Mulled Cider Muffins by @Donna_Fasano #Recipe #Foodies

Welcome to November! Last month, I posted a recipe for Mulled Cider and this month I’m giving you a recipe for Mulled Cider Muffins. Bakeries everywhere offer Apple Cider Donuts this time of year. These delicious dunkers are very popular. I wanted to take the idea and add a twist of my own. Why, you might ask… well, because fried donuts give me indigestion, and I wanted the flavor of apple cider in a baked muffin. Here’s what I came up with.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Please don’t skip the first step! When you reduce a flavorful liquid, it gives your baked good an even more intense taste.

Mulled Cider Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Ingredients for the Mulled Cider Reduction:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Ingredients for Muffins:

  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mulled cider reduction

Ingredients for the Coating:

  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 Tablespoon butter, melted
First, make the Mulled Cider Reduction. Directions:
  1. Place apple cider, star anise, cloves, and cinnamon in a small saucepan.
  2. Simmer on medium heat until reduced by half. You should end up with 1/2 cup of liquid.
  3. Remove the star anise and cloves from the mulled cider reduction and set the cider aside to cool.
Second, make the Muffins. Directions:
  1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spray muffin tins with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, add flour, baking powder, salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of the cinnamon, and the nutmeg, and then whisk to combine dry ingredients. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream 10 tablespoons of the butter, the brown sugar, and 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy. This will take about 4 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix until fully incorporated. Beat in the vanilla extract.
  4. Add the flour mixture and mix on low speed until incorporated. Add the mulled cider reduction. When the cider is fully mixed into the batter, scrape the bowl to make sure all the ingredients are combined.
  5. Spoon the batter into prepared muffin tin, filling cups about 2/3 full. Bake until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes.
  6. While the muffins bake, make the Coating. Whisk 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together in a small bowl to combine. Melt 4 tablespoons butter in a small pan over low heat. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes after baking. Then, brush them with the melted butter. And then dredge the muffins in the cinnamon sugar while they are still warm. Serve immediately.

Apple Cider Muffins

Enjoy!

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Chocolate Lovers by Mona Risk

According to a study from the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, eating something sweet can lead to heightened feelings of romance. The researchers found that after getting a taste of sugar, participants who were single were more interested in starting something romantic.

Terms of endearment such as ‘‘sweetie,’’ ‘‘honey,’’ and ‘‘sugar’’ are commonly used with close others and especially in reference to romantic partners.

In “Sweet Love: The Effects of Sweet Taste Experience on Romantic Perceptions,” the results showed that sweet taste and romantic perception are entwined. 

Overall, people were more romantically inclined if they were in the group that had their sweet tooth treated. When talking about their made-up loves, the singles expressed that they’d be more satisfied and committed. The sugar also upped the singles’ interest in the people in the dating profiles and how attractive they thought they’d be. 

Moreover, chocolate turns on happy feelings in our brains. The sweet treat has been shown to cause the brain to release the “feel-good” chemical dopamine, a pretty decent explanation for why our love for the delicacy can sometimes reach the level of sexual attraction.

Are you a chocolate lover? My husband is. In addition to a full drawer he’s appropriated in the fridge, he safeguards more chocolate in secretive locales that I can’t access. He checks his stock daily, and hastens to replenish if the drawer shows empty corners. With all this chocolate around, you’d think he’d binge on it. No sir, he takes one little square a day with his afternoon tea.

I’m not a chocolate person. More of a nut person–hmm… My good-mood stock consists of almonds (without salt) and pistachios (with little salt). The problem is that when I start nibbling on my favorite nuts I can’t stop. I also discovered that ginger candies are excellent remedies for the stomach. I managed to discontinue all my prescription drugs for stomach problems from the day I started taking 4-6 chewy ginger candies per day. Try it, you’ll thank me.

Yet there are moments when I need my chocolate taste, and I found the perfect formula: dark chocolate covered Espresso Beans and the decadent chocolate covered almonds. With these I really don’t need regular chocolate.

While my heroines are too busy pursuing their romantic heroes to eat chocolate, despite my above advice, the older mothers and mothers-in-law in my romance novels regularly help themselves from a silver or a crystal bowl, and sing the benefits of chocolate.