Mini-muffin Madness

I don’t know about anyone else but when we buy mini-muffins at the store, they are gone in just a day or two. My kids are like vultures around them and the oldest loves mini-muffins for breakfast.

Anyhow, I’m part of a Dave Ramsey meal budgeting group on Facebook and I saw lots of other moms talking about how much they saved making their own mini-muffins. Now, I’ve looked a few places tonight* and re-compared the per muffin price, which ranged from ten cents (Sam’s Club) to fifteen cents (local Kroger). Reviewing my costs for the baking cups, muffin mix, milk and sandwich bags, I came in right at nine cents per muffin. Not a huge money saver, but a penny saved is a penny earned they say. *Full disclosure here, I can’t do math and thought that the store bought muffins were almost fourty cents per muffin. Oh well…

I needed to bake today to release some stress so I decided that homemade mini-muffins would be easy and save us a little money – $3.40 not $102 like I thought before I realized I can’t do math. So, I made a lot of mini-muffins, 340 to be exact. Ever want to know what 340 mini-muffins looks like? Well, here you go.

I used Martha White muffin mix, because our local grocery store carries it in many varieties and it only requires adding milk. We now have the following muffin choices available in packs of four: chocolate chocolate chip, apple cider, blueberry, wild berry, strawberry, lemon poppy seed and banana nut. I’ll be putting all of these packs in freezer bags tomorrow and take a few out of the deep freeze each week as needed for part of breakfast or as snacks when we are on the run.

And some parting wisdom before you go, check your math more than once to make sure what you are doing is really worth the time it will take. 🙂

Berry Chocolate Cupcakes

I’ve literally been waiting all weekend to share my berry chocolate cupcakes with everyone. I was so excited to find these beautiful raspberries yesterday on one of our adventures.

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Then when we visited our local outlet store and found a cupcake carrier like this one, I knew it was a sign that we needed to make some amazingly yummy berry chocolate cupcakes. After a quick trip to the grocery store for some of the ingredients we needed and my favorite Paper Chef Cupcake Liners, my baking assistant and I got started.

I love to bake from scratch, but that’s not realistic for me most of the time. So, when it comes to making chocolate cake, I love this recipe for the Best Doctored Up Cake Mix Cake and Best Ever Chocolate Frosting Recipe from Something Swanky. The cake and the icing are the perfect balance of sweet and bitter, and I think the yogurt gives both an even better flavor. The recipes call for plain Greek yogurt, but sometimes for extra flavor I buy vanilla or chocolate – yum!

I found the bake time to be similar to what’s recommended in the recipe even when baking as cupcakes and if you use the Paper Chef Cupcake Liners, they are so easy to remove. We let the cupcakes sit over night to cool and so my baking assistant could get some much needed sleep (see Facebook post about the threenager).

Unfortunately though, sometimes life gives you bad raspberries (filled with little larvae) and you have to scurry to find a substitute. As much as we were looking forward to raspberry filled cupcakes, the grocery store had a great deal on strawberries (did I mention we are followers of Dave Ramsey?), that I couldn’t pass up. I also needed a fine strainer to make my berry filling and was so excited to find that Kroger had a buy one, get one free sale on their Good Cook kitchen gadgets. So, we are now proud owners of a strainer AND a 3-in-1 avocado tool!

My berry filling recipe could use any berry, but today I sliced 1 quart of strawberries and combined them with 3/4 granulated sugar, 3/4 cup water, and a splash of lemon juice. I brought the mixture to a boil, reduced the heat, and covered it and simmered it on medium heat for ten to fifteen minutes. I then ran the mixture through the strainer, placing the liquid back into the pot. In a separate bowl I combined 1/4 cup water and 2 tbsp corn starch until well dissolved. Once dissolved I added the corn starch mixture to the liquid in the pan and boiled again until the liquid was thick. The liquid was placed inPicture16 the refrigerator and allowed to set before being placed in a piping bag.

While the filling was cooling, I cored the center of the cupcakes and placed the chocolate icing in a piping bag. Then the fun began. I piped the strawberry filling into the center of the cupcakes, and topped them with the chocolate icing and a quarter of a fresh strawberry. It was all I could do to keep my husband and kiddos out of them before we took them to our church fish fry.

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Side note: I need to lay off of the cupcakes, people are starting to think I’m pregnant again. 🙂

Happy Sunday!