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yup. i bake now.

Here’s a spin on these Pumpkin Chocolate Cranberry Muffins, sans cranberries. I doubled the recipe and froze half to send to my brother, who is serving in Afghanistan in the USAF; the other half I froze and will send with my boyfriend, who will be away in DC for a month of lectures.

I used whole wheat pastry flour, which will boost the fiber and nutrient content, but still yield a tender crumb. I also used less honey than the previous recipe. Note: I didn’t have buttermilk, so I combined skim milk with 1 Tbsp of white vinegar.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 cup honey
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 Tbsp canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, spice, and salt and whisk.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg and whisk.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Stir in the chocolate chips.
6. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (standard 12).
6. Bake for 14-17 minutes, rotating halfway, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Notes: Unfortunately, the sides and bottoms got too brown. Next time: reduce heat to 350 F. Also, increase honey back to 1/2 cup. Though I don’t want an overly sweet muffin (nice excuse to have it for breakfast), I feel like it needed a boost. Maybe not. Needs more work!

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Oh yeah. It’s pumpkin season, bitches.

I used this recipe, which I adapted in the following ways:

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup sweetened dried cranberries
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, spice, and salt and whisk.
3. In a small bowl, combine honey, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, oil, vanilla and egg and whisk.
4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
5. Stir in the cranberries and chocolate chips.
6. Divide the batter evenly among muffin cups (standard 12, or 6 large if you’re weird like me).
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes, rotating halfway, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

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My S.S. is traveling for some very important business across the country, and I wanted him to have a piece of home to fuel him throughout the mornings.

The challenge?
1. Make it healthy
2. Use only the ingredients available in my pantry.
3. Finally use up the blueberries that I forgot about.

Blueberry carrot muffins filled these requirements. I used this recipe and made a few changes. Here we go:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch salt
2 large eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1/2 cup agave
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
4 medium carrots, grated (about 2 cups)
1 pint blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom of muffin tins with canola oil.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together both flours, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, oil, agave and vanilla.
4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not overmix–a few lumps are fine.
5. Fold in the carrots and blueberries until just incorporated.
6. Divide among a 12-cup muffin tin (for some reason I only have a 6-cup tin, which worked beautifully).
7. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a cake tester or toothpick comes out clean.

So basically, if he has a good trip, it’ll mostly be because of me 😉

1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 3/4 cup flour
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup preserves of your choice
Powdered sugar, for garnish

1. In large mixer bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, and margarine or butter with electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy.
2. Add half the flour, all of the eggs, milk, baking powder, baking soda, vanilla and salt; beat for about 2 minutes or until well blended.
3. Beat in the remaining flour on low speed until well mixed.
4. Spread evenly in a greased and lightly floured 13x9x2″ pan.
5. Spoon preserves in 8-10 dollops on top of batter. With a knife, swirl preserves into batter to form a marbled effect.
6. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (or until you see the sides start to pull away from the pan).
7. Cool on a wire rack.
8. Before serving, sift powdered sugar on top.
9. Cut into squares and serve warm (ideally) or at room temperature.

Tip from my mother: DON’T FORGET THE MILK!!!

#1, in a large pan, with raspberry preserves:
photo (3)

#2, half batch, in 4 mini loaf pans, with strawberry rhubarb preserves:

photo (22)