Cheddar Cheese Muffins, with recipe

Cheddar Cheese Muffins

My exploration of the World of Muffins led me to several recipes for Cheddar Cheese Muffins. After some initial research and development, I’m happy to report that I’ve hit on a delicious and satisfying recipe. These muffins have everything I want in a savory muffin:
great flavor, a little spicy kick, and wonderful texture. And cheese.

Cheddar Cheese Muffins

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 ounces of grated sharp cheddar cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, melt butter. Add milk, egg and cayenne. Stir to combine.

3. In a second bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

4. Stir the cheese into the dry mixture..

5. Add dry mixture to wet mixture, and stir batter only until it is just combined. The batter will be lumpy.

6. Spoon the batter into muffin tins. Fill each tin about 2/3 full.

7. Bake 20- 25 minutes.

Additional tips:
* Really, stir only until the mixture is combined. That’s the secret to tender muffins and true for most quick breads.

* This recipe can make 12 standard muffins, but I prefer to make 6 extra large muffins.

* Save a bit of cheese to sprinkle on top of the muffins just before baking.

Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins

PB & J Muffins with Gus & Grey Strawberry Jam
I put these muffins on the top of my list of New Favorite Things to Eat.

I liked the idea of muffins that highlighted these comfort food flavors. The more I thought about them, the more I started craving Peanut Butter & Jelly Muffins. After some baking R & D, I’ve arrived at a very satisfying recipe. A healthy addition of smooth peanut butter to the batter keeps the muffins moist and flavorful. The muffins fall into the substantial snack muffin category, rather than that of light cake-y muffins.

For the jelly inside, I plan to work my through the awesome offerings of Detroit’s Gus & Grey’s line of jams. I started with their Southern Lovin Blackberry Bourbon Vanilla Jam, which met with rave reviews. This batch has a dollop of Old Fashioned Strawberry Jam baked inside.

Muffins from Why Not Pie are available at Argus Farm Stop in Ann Arbor.

Boterkoek, with research and recipe

Boterkoek or Dutch Butter Cake
My friend Janet wrote to ask how the Boterkoek had gone over with local pie lovers. I reported that it had done well indeed. I made several for customers and an “extra” one for sharing samples with friends. Some tasters liken it to shortbread or marzipan, but I really think it’s a unique taste and texture among desserts.

One Boterkoek went to a women’s group meeting; one of the members is a holocaust survivor who had spent part of her childhood in Amsterdam and has a fondness for all things Dutch. She liked the Boterkoek, although it wasn’t the same as the one in her memories.

The range of recipes for what counts as Boterkoek was something that struck me in my internet research on the topic.

I had a recipe in my file, and I asked my friend Janet, a second-generation Dutch-Canadian, to review its authenticity. She stated that she thought of Boterkoek consisting of only flour, sugar, and butter, with a bit of almond extract.

Jan showed the recipe to her mother, who noted that even with the egg and baking powder in my recipe, it likely was “someone’s tradition”, even if it wasn’t Boterkoek exactly like she made it.

In research online, I found more varied and wide-ranging ingredients. Some cooks use vanilla, orange juice or zest, lemon juice or zest, cake flour, brown sugar, 3 eggs (!), milk, or almond paste. The variety of ingredients shows the range of creativity and ingenuity of bakers in different times and places, perhaps working with what they have on hand or pushing the boundaries of a recipe through experimentation.
Here is the recipe I like to use.


2/3 cup butter (really, it needs to be butter)
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
1 egg, beaten; set aside 1 Tablespoon for finishing the surface
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
sliced almonds, optional but certainly a nice touch.

1. In a bowl, cream together the butter, sugar and almond extract.

2. Mix in the beaten egg, being sure to reserve 1 Tablespoon.

3. Mix the flour and baking powder together. Then add them to the other ingredients.

4. Gather the dough together and kneed lightly 3 or 4 times.

5. Spread the dough in a greased 9 inch pie pan. Wet the back of a spoon and use it to spread the dough evenly. Some bakers like to score the top of the dough with a knife or fork to create a diamond pattern.

6. Brush the reserved egg over the surface of the dough.

7. Sprinkle the surface with sliced almonds.

8. Bake at 350F for 30 minutes. It will be firm to the touch but still soft on the inside.

This is a delicious, dense dessert that is best served in thin slices and enjoyed by many.