This past weekend, I had the unique opportunity of working in a booth at a German Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) as a fundraiser for the twins’ school. It was a lot of fun, even if my shaky German made for some interesting sales pitches..
The entire square around the Rathaus (town hall) was full of booths sponsored by various local businesses and organizations, all selling food, gifts, and Gluehwein (hot, spiced red wine).
I thought that the decorations on the Rathaus were especially cool- they wrapped the entire building with gigantic, scrappy scarves!
Our booth (we only had the right side of the hut) sold hot dogs, chili dogs, eggnog, and a variety of baked goods that were donated by parents. And what did I bring? Muffins, of course!
I can’t take credit for all of the baked goodness shown above, but I did bring four varieties: Cranberry Pumpkin Spice Muffins (bottom right, in the green wrappers), Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins (bottom right, in the red wrappers), Blueberry Cream Muffins (bottom left, with the sugar on top), and some Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes (top left, with the peppermint bits and gold wrappers) for a little variety. These are some of my favorite recipes to bake and give for the holidays, and I hope you’ll enjoy them!
Chocolate Chip Banana Bread with Chocolate Glaze
When I make this recipe in a Bundt pan, I like to add some gooey chocolate glaze to the top. I opted not to add the glaze to the muffins this weekend, since I was already using the glaze on the cupcakes, but it’s always fun to either pipe some into a muffin center or brush some on top for a little added sweetness!
- ½ C Butter
- 1 ½ C Sugar
- 2 Eggs, beaten
- 2-3 Very ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 TSP Vanilla extract
- 6 TBS Buttermilk
- 1 TSP Baking Soda
- 2 C Flour
- ½ TSP Baking Powder
- ½ TSP Salt
- 1 Bag Semi-Sweet Miniature Chocolate Chips
- Chocolate Glaze (see below)
- Additional chocolate chips or shavings for decoration, if desired
- Preheat oven to 350*F
- Grease and flour a Bundt pan or spray with a flour-infused baking spray
- Cream butter and sugar
- Add eggs, bananas, and buttermilk
- Add dry ingredients and vanilla extract
- Add chocolate chips
- Blend until well mixed
- Pour into prepared Bundt pan or into lined muffin cups and bake at 350* for 40-50 minutes for a Bundt or 20-25 minutes for muffins, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean
- Cool in pan for 10-15 minutes and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely
- To glaze, transfer to a cake plate (make sure that there is room on the edges for glaze overflow- a plate with a lip is helpful) and, using the end of a wooden spoon or dowel, make holes at intervals around the top of the cake. (I use the bumps of the Bundt pan as guides, making a tunnel every 2nd bump.)
- Prepare the chocolate glaze (see below) and, while still warm, pour over cake. I usually take a spoon or ladle and pour over the holes first to ensure that they’re filled with glaze, and then pour the remainder over the cake to cover.
- Sprinkle additional chocolate chips or chocolate shavings over glaze for decoration if desired.
Shiny Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from the Shiny Chocolate Glaze recipe found in The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I like a lot of glaze, so sometimes I double this recipe and let it pool in the center of the Bundt cake so that everyone gets plenty of chocolate!
- 2 TBS Butter
- 2 TBS Unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 C Heavy (whipping) cream, plus additional as needed
- 1 TSP Vanilla extract
- 1 C Powdered sugar (the original recipe says to sift, but I rarely do)
- 1 C Semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Melt the butter in a small saucepan
- Add the cocoa and cream, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes. Do not boil.
- Remove the pan from heat and stir in the confectioners’ sugar and the vanilla until mixture is smooth
- Stir in the chocolate chips until melted, putting the pan over low heat again if needed, and adding a little more cream if the mixture seems too thick.
- Spoon the glaze over the cooled cake as directed above.
Cranberry Pumpkin Spice Muffins
Adapted from the Addictive Pumpkin Muffins recipe found at AllRecipes.com. My version omits the nuts, substitutes cranberries for raisins, and adds a bit of cinnamon sugar for a finishing touch!
- 1 1/2 cups craisins/dried cranberries
- 4 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 4 cups white sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons nutmeg
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
- 6 eggs
- 1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin
- 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
- cinnamon sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C). Grease three 12 cup muffin pans, or line with paper muffin liners. Soak cranberries in hot water for ten minutes to plump, then drain.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts into the batter. Spoon batter into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar while still warm.
Blueberry Cream Muffins
Adapted from the Strawberry ‘N Creme Muffins recipe found at Food.com. I substituted a 2 ounce package of dried blueberries for the strawberries, and used a vanilla-flavored hagelzucker (a large crystal sugar- I found this particular flavored variety in the coffee and tea section at the local drug store) in place of regular sugar on top.
- 1/4 lb unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- sugar (regular granulated or hagelzucker, if you can find it), for sprinkling
- 2 eggs
- 2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 2oz. bag of dried blueberries (fresh or frozen should also work- I’d say about 1-2 cups)
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Cream butter and 1 1/4 cup sugar until fluffy.
- Add eggs one at a time. Do not overmix.
- In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture and cream alternately to the butter mixture. End with the flour mixture.
- Stir in vanilla and then fold in berries.
- Fill greased or lined muffin tins 3/4 full.
- Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake for 30 minutes, or until tester dipped in center comes out clean.
Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes with Chocolate Glaze
Adapted from the Basic Chocolate Poundcake recipe found in The Cake Mix Doctor by Anne Byrn. I add a bit of peppermint liqueur to the batter in order to infuse the cake itself with a nice, peppermint flavor!
- 1 18.25 ounce box of Chocolate Fudge cake mix WITHOUT pudding in the mix
- 1 3.9 ounce box of chocolate instant pudding mix
- 4 large eggs
- 1 Cup sour cream
- 1/2 Cup warm water
- 1/2 Cup vegetable oil
- 1 TBS peppermint liqueur/schapps
- 1 bag of dark chocolate chips (semi-sweet works if dark isn’t available)
- 1 box of mini candy canes (easier to unwrap than full-sized ones)
- Chocolate Glaze (see recipe above)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place cake mix ,pudding, eggs, sour cream, water and oil in large bowl.
- Blend with electric mixer on low for 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Increase mixer speed to medium and beat 2-3 minutes more. Batter should look thick and well combined.
- Add peppermint liqueur and chocolate chips and mix to combine. There should be a nice peppermint scent to the batter at this point. If you don’t feel it’s strong enough, add a splash more!
- Put batter in lined muffin cups and bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, 20-25 minutes.
- Remove pan from oven and place on wire rack to cool for 20 minutes, and then move cupcakes to a wire rack to finish cooling, 20 minutes more.
- Unwrap candy canes and pulse in a food processor until pulverized, leaving some larger bits for texture. (Note- be VERY careful that you’ve gotten all of the plastic off of the candy, because it’s NOT fun picking those little bits out later on!)
- Make 1 recipe of Chocolate Glaze (see recipe above)
- Using a frosting gun or pastry bag, inject each cupcake with a little glaze and then brush or drizzle some more on top. Immediately sprinkle with crushed peppermints, and allow to rest until the glaze has set.
That’s all for today, muffin fans- tune in next week, when the REAL holiday baking extravaganza is set to begin, for cookies, cakes, and more!