Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

I know I have said this before, but food has magical powers – that is until there is a force that breaks those powers.  I haven’t seen it happen very often, but it does.  Why is it so important when you go to a all day meeting that there is good food to eat?  That’s because often, it puts you in a better mood.  You come back from lunch refreshed and ready to tackle anything – only then to look forward to snack time.

Normally my meetings have nothing to do with food – which is why it is such a treat every year to attend the Food Blogger’s conference.  Not only do you talk about food, listen to other people lecture about food – there is food EVERYWHERE.  It is quite something.  This year things were just a little different though.  The conference started on a Friday night – with a wonderful reception and the gift suite.  I brought home lots of great stuff to share with the family – snacks and treats galore – but I wasn’t staying at the hotel.  The next day they started us out with breakfast sponsored by Noosa Yoghurt.  Now, if you haven’t had Noosa Yoghurt yet, you are truly missing out.  I have been eating it for months now, and it is leaps and bounds better than any yoghurt I have ever had in the United States – it is closer to the wonderful yoghurt I can find in Europe.  So, needless to say, I was in my glory.  They had tons of toppings out for us so I went to town – and that pumpkin yogurt was just like eating pumpkin pie filling.  I was ready to sit and listen to people talk about food for hours.

After a few hours of that, I was actually hungry again – and I forgot to bring the snacks with me from the night before.  I was with hundreds of foodies – was I the only one that was hungry?  There was 4 hours in between breakfast and lunch, and I hate to say it, but that is just too long for me to wait.  I eat every couple of hours.  It is the only way for me to stay sane during the day.  Well, fortunately I ran out and bought myself a snack to keep me going, but I was definitely surprised by the whole thing.  I have to admit, that was the only part of the weekend that I was hungry in the least bit.  The rest of the weekend they kept the food coming.  Let me remind you how hard it is to watch a food demo when you are hungry…

That brings me back to these muffins.  My daughter loves muffins in the morning because they are quick and easy.  I have a different rational.  I can eat a couple of hard boiled eggs for my first breakfast, then have a muffin for my mid-morning snack.  Boy is life good when that happens.  Magic.  Fortunately for me, my daughter’s did not like these muffins from Cooking Light – but my husband and I LOVED them – they were mildly sweet with a touch of bacon on top.  OMG.  And I used margarine instead of butter, so they were dairy-free.  Now, if only I could just snap my hands and make those muffins appear…now that would be magic.

Ingredients

Streusel:

  • 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 3 applewood-smoked bacon slices
  • 3 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

Muffin:

  • 7.9 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup Guinness Stout or other stout beer
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil; place a wire rack on the baking sheet.

To prepare streusel, combine 3 tablespoons sugar, 2 teaspoons water, and pepper in a small bowl. Spread mixture evenly over both sides of bacon. Place coated bacon on rack; bake for 18 minutes or until done. Cool; finely chop.

Combine oats and 1 tablespoon flour in a small bowl. Stir in butter. Stir in 2 tablespoons chopped bacon; reserve remaining bacon. Set aside.

Reduce oven temperature to 350°. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

To prepare muffins, weigh or lightly spoon 7.9 ounces (about 1 3/4 cups) flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 7.9 ounces flour, remaining bacon, 1/2 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well. Combine beer, oil, vanilla, and egg in another bowl, gently stirring with a whisk. Add beer mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until combined. Evenly divide batter among muffin cups. Sprinkle streusel evenly over batter.

Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center of muffins comes out clean. Cool in pan 5 minutes. Remove muffins from pan; serve warm, or cool completely on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Spicy Bacon and Brew Muffins

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Blueberry Coffeecake with Streusel

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Everyone needs a break now and then.  I am not just talking about a small 15-minute walk around the block brake, I am talking about a break from life. Ok, yes, those 15-minute walks are important – after what I experienced this week, sometimes you just need to get a little air.  The problem is that you have to come to that conclusion yourself – no one can tell you that it has to be done.  But believe me, it is amazing what it can do for you…

To say that things are hectic right now is an understatement.  Thursday was the last day of school for the year, although this year it was a little bittersweet.  For my younger daughter, it was a big party – but for my older daughter it was not the usual feeling.  Unfortunately I had an all-day meeting, and was extremely preoccupied – all my brain cells were focused at the time.  That was until I got the text.  The last day was fun, except for the end – everyone was crying, even the boys.  Getting that text was heart breaking.  Later I found out the teachers were crying too.  All because the school board decided to split these kids up.  I won’t get into it again, because I can no longer dwell on this horrible decision.  This summer I am working on an attitude adjustment – I am going to have a positive outlook on my daughter’s new school – and so will she.  We agreed to it.

So as I sat there in that meeting, thinking about my daughter – it hit me, I was not the only one with a life outside that room.  Life is hard – and most of the time, you really have no idea how hard it is – particularly for everyone else.  Fortunately for me, I can always turn to food – and that’s exactly what I did this weekend.  I didn’t just dabble – I was hard core – I was on a power cooking/baking frenzy, trying to get all my stress out in the kitchen.  I actually think it worked…or I am just utterly exhausted.

This was just one of the many things going on in my kitchen – a good old fashioned blueberry coffeecake.  Now, I have a favorite recipe from my mother – that just happens to be dairy-free.  I just had to see though if this dairy version from Cooking Light was better – and you know what, it wasn’t.  Don’t get me wrong, this was absolutely moist and delicious – but I actually like my mother’s recipe better – ok, who is really surprised by that?  Yes, my mother tests her recipes more than anyone else I know.  And Mom, you win again.

So I hope that I was not the only one that was able to take a break this weekend – in whatever form that is.  Even if you just took a few deep breaths…I know it will help.  Monday, I am ready for you – bring it on.

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 2 cups)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 2 tablespoons sliced almonds
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup nonfat buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Weigh or lightly spoon 9 ounces flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 9 ounces flour and next 3 ingredients (through salt), stirring with a whisk. Remove 2 tablespoons flour mixture; sprinkle over blueberries, tossing to coat.

Combine brown sugar and next 4 ingredients (through cinnamon) in a medium bowl. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons melted butter; toss to combine.

Place granulated sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and oil in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until blended (about 2 minutes). Add egg; beat well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Stir in rind and juice.

Spoon half of batter into a 9-inch square light-colored metal baking pan coated with cooking spray (do not use a dark or nonstick pan). Sprinkle evenly with 1 cup blueberry mixture. Spoon remaining batter over blueberries. Sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 cup blueberry mixture. Sprinkle with brown sugar mixture. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Blueberry Coffeecake with Streusel

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

I know it is Sunday, but I am already looking forward to Thursday.  That market basket that my husband got me for Mother’s Day is quite something.  It is like Christmas morning every Thursday night – as we unpack the beautiful wooden box with all sorts of goodies.  This week’s basket came with this wonderful box of pistachio apricot granola.  I can’t wait to put some on my yogurt in the morning.  It’s the little things that get me through this end-of-the-year chaos.

Since I was set for breakfast this week, I thought it was only fair if I made some treats for the girls.  They do love granola – but I know they love scones even more.  I have gone through many ways of saving recipes over the years.  I started by keeping every single food magazine and marking the pages where I liked a recipe.  That worked for a little while, but after I had over 20 magazines, I couldn’t remember what was in each issue.  Then I started cutting out the indexes, and had a binder of them – with the highlighted recipes that I liked.  Again, not very practical as I had to look through hundreds of pages to find what I was looking for.  The next plan was to cut out the recipe and put it in a photo album, where I had dividers of the different types of recipes.  After I filled up two binders, I was done with that method.  At that point I decided I needed to use technology, and that’s when I started my blog.  I tell you, I love being able to Bing a recipe from my blog and get to it instantly.  Technology can be quite awesome.

Instead of going to my usual stack for a scone recipe (knowing that I didn’t have any lingering around that I wanted to make), I went to one of the binders I created – and flipped to the “Breakfast” tab.  I found this recipe that I probably cut out ages ago from either Gourmet or Bon Appetit and decided to see if it had stood the test of time.  Boy did it ever – these scones were crunchy on the outside, soft and pillowy on the inside, with a touch of oat flavor, but nicely sweetened.  I could have scarfed a couple of them down, except that I reminded myself they were for the girls – I already had my treat waiting.  So, we will all be eating well this week, and we need to – if we are going to get through these last 5 weeks.  Ugh!

Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar plus additional for sprinkling
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned oats
  • 1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) cold unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
  • Finely grated zest from 1 large navel orange
  • 2/3 cup well-shaken buttermilk plus additional for brushing
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • Special equipment: a 2 1/4-inch round cookie cutter

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, and salt into a food processor, then add oats and pulse 15 times. Add butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal with small (pea-size) lumps, then transfer to a bowl.

Stir together zest and buttermilk. Toss chocolate chips with oat mixture, then add buttermilk, stirring with a fork just until a dough forms. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface  and gently knead 6 times.

Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round, dusting surface with more flour if necessary. Cut out as many scones as possible with cutter, dipping it in flour before each cut, and transfer scones to a lightly buttered large baking sheet. Gather scraps into a ball, then pat into a round and cut out more scones in same manner.

Brush tops of scones with buttermilk and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Bake in middle of oven until golden brown, 15 to 18 minutes, and transfer to a rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Scones

Fruit-Filled Scuffins

Scuffins

I am not even sure what this are called, but I love taking two baked goods and combining them.  Not that I have done it often, but I am dying to create my own.  Ever since I posted these, I have been racking my brain for what other fusions I could make.  For some reason I have been in this complete brain lock.  I can’t think of anything!  I know when I least expect it, something will come to me. I would like to know how someone thought of the cronut — just brilliant.  Come on, who wouldn’t love a croissant that ran into a donut.

So needless to say, I was super excited when my good friend emailed me about the Scuffins that she found in the New York Times.  For some reason I keep wanting to call them Scruffins, but they are a combination of scones and muffins – so there you have it. These sounded amazing, but seriously, these were really made for me.  As I stood in the pantry trying to decide which type of jam I would use, I suddenly felt like this is what I had been waiting for.  I ended up using some Damson Plum Jam and Strawberry Vanilla Jam.  Both excellent choices.

They came out wonderfully – they were slightly heavier than muffins, though slightly lighter than scones.  My daughter was super excited about having breakfast treats, and rationed them out.  She warmed them up for a few seconds in the microwave each morning, and she said they were great.  So, there goes another one – there must be more – what about a cookcake? A cookie meets a cupcake?  Or maybe it should be called a cakie?

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (2 ounces), plus 2 tablespoons for buttering muffin cups
  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour (4 1/2 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour (3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal or wheat germ (1 ounce)
  • 3 tablespoons light brown or raw sugar (2 ounces), plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup fruit jam, conserves, preserves or fruit butter (do not use jelly or marmalade)

Preparation

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a microwave or over very gentle heat. Using a pastry brush, butter the cups of a standard-size (3 1/2-ounce-capacity) 12-cup muffin tin. Let each coat of butter cool, then apply another coat; continue until the 2 tablespoons are all used.

In a mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. Meanwhile, melt remaining 4 tablespoons butter, add to dry ingredients and mix with a fork until just combined.
In another bowl, whisk together egg, milk and cream. Add to dry ingredients and mix to combine (the dough will be quite sticky).

Reserving about a quarter of the dough for topping, scoop 2 tablespoons dough into each cup. Using the back of a spoon, press dough gently down into the cups. The dough will move up the sides, and there should be a shallow well in each dough cup. Don’t worry if the dough doesn’t come all the way up to the top; there should be about 1/2 inch of space between the top of the dough and the rim of the cup.

Spoon about 1 tablespoon jam into each well. Using your fingers, pinch remaining dough into small clumps and scatter evenly over the jam in each cup, making a bumpy topping. Sprinkle sugar over the tops.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned. Let cool in the pan on a rack; run a blade around the sides of each scuffin before turning out.
Yield 12 scuffins

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Fruit-Filled Scuffins

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Scones

Chocolate Chip Ricotta Scones

Here we are back to breakfast.  My daughter got sick of the banana bread that I made every week for the past month.  The good news is that I finally used up the huge bag of frozen bananas we had in the freezer.  So of course I got the question on Sunday morning, “What am I going to eat for breakfast this week?”  I guess cereal was not the answer she was looking for.  Why is it that they can listen to the same song over and over again, but they get sick of my wonderful banana bread after a month?

To digress just for a moment, for some reason as I was looking at these beautiful scones typing away, the song Waltzing Matilda came into my head.  Why?  I have no idea how my mind works sometimes.  But nevertheless, it did.  I started singing the song, and asked my husband if he remembered it – of course he did.  We only listened to it about 100,000 times – it was on a Dan Zanes album that the girls absolutely loved when they were little.  And if you have small kids, you know that when they enjoy a song in the car – you keep playing it.  When I Binged it – the first YouTube video that was listed was by Slim Dusty.  Wow.  What a blast from the past.  My husband and I were in the office singing at the top of our lungs – of course intriguing my older daughter who was trying to finish up her homework, and all of a sudden the three of us were in the office having a little sing-a-long.  Gotta love that song…

Back to the scones – so needless to say, cereal was not going to cut it – fortunately Cooking Light came to the rescue – with some very interesting looking scones.  I adapted them to fit my daughter’s tastes – which of course has to include some chocolate.  These scones were soft and flakey and absolutely delicious.  She actually rationed them out so they lasted the entire week.  Just 30 seconds in the microwave was all they needed in the morning, and they were as fresh as can be.  Let’s see how many weeks in a row she can eat these – surely not as long as Waltzing Matilda – but maybe longer than banana bread?

Ingredients

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (such as Calabro)
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon fat-free buttermilk, divided
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4.5 ounces whole-grain pastry flour (about 1 cup)
  • 3.4 ounces unbleached all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°.

Combine ricotta cheese, 1 tablespoon sugar, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Reserve 1/2 cup of the ricotta mixture. Add 1/3 cup buttermilk and canola oil to remaining ricotta mixture, stirring until smooth.

Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flours, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; cut in butter with a pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add chocolate chips; toss. Add buttermilk mixture; stir just until combined.

Turn dough onto a counter lighted dusted with flour.  Pat into a 1 inch thick circle, and then cut into eight wedges shaped pieces. Combine egg and remaining 1 tablespoon buttermilk, stirring with a whisk. Gently brush top and sides of dough with egg mixture. Sprinkle with turbinado sugar.

Bake at 425° for 15 to 16 minutes or until golden. Remove from pan; cool slightly on a wire rack. Beat the reserved ricotta mixture at medium speed 3 minutes or until fluffy. Serve with warm scones if you would like.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate Chip Ricotta Scones

Dairy-Free Banana Bread

Dairy-Free Banana Bread 2

Sometimes you just need a little comfort.  This could be in many different forms – although comforting food seems to be what people gravitate towards when that need exists.  No wonder we have such an obesity problem in the United States – comfort food restaurants are everywhere, and unless you choose wisely when to indulge (and maybe balance it out with some exercise), it can be dangerous.

I definitely love my comfort good – but all in moderation.  Friday night we went to our absolute favorite restaurant/bar in Seattle, and ordinarily I would never order something like this – but it was calling for me.  It was a wonderful bowl of carbonara – with a perfectly poached egg on top.  I am telling you – this dish of homemade angel hair pasta with the smoky ham – it was decadent, and I enjoyed every single bite.  If that wasn’t enough, I had a piece of peanut butter pie for dessert with a small scoop of banana ice-cream.  I went all out.  The next morning, I couldn’t get to the gym fast enough.  Thank goodness for Tabata.  But everyone deserves an indulgent night now and then.

Most of the time what comforts me the most are the simple pleasures – like banana bread.  My mother’s banana bread recipe is just as perfect as it could be.  Although this time I decided to see if could survive the dairy-free challenge.  I substituted coconut milk for buttermilk – and you would have never known.  My husband and I couldn’t believe it – this was something he used to be nuts about, and when he gave up dairy, he had to give this up as well.  Not anymore though – this is now back in our lives, and better than ever.  Thank goodness for the small comforts in life…because seriously, sometimes that’s all you need.

Ingredients

  • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups chopped nuts (optional)

Preparation

Pre-heat oven to 350.  Mash bananas with a fork and set aside.  Mix oil, sugar, coconut milk, vanilla and eggs well.  Add mashed bananas.  Mix dry ingredients in a small bowl, and add to banana mixture with nuts (optional) until just combined well.  Pour into 2 greased and floured 9 x 5″ loaf pans.  Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Remove from pans while still warm and wrap with plastic.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Dairy-Free Banana Bread

Dairy-Free Banana Bread

Adare Manor Scones

Adare Manor Scones

This morning I woke up late – I slept later than I have slept in months.  I was up at 5:30am, like I normally am, but some time over the next hour, I finally fell back asleep – and the next time I looked at the clock, it was almost 9am.  My body really needed that sleep – it has been craving it for months, at least since last summer when I was on vacation and probably got 10 hours of sleep a night.  It is amazing to me how long my body can stand to get such little sleep, and then all of a sudden once it gets a little more – it requires a ton.  I think I am to that point where I need to go on a break, just to catch up on sleep.

When I finally woke up – it was scones that got me out of bed.  Not smelling them, but the thought of making them.  Our friends are visiting, and with 5 kids in the house, it is always good to have something around for breakfast besides cereal.  This recipe from Bon Appetit has been sitting in my pantry for only a couple of months, but reading about these scones put them pretty much on the top of my pile.  I love scones, and especially love plain ones that are not sweet.  With only 2 tablespoons of sugar in the entire batch – and seeing that they were more like biscuits than scones – I knew they would be perfect with my homemade jam.  What I didn’t realize is how quickly they would disappear with 5 kids – and one of them had cereal instead!  It has been hilarious to see the number of dishes we go through every day.  Having 5 kids would definitely eat me out of house and home – and there was only one teenager in the bunch.  The appetites only get bigger from here…

These scones reminded me of the ones we get at the Puyallup Fair every fall.  After last year though, we vowed not to go back, and so it is up to me to make the scones.  No problem here – I found the recipe.  I served these with my fresh raspberry jam – and they were as close to perfect as they could have been.  Of course we had them right out of the oven – and they were tender and flakey – with a little crust on top.  Next time I am making a double batch – and maybe I will make them the night before.  Although I must say – waking up to that dough in my fingers was almost as good as waking up to the smell of fresh scones in the oven.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus more for work  surface
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut  into 1/2″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • Clotted cream, raspberry jam, and/or lemon curd  (for serving)

Preparation

Preheat oven to 425°F.  Whisk baking powder, salt, and 1 1/2 cups flour in a large bowl. Add butter and  blend with your fingertips until pea-size pieces form. Add milk and sugar and  mix with a fork until a shaggy dough forms. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and gently knead until dough just comes together, 3 or 4 times.

Gently pat dough into a  1″-thick round. Using a 2″ round biscuit cutter or inverted small glass, cut out  scones. Gather scraps and repeat, patting out and cutting to make 10 scones.  Transfer to a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet and brush with egg.

Bake scones until golden  brown, 15-20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. Serve warm or at room  temperature, split, with clotted cream, jam, and/or lemon curd.

DO AHEAD: Scones can  be made 8 hours ahead. Let cool completely and store airtight at room temperature.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Adare Manor Scones

The Blueberry Blossom Pancake

Blueberry Blossom Pancake

I can’t believe it is blueberry season already – boy does that make me happy.  Even though you will never find me popping blueberries in my mouth, they are one of my most favorite fruits to bake with.  This weekend my cousin was visiting, and after dragging him to Boot Camp Saturday morning, our reward was going to the Farmer’s Market.  Before we got there though, I had to stop at my favorite fruit stand.  Not only are their prices better than at the Farmer’s Market, they are just so nice, I love supporting their farm.  I knew that I wanted to make Blueberry Jam this weekend, and wasn’t sure if I would have enough leftover to make something else.  Of course I forgot to mention the Jam to my cousin, so when I walked back to the car with a flat of blueberries, his eyes popped out of his head.  It was a similar look when I took him into my pantry to show him my stash…of jam that is.

I reminded him about my jam problem, and then it made sense.  He immediately offered to hold the blueberries on our way to the market.  He couldn’t stop popping them in his mouth, and I could tell my younger daughter in the back seat was getting a little nervous.  He offered her a handful, and she said emphatically, “No!  You have to stop eating them, my Mommy needs to make jam!”  I started laughing – she is definitely the biggest jam lover of the family.  As we were walking and eating our way through the market this weekend, we got to the jam stand.  My older daughter tried some strawberry jam (that they sell for $8.75) and came running over to me – she told me that my jam is much better.  I had already bought her a pastry, so she wasn’t buttering me up for anything…maybe just hoping I would quit my job and stay home to make jam for a living.

Fortunately I had plenty of blueberries, and I remembered this recipe I had just looked at in this month’s Bon Appetit.  With a name like The Blueberry Blossom Pancake, how could it be anything but beautiful!  Wow were these good pancakes.  I seriously thought I was at a restaurant.  I know I make good pancakes, but these were just incredible.  So light and fluffy, with a burst of blueberry in every bite.  Oh, and did I mention the streusel on top?  Seriously, what is not better with streusel?  It added a crunchy texture that really knocked my socks off.  So – this weekend, if you are looking for a way to make your family happy – look no further.  Waking up to these beauties will definitely make your day blossom.  Don’t delay, blueberry season will not last forever!

Ingredients

Blueberry Syrup

  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Streusel

  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons light  brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Pancakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking  powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking  soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher  salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted  butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • Vegetable oil (for  skillet)
  • 1 cup blueberries (about 5 ounces)

Preparation

Blueberry Syrup

Purée syrup and blue-berries in a blender until smooth; set  aside.

Streusel

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine oats, flour, and brown sugar on  a small rimmed baking sheet; drizzle with butter and toss to coat. Bake,  stirring occasionally, until golden brown, 15–20 minutes. Let cool.

DO AHEAD: Streusel can be made 1 week  ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

Pancakes

Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a  large bowl. Whisk egg, buttermilk, and butter in a medium bowl, then whisk  into dry ingredients.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and lightly  coat with oil. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter into skillet and  top each with 2 tablespoons berries. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown  and cooked through, about 2 minutes longer. Serve pancakes topped with syrup and  streusel.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  The Blueberry Blossom Pancake

Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

Another weekend down, and only two more before school gets out.  Our weekends have been jam-packed with end-of-the-year activities.  Fortunately most of them come with an opportunity to bake – unfortunately there doesn’t seem to be a lot of time to do so – but I am finding time when I can, and so far I have been pretty happy with the results of my “power baking” – as I like to call it.  I have lots of fun stuff to share…so stay tuned.

So what exactly is the different between a cupcake and a muffin?  Aside from the fact that people often feel like it is ok to eat a muffin, like they are healthy or something , as opposed to a cupcake.  I am starting to think that the difference is the frosting.  The muffin doesn’t have any, while the cupcake does.  Although, the muffin can have a topping, just as long as it is not creamy?  I’m pretty sure that must be the definition.  I decided to “Bing-It” and see the real answer.  Well, obviously this is not the first blog post to cover this topic – in fact, it seems as though I may have just discovered the most popular food blog topic out there.  And yes, I was indeed correct – everyone basically came to the same conclusion.

I found these beauties in Cooking Light, and my younger daughter decided she needed to help.  She hopped on the counter, and was ready.  She did a great job, especially placing the chocolate chips on top.  She took her job very seriously, and as you can see, she was meticulous.  These cupcakes – I mean muffins – were decadent – definitely on the edge of a cupcake without the frosting.  They were moist and chocolately, and definitely good with a cup of coffee – although just as good after dinner (we had them both ways).  So, give these a try, and make sure you tell people they are muffins, maybe they will feel better about eating a few…

Ingredients

  • 7 9/10 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 3/4 cups)
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate minichips, divided
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine 1 cup water and next 4 ingredients (through egg) in a bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in 1/4 cup minichips. Add oil mixture to flour mixture, stirring just until moist.

Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups, and coat liners with cooking spray. Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup minichips evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chocolate-Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Sweet Streusel Muffins

Before I say anything else, my daughter saved these muffins.  Yes, I am serious.  So, things have been pretty busy lately, so busy that I haven’t had a lot of time to bake.  My blog is definitely suffering…as well as my family, but don’t worry, I have some plans to bake for our temple auction – and boy have I picked out some goodies.  Let’s hope they turn out well.  I just love baking things for the first time when they are to be used for raising money, no stress at all…

Ok, back to my daughter saving these muffins.  I was baking muffins for my other daughter’s Valentine’s Day breakfast, when my older daughter walked into the kitchen.  She wanted to know what I was making, and at that point I was sprinkling the streusel topping on the batter before covering the topping with more batter – and I have to admit, the topping did not look right, I couldn’t believe there was no butter.  I was just about done when my daughter took the book where the recipe was – The Wooden Spoon Bread Book – and informed me that I forgot to turn the page.  She was right – and there was the last ingredient – the butter.  I love this book – everything I make from it comes out wonderfully – but the recipes are printed differently.  Instead of listing all of the ingredients first, then giving you the instructions – it mixes everything up.  So you will get a few ingredients and then instructions on what to do with those ingredients, then some more ingredients, and some more instructions.  It is great – as long as you read the recipe entirely before starting – which of course I failed to do.

So – fortunately she caught me at the perfect time.  I made another batch of topping – and I was good to go.  The muffins turned out beautifully – and very delicious – not too sweet, and perfect with a nice cup of coffee, or glass of milk if you happen to be under 10.  I highly recommend them, but remember to read the whole recipe first…

Ingredients

muffins

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1 cup milk

topping

  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Preparation

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a 24-cup mini mufin pan.  Sift together and set aside the flour, salt and baking powder.  In a mixing blowl, beat the egg and stir into the egg the sugar, oil, milk, and sifted dry ingredients in that order.

Make the streusel topping by combining the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter in a bowl.  Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingers or cut with a pastry blender.

Spoon a teaspoon of batter into each muffin cup.  Sprinkle a teaspoon of topping in each cup.  Divide the remaining batter evenly and spoon over the streusel in muffin cups. Divide the remaining streusel evenly and sprinkle over the top of the batter.  Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until lightly browned.  Serve warm.

Makes 24 muffins.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Sweet Streusel Muffins

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