Friday 7 October 2011

How thyme flies: Caramelized onion, thyme, and cheddar cheese muffins

I think I blinked and missed the whole year.  How on earth is it October already??

All of a sudden it's one week till exams and there's this much study to do and this much time to do it in.  Sigh.   Who needs sleep anyways? Sleep is for the weak.

Ok, enough of my study whine and on to the recipe.

Muffins are one of those things that like to be thrashed together at the last minute.  It doesn't like you dwelling on its consistency or mulling over how best to fold the ingredients together.  No no, no mollycoddling for muffins, thank you very much.  Muffins just want you to chuck everything in, mix it up super quick and bash it in the oven.  Wham bam thank you mam baking.

That's what makes these Caramelized onion, thyme, and cheddar cheese muffins perfect for when you have a friend coming over for lunch, you want to make something delicious but don't have much time.

{have thyme but no time}

I worked at a chain-store cafe for years in high school and we used make batches of muffins in the morning, eat the broken muffins for lunch, and get all the left over muffins at the end of the day.  Muffins, muffins, everywhere.  I got so sick of muffins that I can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten a muffin since I left high school almost a decade ago.

So I have to say I was a bit hesitant to make these to start off with.  Could I overcome my prejudice against the muffin-kind?  To muffin or not to muffin? In the end, they were just so easy to throw together, so versatile, and could be put together with things you already have in your pantry, I caved.

{light hands make light muffins, muffin}

I can't say I'm completely converted to muffins as a genre...I would pick bread roll or calzone any day but these muffins did win me over.  They are packed with flavour, light and fluffy with gorgeously gooey tangy cheese.  I'd definitely make them again.  Perhaps this marks the beginning of my muffin-reconciliation?

They are best still warm out of the oven but are still good the next day.  Zapping them in microwave for 20 seconds on high does wonders.

As Murphy's law would have it, we seemed to be all out of paper baking cups so I just made them by cutting up little squares of baking paper.  You make one cut in the middle of each side of the square, leaving about a inch from the centre (sounds really complicated in words but it really isn't! Check out the pics below).

Lastly, I couldn't post this week without acknowledging the passing of an incredible human being: Steve Jobs.  One of those visionary inspirational people that literally changed the world we live in.  What an incredible loss.  My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.

{Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith.  I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did...Your work is going to fill a large part your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven't found it yet, keep looking.  Don't settle...Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life ~ Steve Jobs}
The man.  The genius.  The legend.

Caramelized onion, thyme, and cheddar muffins

adapted from Alison Holts's Champion cheese muffins.

Makes 12 muffins

2 cups (200g) grated tasty cheese
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp sugar
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp onion powder (optional)
handful of fresh thyme (remove the leaves from the stalks)

1 cup milk
1 egg + 1 yolk

2 onions thinly sliced
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

extra cheese and paprika for sprinkling on top.

1. Preheat oven to 210oC.  Line one 12 cup muffin tray with paper baking cups.  Microwave the sliced onions in a covered bowl for 5 minutes.  Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a small pan, then add the onions and cook with 1 tablespoon of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar until soft and caramelized (shouldn't take any more than 5 minutes). Season to taste.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, onion powder, cayenne, paprika and thyme to get rid of the lumps.  Stir the cheese and onions through the flour mixture.

3. In a separate bowl, lightly beat together the 1 cup of milk, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk.  Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, pour in the eggy milk mixture into the well and mix together lightly until just combined.

4. Divide the mixture up into the 12 cups of the muffin tray, sprinkle a little extra cheese on top and a touch of paprika for colour. Bake at 210oC for 12 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.  Best eaten on the day (but still good the next day reheated in the microwave for 20 secs).


  1. I think if cafes started making flavours like this they might sell out :D Yum yum yum, although I'd struggle to get the onions to the muffins without them taking a lengthy detour to my gob :P

    Also, YAY for savory muffins! So under-rated at potlucks when everyone brings sweet things.

  2. these muffins looks absolutely delicious! & so comforting in the colder weather :)

    Katie x

  3. Great idea with the homemade baking cups! I thought you had bought the fancy kind until I read it.

  4. Muffins are marvelous - and yours look super tasty - just the thing to go with a speedy soup!

  5. Wonderful flavorful muffins :-) And lovely tribute to SJ :-(

  6. You are hilarious, and these look delicious. Funny how when you need to study/write papers, all you want to do is write something completely unrelated. Good luck with exams!

  7. Yum, these look so tasty! Good luck for the study Nessie!

  8. Wow these look incredible, what a great recipe and photos! LOVE your blog, so glad to be a new follower! xoxo

  9. I made these today for lunch! They were great!! :) Thank you so much for the easy recipe and inspiration.

  10. I'm honestly drooling.
    The pictures are gorgeous! You have an amazing blog, so glad I found it! These muffins are on the top of my to-do list!



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