Spinach-Pesto Muffins

This is the first recipe I’ve tried out of a cookbook I received as a gift from a coworker this past Christmas.  The Williams-Sonoma Baking Book is a great resource on baking, and I’m sure I’ll be referencing it often.  Thanks Tim!

I made a few minor modifications to the recipe.  Some intentional, some not.  I’m really pleased with how these savory muffins turned out, and I think my coworkers enjoyed them.  Everyone kept asking if they were healthy because they had spinach in them.  My response was, “well, its still a muffin” but I suppose there are many things I’ve made that are much worse for you.

This recipe will yield 24 regular muffins or 60ish mini muffins.  I decided to make mini muffins because then  you could choose to just try one and not totally destroy whatever kind of dietary resolution kick you might be on.  Not that I’m on one, but many of my coworkers are.  Aren’t I thoughtful?

Recipe Source: Williams Sonoma Baking book


For the Pesto

3 cloves garlic
1/4 cup pine nuts (I used walnuts because I loathe pine nuts)
1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
1/2 cup loosely packed flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan
salt to taste

For the Batter

6 cups all purpose flour (you could try using 3 of AP 3 of wheat)
2 tbsp baking powder
2 tsp salt
6 large eggs, beaten
1 1/3 cup olive oil (I only used 1 cup, they were plenty moist and I think it didn’t need that extra fat)
2 cups milk
2 packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 cups mozzarella cheese (um, this is the unintended modification. I “lost” the mozzarella in my fridge and substituted 1 1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan)

To make the pesto: in a food processor or blender combine all the ingredients and pulse till it forms a coarse paste.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the muffin cups with butter or nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, olive oil and milk. Stir in the spinach until blended. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients. Stir until everything just barely comes together. The batter will be lumpy – do not over mix. Using a large spatula, fold in the pesto and the grated cheese. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups, filling it level with the rim (they will not rise a ton while baking). There is no need to use muffin liners, just be sure you greased the cups well.

Bake until golden, dry and springy to the touch. 25 mins for regular muffins, 15 mins for mini muffins. Serve warm or room temperature. (They’re way better warm).

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