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March 16, 2012

The Daring Bakers' Challenge: Poppy Seed Cherry Muffins with Eggnog

The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lisa stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

This time I'm as late as I've never been before though I think it's always better later than never, right? Here's my excuse :D I try to learn for my school leaving exam every day  but sometimes it's so freaking hard to concentrate! I mean there's a voice in my mind and it keeps telling me that it's time to turn on my PC, load my fav search engine, browse my fav foodblogs and, of course, visit :D So let's say it's my inner voice's guilt and definitely not mine :D Anyway, I don't regret at all because otherwiseI wouldn't have had the chance to bake these unusual muffins.

This challenge was hosted by one of the founders and first members of the DBs - Lis. She has mentioned several times in our instructions that she's no baker and therefore we wouldn't bake anything extra difficult. To be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed. Every month I await something really challenging that will make me push my limits further (and there's a lot to push!) but this time I felt nothing would be pushed anywhere. Weeeell, I might have been right, however, I'd never left out any excuse to bake a sweet treat (and eat it :D).

The mandatory items were pretty clear: bake any type of quick bread. It's bread that is quick to make because it doesn't require kneading or rising time. That's because the leavener is either baking powder or baking soda, absolutely not yeast. This genre includes biscuits, muffins, popovers, sweet or savoury loaves of bread and even pancakes, cakes or scones, simply everything that doesn't use yeast as a leavener. This type of baked goods is one of the most popular especially in English speaking countries (e. g. banana bread is very popular and soooo delicious and coming soon by the way).

As I have written in the first paragraph, I wasn't thrilled about the topic since I bake muffins, breads, cakes etc. quite often and we were also required to make it asap (the prep time couldn't be longer than 90 minutes). The time limit definitely was a challenge for me as I really am a slowpoke! And finally the very last requirement was to use either a muffin  or loaf baking pan. I decided to use my muffin pan because my mom gave me tons of beautiful muffin paper cases and it'd be a sin not to use them :D However, next time I'd bake them in one large loaf pan so that everyone could slice their own huge portion (because one tiny muffin simply isn't enough :D).

Even though Lis provided us a few recipes, she also allowed us to experiment as much as possible. I browsed our kitchen like three times and on the table there I placed everything that caught my attention. All the things were so diverse that I was even a bit scared of combining them together but in the end I got these wonderful muffins :D Let's bake!

70ml (1/3 cup) eggnog
70g (4/5 cup) dried cherries, chopped
oats for sprinkling
Dry ingredients:
100g (4/5 cup) all-purpose flour
100g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) quick cooking oats
100g (1/2 cup) brown sugar
100g (2/3 cup) ground poppy seeds
1 tsp baking powder
Wet ingredients:
100g (2/5 cup) plain yogurt
50ml (1/4 cup) kefir
1 large egg
65g (1/4 cup) butter, melted

Pour eggnog over chopped cherries and microwave until eggnong boils. Remove from microwave, stir and cover so that the heat doesn't escape and cherries can soak the eggnog. Set aside for at least 30 minutes. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, combine wet ingredients. Now pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones. Add in soaked cherries with the eggnog. Gently stir using your wooden spatula until moistened and just incorporated. Do not overmix, there should be lumps in the batter. Fill the muffin paper cases evenly to the top. Sprinkle with oats. Bake in preheated oven to 180C for 10-20 minutes until golden in color. A toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins has to come out clean.

  • The longer you let eggnong boil the more alcohol evaporates but also its taste becomes weaker.

Easy peasy, fast and really exquisite :) The muffins truly are full of poppy seeds (which works for me perfectly :D), smell divine and juicy cherries make them nicely moist. Eggnog taste is not very strong in the dough, but when you bite into cherries, you can taste it. Yogurt (please please use some thick creamy one) and kefir are there to assure you that the muffins will anything but dry. If you like your muffins sweeter, add a bit more sugar since they're just slighlty sweet and therefore perfect for breakfast. Who is strong enough to eat no more than one is the king :D

Linked to:
Sweet Indulgences Sunday
Sweets for a Saturday 


  1. I like the idea of creating something with ingredients on hand. Often we end up with a bit of this and that and it is nice to make use of stuff before we add to out stock. The use of kefir caught my attention: I have been using it in my baking recently and I like it a lot. I will write about it soon. Dried cherries and poppy seeds are two ingredients I like a lot. Having known you for a while, I am of course not surprised that your muffins look beautiful. Everything you bake turns out elegant.

    1. So do I :) sometimes it's really necessary to finally use the leftovers. I agree, kefir makes the dough so moist and I even like it just the way it is - it's a bit sour, though, but somehow I like the taste. Thank you a lot for your words!

  2. Those look like they're absolutely bursting with flavor. What a creative way to use eggnog too. You made the Top 5 with this one! Thanks for linking it up.

    1. Thank you so much! I'm so happy for that :) You're welcome :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Rachel! I'm really happy for that, thank you :)

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