I have certainly been on a big baking kick lately. I think it has been partially brought on by the responsibility of making snacks for CSA every week this summer. So today I decided that some breakfast muffins sounded great. Usually Tyler gets a hankering for blueberry muffins and I generally make them from a mix. Fresh blueberries don’t come here, frozen ones (if I can find them) are way overpriced so I cheat. But today I decided to make some from scratch using a recipe in my trusty cookbook. I am not a fan of plain muffins, so I course picked a jazzed up version. I actually was thinking of making apricot almond muffins but part way through I realized I had eaten most of the dried apricots I had (oops!) and then remembered I had some delicious raspberry jam I should use up – so really it worked out great.
What You Need:
3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
1/2 tsp. almond extract
8 Tbs. butter melted and cooled
1/4 cup raspberry jam or preserves
Preheat oven to 375 and line or spay your muffin tin. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl whisk together eggs and yogurt and extract in a large bowl.
Gently fold in the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Fold in the melted butter. The batter is very dough-like rather than soft and runny.
The batter - it comes out really doughy.
Into each muffin cup spoon about 2 Tbs. of batter. Add 1 tsp. of raspberry jam to the center of each muffin. Top muffins with remaining batter evenly and bake for about 20-25 mins or until golden brown and tester comes out clean.
For added pizzaz, I usually add a light sprinkling of sugar to the top of each muffin right before baking. It is something I learned to do as a kid when my Grandma taught me how to make muffins from scratch. I don’t know if she necessarily taught me to do it that way or if my 9 year-old self just thought homemade muffins just were not sweet enough. Now I do it for the little crunch it gives on top.
Out of the oven goodness - nice and golden
Sometimes I find recipes in very strange ways. I am a firm believer that you never know that if the back of that pasta box or the inside of the butter tub might have something worth trying, or at least worth taking inspiration from. Well this recipe probably came from the strangest place possible, a My Little Pony coloring book. No joke! Almost two years ago now I was volunteering at a hospital working on the pediatric floor and I used to photocopy coloring book pages for the children to color on. While flipping though the My Little Pony coloring book I stumbled upon this recipe, read it, and decided it was worth saving, It is still scribbled on a cut up sheet of fax paper I stole to write it down on. I really need to get a fancy smancy recipe box with cards, but that is another story.
I tried this recipe out then and made them for my husband (then boyfriend) as a fun dessert and he loves them. They are the perfect serving size of a delicious cheesecake-like dessert.
What You Need:
2 8oz. packages of cream cheese
1/2 cup + 2 Tbs. white sugar
1tsp. lemon juice
1 1/8 cups graham cracker crumbs
1 pinch cinnamon
1/4 cup butter
1 21oz. can cherry pie filling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins. For these I actually like the foil liners as they really help when you eat the cream tart out of them. I am sure regular ones work okay though. But you have to line!
To Make Filling: Cream with an electric mixer the cream cheese and 1/2 cup sugar. Slowly add in eggs, vanilla, and lemon juice and mix well.
To Make Crust: Combine crumbs, 2 Tbs. sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut in butter until crust forms small crumbs. I usually use my hands.
Put on spoonful of crust into each cup then add layer of filling. Bake for about 25-30 minutes so that custard is firm but springy to touch. It usually puffs up and then drops down some as it cools. Spoon cherry fulling over the top and then chill.
Out of the oven - ready for filling
All done - and tasty!
I really felt like baking yesterday and my heart was feeling chocolate. So a natural inclination was brownies. But as I was searching around, I found some recipes for spicy chocolate brownies. And so my Mayan Chocolate Brownies were born. Despite taking several hours due to a prolonged propane tank situation, they were baked and turned out delicious. The recipe I used was based largely on one in the Whole Foods iPad app, but I modified it a little bit. I added more “spicy” because I wanted the flavor to really push through the sweet brownie, and I loved that this recipe kept them from being too sweet. It really is not that spicy, but if you are nervous you could use less cayenne. I think next time I might try it with some of the local chili powder too.
What You Need:
This is the good stuff
2.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate (the Grenadian Chocolate company 100% cocoa bar worked marvelously!)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 + 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 cup flour
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350 and prepare an 8 inch pan by lining it with aluminum foil leaving enough to hang over two of the edges. This was different, but it made getting the brownies out super easy and no washing the pan! Butter the foil.
Melt the chocolate (chopped into pieces) and butter in a small saucepan on low until almost all of the chocolate pieces are melted. Remove from heat, stir until rest of chocolate melts, and allow to cool.
Whisk together flour, spices, baking powder, and salt. Pour chocolate mixture into a medium bowl and stir in sugar and eggs and vanilla. Add flour mixture and stir just until smooth. Pour into a prepared pan and bake until top is dry and a tester comes out without any raw dough, about 25-30 minutes. My oven is hot and I baked them about 25 minutes – I really wanted to preserve the moist centers and I think they came out perfect.
Allow to cool then remove from pan via the foil and then you can slice them up and a cutting board. I made the brownies into sundaes with some vanilla ice cream for a delicious summer treat!
Oh, and this also marks the first post where I am trying to stop being lazy and use our nice camera. Now naturally I tried to take most of these pictures at night and we still don’t have the best kitchen lighting, but I have hopes that they might improve. We will see.
I finally caved and bought a subscription to one of my favorite cooking magazines, Bon Appetit. So it only makes sense that I would be taking some of the recipes, or the inspiration from them, for a spin. I am saddened that all of their amazing sounding salmon, clam, and steak dishes might have to wait to be back in the land of large supermarkets that stock everything, but I always love more things to try. So I found this cake and even though I just got a mixer (hallelujah!) I didn’t even need it. This was so simple to make, and is basically a pound cake. Which is great because you can’t really go buy pound cake at the bakery here like back home.
What You Need:
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1 Tbs. grated lemon zest
3/4 cup whole milk yogurt (recipe calls for Greek, but plain regular whole-fat yogurt worked fine)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. vanilla
Oven is heated to 350 (my new oven still runs hot so I have to be careful, I overcooked and burned the edges of the first one). Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray and dust with flour to coat. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. In a separate bowl rub the lemon zest with the sugar. I love how the Grenadian green lemons produce a fun color to this.
Then mix in the yogurt, vanilla, oil and eggs and whisk to blend. Carefully fold in the dry ingredients just to blend and pour into prepared muffin pan. Be sure to smooth the top so it comes our pretty! Bake until golden brown and tester comes our clean which should be about 50 minutes. Then just let it cool.
The cake tastes great plain – I even served it for snacks at church one week. But since I was feeling like a special treat I bought some frozen berries from the store and made my homemade whipped cream (with my mixer!) and we made berry shortcake. Tyler was in little piggy heaven!