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Savory Brunch Muffins 12 – 1 = 11. But in the world of muffins, 12 muffins – 1 muffin = 1 very happy tummy. Combine traditional brunch ingredients – eggs, smoked salmon, and fresh dill – and present them in a delightful and portable manner. These muffins, topped with crunchy and salty potato chips, make for one fabulous brunch-to-go, or serve them hot at your next brunch gathering.

Savory Brunch Muffins
Better Homes and Gardens

INGREDIENTS
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
1½ tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream
2 eggs
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
2 Tbsp. snipped fresh dill
2 oz. lox-style smoked salmon, chopped
2 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and chopped
1 cup wavy potato chips, crushed

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease twelve 2½-inch muffin cups or line with parchment paper squares; set aside.

2. In a large bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.

3. In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, butter, and dill; add to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Gently fold in salmon and chopped eggs.

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each three-fourths full. Sprinkle crushed potato chips over batter in cups.

5. Bake 15 minutes or until golden-brown. Cool in cups on wire rack 5 minutes.

Makes 12 servings

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. I cut parchment paper into roughly 5-inch by 5-inch squares. Try not to get any batter on the paper when filling the cups. After baking, any batter stuck to the paper will appear as dark brown spots. This is not the worst thing in the world, but it will look a little messy.

2. Place the potato chips in a plastic bag and crush with your fingers. Some of the potato chips should be slightly pressed into the batter or else they will all fall off after baking.

3. Don’t overbake these muffins or they will be dry.

4. The next time I make these I will add a pinch of black pepper and some snipped chives or chopped green onions to the batter to enhance their flavor.

5. Because of the salty potato chips and smoked salmon, there is not a lot of additional salt added to the batter. If you like your food saltier, cautiously add more salt only after you have determined the degree of saltiness of the salmon and potato chips you are using. Not all smoked salmon or potato chips have the same amount of sodium.

Enjoy!

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Hungarian Rhapsody Coffee Cake Cheesecake for breakfast? Coffee cake for dessert? Either way, the versatility of this impressive cake cannot be denied. With its cheesecake-like texture and egg-rich flavor, this cake stands out at any gathering any time of the day. Just how delicious is it? I made it for a potluck brunch the other day and people fought over the last few pieces. The list of ingredients may scare healthier-eaters away, but keep in mind, this coffee cake is meant to be served in very small portions!

Hungarian Rhapsody Coffee Cake
Congressman Tom Lantos, California Poppycoctions Cookbook, Volume 3

INGREDIENTS
Crust:
1 cup melted butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour

Filling:
1-and-1/2 cups butter or margarine
1-and-1/3 cups sugar
8 eggs, separated
3 teaspoons lemon juice or vanilla
1/3 cup flour
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese

DIRECTIONS
1. Preheat oven to 350° F.

2. To make crust: mix melted butter, powdered sugar, and flour. Pat into 9 x 13-inch Pyrex dish. Bake 20 minutes in oven. Set aside.

3. Cream together butter with 1 cup sugar.

4. Add egg yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

5. Add lemon juice or vanilla. Add flour and cream cheese. Cream until smooth.

6. Whip egg whites, gradually add 1/3 cup sugar. Fold into egg yolk mixture.

7. Pour into “half-baked” crust. Bake in 350° oven for 35 to 45 minutes or until done. Test with knife to see if it comes out clean.

8. Dust with powdered sugar. Cut into small squares.

Serves 18-22

LINNELL’S NOTES
1. Although I’ve made this coffee cake many times before, I don’t recall the crust mixture being so greasy. The ratio of flour to melted butter didn’t seem right. The end result still tasted good, but I think there is room for improvement. The next time I make this, I will use less butter or add more flour to better incorporate the butter or I will substitute a different butter crust recipe.

2. I used the combination of 2 tsp lemon juice and 1 tsp vanilla, because I happened to have some freshly squeezed lemon juice on hand.

4. Make sure the cream cheese is soft or else your batter can turn out lumpy. Tiny lumps in the batter are okay as they disappear as the cake bakes.

5. This coffee cake can be a little messy to serve and eat. I like to cut the cake into squares and place them into cupcake liners for ease of eating and a clean and attractive presentation.

ENJOY!

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It’s that time of the year – almost every shopping cart in the grocery store has a carton of eggs in it! Here are a few egg-ceedingly good tips and egg-cerpts about eggs that you might want to eggs-plore:

#1 – Eggs-cruciating
I’ve seen women at grocery stores go to excruciating lengths to get the perfect dozen eggs. They’ll move eggs from one carton to another until they have the desired combination. When you purchase a carton of eggs, always open the carton to visually inspect the condition of the eggs. But take your inspection one step further – while the lid is open, wiggle each egg in its spot. If an egg does not move, chances are it’s cracked underneath and the leaked egg has glued the shell to the carton. I don’t remember where I learned this tip, but I’ve used it for many years and have never come home with any “bad” eggs!

#2 – Eggs-cellent
If you are unsure about the freshness of the eggs in your refrigerator, put them in some water and see how they behave. What’s Cooking America has this to say about egg freshness:  Generally fresh eggs will lie on the bottom of the bowl of water. Eggs that tilt so that the large end is up are older, and eggs that float are rotten. The tilting is caused by air pockets in the eggs that increase in size over time as fluid evaporates through the porous shell and oxygen and gases filter in. The older an egg gets the more the gas builds up inside it. More gas = more floating!

#3 – Eggs-actly
To cook eggs exactly the way you like them, you need to take into account not just the length of cooking time, but also the size of the eggs you’re using. What’s Cooking America comes to the rescue again with this article and cooking guide, so that your eggs are perfectly cooked every time.

#4 – Eggs-tricate
Peeling hard boiled eggs is sometimes easy and sometimes frustrating. Often times it requires extricating bits of shell or membrane stuck to the egg. According to an article on Chef 2 Chef, The fresher the egg, the harder it is to peel – no matter how you cook it. A two week old refrigerated egg will peel beautifully for you once cooked, while an egg fresh from the chicken could be your worst nightmare.

#5 – Eggs-samples
Getting bored with hard boiled eggs? Go to Endless Simmer and check out 100 Ways to Cook an Egg.

#6 – Eggs-asperating
It can be exasperating when a recipe calls for separating an egg and you’ve managed to crack the egg shell into little pieces, or worst, you’ve broken the yolk sac. Here’s a handy little tip that makes the whole process easier: Carefully break an egg into a funnel. The egg whites will slide through the funnel, but the egg yolk will be left behind. Larger pieces of egg shell will be unable to get through the funnel, too!

Hope you enjoyed my “eggs-citing” tips!

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Surprise crossed my face when, several years ago, my daughter informed me that Easter was her favorite holiday. “Really? Not Christmas?” I replied while thinking about all the years I attempted to create wonderful Christmas memories for my children. Holiday season after holiday season, colorful decorations covered every nook and cranny in our home and the scent of fresh pine mingled with the sweet smell of cookies baking. The Christmas holidays always sparkled with good times, love, and laughter. I listened while my daughter explained about her favorite holiday and soon my initial disappointment over perceived Christmas fantasies faded away. I hadn’t failed, after all. The good times, love and laughter I longed for my children to have, were not just restricted to one holiday. For my daughter, Easter brings the promise of spring, with its sense of renewal, fresh colors, and beautiful flowers. But it also brings back fond memories of silly egg dyeing experiments, crazy, competitive Easter egg hunts with her brothers, and much anticipated visits from her grandparents. She’s an adult now and home for only a brief visit, but I can still create good memories for her. She was childishly happy when I asked her, “Would you and your friends like to dye Easter eggs?” After gathering supplies, I let the three creative gals take over. Below are tips and techniques on creative egg dyeing from my daughter and her friends.

Supplies:

Hard boiled eggs
Box of assorted food colors
Boiling water
Vinegar
Bowls
Spoons
Electrician’s tape
Sharp scissors
Rubber bands
Paper punches
Contact paper
Old pantyhose
Small leaves
String, optional

Electrical Tape:

Electrical tape is great for cutting out shapes and sticking to an egg. Because it is so sticky, it can be used multiple times and is easily repositioned. Remember to gently smooth down all edges of the tape, so that dye does not seep under the tape and clean lines are formed. Plan ahead the sequence of colors you will be dipping – always start with a white egg or dye the egg the lightest color first. Let the egg dry between colors.

Contact Paper:
Smooth, adhesive, shelf paper, such as Contact Paper, acts like electrical tape by blocking out dye, but the advantage the shelf paper has is that it can be punched out into shapes. Using paper punches, punch out shapes from the adhesive shelf paper. Peel off the paper backing, place shapes on egg, and smooth edges down. Dye egg as desired. Bigger and simpler shapes punch out better than small intricate shapes. Some shapes may require additional trimming with scissors.

Rubber Bands:

Wrap rubber bands tightly and securely around an egg. For more interesting and intricate designs, vary the width and number of rubber bands used. Dye the egg and let it dry. After drying, some of the bands can be removed and the egg can be dipped in another color.

Leaves and Nylons:
Select small leaves that can lie flat against the shell. Herb leaves and carrot leaves work well for this technique. Place leaf on an egg, being careful to spread and flatten all parts of the leaf. Cut out a piece of sheer pantyhose and wrap it around the egg. Twist stocking at the back of the egg and tie it tightly with a small rubber band or a piece of dental floss or string. Dye the egg. Let it dry completely before removing the stocking and the leaf. The nylon wrapped around the egg slows down the drying process.

Tips:
1. The best way to hard boil eggs is to put eggs in a single layer in a pot and cover them with one to two inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil and immediately reduce the heat to low. Let simmer for no more than a minute and then turn off the heat. Cover the pot and let the eggs sit for 10 to 12 minutes, depending on the number of eggs and the amount of water used. Drain water and run cold water over the eggs in the pot until they have cooled. Blot eggs dry before dyeing them.

2. Don’t rush the dyeing process and be sure to let the eggs dry between colors.

3. To avoid an egg from turning an ugly brown color, it helps to plan out the color sequence before dyeing each egg.

4. Keep hands clean to prevent dye transfer to other parts of the egg.

5. I lined a baking pan with paper towels and placed a cooling rack in it, to provide the eggs a place to dry.

6. Refrigerate completed eggs as soon as possible.

7. For another fun way to dye eggs, check out my post on Tie-Dyed Eggs.

Have fun!

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