Thank You Muffins

It’s been ages since I last posted a recipe or a food pic here. I’ve been sharing things on my Instagram account (@AliSportShots), but sitting down to formally type out something has taken a back seat. I’ve posted *sooo* many recipes here (over 175, by last count) and I like to be able to share something totally new, if possible…. however, I realized that I’ve been mentioning “Thank You Muffins” on multiple platforms and have never written this recipe for others to use, so I’m fixing that now.

Here’s my very favorite recipe… the one that I make at least once a week… the one I use anytime I need to express my appreciation for someone… the one that I’ve made SO many times throughout the past year that it’s become a “thing” in our house. This is my recipe for Thank You Muffins.

The ingredients list is fairly simple and incredibly flexible:

  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • 1 can solid pack pumpkin
  • Add-ins (chocolate chips, coconut, nuts, seeds, etc. – a palm-full)
  • Wine (just a few splashes, to thin out the batter a touch)

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 375*. Place a large piece of parchment paper (or use a silpat) on two large baking sheets
  • In a large bowl, empty the cake mix, add the pumpkin, include whatever add-ins you’d like, then splash in some wine. Mix thoroughly.
  • Using a small cookie scoop (I have all three sizes from Pampered Chef and prefer using the smallest for these muffins), place small scoops of batter on the prepared baking sheets. I’ve been able to get as many as 42 mini-muffins from a batch but it varies.
  • Bake at 375* for 12-14 minutes, until the muffins spring back if touched on the top. Remove and allow to cool on the paper (I lift the paper off the baking sheet so the bottoms of the muffins don’t continue to cook). NOTE: if you’re making these as full-size muffins, in a muffin tin, you’ll want to cook them at 400* for 15-17 minutes.
  • Once muffins are cool, you can freeze them for later use. I typically get two plates of muffins (or two weeks of muffins for my landscapers) from each batch.

I have used every flavor of cake mix for this recipe and tend to try and pair the flavor of the wine with the flavor of the cake mix. I’ve used chocolate cake mix with red wines, spice cake with red (or white) wines, yellow cake with white wine, carrot cake with rose’ (or most anything)… I’ve even used a sweet red (or a little sparkling wine) with a strawberry cake mix. Each one has come out well and has conveyed the right message…. “thank you”.

I must confess that the origin of this recipe is from about ten years ago, at a Weight Watchers meeting. It started as a two-ingredient sweet… cake mix and a can of pumpkin… no eggs, no oil, no complications… but I couldn’t leave it alone. I liked the idea of making full-size muffins from this recipe, which you can do easily, but I am a big fan of “bite-size” treats. After monkeying around with the recipe, I came up with the one you see above. My boys loved when I would make this recipe for their friends… especially since the main ingredient was solid-pack pumpkin… and I was happy to make it because I felt good about serving something relatively healthy to people.

Try this and see what you and your family think… I hope you enjoy it as much as me!

Recipe: Banana Raspberry Wine Muffins

I promised to have this recipe posted today, so please forgive my tardiness.  Here’s a yummy way to use up some of those browning bananas that we all seem to have from time to time.  This recipe is loosely based on one that I found on a Food TV recipe app, but their recipe called for a few ingredients that I either didn’t have or didn’t want to use.  I hope you’ll try it and see what works best for you.   I loved the lightly pale pink color but if you want to make them a touch more vibrant, I would suggest using some extra food coloring.  The taste was delicate… nothing was exceptionally strong (other than the banana), so it would be a fun addition to a luncheon or “afternoon tea” sort of thing.  I thought they were terrific… and since it started with a ‘real” recipe, you’re going to get it in “real” recipe form, complete with exact ingredients.  Score!

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup butter/margarine
  • 4 medium bananas, very ripe20140228-133053.jpg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup fat free egg substitute
  • 2 Tbs raspberry syrup
  • 2 Tbs white wine (I used James River Chardonel)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 Tbs chia seeds
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Melt butter/margarine and then mash bananas into butter
  3. Add sugar, egg, vanilla, raspberry syrup, and wine into the banana mixture
  4. Fold in remaining ingredients until just incorporated
  5. Spoon into 24 mini-muffin tins and bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes.

I like to add a little sanding or raw sugar on top for decoration, but it’s not necessary.

I shared these with some random people at a recent event and they were highly complimentary of the taste and texture.  You can make these into 12 individual muffins, if you prefer, but this full recipe made a perfect set of 24 mini-muffins.  Great for sharing and just enough of a snack at only 102 calories per mini-muffin… yes?  Enjoy!