smoked gouda, sun-dried tomato and parsley muffins.

Happy SPRRRRRRRRING, everyone!

OK, I know I’m jumping the gun by a couple of weeks, but these last two days of warmer (albeit blustery) weather have me all giddy and looking even more forward to those sunny spring days. I’m looking forward to the farmers markets (and the produce, egads, the non-root vegetable and citrus produce!), walks and bike rides outside and enjoying ice cream without freezing my tail off afterward (oh, who am I kidding; it could be -40 and I’d still eat ice cream). And I’m especially looking forward to not having to wear my ugly snow boots, scraping off the ice block that has encased my car or wearing 800 layers to and fro work. March 20 will be a glorious day.

Of course, this winter wasn’t really that bad at all. We had a few minor snowstorms, which was exciting, but otherwise it was pretty pitiful. But that’s not to say I’m not ready to put this pathetic winter behind us, and eager for the warmer weather ahead. And I’m kicking off the spring celebration with these bright and cheery savory muffins.

the goods.

mmmmcheeessseee.

This recipe comes from an awesome cookbook my sister-in-law gave me that focuses on all Vermont foods — like cheese, apples, cheese, berries, maple syrup, cheese — and if I had the stomach of a sumo wrestler and the patience of Mother Teresa, I’d make the entire gamut of recipes in one day and devour them all in a single sitting. They look and sound that tasty.

home-baked goodness.

Thankfully, my stomach and patience were willing to try this one recipe for muffins stuffed with smoked gouda, sun-dried tomatoes and parsley. These muffins are tart, creamy and light all at the same time, and the combination of wheat and white flours gives them added texture and depth of flavor. They taste unbelievable straight from the oven — the shredded gouda cheese pockets still warm and gooey and melty — but they also taste great after they’ve rested overnight and let their flavors meld and develop. And they take less than an hour to make, giving you more time to enjoy the impending sunshine.

muffin time.

So if I were you, I’d get in the kitchen and start celebrating spring right now.

Smoked Gouda, Sun-dried Tomato & Parsley Muffins
Adapted from Dishing Up® Vermont: 145 Authentic Recipes from the Green Mountain State

Yields: 10 substantial muffins (or 12 shorter, yet equally delicious muffins)

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 cup milk
2 eggs
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons chopped sun-dried tomato halves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 cup shredded smoked gouda cheese (about 4 ounces)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (350 degrees if using a dark or nonstick muffin pan). Line 10 to 12 cups of a muffin pan with paper baking cups. Lightly spray the bottoms of each paper cup with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder, mustard, salt and pepper. In a separate large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, butter, tomatoes and parsley. Add the milk mixture to the flour mixture and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined. Fold in gouda cheese (the mixture will still be a little lumpy; this is OK).
Scoop batter evenly into prepared baking cups and bake 25-30 minutes, or until muffins are a golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove from oven and immediately place on a cooling rack to cool slightly before serving.

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