Breakfast

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Normally when I think of muffins my mind goes to sweet baked goods. Cinnamon-crumbed, definitely chocolatey, maybe even citrus-infused, but definitely not savory. Until March. Now I am fully on-board the savory muffin train, even if it’s just to make these Irish Cheddar, Bacon, and Potato Muffins over and over again. Yes, these muffins are that amazing.

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

The smell when they came out of the oven was so hypnotizing that Matt and I each ate one as soon as we could get the muffin paper liners off without burning ourselves (or at least until it was just minor pain). Then, the flavor was so outrageous that we were each forced to have a second one. It wasn’t our fault; we were hypnotized!

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

When I first saw the March muffins in the Food Network Magazine’s Muffin of the Month article, I thought they sounded heavy, but instead they are light and fluffy, while still being loaded with gooey cheese and bacon. Bacon doesn’t need a descriptor; everyone knows how bacony delicious bacon is.

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

In addition to the cooked bacon, there is a very small amount of bacon grease in the actual muffin batter so it helps bring that bacon flavor to every bite. I cooked a package of bacon on the griddle on a Sunday, which gave Matt and I some bacon for breakfast (a treat since we don’t cook bacon that often!), the three slices of bacon and one tablespoon of bacon grease I needed for this recipe, as well as cooked bacon for sandwiches and salads for lunches throughout the week.

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Perfect as a grab and go breakfast, these Irish Cheddar, Bacon and Potato Muffins are even better after being warmed briefly in the microwave. Please do yourself a favor and make these muffins! Then do me a favor and bring them to my house so I can eat them with you! Enjoy!

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Irish Cheddar, Bacon & Potato Muffins
 
Yield: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 large Yukon Gold potato (8 ounces)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked with 1 tablespoon bacon grease reserved
  • 4 ounces Irish cheddar cheese, diced
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh chives (about ½ a bunch)
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. Cook the potato in the microwave. Poke the potato 5-6 times with a fork and wrap in a damp paper towel. Cook until the potato is just cooked through, about 4-5 minutes, being sure to turn it once during cooking. Let the potato cool. Once you can handle it carefully peel off the skin and grate the potato. Lightly season the grated potato with salt and pepper; toss to combine.
  3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and ¼ teaspoon salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, melted butter, egg, and tablespoon of bacon drippings. Pour the mixture into the well of the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Carefully fold in the grated potato, bacon, cheese, and chives.
  5. Evenly divide the batter among the prepared paper liners. The batter should fill each to the top. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until the top of the muffin is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to completely cool.
Notes
Every time a recipe calls for buttermilk, I use this trick instead: Put a tablespoon of lemon juice in a liquid measuring cup. Add milk until the desired amount of buttermilk is reached (in this case 1¼ cups). Let sit 5 minutes. You can use whatever kind of milk you have in your fridge - I use nonfat milk. If the recipe calls for more than 1¼ cups buttermilk, you will need to use a little more lemon juice.
I used Kerrygold Dubliner cheese.
I had a hard time getting the paper liners off of these muffins. It was definitely worse when they were hot, so let them cool completely before eating. I plan to experiment during future baking of these muffins to see if I can adjust the recipe to get them to stick less or if it would be better to bake them directly in the pan with cooking spray. I will keep you all posted!
To fully savor these muffins, reheat them in the microwave for 15-30 seconds before eating.

Recipe from January/February 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Happy February! If you missed the last post, I am baking, photographing, eating, and posting each of the Food Network Magazine’s 12 Months of Muffins. February’s muffin does not disappoint: Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins. Yup, you read that correctly. Chocolate and caramel – life is so sweet.

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Chocolate muffins are basically cupcakes disguised as acceptable breakfast food so I was ecstatic to see some chocolate muffins in the monthly muffin list. Not that I don’t consider cupcakes acceptable breakfast food, but I need to keep up appearances. The cupcake, I mean muffin, batter is chocolate with chocolate chips in it, hence the “double chocolate.” The muffin is moist with little pockets of gooey melted chocolate chips.

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

What takes these muffins over the top is the dulce de leche in the center. The recipe name says “Salted Caramel” because I wanted to stay true to the original Food Network wording, but what we really have here is some smooth and heavenly dulce de leche. Dulce de leche is sweetened milk that has been slowly cooked until it caramelizes. In my opinion it tastes much creamier than regular caramel sauce because of the milk. You can buy or make your own for this recipe. I made my own because I didn’t want to go to the store and I already had a can of sweetened condensed milk, which is all you need to make some!

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

The dulce de leche is dolloped right in the center of the half baked muffins. My muffins developed a little air pocket in the center, which was from some of the dulce de leche getting absorbed into the muffin after it was done baking aka making it super moist and decadent. I hope you enjoy these muffins for breakfast, dessert, and everything in between!

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Double Chocolate Salted Caramel Muffins
 
Yield: 12 muffins
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ cup thick dulce de leche
  • Flaked sea salt
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add the chocolate chips (leaving 3 chips aside) and stir to combine.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs. Add the milk and vegetable oil then whisk until smooth. Pour the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
  4. Evenly pour the batter into the prepared paper liners. Each muffin cup should be filled ⅔ to the top. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until the edges of the muffins have started to set, but the center of each muffin is still liquidy. Remove the muffin pan from the oven and working quickly, dollop 1 heaping teaspoon of dulce de leche into the center of each muffin. Return the pan to the oven. Continue to bake for 10-15 more minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Make sure to insert the toothpick into the muffin itself and not the dulce de leche.
  5. As soon as the muffins are out of the oven, use a grater or microplane to grate the chocolate chips you set aside over the tops of the muffins. Sprinkle the top of each muffin with the flaked sea salt. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move the muffins to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
Notes
The batter is supposed to rise and bake over the dulce de leche. Some of my dulce de leche stayed on the top of my muffins because I probably let them cook too long before dolloping on the dulce de leche. They taste delicious either way so don’t worry too much about it.

 Recipe from January/February 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Back when we were seniors in college Matt bought me a subscription to the Food Network Magazine for my birthday. We had only been dating a year and a half, but Matt was already well-versed in my food obsession. The first official Food Network Magazine issue had only come out a few months before my birthday in 2009 and I’ve been subscribed to the magazine ever since.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Every month when it comes in the mail I get so excited and quickly start scouring it from cover to cover; pointing out recipes to Matt and devouring all the latest food news. After going through it multiple times, I tear out all the recipes I want to make and add them to my growing recipe binder collection. The binders have page numbers and even a table of contents (remember, I like to organize and make lists 😉), but then they tend to just sit there. I always want to make something from them, but then I find a new recipe I want to try from a blog I read or a new cookbook or something on Pinterest and I rarely get back to the Food Network Magazine recipes that I just had to try.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

So this year I have decided I am going to make an active effort to cook from the magazine. When the January issue showed up with a Muffin of the Month section I knew I had found out just where to start! I will be posting each month’s muffin at the start of each month for 2018. 2018 is the year of muffins! Who knew?

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

First up, January’s Pomegranate Orange Muffins. I love a good citrus muffin and these did not disappoint! They are moist on the inside, slightly crispy on the outside, and pack the perfect amount of clementine punch. Prettiness and the short prep time also give January’s muffins serious bonus points.

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

You don’t taste the pomegranate seeds that much since they are just pressed onto the top so feel free to substitute. Matt and I thought raspberries or blueberries would make a nice alternative; I will have to try one of those next time because I will definitely be making these muffins again!

Pomegranate Orange Muffins  |  Lemon & Mocha

Pomegranate Orange Muffins
 
Yield: 18 muffins
Ingredients
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon aluminum-free baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 clementines
  • 1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds (or raspberries or blueberries)
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 cupcake pans with 18 paper liners and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine then make a well in the middle of the flour mixture.
  3. Wash 2 of the clementines then cut them into 8 pieces each, leaving the peel on. Blend the 2 cut clementines and the milk in a blender until smooth. Add the eggs and blend until incorporated.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the center of the flour mixture. Add the melted butter then mix until just combined. You want the batter to still be lumpy, but without any pockets or streaks of flour.
  5. Scoop the batter evenly among the paper liners filling each cup about ¾ full. I found a cookie scoop to be the least messy way to divide the batter. Divide the pomegranate seeds (or raspberries or blueberries) and put some on the top of each. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cupcake comes out with no batter on it and the muffins are golden. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes then move the muffins to a cooling rack until completely cooled.
  6. Cut the remaining clementine in half. In a small bowl, combine the powdered sugar and the juice from half the clementine. Stir until the glaze is thick, but drizzle-able, adding more juice from the other half of the clementine if needed. Drizzle the glaze on the muffins then let the glaze set for 10 minutes.
Notes
If you only have 1 cupcake pan, buy another! Just kidding, put 6 of the liners aside until the first 12 muffins bake and the pan cools.
The original recipe calls for aluminum-free baking powder stating aluminum may react with pomegranate and make the batter blue. I made sure to use aluminum-free baking powder, but I still had a little blue on my muffins around the edges of the pomegranate. I have not yet experimented with non-aluminum-free baking powder to see if the batter would have been even more blue-tinged, but just a word of caution!

Recipe from January/February 2018 issue of Food Network Magazine.

Babu’s Coffee Cake

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It is hard to believe that I am writing this post and it is even harder to write it. One month has passed since my family and I lost my grandma, Babu. For those of you who don’t know me personally or haven’t read my Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Mother’s Day post, Babu and I were incredibly close. These past few weeks without my best friend have felt surreal. As most people who have dealt with loss have experienced, the ache does not get smaller, you just get better at handling it.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
Babu loved hearing about my cooking and the food blog. She would always ask me what I was making for dinner and would listen to me read her my latest posts over the phone. Several times I had prints made of the food photos I knew Babu would like and mailed them to her. Babu would share them with her friends in her building and report back to me with which ones everyone wanted to try the most. Not only did Babu encourage me to follow my food passions, but she also helped foster those passions by baking with me and of course our many, many lunch dates.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha
In my family it is hard to mention coffee cake and not think about Babu. When she lived with us she always made sure there were slices in the freezer. She would make a coffee cake, always waiting to let me help glaze it, then cut it into big slices, wrap them in plastic wrap and pop them in the freezer. I would come home from school, microwave a slice for 30 seconds and it would taste like it just came out of the oven. There would be one slice left and the next day the freezer would be stocked back up with a fresh cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

After Babu moved back down to Delaware I came to look forward to having some every time I went to visit, especially when we would do our annual beach trip. Since I always knew I would have some on these trips, I never made this cake on my own. When I was thinking of what I could make that would help celebrate Babu on Lemon & Mocha, once beach week started approaching I knew it had to be her coffee cake.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

It was difficult knowing I couldn’t ask Babu any questions before I started baking or knowing that this would be my first beach trip without her, but I know she was there with me the whole time- cheering with me when the cake came out of the Bundt pan perfectly and laughing with me when I totally left too much batter for the final layer. I hope that this simple cake can bring you as much joy as it has brought me over the years and that you can share it with someone special, too.

Babu's Coffee Cake  |  Lemon & Mocha

Babu's Coffee Cake
 
Yield: 10-12 servings
Ingredients
for the cake
  • 1 Duncan Hines yellow cake mix
  • 1 package instant vanilla pudding (3.4 ounce size)
  • 4 large eggs
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
for the glaze
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions
for the cake
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a Bundt pan and set aside.
  2. Combine the cake mix, pudding mix, eggs, vegetable oil, water and vanilla extract with a hand mixer or in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix until well combined.
  3. In a small bowl, combine the sugar and ground cinnamon.
  4. Evenly pour ⅓ of the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Use a spatula to even the layer. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the batter. Repeat with ⅓ of the batter and the remaining cinnamon sugar. Top with the last ⅓ of batter.
  5. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Apply the glaze while still warm, but not hot.
for the glaze
  1. Combine the powdered sugar, milk and vanilla extract until smooth. Spoon or pastry brush the glaze over the warm cake.

 

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

I cannot believe I waited so long to share this dish with you. If you thought I was excited about the waffles, oh baby, that pales in comparison to this creation. A couple months ago my brother-in-law, Nick, and our friend, Kate, came to visit and I wanted to make it a proper foodie weekend. I brainstormed for weeks to come up with the perfect breakfast that would have a variety of textures, bold flavors and most importantly, be creative and inspired. This right here is my ultimate breakfast. Eggs Benedict over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise. I know you were probably expecting something sweet and overflowing with chocolate, but there’s actually a candy bar hidden under that waffle! I’m kidding, that would be gross. Or would it… hmmm…

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Let’s break down this Southwestern eggs Benedict layer by layer. First, there is the all important base in the form of an outrageously cheesy cheddar and scallion waffle. I took my Perfect Buttermilk Waffle base, omitted the vanilla extract and then loaded it up with sharp cheddar cheese and chopped green onions. Next, I smashed together an avocado with some lime juice and salt to give it a little fresh punch and spread it over the waffle. I found some deli-sliced chorizo at Trader Joe’s so I threw that in a frying pan to make it crispy and crunchy before layering it on top of the smashed avocado.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

In comes the perfectly poached egg, ready to burst open with its runny yolky goodness. I poached mine sous vide, but we will come back to that in a later post. If you are intimidated about poaching an egg you could always fry up an over easy egg instead.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Finally, the icing on the cake, er the hot fudge on the sundae, er never mind… the sauce on the savory dish! Creamy, luscious, buttery hollandaise sauce mixed with diced green chiles for a very subtle flavor kick. Hollandaise is made using egg yolks, lemon juice and lots and lots of butter (see tutorial here), but I bought mine right from the dairy section of Trader Joe’s. Top with salsa or sour cream and get ready to make inappropriate noises while you devour this dish.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

What Nick and Kate didn’t know is that this dish right here single-handedly kick-started my motivation to dive back into Lemon & Mocha after a longer than intended hiatus. And I am so glad to be back! So make this dish and feel inspired. Or just come over for breakfast and we can cook then devour it together.

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles  |  Lemon & Mocha

Eggs Benedict Over Cheddar Scallion Waffles with Crispy Chorizo, Smashed Avocado and Green Chile Hollandaise
 
Yield: 4 servings, plus extra waffles
Ingredients
for the waffles
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled in a medium mixing bowl
  • 1¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar, more or less depending on how cheesy you want the waffles
  • ½ cup sliced scallions
for everything else
  • 1 avocado
  • Lime juice, to taste
  • 8 thin slices chorizo
  • 4 poached eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons diced green chiles
  • ¾ cup warm hollandaise, more or less as desired
  • Sliced scallions, for topping
  • Salsa and sour cream, if desired
Directions
for the waffles
  1. Turn on the waffle iron to get it hot and spray with nonstick cooking spray, depending on manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine then create a well in the center for the liquid ingredients.
  3. Add the eggs to the cooled butter mixing bowl and beat until frothy. Add the buttermilk and beat again until well-combined.
  4. Pour the buttermilk mixture into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. The buttermilk and leavening will create a batter full of air bubbles. Fold in the cheddar and scallions, being sure not to over-mix.
  5. Pour the batter onto your waffle iron in batches and cook according to manufacturer’s instructions. If working in batches, let waffles rest on a cooling rack after they are cooked, or place them directly on the rack of your oven or toaster oven on a low heat to stay warm.
for everything else
  1. Take four plates and place one waffle on each plate. In a small bowl, mash the avocado and sprinkle with lime juice and sea salt to taste. Spread the avocado mixture on each waffle.
  2. In a dry frying pan, heat the chorizo in a single layer over medium heat, until hot and crispy. Remove from the pan and place in between two paper towels to remove some of the grease before placing two slices on each avocado-topped waffle.
  3. Place one poached egg on top of each chorizo-topped waffle.
  4. Stir the diced green chiles into the warm hollandaise then drizzle (or pour if you’re feeling dangerous) over the poached eggs and waffles. Top with sliced green scallions, salsa and sour cream as desired.
Notes
If you cannot find deli-sliced chorizo, crisp up some crumbled chorizo in a pan instead, being sure to drain/pat out the grease.