For the past three years, I have had a nemesis. I have attempted many times to defeat it, but alas: my baking skills were just not strong enough.
I had this idea that my children might enjoy a pizza muffin in their school lunches, but I couldn’t find a good pizza muffin recipe. (There were lots of pizza puff, pizza bites, and mini pizza recipes, but nothing for pizza muffins.) So I tried to make up my own. I used my basic muffin knowledge and added tomato sauce and cheese and little chunks of pepperoni. I even tried a batch with sun-dried tomatoes. DISASTER. Every time.
I could not bake an edible pizza muffin. (I even wrote a post about it.)
It was a mirage; the perfect lunch idea, floating just out of reach.
I have been thwarted for the last time! (Insert evil, maniacal laugh here.)
A conversation about lunches on Twitter led to a friend mentioning this recipe at Canadian Family, so I had a look.
The sauce and the cheese are ON TOP OF THE MUFFIN. ‘Genius!’ I thought. ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’
I guess this goes to show that I am not a recipe leader. I’m a follower.
These muffins? Solve 2 out of 3 of my last-minute oh-my-gosh-what-am-I-going-to-give-them-for-lunch questions. These little babies in the freezer will save me so much last-minute stressing on those rushed mornings. (They don’t COMPLETELY eliminate that stress, because Bravo doesn’t like them. It would have been too much to hope for BOTH my children to like something.)
It’s a muffin so it’s EASY. (I like easy.)
And it’s pizza, so they’re TASTY. (Everybody loves tasty.)
I changed up the original recipe just a bit, because it called for chopped sweet peppers. I knew this would be a deal breaker for my kids but if your family is less squeamish about veggies, throw them in.
I also added a teaspoon of oregano to the dry ingredients because I thought they needed a bit more pizza-herby-ness.
The original recipe also included 1/4 cup of sugar. I put it in the first time, but not the second time because I found the added sugar a little too sweet for a savoury muffin. If you like the hit of sweet, add it to the dry ingredients. I am not here to tell anyone how to make pizza muffins.
Oh, wait. I guess I am; but you can make your pizza muffins YOUR way.
The recipe starts with your muffin basics: the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. And then things get interesting with dried basil and oregano…
and tiny cubes of cheddar cheese.
Mix the cheese cubes into the dry ingredients,
then dump in the yogurt, egg, and oil mixture and stir until just combined.
Spoon into a muffin pan and top each cup with a spoonful of tomato sauce.
Then top with more cheese – this time, mozza. Because pizza isn’t pizza without it, and when it comes to cheese, MORE IS MORE.
Pop in the oven and bake. The result? A surprisingly light, delicious muffin that is perfect for lunch boxes.
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1 tsp each salt, dried basil, dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 cup tiny cubes old cheddar
- 1 cup plain yogurt
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup tomato (pizza) sauce
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, basil, oregano, and cheddar cheese cubes. Stir a few times to combine.
- In separate bowl, combine yogurt, slightly beaten eggs, and oil. Stir until smooth.
- Add yogurt mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Spoon into muffin pan, filling nearly to the top of the cups. (Mixture will be thick.)
- Spoon approximately 1 tsp tomato sauce over each muffin, then top with shredded mozzarella.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into one of the middle muffins comes out clean.
- You can try adding other ingredients (peppers? pepperoni?) as toppings or into the batter before scooping it into the pan, to truly make these muffins your own.
I claim victory over the pizza muffin.
Have you ever had a culinary nemesis? Have you defeated it? Share your stories with me. (And feel free to join me in maniacal laughter.)