JeanMarie Brownson: The thrill of Everything Muffins

Jeanmarie Brownson: The Thrill Of Everything Muffins
JeanMarie Brownson/TNS

It’ s easy to customize your own spice blend for the muffins.

Lifelong fans of sesame bagels, ordering an everything bagel at Zabar’s, our favorite specialty food shop in New York City, proved a no-brainer. One bite and we knew we’d search out these toasted sesame, garlic, onion and poppy seed bagels at every opportunity.

Decades later, spice companies brilliantly bottled the chunky, aromatic topping from everything bagels into jars. We’ve tried nearly all brands. Flavors vary from very garlicky to a toasted sesame punch. Some taste saltier than others.

It’s easy to customize your own blend. Little flakes of dried minced onion and garlic, along with sesame seeds form the backbone of the mixture. Lately, I’m in favor of using a garlic seasoning salt with parsley for a subtle garlic flavor. When I have them on hand, I use both white and black sesame seeds. You can toast the seeds briefly in a small skillet to bring out more flavor and be reminiscent of a toasted everything bagel.

Our family uses the seasoning blend on boneless chicken breasts and thighs destined for oven roasting or the grill. The blend tastes great over a toasted, buttered plain bagel or English muffin in the morning. You’ll enjoy it too, sprinkled over corn on the cob and baked potatoes.

For a savory muffin riff, I replace the salt in the muffin batter with Everything bagel seasoning blend — either homemade or store-bought. Serve the muffins warm, with butter, as a side at your next cookout. Everything will be delicious.

Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend

Makes a scant 1/2 cup

Note: Toasting the sesame seeds is optional. You can substitute 2 teaspoons each: garlic powder, salt and dried parsley for the garlic seasoning salt if desired.

  • 2 tablespoons white sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black sesame seeds (or more white sesame seeds)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic seasoning salt with parsley (such as Lawry’s)
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1. Put sesame seeds into a small cast-iron or nonstick skillet. Set the skillet over medium heat and stir until the sesame seeds just start to turn golden and release their aroma, about 1 minute. Do not walk away or they will burn. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. Stir remaining ingredients into the sesame seeds. Store in a covered jar, up to several weeks.

Everything Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Note: You can use bottled Everything Blend if desired. I like the Simply Organic version available at large supermarkets. Or try the blend from

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup each: whole wheat flour, yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup (about 1 ounce) Everything Bagel Seasoning Blend, see recipe
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, half-and-half or milk (or a combination)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil, such as expeller pressed canola oil or safflower oil
  • Softened butter, for serving

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line 12 standard muffin tins with paper or foil muffin liners. Whisk together flours, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and seasoning blend in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together eggs and cream in a medium-size bowl. Whisk in oil. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until flour is moistened. Do not overmix or muffins will be tough.

3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling each evenly. Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 20 to 22 minutes. Cool on a wire rack in the pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove muffins from the pan and cool on rack. Serve warm with butter.

(JeanMarie Brownson is a James Beard Award-winning author and the recipient of the IACP Cookbook Award for her latest cookbook, “Dinner at Home.” JeanMarie, a chef and authority on home cooking, Mexican cooking and specialty food, is one of the founding partners of Frontera Foods. She co-authored three cookbooks with chef Rick Bayless, including “Mexico: One Plate at a Time.” JeanMarie has enjoyed developing recipes and writing about food, travel and dining for more than four decades.)