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Winning Muffin Recipes From Our Contest (2015)

Winning Muffin Recipes From Our Contest (2015)

In our 2015 edition, we asked for the most unique, unusual, and tasty muffin recipes featuring an unusual ingredient. Well, we got what we asked for!

We received hundreds of recipes for our Unusual Muffin Recipe contest — some contained very odd ingredients (pickles, Cool Whip, black beans, sauerkraut, avocados, onions, cauliflower, to name a few). We had a tantalizing time baking and tasting many recipes. The following were our top three winners. Try them for yourself and be sure to share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Unusual Muffin Recipe Contest Winners


close-up muffin with curd, carrots and oat flakes on orange placemat

The winning Moroccan Muffins used the unusual ingredients of couscous, carrot juice, pistachios and apricots for a chewy, substantial muffin.

Roxanne Chan 
Albany, CA

Moroccan Muffins

The clear favorite, the judges determined these muffins would be perfect to take hiking as a healthy snack. They were flavorful and substantial, and the apricots gave them a nice chewy sweetness. 


1 cup carrot juice
1 cup couscous
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1⁄2 teaspoon grated ginger root
1 egg
1⁄3 cup honey
1⁄3 cup plain yogurt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1⁄3 cup chopped dried apricots
2 tablespoons chopped pistachio nuts


Combine the carrot juice and couscous in a microwavable dish; microwave 4–5 minutes or until the juice is absorbed and the couscous is tender. Cool.

In a medium bowl whisk together the spices, egg, honey, and yogurt. Add the flour, baking soda, and baking powder; mix well. Stir in the cooled couscous, apricots, and nuts. Divide among 12 muffin tins. Bake at 350º F for 15–20 minutes or till the centers are set and the edges are golden.

Krista Reale
Cherry Hill, NJ

Double Chocolate Black Bean & Avocado Muffins

The judges were a little skeptical that muffins containing black beans and avocado were going to be delicious, but they were! They were moist, and you really couldn’t taste any of the unusual ingredients, as they were rich and chocolatey. 


1 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3⁄4 cup granulated sugar
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 avocado, mashed
1⁄2 cup black beans, drained, rinsed
1⁄2 cup skim milk (almond or soy milk may be substituted)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1⁄2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners, or spray the tin with cooking spray so the muffins don’t stick.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Mix thoroughly. Cut the avocado in half length- wise and remove the pit.

Using a spoon, scoop the flesh into a blender or food processor. Add the beans, milk, vanilla, and eggs and blend until ingredients are mixed and the texture is smooth. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients slowly, until completely mixed and moist.

Fold the chocolate chips into the batter. Fill the muffin tins two-thirds of the way up. Makes 12 muffins. Bake for 15 minutes or until the muffins look golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!

Janice Kerr
Center Valley, PA

Sweet Pickles & Cream Muffins

These muffins were a total surprise. We baked them in mini muffin tins and they were like little cheesecakes that disappeared fast! Served warm, they were sweet and impressive!


2 cups self-rising flour
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
2 8-ounce packages cream cheese, softened
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1⁄4 cup oil
1 cup half and half
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup sweet pickles, chopped


Preheat oven 375°F. Combine dry ingredients and set aside. Mix wet ingredients (except for pickles) together.

Stir dry ingredients into wet until well mixed. Then add the sweet pickles and mix well. Spoon into muffin cups filling three-quarters of the way full. Bake for 20–25 minutes. Serve warm.

Congratulations to all the muffin winners and a big thank you to all who submitted recipes!

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