cup apple cider or apple juice
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (I switched out the vegetable oil)
  • Cinnamon and sugar for shaking on top of muffins.


  1. Lightly oil twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper baking cups; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. In a small mixing bowl combine egg, apple cider, and applesauce; add all at once to flour mixture. Stir just till moistened. (The batter should be lumpy.)
  2. Spoon about 3 tablespoon of the batter into each prepared muffin cup. Sprinkle tops of muffins with a cinnamon and sugar mixture.  Bake in a preheated 400° F (unless you have a black-nonstick muffin tin, then give it a go at 375) oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove muffins from pans; cool slightly on racks

Chocolate Chip Muffins are Healthy, Right?

The inspiration behind choosing this recipe is, quite frankly, PMS.  Not mine, for those of you screaming TMI!  A dear friend (who shall remain nameless) was having this issue and more.  I only know one solution to any problem and that is to throw calories at it until it stops or dies of a heart attack-which is the same thing.  Not wanting my dear friend to die of a heart attack, I did make one substitution to the recipe.  The original appears below, I took out the sour cream and replaced it with non-fat, unflavored yogurt.  I apologize for any of you who are a literal as I am and do not possess a scale.  The recipe came from a book called Comfort Food by Parragon Publishing.  While I love the recipes, my brain runs in circles at directions like scant and generous…I mean come on, I am generous but how generous should I be?  Oprah generous?  I also ended up with 16 muffins rather than 12 which always worries me.  On the positive side, this recipe called upon me to purchase superfine sugar.  No recipe has every requested that before.  Every time I see the name I picture a 1970’s disco theme, and a deep voice saying “Superfine”.  Either way, the recipe was nice, the muffins are not healthy, but there is plenty of bran in the world for those of you who want that sort of thing.


  • 3 1/2 oz butter, softened
  • Scant 2/3 cup superfine sugar
  • Scant 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup sour cream
  • 5 tablespoons milk (whole)
  • Generous 1  3/4 cup four
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • Generous 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 375° F.  Line a 12-cup muffin pan with paper muffin cups.
  • Put the butter, superfine sugar, and brown sugar into a bowl and beat well.
  • Beat in the eggs, cream, and milk until thoroughly mixed.
  • Sift the flour, baking soda, and unsweetened cocoa into a separate bowl and stir into the mixture.
  • Add the chocolate chips and mix well.
  • Spoon the batter into the paper cups.  Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Turn out onto a wire rack and let cool completely.  Store in an airtight container.