Muffins



Months have gone by.  To list all that has happened in that time doesn’t make sense here. So instead, we will discuss food.  And for me, food is often associated with memories.  Is there anything more comforting than the smell of muffins wafting from the oven on a weekend morning? I had a bunch of nearly over-ripe bananas that desperately needed to be used up.  Whipping up some fresh muffins meant a grab and go breakfast for the week ahead, and a relaxing start to a bright and sun filled Saturday morning.

The twist to these muffins was a little sweetened coconut.  I used a recipe found on Simply Recipes and just slightly modified.  In less time than it took the oven to pre-heat to 350F the batter was ready.  So if you find yourself with 3-4 ripe bananas I recommend trying these.

Ingredients
3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 Tbsp espresso or strong coffee (optional)
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cup of flour
1 cup chopped walnuts (toasted or raw)
1/4 cup sweetened coconut

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix butter into the mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix in the sugar, egg, coffee and vanilla.
  3. Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the mixture and mix in.
  4. Add the flour, mix until it is just incorporated. Fold in the chopped walnuts and sweetened coconut.
  5. Pour mixture into a prepared muffin tin. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin. If it comes out clean, it’s done. Cool on a rack.

makes 6 jumbo muffins (seen in the picture above) or 12 regular muffins

adapted from Simply Recipes

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“Raspberry muffins.”  That was what was requested for breakfast by my 5 year old nephew a few weekends ago when we looked after him and his 2 year old sister.  We didn’t have raspberries, so it was off to the the grocery story.  They too didn’t have any.  The choices were down to blueberries and blackberries.  Blackberries were “close enough” I was informed.  So with my little helpers gathered around the world’s smallest kitchen we made these super easy muffins.  The results paid off!  Faces smeared with blackberries, and seconds asked for.  A successful collaboration I am positive of.

I found this recipe over at Gourmet Girl’s site.  I had been intrigued by the yogurt in the recipe.  I had made it a few weeks back for Friday treats at work.  So this go round with the kiddies I thought I would try it again.  However instead of plain or vanilla yogurt I opted maple flavoured yogurt, topped with maple sugar instead of vanilla sugar.  Regardless of what combination you built this as, I am sure they would work out.  A great standby to have kicking around when muffins are needed in a flash.

Blackberry Muffin_2

Ingredients:
12-1/2 ounces cake flour (3 cups)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 cup maple yogurt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups blackberries, (1 pint)
1/8 cup maple sugar for sprinkling tops
paper liners or buttered muffin tins

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Sift all dry ingredients into a large bowl and set aside. In a small bowl toss blueberries with about 1 tablespoon of flour mixture and set aside.
  3. Whisk all wet ingredients together and mix well.
  4. Add wet ingredients to flour mixture and mix with a wooden spoon until just barely combined. add blackberries and mix lightly. Do not over mix.
  5. With an ice cream scoop fill muffin pan almost all the way to the top. top with sugar generously and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove muffins from pan as soon as they are cool enough to handle. They will keep for 3-4 days covered at room temperature.

Makes 18 muffins


peach cinnamon bun

Do you ever get something on the brain and just can’t let it go?  For me, it has been cinnamon buns.  I don’t know why.  I don’t particularly get cravings for them.  Once in a while when someone brings them into the office from one of the great coffee shops around the University, they are certainly a treat, but I don’t usually pick one up on my own accord.  I didn’t want to just make cinnamon buns, I wanted to incorporate some of the delicious fresh fruit that is now on the stands…peaches, blackberries, apricots and blueberries.  I figured the cinnamon sugar could only compliment the fruit.

I think one of the reasons I haven’t loved making cinnamon rolls is because I haven’t quite nailed the dough…these are pretty close, especially considering the whole wheat.  I imagine using white bread flour would have been almost ideal!  The dough of past buns were always too dense, too crusty.  They missed the light, almost flakiness of the commercially made buns.  I found this recipe by randomly searching on Google.  I made a few changes because what we had in the house in terms of the dough (baked with Whole Wheat Bread Flour rather than White and didn’t have the Wheat Gluten), and then created my own filling and used the cream cheese  icing recipe from the lime mojito cupcakes – the zing from it is such a refreshing compliment to the sugary sweetness of the cinnamon buns.

I am going to submit these to Yeast Spotting, and send them into work with Taster Boy – he hasn’t brought in goodies for a while, hopefully these are enjoyed by his colleagues!

Fresh from the oven
Ingredients:

1 cup milk (heated approximately 1 minute in microwave)
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 eggs, room temperature and beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
5 cups bread flour

1/2 cup butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
4 Tbsp cinnamon
1/3 cup plump golden raisins
3 large peaches finely chopped or diced

1/2 recipe Lime Cream Cheese Icing

Directions:

  1. In a stand mixer with a hook attachment, combine all dough ingredients.
  2. Allow to come together and form a ball.
  3. Turn out onto a lightly greased counter (use vegetable spray)
  4. Knead for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
  5. Turn into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic and let rest.
  6. Roll out rested dough to 20″ x 12″, cut in half length wise.
  7. Spread soft butter out on two pieces of dough, leave a 1 cm perimeter on the long sides.
  8. Sprinkle with brown sugar and cinnamon.
  9. Spread out cut fruit and raisins on top of sugar.
  10. Roll two separate rolls and pinch dough together.
  11. Using a serrated knife cut the dough into about 1 1/2 inch long rolls.
  12. Assemble in a pan, rolls should not be touching. Pat down gently.
  13. Let dough sit out and rise for one hour at least – should double in size and dough should be touching.
  14. Preheat oven to 350 F, bake for 20 minutes.  If using whole wheat flour be sure not to over cook as this could easily dry out the dough.
  15. Spread icing over buns… and enjoy!

Adapted from What’s Cooking America


Monday was a good friend’s birthday.  Since it is also a holiday here she opted to have a brunch in their beautiful backyard.  I insisted on bringing something…I don’t know why I am on a bit of a scone kick these days.  Perhaps because they are easy and they make the house smell sooooo good!  This recipe is apparently from the Empress Hotel’s legendary Afternoon Tea. They are simple and sweet.  Served with some lemon curd or crème fresh and warmed strawberry jam and perfect cup of tea and they make a great breakfast or snack.

I had a little of the batter left over so I left it in the fridge for 2 days and baked the final four scones a today.  I was worried they would be dry.  The texture was certainly different than those that I made directly after mixing.  The first baked batch was more buttery and a little crispy.  The batch made today was more crumbly and yet lighter.  If I was to make these again, I would let the dough sit at least overnight…I liked the result better I think.

Empress Scones

Empress Tea Scones
-20 scones

12 oz AP flour
4.5 oz sugar
1 oz baking powder
4.5 oz butter, cold and cubed
3 oz raisins, soaked
3 eggs
1 cup whipping cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F
  2. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in the butter until pea sized crumbs are obtained.
  4. Slowly add the eggs and the cream, stirring lightly.
  5. Fold in the raisins.
  6. Gently turn out onto a floured surface and pat into a rectangle that is about 1/2 ” thick.
  7. Use a floured cutter to cut into desired shapes.
  8. Place on a silpad on a cookie sheet.
  9. At this point either place in refrigerator to set overnight.
  10. Or, brush with cream or egg wash.
  11. Bake at 350 for 15-25 minutes until golden on the top.
  12. Serve with jersey cream and strawberry jam.


Taster Boy loves to sleep in.  I often have the grand intention to do so, especially on Sundays…after all, Monday to Friday I can barely drag my sorry butt out of bed.  However, the weekends are a little different.  I seem to wake up at a decent time, usually between 8:30 and 9:00 a.m.  I love my sleepy quiet Sunday mornings.  I usually make myself a tea, grab a book and a blanket and sit on the balcony for a while. An hour later or so, and I start getting the itch to make something for breakfast.  I have been thinking about scones for the last few days, and toyed with the idea of strawberries and Marscapone cheese, a Google search later and I stumbled across Katie at Good Life Eats.

I made a few tweaks to her recipe,  though not too many.  These were wonderful!  So flavourful, a fantastic breakfast or dessert (or snack!) scone.  They came together in less than 10 minuets, were a little messy, but really, what scones aren’t when you are wrist deep in flour and butter.   Katie’s recipe called for what sounded lovely, a honey milk glaze, but I opted not to add that and just sprinkled a little sugar on top.

I will certainly be making these again…in fact, I only baked half the recipe this morning and plan on baking the other half tomorrow morning to bring into the office a Monday morning treat.

IMG_3490
Ingredients:

4 cups flour (I used 2 cups white and 2 cups whole wheat flour)
4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp lime zest (she called for lemon, but I really like the lime flavouring)
1/2 cup butter, sliced
1/2 cup + 2 Tbsp Mascarpone cheese
2 large eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 Tbs vanilla
2 Tbsp honey
1 1/2 c strawberries, diced

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 F
  2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and zest. Mix well and set aside.
  3. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and honey.
  4. Using two knives, cut the mascarpone cheese and butter into the flour mixture. (I found it easier to do the butter first and then the cheese  – make sure the cheese is fresh out of the fridge as this makes the method of “cutting it into the flour easier)
  5. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the egg mixture and the strawberries. Gently stir until it forms together.
  6. Knead on a floured surface a few times – be gentle so you don’t squish the strawberries.
  7. Divide dough into two equal portions. Flatten into 8 inch rounds. Sprinkle the sugar on top.
  8. Bake at 375 degrees F on a parchment paper lined sheet for 20-30 minutes.
  9. Cut each round into eights. Cool on a wired rack.
  10. Serve with some strawberry jam (and maybe a little creme fraiche on the side?!)


On Sunday TB went snowboarding. A beautiful spring day on the hills – I can’t tell you how jealous I was, but after spraining my MCL I am a little out of commission when it comes down to skiing. Getting back to the kitchen…I thought it would be nice to have a big pot of soup on for when he came home. I opted for a seafood chowder, no pictures of it, so next time we make it, I will certainly post. But to accompany the chowder I made these delicious buttery biscuits.

These are indulgent. They are wonderful straight from the oven – melt in your mouth goodness. They also “dunk” very nicely! So I highly recommend these as a once in a while treat. And the best thing is… they took all of two seconds to whip up!

biscuits1

Ingredients:
2 cups AP flour
1 Tbsp sugar
3 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp fresh cracked pepper
1/8 cup freshly chopped parsley
3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup milk
coarse sea salt to top biscuits

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 Degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, pepper, parsley, cheese in a large bowl.
  3. Cut in cold butter until crumbly – like oatmeal.
  4. Add milk, stir to combine.
  5. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, kneed 8-10 times.
  6. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces – roll into flat discs – approximately 2-3 inches in diameter.
  7. Place biscuits on a silpad (on a cookie sheet) – sprinkle with coarse sea salt.
  8. Bake for 12 minutes – until golden brown.
  9. Eat fresh out of the oven!

This winter has felt like it has lasted forever.  I know we have not had nearly as much rain as we have had in the past, but the cold, cold weather, and the snow has been enough in my humble opinion.

They were calling for snow for last night and this morning/afternoon.  Knowing that we had a staff meeting first thing, I thought I would bring a little taste of summer to the 9am meeting.  I had no idea what that would be, but looked in the fridge and cupboard for inspiration.  This is what jumped out at me: lime, vanilla, coconut, mango and blackberries…doesn’t that sound like a tropical scone to you?

These scones were great.  Super simple to make.  And at the same time full of little bits and bites of summer…I would make them again certainly.  I am sure you could mix and match any of your favourite fruits to it.   Serving fresh from the oven is the way to do it too.  They smell wonderful!

tropicle-scone*brutal picture, but I was rushing out the door…*

Ingredients:

1+ 1/2 cups AP flour
3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1 + 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla, I used white vanilla
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp buttermilk
1 egg, lightly whisked
lime zest and juice from one lime (I’m sure orange would be great too)
1 cup blackberries
1 small mango, cubed

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Whisk together: flours, sugar, baking powder, coconut, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Cut cold butter into the flour mixture until the butter is coarsely incorporated.
  3. In a second small/medium bowl whisk together the vanilla, 1/4 cup buttermilk, egg, lime juice, and zest.
  4. Gently fold blackberries and mango into the flour mixture.
  5. Combine the wet mix into the dry, with a wooden spoon gently mix – careful not to crush the blackberries too much.
  6. Combine as much as you can in the bowl, then turn out onto a floured work surface.  You will probably need to gently kneed the mixture once or twice until it comes together.
  7. The dough will be somewhat sticky (or mine was), pat hands with flour and then pat dough into a round disc about 10 inches in diameter.
  8. Cut dough into 12 wedges (like a pizza!)
  9. Place wedges on cookie sheet and brush with remaining 2 Tbsp of buttermilk.
  10. Optional: sprinkle a little sugar on top.
  11. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown and if you insert a toothpick in the centre it comes out clean.

Yield 12
WW4

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