Forgive me for another update and another breakfast post. I’ve been entertaining so much for the past two months that I’ve been returning to my “tried and true” recipes… It seems I learn something new each time, though.
Today’s recipe – Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins – is one I first tried back in October of 2008. It’s written for sea level but works beautifully at high altitude, probably because the muffins are made with buttermilk. (I’ve had a lot of success here in Denver with baked goods that incorporate buttermilk; buttermilk’s high acidity helps batters set more quickly, which can eliminate the “flat tire” phenomenon that occurs so often with high-altitude baking.) Anyway, they were a big hit the first time around because they’re easy, delicious, and a great make-ahead option for company.
Back in 2008, I placed the batter directly in a greased muffin pan and had just enough for 12 muffins. This time, I decided to try paper liners. I couldn’t fit as much batter into the paper liners as I could with the bare muffin cups; each muffin was a scant 1/4 cup instead of a heaping 1/4 cup, so the baking time was reduced from 28 minutes to 22 minutes.
Since the smaller muffins resulted in leftover batter, I decided to make some mini muffins as well. Each one was made up of 2 tablespoons of batter (one scoop using my cookie scoop) and the muffins baked for 15 minutes.
They tasted as fantastic as ever, and now I have three different “formats” for the muffins depending on how I plan to serve them. Here’s the recipe in case you’d like to try them:
Ham and Cheese Buttermilk Breakfast Muffins
Makes 12 muffins without liners, 18 muffins with liners, or 36 mini muffins
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder (use 2 1/4 teaspoons at high altitude)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt (can up this to 1/2 teaspoon if you use unsalted butter)
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 large eggs (I bring them to room temperature)
1 1/3 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup thinly sliced scallions (about 1 bunch)
1 cup diced ham (6 ounces)
1 cup grated extra-sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
Heat the oven to 400°F. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan or 12- or 24-cup mini muffin pan with cooking spray or line it with muffin cups. (The mini muffins will require multiple batches.)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, pepper, salt, and cayenne pepper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and butter. Stir in the scallions, ham, cheese, and bell pepper.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and use a rubber spatula to mix until just moistened. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan (heaping 1/4 cup each for unlined 12-cup muffin pan, scant 1/4 cup each for lined 12-cup muffin pan, 2 tablespoons each for mini muffin pan).
Bake the muffins until the tops are browned (at high altitude, about 28 minutes for unlined 12-cup muffin pan, 22 minutes for lined 12-cup muffin pan, 15 minutes for mini muffin pan). Let the muffins cool in the pan for 15 minutes then loosen the edges with a knife (if necessary) and transfer the muffins to a cooling rack. Serve warm.
To store, individually wrap the muffins in plastic and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to a month. To reheat, remove the plastic wrap, cover the muffin in a paper towel, and microwave on high for 30 to 60 seconds (15 – 20 seconds for mini muffins).
Source: Jim Romanoff, The Associated Press