Archive for the ‘Baked Goods’ Category

New Semester

I’ve started my 2nd semester of my program. I have more work, but somehow I’m not as stressed, stressed and I will be proposing my prospectus and hopefully getting to teach in the fall.

My Aunt Annie introduced me to these muffins and gave me the original recipe. I love them. Not too sweet, only whole wheat, and they contain veggies, fruit, and protein. One regular sized muffin will keep me going for a good 4 hours. I’ve tweaked it to my own preferences.

2013-02-09 11.40.09

Zen Morning Glory Muffins

1 c molasses

5 ½ c Whole Wheat Flour

2 T. Ground Cinnamon

2 T Ground Ginger

4 t. Baking Soda

2 t. Baking Powder

1 t. salt

1 ½ c Raisins/Cranberries

1 lb Peeled & Grated Carrots

2 cups dried Shredded Coconut, unsweetened

1 8 oz can crushed pineapple or 1 c. pineapple (frozen or fresh) blended til chunky

1-2 c nuts (I like raw pepitas/raw pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

1 ¼ cups Vegetable Oil

4 t. Vanilla Extract

1 Cup Almond/Soy/Traditional Milk (if you use almond or soy these are vegan)

6 T Ground Flax seed mixed with 1 Cup Water

If you are using a traditional blender rather than spice blender/coffee grinder to grind the flax seed add the water a little at a time until it reaches the same consistency as pudding then add all the water.

Just mix everything together and baked at 375 for about 20 minutes. If you want you can use cupcake liners if not just quickly spray each cup.

370 degrees F, 20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

I frequently only make a half recipe (full recipe is ~ 50 muffins) and freeze the half of the pineapple. You can also freeze the muffins. If you want them first thing in the morning 30 sec in the microwave, depending on the strength of your microwave, and they are ready. I prefer to eat mine midday, and I’ve found that I can carry it around in my satchel and it will defrost to the perfect temperature.

COOKIE SWAP!

So I’m in the midst of finals and I decided to participate in the cookie swap. So far its been really great because now I have really amazing cookies to nibble on while studying for my exams. In prep for finals and for the cookie swap, I made a batch of one of my favorite cookies, Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk. This recipe is an altered version of Mark Bittman’s Oatmeal Cookies from How To Cook Everything.

My tins all full!

My tins all full!

Closed up and ready to be mailed out!

Closed up and ready to be mailed!

Somehow these cookies are so comforting to me. I didn’t eat much oatmeal nor peanut butter, except in Ants on a Log, growing up. Yet some how these are so soft, fluffy, and just little bites of  amazing. I’m surprised at myself for wanting to use the word rustic, I feel like it’s so over used in cooking it’s almost trite. Might be partially because the chocolate peanut butter combo is one of if not my favorite, I think Chocolate Mint comes in there somewhere too. Enough waxing poetic, onto the recipe.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies

1/2 stick of butter softened

Healthy 1/2 c of peanut butter (prefer natural crunchy peanut butter)

1/2 c white sugar

1/2 c brown sugar

2 eggs

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour

2 c oatmeal (not instant)

3/4 t cinnamon

dash of salt

2 t baking powder

1/2 c milk

1/2 t vanilla

1 1/2 c chocolate chunks

Cream butter, both sugars, and peanut butter. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix in flour, oats, cinnamon, salt, and baking powder. Stir in the chocolate chunks and vanilla, don’t use the mixer because you might turn the chocolate into tiny little flakes rather than nice big chunks. Slowly add in the milk, you probably won’t need all of it. Just enough to make the dough sticky.  Now for the crazy, yet vital part of this recipe. Cover the cookie dough and put it in the fridge over night. Its amazing what an improvement this small step makes.

So the next day, take the cookie dough out and let it sit until it’s almost room temp. Don’t worry about the eggs, they’ll be fine. If the dough is too cold they might cook unevenly. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and spoon the cookies onto a greased cookie sheet. Keep the cookies on the small side. Finally bake for 12-15 min, but check after about 10 minutes. With all that peanut butter they can burn easily. These cookies won’t really brown on the top, but you’ll see that beautiful golden color forming around the edges.

Let them cool on the sheet for a couple of minutes then scoot them over to a cooling rack. One of the best things about these cookies is they are great both right out of the oven and amazing days later.

One recipe makes 4-5 dozen cookies.

Left overs for the boyfriend and friends!

Left overs for the boyfriend and friends!

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s recipes and trying them out! Hopefully I’ll have time to try them over my Holiday Break!

Until Later, Life is short, lick the spoon!

Do you know the muffin man?

Over the past couple years, I’ve started eating bananas. Healthy, cheap, easy, and full of energy. I couldn’t get into the texture and somehow it seemed too sweet. That being said I’ve gotten into bananas, to the extent I eat them almost everyday before the gym. Some days I plan to go to the gym and end up not going because something has changed or I realized I lost track of something. Which means that probably once a month at the end of the week I have an unhappy banana or two or three. These poor unhappy bananas get turned into banana bread or banana nut muffins. I love turning the banana bread into banana bread french toast, and my boyfriend will eat the muffins like they are candy, and with this much sugar they nearly are!

A dozen muffins!

I can’t take credit for the recipe, its been in my family in some variation or another for year. It’s so simple even with my couple additions/variations.

3 overly ripe bananas

1 stick of softened butter

1 c sugar

2 eggs

2 c all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 c chopped nuts – walnuts (mom’s favorite) or pecans (my preference) (optional)

Splash of vanilla (optional)

1/8-1/4 tsp cinnamon (optional)

Preheat oven to 325.

Mix bananas, softened butter, and sugar until its combined. Add eggs. Stir in cinnamon and vanilla if you want it. Mix in flour, salt, and baking powder. Make sure you get everything incorporated together. Finally add in the nuts if you want them.

Now there is the choice of turning this lovely batter into muffins or bread. I usually choose muffins because they tend to last longer and I can easily take them into school as one of my many snacks. Either way spray your muffin tins or bread pan with pam or cooking oil, so it doesn’t stick. If you use cupcake liners for your muffins, you don’t need to spray the pan.

Bread pans are good because you can be lazy and just dump the batter in the pan, but if you have a muffin tin there is one more step. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to spoon the batter into the muffin tins. This makes your muffins equally size and helps them to cook evenly.

Now bake for 40-45 minutes if you are making muffins or for 1 hour if making the bread. Check by sticking a butter knife or toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean and they are golden brown on top, they’re ready.

Final trick, when you pull it out and are letting things cool tip them on their side. This will also help everything not stick to the bottom of the pan.

Until later

Life is short, lick the spoon!

Lavender, its not just for perfume or soap anymore

As my earlier post described I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. It was awesome! I really enjoyed being creative and sending people my successes. It’s a nice surprise to now feel like I have 6 new cooking buddies somewhere out in cyber space, or maybe just sprinkled across the United States. As much as I love sending my cookies out to people, it was exciting to come home wondering if today there was box full of  cookies for me. Nothing like a little pre-Christmas anticipation.

My first batch of cookies was from Justine at http://ahalfbakedlife.blogspot.com/. She sent me Mostaccioli, a twist on an Italian chocolate spiced cookie. They were amazing, so amazing that I forgot to take a picture before I ate all of them. They were so soft, chocolate-y, spicy and flavorful without being overly sweet. I’m definitely going to make them.

I got the other two batches on the same day!

The first box I opened were Cinna-Mas Roll Cookies from Nicole at http://lifesabatch.com/. They even look like little cinnamon rolls…

See! Aren't they cute?

They even came individually wrapped so I wouldn’t have to eat them all at once. If a shortbread cookie and a cinnamon roll had a baby together, this would be the outcome. I think I might have one left. It won’t survive very long. Check out her blog because she does some really amazing work with ice and actually making her cookies look pretty as well as tasting awesome!

My final batch of cookies came from Kisha at http://kishaskitchen.com. Butter toffee cookies in a very cute little gingerbread man tin. It seems like every chewy bite had a little surprise of a piece of toffee. They were really amazing with hot chocolate!

Oh happy little gingerbread man do you have cookies inside you?

Poor little lonely cookie all by itself

Finally my cookie recipe for the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap. Sorry everyone I’m posting this a day late, but better late than never.  I got this recipe from a good friend, Genise Choy, when I was in AmeriCorps in Providence, RI.

Lavender Shortbread Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
2 cups flour
1 tsp lavender
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp almond or vanilla extract (optional)

Procedure:
Cream butter and sugar.  Mix in flour, lavender, salt, and vanilla. The dough will be dry, but you should form the dough into two logs and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hr.  Slice dough when its nice and cold from the refrigerator about 1/8 inch thick. If the dough gets too warm or you want to make the ends look pretty just wrap it back up and put it back in the fridge for a couple of hours. Finally bake at 350°, 10-15 min. Make sure to rest the cooling cookies on a ventilated tray or they won’t be quite as crisp.

My pretty little lavender cookies

I encourage trying them with tea!

I sent my cookies to:

Joanna at http://meatlessmostdays.com/.

Sarah at http://cookergirl.blogspot.com/.

Lea at http://healthycoconutblog.com/.

So check them out too!

Overall it was a really wonderful experience and I’m looking forward to the swap again next year. Hopefully by then I’ll have some other new and exciting recipes to try.

Finally special thanks to my lab here for taste-testing the first batch of these cookies.

Until later life is short, lick the spoon!

Sweetness!

With great undue influence from my friend at Brave New Food I’m going to participate in (cue drum roll):


I love to introduce people to my favorite recipes and of course try new recipes of my own. My poor friends have been subjected to try most of my new recipes. It’s not uncommon I show up at their house after calling 5 minutes earlier, saying I made too many… (cookies, muffins, buns, whatever your favorite dish is)… please eat them! Though now I have a new group of unsuspecting subjects, grad students.

All that being said, I feel like my cookie recipes need some inspiration, one might say some new blood. I will be sending off 3 dozen cookies to 3 separate bloggers, a dozen each. Then a couple of weeks later I will be posting my recipe. Now those of you reading this probably won’t be receiving my cookies, but I have faith that you’ll be able to follow the recipe to re-create them on your own. I just have to decide what cookies to make.

Until later, life is short, lick the spoon!

Mother’s Day

Yum Yum!

In Chapel Hill, Mother’s Day Weekend is synonymous with Graduation. It gets crazy around here. Families visiting from out-of-town to celebrate and move, and none of them know their way around. Anyways both of my housemates graduated this Sunday (Congratulations to them!).  My housemate Kai moved out on Tuesday, but before he left he requested that I make him a cookie cake for graduation.

This recipe took over as Josh’s favorite dessert supplanting Chocolate Meringue Pie.  This based on a recipe by Emeril Lagasse from the Food Network website. I usually don’t go for Emeril recipes, but this one was just too yummy looking.

  • 2 sticks (227 g) of Butter, softened
  • 1 c (220 g) packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c (100 g) white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 c & 2 T (260 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1-1 1/2 c (100-150 g) pecans or walnuts
  • 1 1/2 c (225 g) chocolate chips or chunks (bittersweet or dark)

If like me you pull the butter out of the freezer at the last minute you can microwave it for about 30 sec to get it started, but it’s really best if you let it warm up either during the day or over night. Just don’t melt the butter. Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl. I suggest using a mixer if you have one, but you can also smash it together with a fork.  Add eggs one at a time and continue mixing. In a separate bowl mix flour, baking soda, and salt. Add the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, salt) to the wet ingredients (egg, sugar, butter). Stir in vanilla. Add nuts and chocolate pieces.

Now here is the important part, cover the dough and refrigerate overnight. Yes this does mean you have to plan in advance, but trust me it makes all the difference.

Pull the dough out of the fridge and let it start to warm up. Preheat the oven to 375 (190 C). Grease your cookie sheet. I use a circular one. Spread dough over the pan. Make sure to leave a little room around the edges, because it will spread. I like to be able to run the tip of my finger between the dough and the edge. Now cook for 20-25 minutes until the edges are golden and the center is set but still a bit soft.  Cool for about 10 minutes in the pan then transfer to cool on a wire rack. If you want to ice it use your favorite icing or just sprinkle with cocoa powder and powdered sugar while it is still a bit warm.

Its good with just about anything. Coffee, strawberries, milk, and of course my favorite way to eat with friends and family.

Until later, life is short lick the spoon!