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Save the Day Muffins

Figgy Muffins

I think there must be an unwritten rule that sometime around a year into your first child’s first year of life you become a muffin making maniac. Or maybe that is just me. Gone are the sumptuous chocolate cupcakes or fluffy lemon swirls that graced my island a year ago – instead I am firmly entrenched in trying (albeit unsuccessfully) to make healthy treats for that little someone who has a way of demanding them – especially if they look like cupcakes. As some of you know, ever since Olive’s debut into the world of desserts at 6 months (the cupcake incident), he has dive bombed anything that looks even remotely like a cupcake. Which is why I found myself in the kitchen at 6 AM this morning holding a semi-comatose, smelling-like-puke one-year-old while trying to figure out if I should substitute applesauce for butter in one of Dorie Greenspan’s delicious muffin recipes. I went with the butter. After perusing some “toddler friendly” cookbooks I realized that some things I am quite simply unwilling to do without. Other things, like margarine, just don’t belong in my fridge. Ever.

So these muffins are a little bit healthy. In fact, they are very healthy because they saved my mental health from an almost certain collapse after a really rough week. Between the boys being sick and Oliver starting nursery school it has been demoralizing – at best. But only 5 muffins later – the kitchen was clean, the laundry was (partially) done and I was heading up to the farm to peel some of those perpetual tomatoes for Minestrone.

I used fresh figs for these muffins but they are also very good with dried ones or whatever you have on hand. I also made some with dollops of fresh peach jam on top instead of figs and they were divine (woot woot peach season). So go with what moves you and hopefully they will turn out as well as mine!

Mom – O – Meter 4.5/5

These suckers are easy peasy. Like I made them on 1.5 hours sleep carrying a 30 lb toddler under one arm pretty much the entire time. My husband was amazed when he woke up. If you have sold out to extreme lazyness like I have and use cooking spray to grease your muffin tins they take under 10 minutes to get in the oven. You can also use them to dispose of odds and ends and substitute like ingredients to your hearts content. Plus they are moderately healthy and Oliver thinks they are cupcakes.


Yield: 12 largish muffins


1 cup enriched wheat flour (or white all purpose)

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/3 cup cornmeal

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup raw cane sugar (you can omit this and add a bit more honey  or feel free to use plain white sugar if you have not got any )

2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sea salt or kosher salt

1/4 cup honey

2 large eggs

1 1/4 cups plain yogurt (you can sub a bit less buttermilk in for this if desired)

1/2 cup/ 1 stick of butter

1/3 cup diced dried dates (or other dried fruit, raisins, whatever)

3 diced fresh figs or 1/3 cup diced dried figs (or more of whatever dried fruit you have)

GARNISH: whole figs cut in half and drizzled with honey, fresh or canned jam or basically anything with a bit of sweetness to add to the muffin.


1. preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a 12-cup muffin pan. Combine dry ingredients (first eight ingredients) in a bowl and stir to combine. In a microwaveable bowl (I use a large glass measuring cup – it needs to be at least 2 cups) melt the butter and then add the other wet ingredients. Mix them into the dry ones, add the dried fruit and pour into the muffin cups- garnishing as desired.

2. Bake for 16-20 minutes – a toothpick should come out clean with a few loose crumbs. Let cool for around 5 minutes before removing from pans. Enjoy.

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