EntertainingTime Out

by Mary Canovas



Chocolate Chip Muffins

When is a cupcake a muffin and when is a muffin a cupcake? As you can imagine there is a heated debate among true connoisseurs of the baking world. For me, as a homemaker, it´s really not hard. Muffins are far easier to make in a hurry for hungry kids and friends. But I´ll give you the essentials so you can decide.

Cupcakes are like miniature cakes – they are baked more often for holidays or special occasions. They are lighter and sweeter than muffins. They are usually decorated with frosting. The preparation of the recipe takes longer and is more difficult because you have to beat the butter and sugar until fluffy then add the eggs and then slowly incorporate the dry ingredients.

Chocolate chip muffin

In contrast, muffins are the easiest to make of all the biscuits. Two steps, one bowl. Beat all wet ingredients in a bowl and add all the dry ingredients all at once, stirring just enough to make it all well incorporated. They are denser than cupcakes and usually incorporate fruits like blueberries or nuts and chocolate chips. Nowadays some of them are even frosted. Muffins are often eaten with butter and jam. They are often served at breakfast, lunch or as a snack. Unlike cupcakes, they should be eaten soon after baking (maximum 1 ½ days) but if you´ve got a few left over you can freeze them and microwave them about 15 seconds when you need them.

Here is my personal recipe for quick and easy chocolate chip muffins. From preparation to the table in 40 minutes! This recipe is a keeper. Hope you enjoy! See it on my YouTube Channel En Casa Contigo or click or copy this link: Please remember to hit the “show more” or “mostrar” button under the video. All our videos have complete information on ingredients, how to and background of our recipes and crafts.
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• 2 ½ cups – 320 gr flour • 1 1/4 cup – 280 g sugar • ¾ cup – 180 ml whole milk • 1/2 cup – 125 gr melted butter • 2 eggs • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon (Cinnamon will not taste like cinnamon. What it will do is reinforce the taste of chocolate. Use this trick when you work the chocolate) • 2 tbsp baking powder Royal • ½ teaspoon salt • 1 tbsp vanilla • 260 to 300 g – 10 oz. – 1 ½ cups chocolate chips or nuggets dark or milk chocolate or a mix of your choice

Chocolate Chips how to: If you have no chocolate chips on hand, they are really easy and way cheaper to make. Plus, nowadays the trend is toward larger and more natural chips in baking. Get a chocolate bar of the desired weight at room temperature. If it´s too hard to cut easily, place it in the microwave about 5 to 10 seconds (depending on weight). You don´t want it to melt, only get it more pliable. Cut into small pieces. You´ve just saved yourself a ton of money and you’ve chosen exactly the right chocolate for you.

Do everything in one bowl. Do not use an electric mixer. Muffins are actually better when they are not overly blended. (Easy and great for cleanup!)
• Preheat oven to 220 º C – 425 º F
• Lightly butter and flour muffins pans or use muffin or cupcake paper liners.
• Take one tbsp of the flour 320 gr. from the recipe for the muffins. Stir chocolate chips with flour, making sure they are all evenly coated. (This will allow the chips to be evenly distributed in the muffins. Otherwise they will all drop to the bottom during the baking process.) Set aside.
• Put the milk, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, yeast and eggs in a bowl. Beat by hand until well mixed.
• Add half the flour, incorporate and add the remaining half. Beat until well incorporated. Do not overbeat.
• Gently incorporate the chips into the dough.
• Fill the muffin cups almost to the top. (Optional: sprinkle top with regular sugar.)
• Bake at 220 º C – 475F for 7 or 8 minutes. Then lower the temperature to 190 º C – 350 º F for 25 minutes. The first baking temperature helps to make the muffins rise. Then lowering the heat makes sure they are evenly cooked inside without burning.
As every oven is different, always check to see if done by inserting a toothpick in the center. When it comes out clean, the muffins are ready to come out of the oven.


Homemade Sour Cream

How many times have you seen a great recipe but couldn’t find the essential ingredient – sour cream or even crème fraiche. For those who have never tried it, au naturel, it really is an acquired taste. But when you incorporate it into sweet and savory dishes, sour cream adds a consistency and distinctive taste that makes them truly unforgettable. It is used in all kinds of salad dressings; it´s the basis of Ranch and Roquefort or blue cheese dressings, plus all kinds of dips – the classic onion and sour cream – stewed meats and ethnic dishes like borscht soup, Hungarian goulash etc, and stuffed baked potatoes and vegetables .

The authentic New York cheesecake is not your everyday cheesecake because of the added sour cream that gives it such a special kick. It´s also an essential ingredient in all types of cakes, cookies, desserts.

Now the problem: it´s hard to find. Either they don´t sell it at the corner supermarket or you just can´t buy it anywhere else – plus it´s not exactly inexpensive. Solution: make it at home. It´s easy and cheap.

This recipe is the easiest way to make sour cream. It is considered a substitute. But you can use it with absolutely all your recipes, including dips. The authentic way to make it involves real buttermilk and a more complicated process. Our recipe calls for only two readily available ingredients: liquid heavy cream and lemon juice. Plus you can use it fresh or freeze it for later use.


– 1 cup – 240 ml – double cream or whipping cream or heavy cream (same thing, different names)
– 3 teaspoons lemon juice
– 2 teaspoons white vinegar ( if you can´t find it, use regular but the taste will vary a little)
– 1 small pinch salt


How to:
• Put the heavy cream in a small bowl. Add salt, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and beat with a fork, add 1 more teaspoon lemon and one teaspoon of vinegar, continue beating. Don´t worry if it doesn´t thicken immediately, it will, I promise. It may take about 4 or 5 minutes, probably less. Once it starts to thicken, add the last teaspoon of vinegar and whisk until it reaches the consistency of soft whipped cream.
• If you want a more liquid cream, just add a little milk and continue stirring.
• You can use this sour cream in all recipes for baking, dressing, dips etc..
• You can freeze it and when you need it, let it thaw in the fridge. Whisk it once it´s unfrozen to restore consistency to serve as a dip or to add to your recipes.


Happy Birthday April Babies

Some famous people born in April:
Hans Christian Anderson, Marlon Brando, Thomas Jefferson, Leonardo da Vinci, Victoria Beckham, Catherine the Great

April Birthstone – Diamond

Lucky you, your birthstone is the diamond, probably one of the most desired gemstones on the planet. And also one of the oldest. If you are fortunate enough to have a diamond, you are holding in your hand one of the most ancient things anyone can possess since most diamonds are over a billion years old. The name comes from the Greek “adamas” which means invincible. It is the hardest natural substance. Only a diamond can cut a diamond.

Diamonds are not only white (or more accurately clear). They can be blue, red, black, pale green, pink and violet. These are called fancy diamonds and are more valuable because of their rarity. There are also all shades of brown, champagne to black which are the least expensive. When buying a diamond, remember the 4 Cs – color, clarity, carat and cut to estimate their value.

Mystical and Healing Properties
Diamonds were historically regarded as remedies and aids in brain diseases and stomach problems. They were supposed to strengthen the owner’s memory and help to develop concentration.

Diamonds were used to strengthen faith, purity, life, joy, innocence and repentance. It was considered an antidote to poison that was capable of detecting a poison by exhibiting a moisture or perspiration on its surface. The diamond was also thought to give its wearer strength in battle and to protect him against ghosts and magic. The legends say that the diamond loses its brilliance with the health of the wearer, regaining it only when the owner recovers.

April Birth-Flower – Daisy

Daisies are simple yet sophisticated and are some of the most beautiful flowers in the floral world. Daisies convey cheer and exuberance. It is thought that the name “daisy” is a corruption of “day’s eye” because the whole head closes at night and opens in the morning. The daisy is native to western, central and northern Europe. Daisy flowers are special because they convey no negative meanings. The daisy represents purity of the mind, heart and soul, innocence, new beginnings and good-byes, bliss, loyal love, and keeper of secrets.

Daisy is often used while confessing undying love. It captures the language of love best with its silence. In earlier days a daisy from a maiden was an honorable gesture and an act of affection. It stands for the concealed truth, away from everyone else’s notice. When a daisy was given in public, it meant a transfer of a secret from the giver to the receiver. The famous “she loves me, she loves me not” method where people pluck out the petals to tell love’s fortune was first used with the daisy.


Featured image (montage): Diamond/nikilok via Flickr, CC BY2.0. Muffin by Dave Crosby cc by-sa2.0 via Flickr, CC BY-SA2.0. Frame supplied
Muffin/Laura H-B via Flickr, CC BY-SA2.0

Diamond/nikilok, CC BY2.0
Daisy/Christopher Kay, CC BY2.0 via Flickr