Once a month, we have the pleasure of making up little bites for a church social hour. We always try to find something new to make, and, most times we succeed, including last month. For us, this works out well; we don’t fall into a rut, the churchgoers (and us) get to try something different, and you get to read about it. What a deal for a quick little snack.
This month (or really last month, well, year, even) we started with a recipe for Feta, Basil, and Scallion Muffins that we picked up from Ovenly, by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin, where they not only gave that recipe, but gave ideas for other flavor combinations. We don’t think that they listed Cheddar and dill, but that’s what we had around the house, so we went right ahead and forged out a new recipe. Oh, and while we made mini muffins, this should also make full-sized muffins, too. Just bake them longer.
Feel free to choose a different cheese and herbs or spices. We were originally going with Cheddar and red onion (probably 1/4 cup, finely diced), but we had fresh dill that we had to use. We changed our plans immediately. Don’t have smoked paprika? Don’t worry about it. Don’t have buttermilk? Just use milk. We only used buttermilk because we had some left from the last time we made some (see this post to learn how). Eggs: if you can find a neighbor who keeps hens, buy from him or her. You’ll help your neighbor and have the best eggs ever.
Procedure in detail:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a mini-muffin pan with paper cups. Or, failing that, give them a light coating of butter. Or use a regular muffin pan. Your choice, since they’re your muffins.
Mix dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, paprika, garlic powder, and salt. Revel in the fact that you’re a quarter of the way to having fresh, tasty muffins.
Add cheese and dill. Stir in the cheese and dill. It was easiest for us to get in there with our hands to mix in the cheese. That way, we could break apart any lumps of cheese and make sure that the cheese is completely coated with flour.
Whisk eggs. Okay, you really can just put all the liquids into a bowl and whisk them together all at once — we made two batches, one each way, and there was no difference — or you can whisk the eggs first.
Add milk and oil. Whisk in the milk and oil until you have a uniform mixture without any oil floating on top.
Mix drys into liquids. Pour the dry ingredients into the liquids and give everything a stir. Stir just until all the dry ingredients are moistened and you have a thick batter.
Fill cups. If you’re filling mini-muffin pans, as we were, you might find it easiest to put the batter into a disposable piping bag and pipe the cups 3/4 of the way full. Otherwise, use a spoon.
Bake. Slide into the oven and bake 15 minutes (for mini muffins) or 20 minutes (for full-sized muffins), or until a skewer inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Muffins like this are really easy to make, so we’re never sure why they sell muffin mix at the store. We guess that it’s probably just a really expensive version of flour and baking powder, with a tiny bit of really expensive spices, for good measure. Plus a few preservatives and other chemical-sounding things tossed in — oh, we don’t know why, perhaps to avoid having to send them to a landfill. We hope that once you see how easy it is, you might start making your muffins from scratch, too. That way, you can choose the flavors. This combination was good, although we think it would have been better omitting the smoked paprika. The dill flavor would have been more pronounced. But, for less than 15 minutes of work (we made the second batch in the time the first was baking), how can you go wrong? Four stars.