Monday, May 21, 2012

Dark brown sugar swirl cinnamon muffins

I had a very slender, weight-conscious friend in high school who loved those large-as-a-baby, sticky rolls
 sold by Cinnabon in malls across America. "They are like, five hundred calories, but totally WORTH IT. Even if you eat nothing else for the rest of the day."

I've never had a Cinnabon and the few times I've had cinnamon rolls I wasn't blown away--the flavor profile of the pastry just isn't complex enough for me.  There is too much whiteness, not enough spice. Too much nothingness to counteract the sweetness.
Flickr: revrev (I do believe there is a bun somewhere beneath the icing)

I used to love cinnamon raisin bagels slathered in strawberry cream cheese, but even they are too sweet for me now.

As a kid, when I came home from school I could barely restrain myself from plowing through more than my fair share of a Pepperidge Farm cinnamon raisin loaf, toasted, with slabs of butter, peanut butter, jam, cream cheese, or honey...alternating different combinations on different slices.  A cinnamon sandwich artist for myself...

Flickr: B Tal

Besides the sweetness, I think one reason I don't long for cinnamon raisin bagels with strawberry cream cheese is the same reason I don't long for sugary cereals. The context in which I ate them has long gone away, as has the desire for the food.  Without Saturday morning cartoons on the television to watch, Lucky Charms are now incomplete.  Without Nickelodeon playing You Can't Do that On Television on the TV, I no longer need to slather butter and orange marmalade on cinnamon raisin toast. Without early morning high school activities to attend, I no longer need to steel myself with bagels...

These muffins are a very modest treat compared with Cinnabons.  They are quick and easy and great for a cinnamon 'fix' when you can't afford a several-hours carbohydrate and fat coma afterward.

 I think you should make them this weekend, particularly if you have a long and leisurely holiday weekend.

Do kids still watch Saturday morning cartoons?  I think they would pair well with them, too...just as much as Captain Crunch paired nicely with Dungeons and Dragons, Frankenberry with Tom & Jerry, and Lucky Charms with the Smurfs.  The evil cat Azreal was always my favorite character and I deeply resented the fact that the 'bad' Smurfette had short brown hair, while the 'good' one had long, blonde hair.  I felt sorry for Azreal and the bad Smurfette, just like I felt sorry for Tom the Cat and the Wild E. Coyote of Warner Brothers fame. I felt they couldn't help being bad and had been arbitrarily assigned that status by unkind fate.  They had their own stories, we just never knew them.

Dark Brown Sugar Swirl Cinnamon Muffins

--yields 12 muffins--

Ingredients (muffins)

1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 beaten, large egg
6 ounces of plain lowfat yogurt
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon of cinnamon

Topping (optional)

1/4 cup chocolate chips (any kind of chip would work well)


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line 12 muffin tins with paper.

2. Mix the oil, sugar, egg, and yogurt together. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together, and incorporate the wet into the dry.

3. Sift together sugar and cinnamon for the swirl.

3. Spoon half of the muffin batter into muffin liners.  Top with half of sugar-cinnamon mixture.  Add the rest of the batter, then top each muffin with the remaining swirl mixture.  Garnish with chips, if desired.

4. Bake for approximately 17-20 minutes until a toothpick can be extracted clean.


  1. I never played a single game of D&D but I LOVED that cartoon! Are we twins separated at birth??

  2. @Aunt Jone--ME TOO! I HATED the game, but loved the cartoon!

  3. think you've outdone yourself with this one, Mary- a must-try!

  4. @Julie--I KNOW you will like these, and will add your own 'spin' on them to make them even better! Easy enough to make with kids, too!

  5. These would be so dangerous in my house....

  6. @The Blonde Duck--yes, I had to give the batch away...share the wealth...