Tag Archives: muffins

Princeton Children’s Book Festival and Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

Denis and I signed Hush Little Monster together

Denis and I signed Hush Little Monster together

This past Saturday we participated in the Princeton Children’s Book Festival.  It was a  beautiful day for celebrating children’s books!

We met a lot of interesting authors and illustrators and wonderfully supportive parents buying books.  It was also great to see old friends.

With Anne Rockwell, author of Truck Stop, and her daughter and illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell,

With Anne Rockwell, author of Truck Stop, and her daughter and illustrator, Lizzy Rockwell

With Denise Dowling-Mortensen, author of Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines--we met in 2004, the year Jamie was born and when Good Night Engines was released. :)

With Denise Dowling-Mortensen, author of Good Night Engines and Wake Up Engines–we met in 2004, the year Jamie was born and when Good Night Engines was released. 🙂

I made mini donuts to hand out — they looked like these and the recipe is here:

Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of them — I was too distraught over finding my cake stand had broken en route! The good news was that the pile of donuts quickly disappeared within the first couple of hours.

Jamie was a trooper and didn’t mind having to be with us at the festival all day long with no playmates.  He wandered about the four tents of 20 authors and illustrators and looked at books, sampled treats, and had his program signed by all 80 of them!

Table seating of each tent

Table seating of each tent

He also scored  cute drawings from Dave Roman (author/illustrator of the Astronaut Academy series) and Alexis Fredrick Frost (of Adventures in Cartooning fame):

dave roman sketches

By Alexis Fredrick Frost

By Alexis Fredrick Frost

Thank you so much for being so kind to my son!

Jamie also got to choose a couple books for himself and a friend which he had signed by Dave Roman and Fiona Robertson.  It’s so special when you can give and receive an autographed copy!

By Dave Roman

By Dave Roman

By Eva Ibbotson, Illustrated by Fiona Robertson

By Eva Ibbotson, Illustrated by Fiona Robertson

I knew it would be a long day of meeting people and signing books, as well as traveling to and from the event.  It’s the kind of situation where you never know if you’ll get really hungry in a place where there might not be healthy, portable options available.  In preparation, I made a dozen Shelly’s Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins to bring with us.

Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

Chocolate Protein Mini Muffins

This recipe is from The World According to Eggface — a fantastic blog with lots of great recipes.  These muffins came in handy when we were stranded on the platform after just missing our train back to the city!  It was dinner time and we had to wait for the next train–in the end we were kind of glad we did, because we got to ride with more of our festival compatriots who arrived at the train station later.  Plus, we weren’t hungry anymore!

This coming weekend, I have more book events.  If you are in the NYC area, please come join me.  I will be at Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton Street at South Portland, Brooklyn, NY)  on Saturday, September 28 from 11- 12, reading Truck Stop and the board book version of B is for Bulldozer, which was just released this month!  On Sunday, September 29, I will be on a panel with Anne Rockwell and several other authors at Books of Wonder (18 West 18th street between 5th and 6th Avenues) from 1-3 pm.



Filed under Art Related, Books, Breakfast, Children, Snack, Travel, Vegetarian

Happy Accident: Mini Blueberry Cinnamon Sugar Dusted Muffins

Things are going well these days.  On the book front, my editor told me my book, Soup Day, has sold out of its first printing.  Yay!  That means I’m closer to my goal of selling the 9,000 or so copies I need to sell to get a sequel (which I’ve already written.)  Please support me in the effort and buy a copy for that young chef in your life and encourage them to join you in the kitchen!

Today, Amy Zavatto, a wonderful food and wine writer, wrote a lovely piece about spending a day with her niece and cooking on her Barnes and Noble food blog.

I’ll be part of the November Picture Book Bonanza at Books of Wonder in Manhattan this Sunday (11/21) from 1-3.  There will be so many amazing authors and illustrators there – James Howe, Wendell Minor, Dan Yaccarino, Lenid Gore, and a bunch of others!

And if you are in the Naperville, IL area, I would love to meet you at Anderson’s Book Store Tuesday (11/23) at 7.  I’ll be visiting schools in the area during the day and then doing the book store event at night to kick start my Thanksgiving holiday with my family. 🙂

On the food front, I flubbed a recipe big time, but sometimes mistakes can turn into a nice gift – isn’t that how pot stickers were invented?  The legend goes that the chef was cooking for the emperor and he burnt the dumplings on the bottom.  He didn’t have time to make a new batch, so he served them and called them “Pot Stickers”. The emperor loved them, and pot stickers were born.  Mine wasn’t as revolutionary but shared the same spirit!

Last weekend we had a brunch to go to, and I decided to try a new blueberry muffin recipe.  Here is the original source.

Photo by Mrs. Unrath

The problem was that I was in my 5:50 am pre-coffee state of mind.  My plan was to divide the recipe in half and make mini muffins.  I made the unfortunate (or fortunate?) error of halving everything except the butter.  Oops!  Oh, also the vanilla.  And I was too lazy to grate nutmeg, so I substituted cinnamon.

Additionally, I tweaked the recipe by adding the dry ingredients together, rather than the order in the original recipe and used demarra sugar instead of granulated for the topping because it’s prettier.  I was working on auto pilot…

But lo and behold – when the little treats came out, they were the most delicious blueberry muffins I have ever tasted.  A growling stomach may have had some influence, but I am sure the double dose of butter didn’t hurt!  Even with the extra serving, they weren’t greasy at all – just moist and heavenly.  The demarra sugar gave the tops a nice crunch, and the cinnamon was a perfect complement to the blueberry.  Even Picky #1 and Picky #2 said they were “the best muffins” they’d ever had — which is saying a lot!

Even though they were a bit more decadent—they are very small, so it is a mini indulgence. I felt like I was channeling my inner Ina Garten and Paula Deen writing up this recipe!

The only thing I would change next time is to bake them in paper liners so they are easier to remove from the muffin pan.  Try my recipe as is – or if you want to be a little health conscious, cut the butter in half.  If you do, let me know how they turn out!

Best Blueberry Mini Muffins with Cinnamon Sugar Topping


1 cup flour, plus 1 tablespoon for dusting

1 teaspoon baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

½ cup butter (1 stick) softened at room temperature

½ cup granulated sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ cup milk

1 ¼ cups fresh blueberries


1 tablespoon demarra sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray and line with mini cupcake liners
  3. Whisk 1 cup flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Set aside
  4. Cream butter in the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment.  Add sugar and beat until pale and creamy.
  5. Add egg and vanilla.  Beat to combine
  6. With lowest setting running, add ½ of the flour, then ½ of the milk.  Mix to combine.  Repeat.
  7. Toss blueberries with 1 tablespoon flour to coat in a small bowl.  Add to muffin batter and stir gently with a spoon.
  8. Heap tablespoons of batter into cupcake liners.
  9. Mix topping ingredients together in a small bowl and sprinkle about ½ teaspoon on muffin tops.
  10. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a tester inserting in center comes out clean
  11. Cool on a wire rack for about 10 minutes.
  12. Remove muffins from pan to rack and cool a bit.

Yield: 24 small muffins.


Filed under Breakfast