Blueberry Muffins

IMG_20180421_094739_152.jpg

Blueberry muffins just feel right on a Saturday morning. As Alice went down for her first nap of the day, Madison joined me in the kitchen to make the french press coffee and I recruited him to mix up the dry ingredients so we could get the muffins in the oven as fast as possible. What a team! I even had time to shower while they baked! Small victories.

I don’t think I’ll ever stop trying new recipes for blueberry muffins. It’s too fun testing new combinations of flavors. Plus I never have exactly the right ingredients in the fridge and pantry when I wake up with a craving for homemade muffins.

On this particular sunny spring day (it’s hitting 60° today!!) I happened to have crème fraiche in the fridge after using some for garnish on pea soup last week & in a shallot & dijon sauce for roasted chicken last night. So into the muffins went the crème! Mostly working off Bon Appetit’s recipe, I came up with this recipe and Madison called it my “best ever” so I guess I’ll be making it again. So here we are:

INGREDIENTS

  • Butter for the pan (I was out of PAM)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/3 cup ground flax seed
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2½ teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 2 large eggs beaten to blend
  • ½ cup crème fraiche (you could also use sour cream)
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons sugar mixed with 1 tsp cinnamon

DIRECTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 425°. Lightly coat cups of a standard 12-cup muffin pan with butter or nonstick spray. Whisk all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, ground flax seed, granulated sugar, baking powder, and nutmeg in a large bowl to combine. Add blueberries and gently stir until evenly distributed.

  • Whisk eggs, crème fraiche, butter, almond milk, lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl until combined and creamy, about 30 seconds. Gently fold egg mixture into dry ingredients just to combine (be careful not to overmix).

  • Divide batter evenly among muffin cups. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mix.

  • Bake muffins, rotating pan halfway through, until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25–30 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let muffins cool in pan 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and let cool completely.

    Voilà!

 

Advertisements

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

banana oatmeal cookies

We had some bananas in the fruit bowl who had seen better days. I was browsing through my Better Baking cookbook looking for a healthy banana bread recipe when I came across Banana Oatmeal Chocolate Chippers. Done and done. Except… something was missing. PEANUT BUTTER. Match made in heavennn.

So these became Banana Oatmeal Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies… my modified version with flax seed and whole wheat flour :

INGREDIENTS

Made 2.5 dozen BIG cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1 large egg, room temp
  • 1 cup mashed overripe banana (I used 3 medium)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 ounces mini chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Whisk the oats, flour, flax seed flour, baking soda, cinnamon in a medium bowl. Beat the butter and both sugars with an electric mixer on low speed until well blended, then raise the speed to medium-high and beat until smooth. Scrape the bowl. Turn the speed to medium and beat in the egg until incorporated. Scrape the bowl again. Turn the speed to medium-low and beat in bananas, peanut butter and vanilla until incorporated. Scrape the bowl and mixing on low speed, gradually add in dry ingredients, beating just until all streaks of flour disappear. Add the chocolate and beat until evenly dispersed.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoons onto prepared sheets spacing them 1 inch apart.

Bake until the cookies are golden brown, about 15 minutes.

IMG_20180414_140344.jpg

I made these cookies in 40 degree weather on a Sunday, following the most glorious 75 degree sunny day in the park with this little cutie. With that weather change I needed something exciting and these cookies got me through the day. SPRING COME BACKKKK.

Carrot Cake with Orange Ginger Frosting

IMG_20180331_155006

Another holiday, which means another cake! Madison’s mom requested carrot cake this Easter as we were also celebrating her 60th! I found dozens of recipes online but ultimately decided I did not want raisins or walnuts in the cake. I kept it simple and healthy with Geneveive Ko’s carrot cake (no modifications!) but played with additional flavors, adding orange to Barefoot Contessa’s frosting recipe and increasing ingredients to have enough to cover my three layer cake. The cake turned out incredibly moist and dense and not too sweet. The ginger in the frosting was a nice touch – I’m not sure I’d add it on top again – I  think I prefer a nice smooth white top, but loved having bursts of flavor in the center. Totally making this again.

  • 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 large oranges
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/2 cup grapeseed oil
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temp
  • 3 cups of grated carrots (about 5) – used our Cuisinart grater and it worked perfectly
  • Ginger Mascarpone Frosting (recipe follows)
  • Crystallized ginger (not in syrup), chopped, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease 3 (9 x 2-inch) round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and grease with cooking spray.

Whisk both flours, the baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom in a large bowl. Zest the oranges into another large bowl, then squeeze 1/2 cup juice from the oranges and add to the zest. Add the applesauce, oil, and both sugars and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Scrape the bowl. Turn speed to low and gradually add the flour mixture, bating until just blended; scrape the bowl occasionally. Beat in the carrots until evenly distributed. Divide the batter among the prepared pans.

Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 35 min. Cool in the pans for 15 minutes, turn out onto a baking rack, and cool completely.

Place one cake on a flat serving plate, rounded side down. Spread half the frosting with ginger on the top (not the sides). Place the second cake on top of the first cake, and spread the rest of the ginger frosting. Place the third cake on top – rounded side up. Frost the top and sides with the plain frosting. Sprinkle top with the ginger and serve at room temperature.

Orange Ginger Mascarpone Frosting

  • 16 ounces Italian mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Juice from one large orange
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup minced crystallized ginger (not in syrup)

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the mascarpone, cream cheese, confectioners’ sugar, juice, and vanilla together for about 1 minute, until light and fluffy. Separate it in half and stir in the crystallized ginger to one of the bowls. This made juuuust enough frosting so if you have a little more mascarpone and sugar I say just add it in and add more juice until you have your desired consistency.

carrot cake layer

Alice loved her first Easter, especially trying carrots – her new favorite food!

IMG_20180401_100706

IMG_20180401_114257

Granola Bars

IMG_20180318_170938.jpg

I had to travel for the first time since Alice was born… alone. My heart literally broke just thinking about this trip. The tldr: I survived. But I missed my girl so much. Besides the emotional part of traveling, I also had to figure out pumping while on the road. (This is probably not the intro you were expecting to my favorite granola bar recipe…) Thinking I’d need whatever help I could get to up the production on the road, I made granola bars so I could make sure to eat my oats every day. I found this recipe on… SURPRISE!!! Smitten Kitchen! Sharing my adjustments below. These turned out absolutely delicious, I would just recommend you keep them refrigerated as much as possible.

 INGREDIENTS:

1 2/3 cups quick rolled oats

1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/3 cup oats, processed till finely ground in a food processor or blender
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 to 3 cups dried fruits and nuts (total of 10 to 15 ounces)
1/3 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon water

Preheat the oven to 350 degreesF. Line an 8″ x 8″ x 2″ pan in one direction with parchment paper, allowing it to go up the opposing sides. Lightly grease the parchment paper and the exposed pan, or coat with a non-stick spray.

Stir together all the dry ingredients, including the fruit and nuts. I used:

  • dried cherries
  • sliced almonds
  • sesame seeds
  • coconut flakes
  • walnuts

In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla, melted butter or oil, liquid sweeteners and water. Toss the wet ingredients with the dry (and peanut butter, if you’re using it) until the mixture is evenly crumbly. Spread in the prepared pan, pressing them in firmly to ensure they are molded to the shape of the pan. (A piece of plastic wrap can help with this, as you press down on the back of it.)

Bake the bars for 30 to 40 minutes, until they’re brown around the edges — don’t be afraid to get a little color on the tops too. They’ll still seem soft and almost underbaked when you press into the center of the pan but do not worry, they’ll set completely once completely cool.

Cool the bars in their pan completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, a serrated knife (or bench knife) to cut the bars into squares.