Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

A healthier chocolate muffin

August 4, 2011

Banana Chocolate Muffins

Anna at Cookie Madness posted a recipe for Apple Butter Chocolate Muffins and I nearly went running to the kitchen to make them. The only problem is I don’t have apple butter on hand, I don’t have enough apples to make any, I don’t have applesauce to reduce, and I don’t have time to run to the grocery store. I didn’t let any of that stop me. I did have an overripe banana on the counter and I thought it might be okay in place of the apple butter.

I have a personal pet peeve about comments on blogs and recipe sites that say, “I made  your recipe but I changed this, that and the next thing and my results are different than yours. What did I do wrong”? Swapping out banana for apple butter is a major ingredient swap. I hoped it would work, but if it didn’t I could only blame my cavalier ways in the kitchen. (All that said, I love to read your comments, and am happy to answer any questions you might have… even if you change things up to suit your own tastes or what you have on hand.)

The muffins are relatively low in fat and the fruit adds to the sweetness in a tasty, healthy way. The white whole wheat flour adds to the nutritional profile and the chocolate chips and cocoa add a bit of decadence without being over the top.

How did they turn out? They’re very tasty and just moist enough. They’re tall with nice crowns, and they smell great! When apple season rolls around I’ll definitely make some apple butter and make these according to Anna’s recipe. In the meantime. Here’s how I made them.

The banana substitution made me concerned that they wouldn’t be as moist as they would be with apple butter. Let’s face it. There are a lot of differences between banana and apple butter. I added a little almond milk, and upped the spices and hoped for the best.

Cross section of Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Banana Chocolate Muffins (Adapted from Cookie Madness’ Apple Butter Chocolate Muffins)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons white whole wheat flour (114 grams)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (28 grams)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of allspice
pinch of cloves
1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar (63 grams)
1/2 cup mashed overripe bananas (114 grams)
2 large egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
2 generous tablespoons vegetable oil (30-33 ml)
1/2 T. almond milk
1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 6 silicone cupcake molds with release spray. Mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, salt and spices together in a bowl. In a mixing bowl, stir the brown sugar, mashed banana, egg whites, vanilla, almond milk and oil together. Pour the dry mixture into the banana mixture and stir until almost mixed. Add the chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated. Divide batter equally among the cupcake molds. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

Carrot Bread

April 6, 2011

Sliced

Last night after dinner I wanted to bake. It wasn’t that I wanted a specific food, I just wanted to bake. The problem was that without wanting something specific it was difficult to settle on a recipe. Another hurdle was finding a recipe that used ingredients that I had on hand.  The final factor was I didn’t want three dozen cookies or an entire cake. I decided to log onto Cookie Madness to see if anything would grab me. The first thing I did was go to the section “Scaled Down Recipes”.  This carrot bread recipe was the first recipe that I saw and I had all the ingredients!

The bread is baked in two 3″x5″ loaf pans.  Just perfect for a household of two! The batter rises to make a nice dome, and the top has just a bit of crust. The slight crustiness might be my favorite part of the bread. Nuts, carrots, and spices on the moist inside. What’s not to like?

No mixer is required, but you do have to grate some carrots. Otherwise this comes together really fast. I chose not to make the icing and I don’t really think it needs it unless you’re looking for more of a carrot cake like experience. This worked well for me since I wasn’t looking for something super sweet.

You can find the recipe here.

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Scones

January 11, 2011

Sour Cream Chocolate Chip Scones

In my last post I mentioned all the great recipes I’ve recently made from Cookie Madness and this is one of my favorites. I have all kinds of ideas swirling around in my head for future variations. These have a great texture. A little crust on the outside, but soft and moist on the inside.

I’m easily entertained, so I grated the very cold butter. This was fast, easy, and fun to do and the grated butter made the scones especially easy to mix without over mixing which can lead to toughness. This is a good technique that can probably be applied to other recipes.

I like to bake my scones in a circle. I place the dough on a piece of parchment paper on top of the baking sheet and pat the circle out. Then I cut the circle into wedges with a bench scraper and pull the wedges apart so there is about a half inch between the wedges. I like the way the scones turn out when I bake them this way.

This will be my go to scone recipe for those times when I can’t make the eggnog scones, which I also love!

For the complete recipe click here.

Pumpkin Muffins

October 4, 2010
Pumpkin Spice Muffins

Pumpkin Spice Muffins

The cheesecake brownies in the previous post left me with part of a can of pumpkin. This recipe used most of the rest of the can. It turns out I’m going to be on the go a lot this week. One of these muffins stashed in my purse will be a great breakfast or snack when I don’t have time for a sit down meal.

This recipe is easy to stir up and yields 12 nicely crowned, perfectly moist muffins. For me the spices were right on, and they made the house smell wonderful while they were baking.  My changes to the recipe were minimal. I used dark raisins instead of golden raisins, and 1/4 c. chopped walnuts instead of the pumpkin seeds.

Here is the link to the recipe.

Pumpkin Spice Muffin

Pumpkin Spice Muffin

English Muffins

July 16, 2010

English Muffins with raspberry jam

One of the nice gifts I received for my birthday was a set of English Muffins rings. I’ve always wanted to make them but had never taken the plunge. Receiving the rings removed one of the hurdles. I don’t think I’ll ever buy another English Muffin from the store. These are so much better! They are moist but not at all gummy on the inside. They have a nice thin outer crust, and they toast beautifully. The holes inside are not as big as those inside store bought English Muffins but if you fork split them there are plenty of nooks and crannies to hold the butter and jam. I’ll take the freshness and flavor of these any day, and I won’t miss the holes one single bit.

These were especially good with the homemade raspberry jam made by my husband.

The recipe can be found on page 125 of Artisan Breads Every Day by Peter Reinhart.

Unsplit English Muffins

Cinnamon Goodness

December 16, 2009

Cinnamon Egg Nog SconesWhen I saw the recipe for Cinnamon Eggnog Scones on the Baker’s Banter blog I knew I would have to make them. The cinnamon chips and Cinnamon-Flav-R Bites were in my cupboard patiently waiting their turn to shine. They definitely shine in these scones. I only baked off a few of the scones and the remainder are nestled away in the freezer. Maybe I’ll bake them Christmas morning. They would be a wonderful way to start the day.

If you make these and use the Cinnamon-Flav-R Bites be careful not to soak them too long. Mine all but dissolved. I think I was doing too many things at once and left them soaking longer than I thought I did. It didn’t matter. The flavor was still wonderful. If you look at the photos at the Baker’s Banter Blog you’ll notice that theirs are much whiter than mine. That’s because of the melted cinnamon bits.

I might mention that these have a wonderful balance of spices, and don’t seem at all egg like to me. You see I don’t like egg nog in the least. In fact this is the first time I’ve ever purchased it. So, if you’re afraid of the egg nog like I was, don’t be. This is a great place to use it. The scones turn out with a moist but not wet interior and a melt in your mouth crust on the exterior. They are so much better than anything you can purchase at a store or coffee shop. I would make these again, and in fact will probably look for excuses to make them in the future. Just in case you’re wondering, I purchased organic egg nog. The ingredient list seemed a little less frightening to me.

You’ll find the recipe here.

Basic Granola

December 4, 2009

Granola is something I’ve always intended to make, but have never gotten around to actually making until now. I rarely purchase packaged granola because I thought I was the only one here who eats it. The push finally came when I started crumbling up my crunchy Kashi bars and sprinkling them on top of my yogurt or cottage cheese. I knew this was a waste of my Kashi bars and that I could easily make my own granola.

In the past I’ve used the excuse that I didn’t have the right ingredients for one recipe or another. Do you know what? I don’t think there are the ‘right’ ingredients. If you use what you have on hand, chances are pretty good that you’ll come up with a pretty good granola. I did, and guess what? I’m not the only one who eats granola. Apparently if you have good homemade granola around other people will eat it too. Like my husband, who ate a startling amount of this while I was gone yesterday.

I had used some ingredients that have been hanging around in my cupboard for awhile. Like organic brown rice syrup, creamed honey from the farmer’s market, and sesame seeds all of which were leftover from other baking projects. Then there were the almonds and oatmeal which I always have on hand, and the pecans which I was lucky to have.

This is a conglomeration of a number of recipes, using a conglomeration of ingredients from my cupboard. The only thing I bought just for this were the raw sunflower seeds. There are a few of those leftover for a future baking project.

While this is full of good stuff, I don’t pass this off as health food. No doubt there are a lot of calories lurking here with all the sweeteners, nuts, and coconut oil. But, a few sprinkles on top of my yogurt won’t be too terrible for me and I’ll enjoy every crunchy bite.

Basically Baked Granola (Adapted from numerous recipes.)

4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 c. sunflower seeds
1/3 c. sesame seeds
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. ginger
1/3 c. brown rice syrup
1/4 c. creamed cinnamon honey
3/4. golden brown sugar
3/4 c. almonds
1 1/4 c. pecans
1 t. kosher salt
1/3 c. coconut oil

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 1/2 sheet cake pan with parchment paper. Mix everything together in a large bowl as evenly as possible. Spread the mixture onto the parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 40-50 minutes stirring every 10-15 minutes. Watch the nuts carefully so that they don’t become too toasted. Use the parchment paper to transfer the mixture to a rack to cool completely. When cooled you might have some big clumps of granola you want to break up before storing.

Banana Oat Muffins

October 2, 2009

These are fairly healthy stick to your ribs fare. They aren’t very sweet, and they’re not too high in fat. In other words they’re the kind of muffin you can eat for breakfast, or serve as a snack and feel like you’ve offered some good nutritious food instead of a cupcake masquerading as a muffin.

No doubt there are people who buy bananas specifically for baking, but when I bake with bananas it’s because I purchased too many and if I don’t bake with them or stick them in the freezer for smoothies they’re going to go to waste. I also had some yogurt to use up. You’d think with that combo that I would have made a smoothie and popped the rest of the bananas in the freezer, but I couldn’t let go of the idea of a banana muffin using yogurt. You could make these even lower in fat by leaving out the walnuts, but I wanted the crunch, and I’m starting to appreciate walnuts more than I did in the past. You could probably add in a few chocolate chips and have a muffin that tastes more like a treat.

I’d like to try some honey in these instead of the brown sugar. Next time….

Banana Oat Muffins 001

Banana Oat Muffins (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)

1 c. unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 c. packed brown sugar
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
3/4 c. ground rolled oats
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
2-3 ripe bananas
1 egg
2 T. vegetable oil
1/2 c. plain non-fat yogurt
1 egg white

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. (I used silicone cupcake liners and have learned NOT to spray them.)
Whisk together the first six ingredients. Process the oats in a food processor until you have a course flour. Whisk the oats into the other dry ingredients. Stir in the walnuts.
Break the bananas into chunks and process in the food processor. (I used 2 1/2 bananas) Blend in the yogurt, oil and the egg.
In a separate bowl beat the egg until it becomes white and foamy but not stiff.
Fold the banana mixture and the beaten egg white into the dry ingredients until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins and bake for 20-25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the muffin should come out clean. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, and then remove to a wire rack until completely cooled.

Super Simple Sticky Buns

June 22, 2009
Super Simple Sticky Buns

Super Simple Sticky Buns

PJ Hamel from King Arthur Flour recently wrote about these rolls on the Baker’s Banter blog. As soon as I read her entry I knew I would have to make these sooner rather than later. I believe the recipe was inspired by one  in the book Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Last winter I made numerous loaves of bread from the book, but I haven’t tried any of the sweeter breads from there until now.

This recipe is “ridiculously” simple to make. I didn’t have any of the Sticky Bun Sugar, or Baker’s Cinnamon Sugar so I made the substitutions suggested in the recipe. You’ll find the recipe here. PJ’s blog entry about how to make them is here. You’ll also notice she recorded a You Tube video about making them.

You can  mix these up with a big spoon and a 6 quart container. No kneading. No kidding. I chose to leave my pecans in halves instead of chopping them. I knew that not everyone would want the nuts and they would be easier to pick off that way and share. I recommend only making what you’ll serve warm. We all agreed that they’re excellent warm out of the oven, but I didn’t like the texture of the topping when I reheated one to eat the next day. I will definitely make these again, and my 19 year old son wondered if he could make them on his own in his new apartment. The answer is, definitely! Go for it!!

I have more dough in the fridge that I could use to make challah bread, more sticky buns, or I might see what I think of regular cinnamon rolls out of the dough. They are so good and so easy! I might not ever make sticky buns the ‘hard’ way again. Thanks to PJ from King Arthur Flour, and Jeff and Zöe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day.

Carl’s Cinnamon Rolls

May 2, 2009
A few unglazed rolls

A few unglazed rolls

A glazed cinnamon roll

A glazed cinnamon roll

I’ve been making cinnamon rolls with one recipe or another for years. Two years ago I found this recipe on The King Arthur Flour website and I’ve been making this recipe ever since then. They rise without fail, the dough is easy to handle, and they’re so tasty! The only change I make is that I skip the bread dough enhancer. I’ve never used it. I should probably give it a try sometime, but I never do because the rolls are great without it.

I used my Kitchen Aid mixer to mix these. Sometimes I use a regular white sugar and cinnamon filling but today I made them with the light brown sugar filling as called for in the recipe. I also made a simple glaze with powdered sugar, cream, and vanilla from a different cinnamon roll recipe on the KA site. The cream was a luxurious addition, but I had it on hand and it needed to be used up. Usually I make the glaze with powdered sugar, butter, milk and vanilla.

If you check out the recipe on The King Arthur site you’ll see that they use a fancier glaze for the rolls. I’d love to try that sometime but I almost always make these when the kids are around and I think they’d rebel if I messed with tradition and put different flavorings and liqueur in their glaze.

The majority of these rolls were sent out the door piping hot from the oven with my daughter. The glaze went in a ziploc bag. When she gets where she’s going she can clip a corner off the bag and glaze the rolls. I sent along plenty of napkins. It will be interesting to find out if she shares them with her bike racing teammates or if she takes them home and pops the extras in the freezer.

I made the reduced yield recipe which makes 20 good sized rolls.

Here are links to the recipes.

The Dough and Filling
The glaze


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