Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Cinnamon Cottage Cheese Mini Muffins

If you've been following my blog, I'm sure you know by now how I hate waste. If I buy an ingredient, I typically find a way to use it in several ways because I hate the idea of throwing away food. I bought some cottage cheese to see if my daughter might enjoy it as a snack. It is inexpensive and high in protein, so I figured, why not? However, there is only so much cottage cheese she can eat, so I needed to find something to make with the rest of it since my husband and myself do not enjoy just eating it. To be honest, I don't care for cottage cheese at all, so I knew I would need to find a way to prepare it that would make it no longer even seem like cottage cheese.  I made these Cottage Cheese Pancakes from Weelicious for my son when he was younger, and they were a big hit. But this time I was looking for something different...I know this is going to shock you, but I was looking for some way to use the cottage cheese in muffin form. Shocking, right? A muffin recipe on my blog?? How unexpected! I know, I know...I post a lot of muffin recipes. But to be fair I make muffins at least once a week. They make for a very quick and easy breakfast for my whole family, and it is very easy to switch them up and make different flavors and make them healthier. 

So today I would like to share theses Cinnamon Cottage Cheese Muffins...that don't taste like cottage cheese! That is a promise from me because, like I said before, I do not care for cottage cheese, so if they tasted like cottage cheese, I would not have eaten more than one of them, and I have definitely had my fair share. My 3-and-a-half year old really loves them...he ate 8 or 9 of them the first day I made them. My 19-month-old really enjoys them too! My husband told me he absolutely loves the texture of them and enjoys them more than any other cinnamon muffin I have ever made...that is high praise because, as I said before, I make a lot of muffins! 

I adjusted the recipe a bit from the original, and I think it would be easy to adjust it more to make them even healthier. I think replacing some (or all) of the sugar for honey would work quite well as that that is the only part of this recipe that is concerning to me health wise. I usually prefer to use no more than 1/2 cup of sugar in a muffin recipe, and this one calls for 2/3 cup. I did not decrease the sugar when I made these the first time because I was afraid if I did they might not be sweet enough with the cottage cheese in them. I still don't think I would cut down on the sugar (as these muffins are not overly sweet), but I think if I made them again I would use 1/3 cup of sugar and 1/3 cup of honey, just to cut down on the refined sugar. As always, feel free to change up the recipe to fit your family's needs! Here is how I made these Cinnamon Cottage Cheese Muffins: 

Start by mixing your dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. I replaced some of the flour in the original recipe with whole wheat flour, but not all of it as I was afraid the muffins would be too dense. Whisk together the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar, and set this aside. 

Next, to make sure there were no chunks of cottage cheese, I combined cottage cheese, applesauce, and a splash of the 2/3 cup milk in my electric food mill and blended until the cottage cheese chunks were as small as I could get them. This step is optional and was not in the original recipe, but for me it was a necessary step to ensure there were no chunks of cottage cheese in the final product. 

In a large bowl add the blended cottage cheese mixture, the rest of the milk, an egg, vanilla, and oil or butter. Whisk this together until smooth. 

Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and gently mix until combined. 

Pour into a greased mini muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full. 

I baked these at 400 degrees for 12 minutes, or until the tops were golden brown and sprung back when I pressed them lightly. These muffins are very moist, so a toothpick may not come out clean even when they are fully cooked. Regular-sized muffins will bake for 15-17 minutes. I always prefer making mini muffins if I my kids will be eating them because they are the perfect size for little hands to hold. 

Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove them to a wire rack to finish cooling. 

I sat these on the kitchen table instead of the counter to cool today, and I'm pretty sure my son thought that meant the entire cooling rack was his serving of muffins...he kept eating them! 

Also, how cute is he in his super man jammies?? Even Super Man needs an energy boost from a muffin from time to time! 

These muffins are quite tasty! The cottage cheese just makes them very moist. They are best warm from the oven, but they hold up for a few days. We are on day 3 of eating them, and they are still good. I do nuke mine in the microwave for a few seconds so they are a little warm. My kids and husband eat theirs at room temperature. 

So if you have some extra cottage cheese on hand, give these a try! They are very good! I imagine you could add blueberries or some other fruit to give them even more flavor. However, my son prefers a plain muffin with fruit on the side. 

Here is the recipe for your reference! Happy baking and eating! 

Cinnamon Cottage Cheese Mini Muffins 
Adapted from this recipe

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
2/3 cup milk
1 egg, whisked
1/4 cup melted unsalted butter or coconut oil or canola oil
2 teaspoons vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a mini muffin or regular muffin tin with nonstick spray. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and sugar. Set aside. 
3. In the bowl of a blender, food processor, or electric food mill, combine the cottage cheese, applesauce, and a little of the milk. Blend until smooth. (You can skip this step if you are not worried about the texture of the cottage cheese.) 
4. In a large bowl, whisk together the cottage cheese mixture, the rest of the milk, egg, butter or oil, and vanilla. 
5. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and stir gently to combine. 
6. Add batter to greased muffin tin, filling 2/3 full. Bake mini muffins for 12 minutes and regular sized muffins for 15-17 minutes. Muffins are done when the tops are golden and spring back when you press them slightly. Makes 36 mini muffins or 12 regular muffins. 

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