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Comfort Foods

April 21, 2010 | by Emuna Braverman

Muffins -- the perfect pick-me-up food to enjoy any time of day.

Everyone has their own comfort foods – what we eat when the winds are blowing strongly and the sky is a steely grey.  I have a whole list! I certainly enjoy those soothing soups, those hearty stews, those bubbling casseroles. But right now I’m focused on muffins – the kind of food that can perk you up throughout the day.

For breakfast or midmorning snack, try these Bran Muffins. They are not too sweet and hit the spot (Note that they are dairy)

Bran Muffins

5 cups flour
3 cups sugar
5 teaspoons baking soda
1 (15 ounce) box raisin bran cereal
1 quart buttermilk
4 eggs
1 cup oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together flour, sugar, baking soda and cereal. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs and oil. Stir into the dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Fill greased muffin tins and bake for about 15 minutes. Batter can be stored in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks and baked as needed.

For lunch or mid-afternoon, these sweet potato muffins are a nice change.

Sweet Potato Muffins

1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1-12 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (can be canned)
¼ teaspoon cinnamon mixed with 1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, ginger and baking soda. Whisk together eggs and sweet potatoes and stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Do not over mix. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups with the batter and sprinkle cinnamon-sugar mixture on top. Bake for 18-22 minutes. Cook for 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 1 dozen.

And for an extra treat for just about anytime try these chocolate-cream cheese muffins. I make them with tofutti cream cheese so they can be eaten on any and every occasion.

Chocolate-Tofutti Cream Cheese Muffins

½ cup tofutti cream cheese
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 egg
1cup chocolate chips, divided
½ cup coconut
1/3 cup toasted pecan pieces
1-1/2 cups flour
1 cup brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
1/3 cup oil
2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, beat together the tofutti cream cheese, sugar and flour. Beat in egg and stir in 2/3 cup chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut, pecans and remaining 1/3 cup chocolate chips. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, cocoa, baking soda and cinnamon. Whisk together the coffee, oil and vinegar; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Do not over mix. Fill paper-lined muffin cups half full. Drop a rounded tablespoonful of the tofutti cream cheese mixture into the center of each; sprinkle with 1 tablespoon coconut mixture.

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool 5 minutes in pan before removing to wire rack to finish cooling. Makes 12-15 muffins.

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