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yup. i bake now.

I used this recipe from Whole Foods. Changes I made: subbing coconut oil for butter, going just shy of 1/2 cup for the sugar, omitting the walnuts, increasing chocolate chips to just under 1 cup (mixed in the batter and sprinkled on top). Overall, not bad for a brownie made with black beans. Slightly grainy in texture, and a little too cakey for my taste. Plus, they stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Next time, I will under-bake, and consider swapping mashed banana for the sugar. Perhaps will omit eggs and use a ground flaxseed slurry to make it vegan (with the coconut oil). Needs work.

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The first–and only–time I had mochi was at the original Fatty Crab restaurant in New York City’s West Village. I went to this place every chance I got, before it was nearly impossible to get in. There was a time when there were no dessert items on the menu, but you would receive a little mochi cake with the bill. I had never tasted anything so pillowy (some people call that “heavenly”), chewy, and crunchy, all in the same bite. I needed more.

Fast-forward many years later, and I finally baked a mochi cake of my own. I used , as featured in Gourmet Magazine’s May 2005 edition. Changes made: addition of 1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds sprinkled on the top of the cake batter, and sugar reduced to about 1 3/4 cups (simply because I ran out).

The result? Wonderful! Crunchy exterior, custardy and chewy on the inside. Next time: add more sesame seeds, try increasing sugar to 2 cups. They froze fairly well, though we’ll see how they hold up with a near two-week transit time to get to my brother in Afghanistan! They are very dense and satisfying, and great with a cup of tea in the evening.

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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!

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 😉