The Muffin Recipes Revealed: A Maine innkeeper tells all and shares recipes

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The Muffin Recipes Revealed cookbookI’m always on the lookout for inexpensive accommodations that I can recommend, especially along the Maine Coast and even more especially within easy reach of Acadia National Park and Mount Desert Island. The number of visitors in this region far outpaces available rooms during peak season.

Last summer, I made numerous trips to Acadia researching the new edition of Moon Acadia National Park. Although many were day trips, often I had to find a bed, in the peak of summer, at the last minute. Thank goodness for the Trenton strip and its handful of well kept, vintage motels and tourist cottages just over the bridge from Mount Desert Island. I found an especially warm welcome at the Open Hearth Inn (one of my recommendations on my Acadia Cheap Sleeps pages). Not only did I find a warm welcome and a clean and comfy room, but also little extras, most notably warm-out-of-the-oven muffins in the morning.

Innkeepers Chuck and Susan Starr are  hospitable and experienced, and the Open Hearth comprises bed-and-breakfast rooms, apartments, and a string of adorable cottages. In the mornings, lucky early birds can enjoy Sue’s warm muffins, a real treat. She usually puts out a couple of flavors, and it’s hard not to be greedy and grab one of each.

Sue Starr Photo-by-Chuck-Starr-168x300The Starrs, contemplating the gentler pace of running an inn as they eased into retirement, purchased the Open Hearth in 2004, despite never having stayed in a B&B. “Like many of our generation, we were charmed by The Bob Newhart Show,” she writes in the preface of her new cookbook, The Muffin Recipes Revealed: Memories of a Mad Innkeeper. Their experiences, however, did not replicate those of Bob and Johanna. The Open Hearth is a much larger and seasonal property, and the Starrs do it all themselves—no George; no Larry, Darryl and Darryl; no charming-but-ditzy Stephanie.

In her book, Sue shares not only many of the recipes that earned her fame and repeat guests over the years, but also dishes on the realities of being innkeepers, from plumbing woes to wedding whoopses. It’s light and fun, offering insights into the life of innkeepers, but what makes this little book special are the 42 recipes sprinkled between the essays. Here are two recipes that appear in the Autumn Comforts section:

Chocolate Hazelnut Muffins

makes one dozen muffins

6 tablespoons butter, melted

2/3 cup Nutella spread

1 3/4 cups flour

3/4 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup milk

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts

Topping:

crystallized sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners. Melt butter with Nutella over low heat. Mix until smooth and allow to cool 10 minutes. Mix dry ingredients and liquid ingredients separately. Combine to make batter and blend in melted butter and Nutella mixture. Gently add hazelnuts and fill muffin cups. Sprinkle with crystallized sugar. Bake 20-24 minutes.

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And this one is an especially good choice for the holiday season:

Rockin’ Rum Egg Noggin Muffins

makes one dozen muffins

2 cups flour

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup eggnog

1/4 cup Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

6 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Topping:

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin cups with paper liners. Mix dry ingredients and liquid ingredients separately. Combine to make batter and blend in melted butter. Gently fold in raisins and walnuts. Fill muffin cups and sprinkle with combined topping ingredients. Bake 18-22 minutes.