I know I talk about the weather a lot, but when you live in a rainy place that is really impacted by weather, it is often on your mind. Today is a rainy day, and it truly feels like the first day of winter for us. Walking around our apartment this morning I was struck by how cool and dim the light was, and had to remind myself that this is what peak-light would be like for the next few months. Sigh. I mean, low-rainy light makes for some great picture conditions, but it is hard to wake up in and can be tough to get used to.
In other news, my mom and Aunt Janice have been having a glorious time in Italy, and so far have only been scammed once, which is great. They are having lots of lovely wine and gelato, so I am pretty thrilled for them. Super jealous, but thrilled also. It is also incredibly sunny and hot in Italy right now… so there’s that. Sigh. I want to travel soon!
This past week I had my 26th birthday and it was nothing short of lovely. For a birthday on a Wednesday (middle-of-the-week celebrating is never fun) I had a wonderful day. At work, my lovely co-workers took me for lunch and then I received four chocolate bars in the days following my birthday, who doesn’t love birthday boxing days!
I am also proud to say that I finally submitted our passport stuff so soon I can be as international as I want! I’ve aways had a passport, though this time I let it deeply expire. In the future I wont let it expire and I can do the simple renewal process! Thank goodness for the increasing fees that encouraged me to get on top of this before July 1st! Speaking of which, I hope everyone in Canada has great Canada Day plans, and all you readers in the states, well you still have some planning time for your big day!
There are a lot of magical little places up in the Yukon. I was fortunate to work at the incomparable Alpine Bakery, and have struggled to find bread of that quality in either Calgary or Vancouver. There are incredible cafés, restaurants, and shops that would stand out even in the largest cities, and we are always thankful to have these gems in our small town. One such gem is the Chocolate Claim. First, they sell some of my favourite earrings from Lara Melnik, but they also have two types of muffins every day that are sure to knock your socks off (they also used to have a cranberry bread pudding muffin that is as close to heaven as I’ve been, I am not sure they still make it). When I was working at the Yukon Transportation Museum I used to go out of my way a few days a week to get a coffee and muffin. One of my favourites was their Raspberry Chocolate Chip, it had the perfect balance of tart and sweet. My ultimate favourite which seemed to appear less often was the Blackberry Cream Cheese. Their muffins were massive and packed with berries. But the best part was on top there was a hunk of cream cheese, baked into the muffin and lightly crusted with sugar. That nugget of cheesey goodness POPPED with the flavour of the muffin.
Another mouthful for a title but oh so worth it. These muffins were inspired by laziness. I had already planned to bake coffee cake this weekend but decided this morning that I really didn’t want to bake a pan of coffee cake, have to cut it and store it and figure all that out. Muffins are easier to manage, I can eat two or three and Gen can’t tell how much I’ve eaten… fool proof plan. These are light and fluffy with a bit of a crunch, and a golden top that cries to be save until the end (Seinfeld knew what was up with the whole Top of the Muffin thing).
Yogurt Coffee Cake Muffins
Adapted from this lovely cookbook.
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup firmly-packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup toasted walnuts (place on baking sheet in a 375° for 5-10 minutes, until they start to brown)
- 6 tbs unsalted butter, cold, cut into 1″ cubes
Chocolate sugar ribbon
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp cardamom
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 1 cup butter, softened (not melted)
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups of plain yogurt
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- Crumb top prep: Whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add the toasted walnuts and, using a pastry cutter, chop the walnuts into the flour mixture until they are well incorporated and in pea-sized pieces. Add the butter, again using the pastry cutter, cut the butter into the mixture until everything is finely chopped, resembling coarse sand. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside in the refrigerator.
- Sugar ribbon prep: In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line or grease muffin tins. (This made 24 muffins exactly, I only have one tin so I had to put them in twice.)
- In a large bowl, cream the butter until smooth. Scrape down the sides and add the sugar. Mix until smooth and starts to look fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each and scraping the sides as needed.
- Add the yogurt and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the flour mixture in three parts until just incorporated. Be careful not to overmix.
- Drop one tablespoon of batter into each cup. Cover with a tsp (or more) of the sugar ribbon mixture.
- Drop a heaping tablespoon of batter on top of the sugar ribbon layer and smooth as best you can. Top with the crumb topping and press down into the batter. Don’t be afraid to use a lot of topping, you wan to use it all.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown or a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool on a wire rack.
All the mixins ready to layer!
Ribbon of goodness.
This is Kel’s first recipe. I was going to wait until she had a chance to post her commentary on these muffins, but she is a busy lady, and these are the perfect post for a Sunday morning, so here we go! I have had versions of these muffins, and I can assure you that they are delicious, the peanut butter and banana are doing their own delicious thing and then in jumps the chocolate, and well, as you can imagine, it is like a tasty tango. Kel might jump in here at a later point to add her commentary, but I will say that these are yummy.
Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Muffins
- 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup packed, golden brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2-3 large, ripe bananas, mashed-enough for 1-1/4 cups banana
- 1 cup milk
- 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
- 3 Tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, both sugars, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
- In separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk, peanut butter oil, vanilla, and eggs. Pour over dry ingredients. Add chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
- Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin tin, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until tops are firm to the touch, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool in pan on rack for 5 minutes; transfer to rack and let cool.