When it comes to baked goods, there are some general assumptions out there. Assumption #78: When I say “muffin” you think “sweet.”


Not in this case. On one particularly rainy Sunday afternoon, I felt a yearning for some warm, scented goodness baking in my kitchen. Although at first I thumbed my cookbooks for something heavy on cinnamon, I ultimately chose a savory muffin from Melissa Murphy’s The Sweet Melissa Baking Book. I already  had some experience with Murphy’s recipes and was eager to expand my knowledge.


Melissa Murphy, of the Brooklyn Patisseries and baking book provides a 4-for-one bargain recipe for savory muffins. Starting with a baseline of a basic savory muffin recipe and then provides four options to spice it up, so to speak:


Goat cheese, olive, and thyme muffins

Caramelized onion, sage and cheddar muffins

Bosc pear, blue cheese, and walnut muffins

Sun-dried tomatoes, feta, and oregano muffins


I chose the third option as it contains three of my favorite ingredients. Plus, it was a perfect accompaniment to the refresco soup Mike brought home from the DuPont farmer’s market.


So a note on the instructions below – does anyone else find themselves awkwardly discovering specific directions after you are 75% complete with all other steps? In this case, it was realizing that the milk and cream were supposed to be room temperature. Whoops. Mine were fresh from the fridge and as cool as white marble. In past debacles, I’ve discovered that batter must refrigerate for at least two hours. This is Exhibit Q of why baking in a hurry benefits no one. In the end, this was resolved by patience and some quality time with my DVR while I waited for the liquid to warm up.



 Once mixed, the batter was drier than I am used to, owing perhaps to the surprising amount of baking powder required in the recipe. It’s easily manipulated, however, and I was able to pat the goods in my hand and place them in the muffin liners for baking (most muffin batter is more akin to pancake batter and must be poured or spooned into the molds). Murphy instructs the reader to fill the cups to the top and she isn’t lying – there is not as much rise in these bad boys as you’d expect from a typical muffin.

Still, they were delicious and worth the effort. They didn’t take the same shape as a traditional muffin but I would not have given a second thought to serving them to friends. They are delicious, surprising and contrary – the sweet baked bosc pear interacts perfectly with the salty blue cheese and crunch of the toasted walnuts.


I would absolutely make these – or their savory cousins – for a brunch or as a house warming gift, although in the future I’ll play with the batter a little further so the final product retains more moisture.


Melissa Murphy’s Savory Muffins, from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book:


3 cups all purpose flour (I substituted with the whole wheat flour we stock in the kitchen)

1 Tb + 1 1/2 ts baking powder

1 1/2 ts kosher salt

¾ ts freshly ground black pepper (I mixed with white pepper)

¼ ts cayenne pepper

1 ts sugar

10 Tb unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs

½ C heavy cream, room temperature

½ c whole milk, room temperature (I substituted skim milk)

1 C crumbled or shredded cheese

1 C chooped, cooked vegetables (no cooking required for pears!) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare muffin pan with liners or butter and flour or cooking spray.


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


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter and eggs. Whisk in the heavy cream and milk until combined.


  1. Add the cheese and chopped fruit 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 mix together using a rubber spatula until just combined.


  1. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared muffing cups, filling each cup until full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until lightly golden and a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Place on cooling rack.


Bosc Pear, Blue Cheese, and Walnut additions:

Sprinkle 1 cup peeled, cored, and chopped Bosc pears (instead of vegetables); ¾ cup crumbled blue cheese and ½ cup coarsely chopped, lightly toasted walnuts over the combined flour mixture and toss gently. Proceed as directed.