Sunday, October 31, 2010

SMS - Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins

I can't tell believe this is my second time hosting Sweet Melissa Sundays. Last year, I chose Savory Muffins with caramelized onions from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book, which were a big hit. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to make them again, so for this week, I chose a different variety of savory muffins: Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins. My husband is not a big fan of goat cheese, so I used crumbled feta cheese instead. When we went to Morocco a few months ago, we brought back some wonderful olives, so I used some crunchy green olives instead of Kalamata olives. Thyme is not in season right now, so I made due with dried thyme (also from Morocco) instead of the wilted stuff they had at the store. Just remember that when replacing dried herbs for fresh herbs, to cut the amount in half.

Feta cheese, green olive and thyme muffins - who said muffins have to be sweet? :o)

Crunchy Moroccan green olives
 These muffins are so easy to make, you don't even need a mixer. Melt butter, add eggs, cream and milk (and some olive oil in my case). Those are your wet ingredients. Mix the dry ingredients and gently toss in the cheese and chopped olives. Now add the liquid ingredients on top and gently combine with a fork.

Mise en place

I enjoyed these muffins a lot. They had a rustic look to them and actually reminded me more of drop biscuits than muffins. They were moist, tender and very flavorful. Light, and not dense at all.

When I took my first bite, I wasn't quite convinced that the thyme worked with the olives and the cheese, however, after taking a second bite (and a third), I thought it worked well.

To all my fellow SMS bakers, I would like to extend a big Thank You for baking along with me this week. Check out the blogroll to see how the other SMS Bakers did this week.

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby loved these muffins, even though I called them biscuits, because he finds "savory muffins" weird :o) He enjoyed one with a bowl of homemade soup, and rated it: 9 out of 10.
  • I cut the recipe in half but ended up with 9 muffins instead of 6. As I'm typing this, there are only 8 left :o)
  • Don't overmix the batter or the muffins will be dense.
  • The muffins baked in only 17 minutes in my convection oven. So keep an eye out for them.
  • My changes and notes to the recipe can be found below in the color blue.

Savory muffins: Goat Cheese, Olive and Thyme Muffins
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Yields: 12 muffins (or 18 muffins in my case)

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 tsp teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (doubled this)
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted (used 80% butter, 20% extra-virgin olive oil)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup whole milk, room temperature (used 1% milk)
  • 1 cup crumbled goat cheese (used crumbled feta cheese)
  • 3/4 cup pitted coarsely chopped Kalamata olives (used pitted crunchy Moroccan green olives)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme (used 1/2 Tbsp dried thyme)
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a standard 12-cup muffin tin with muffin papers (or butter and flour the cups or spray them with nonstick vegetable cooking spray). I used Baker's Joy with flour and no muffin liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, and sugar.

In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, (extra-virgin olive oil) and eggs. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk until combined.

Add the cheese, thyme, and olives to the flour mixture, and gently toss with your fingers to coat. Make a well in the center. Pour the butter mixture into the center of the well and, using a rubber spatula, gently pull the flour mixture into the center of the well until just combined. Don't overmix! Muffin batter will be thick at this point.

Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffin cups (using a large, spring-loaded ice cream scoop), filling each cup until full.

Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the enter comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool. Mine were fully baked after only 17 minutes so watch them closely.

Serve warm or at room temperature. The muffins are best eaten the day they are made, but they can be tightly wrapped in plastic wrap and kept for 2 days at room temperature. For longer storage, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 5 days, or freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost still wrapped at room temperature.


  1. Savory muffins never appealed to me but described as a savory biscuit, I understand it better now. Feta sounds much better, too.

  2. Your muffins look so light and delicious!

    Thanks for hosting for this week. I'm looking forward to making these later today!

  3. Your muffins look so light and tender! How cool you had olives from your trip to Morocco! Sorry I didn't bake along this week...I did the savory muffins with pear and blue cheese several weeks back and just couldn't wrap my head around eating a savory muffin for some reason! I did a rewind recipe instead. Happy Halloween!

  4. Killer muffins! Yay Hanaa for your great choice this week. I baked these to go along with my Oxtail stew over polenta with Parmesan cheese. Moroccan olives, Yum!

  5. Thanks for hosting today! I mixed it up a bit and made the pear, blue cheese and walnuts ones we made a few weeks ago.

    Those olives look amazing!

  6. I will definitely try these! I usually prefer savory to sweet, and am always on the lookout for good & easy savory dishes. thanks for posting the recipe!

  7. Wow, Hanaa, you are absolutely awe-inspiring. I don't know how you do it all. The muffins just make me want to reach in and grab 2, not 1! I am really looking forward to making them.

  8. I never though savory muffins would taste good..but now reading your post, i'm beginning to change my mind...

  9. Savory muffin. Nice! To answer your question Hanaa, I measure the flour for the FFWD Apple Cake by volume - yea dip and sweep. It felt weird though, not weighing ingredients!

  10. I love the sound of these muffins, thanks for the idea Hanaa.

  11. Mega Yum! I had to make a quick dinner tonight and almost resorted to scrambled eggs, when my eye caught this recipe which I had emailed to myself. I didn't have all the ingredients so I did it Mediterrannean style and eye balled some of the substitutions. I used 1/3 whole wheat flour, all whole milk, no heavy cream, 20% olive oil plus a little extra for the added fat. Used goat cheese feta, and cut up the two olives I had left and garnished four muffins with them. As I said, mega yum. Next time I will add some veggie purée also, which I've been doing to most things I've been making recently. Thanks for this post and your very helpful comment!

  12. Sorry, I couldn't bake along with you this week. The muffins sound great and I hope to come back to this one.

  13. Your muffins look terrific! The Moroccan olives look especially good. My sincere apologies for not participating last week. I bought olives and goat cheese, then somehow my weekend got away from me. I'll have to do rewind some time when I make soup.

  14. What a delicious change from sweet muffins. It's great that your changes worked out so well. By the way, I'm holding a CSN giveaway on my blog and you're welcome to come by and enter.

  15. Yay for fresh olives! I still haven't made these but I haven't given up. I'm glad I read your post before making mine. I think they might have to be part of breakfast this weekend...

  16. These look fabulous, with goat cheese or feta cheese -- yum.


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