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Entries in Baked Goods (84)

Friday
May182012

Double Coconut Muffins {Vegan}

Coconut muffins

I've never cooked with coconut oil. I've been wanting to give it a try, but I couldn't justify spending almost $10 for a jar when I didn't have anything specific to use it in. Then, Bridget posted these Smitten Kitchen muffins on her blog, The Way The Cookie Crumbles. I saw the recipe and moments later, found myself pulling my car out of the driveway, driving to the grocery store! To this day, I've only used the 8 tablespoons that this recipe calls for, but you know what? I have absolutely no regrets! I just look at that as a reason to make these muffins again…then again and again. They are a bit more dense than most other muffins that I've had, but they are very delicious! If you like coconut, you will not be disappointed with this recipe!

8 tablespoons Virgin Coconut Oil
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 cup Whole Wheat Flour
3/4 cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Greek Yogurt, room temperature
1/3 cup Sugar
1 Egg
1 teaspoon Vanilla

In a small saucepan, warm the coconut oil just until it melts; do not heat it until it is hot. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, sugar, coconut oil, yogurt, and vanilla. Add the coconut oil mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Divide the batter among 10 muffin cups that have been lined with paper liners or sprayed with nonstick spray. Top each muffin with about 1 teaspoon of the remaining shredded coconut. Bake at 375 degrees until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes.  Transfer the muffins to a cooling rack; cool for 5 minutes, then remove them from the pan. 

Friday
May042012

French Macarons with Nutella Buttercream 

Macarons

During the summer of 2008, Joel and I took a European vacation which brought us to Paris. We met up with a friend while we were there and as we were walking down Champs-Elysées, she said we couldn't leave without stopping in to Ladurée for a treat. I remember seeing little sandwich cookies in a case with a line of at least 4 people deep waiting to get their hands on them. I had no idea what the big deal was about them. We left without even getting close enough to see the flavors that they were selling. Needless to say, until I had a blog, I had no idea what French Macarons were. However, they have been popping up all over the internet recently, and I've become a bit curious. A few weeks ago, Joel and I went up to Toronto for the day and while we were there, we discovered a cute little macaron boutique and decided to see what the fuss was all about. I immediately had a case of sticker shock when I saw the price--$2.50 for a cookie the size of a half-dollar?! Since I felt odd charging 1 single cookie, we bought a sampler pack of 6 different flavors, gave them a try, and was immediately surprised by how delicious they were! So, when I was assigned to Carrie's Sweet Life for the Secret Recipe Club style recipe swap this week, I knew right away that I was going to try this recipe for French Macarons, which she got from Martha Stewart. When I started the recipe, I was a bit annoyed with the sifting and piping. I was able to get enough for 12 regular sized sandwiches and 4 mini ones out of the batter. It seemed like an awful lot of work for such a small amount of cookies. However, when I took the pan out of the oven and discovered that my macarons had "feet", I was beyond excited and couldn't wait to give them a try. I whipped up a nutella buttercream instead of the Swiss meringue buttercream that Carrie made, and piped them onto the cookies. I made Joel try one first, and he told me they were perfect. He was right! I am impressed that they turned out as good as they did for my first time making them. I would love to try them again with different flavor combinations. Thanks, Carrie, for finally giving me a reason to give this recipe a try!

For the Macarons:
1 cup Confectioners' Sugar
3/4 cup Almond Flour
2 large Egg Whites, at room temperature
Pinch of Cream of Tartar
1/4 cup Superfine Sugar (I made my own by buzzing regular sugar around in a food processor)

Pulse the confectioners' sugar and almond flour in a food processor until combined. Sift the mixture through a sieve 2 times. Preheat at the oven to 375 degrees. Whisk the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium heat until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and whisk until soft peaks form. Reduce speed to low and add the superfine sugar. Increase the speed to high and whisk until stiff peaks form, about 8 minutes. Sift the flour mixture over the egg whites and fold until mixture is smooth and shiny. Transfer the batter to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/2-inch plain round tip. and pipe 3/4-inch rounds 1 inch apart on a parchment lined baking sheet, dragging the pastry tip to the side of the rounds rather than forming peaks. Tap the bottom of each sheet on the work surface to release any trapped air. Let the piped batter stand at room temperature for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees. Bake 1 sheet at a time, rotating half way through, until the macarons are crisp and firm, about 10 minutes. After each batch, increase the oven temperature to 375 degrees for 5 minutes, then reduce to 325 degrees. Let the macarons cool on sheets for 2-3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack. If the macarons stick, spray water under the parchment on the hot sheet--the steam will help release the macarons. Sandwich 2 same-size macarons with 1 teaspoon of filling. Serve immediately, or stack between layers of parchment paper, wrap in plastic, and freeze for up to 3 months. 

For the Nutella Buttercream Filling (from Tracey's Culinary Adventures):
6 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, softened
1/4 cup Nutella
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 tablespoon Milk
1/2 cup Confectioners' Sugar, sifted

In a medium sized bowl, using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and nutella until combined. Add the vanilla, milk, and confectioners sugar and beat on low speed until the powdered sugar is just about incorporated. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat until the frosting is smooth.  

Tuesday
May012012

English Muffins

English muffins

I was home on spring break two weeks ago and I got bored! I know, what's wrong with me, right? Home for an entire week with nothing to do, and I was bored? What can I say, I'm a creature of habit who thrives on routine, so when my routine is thrown off for even a few days, I don't know what to do with myself. I did a few things that needed to be done, like go to the DMV to renew my license, get my oil changed, and grocery shop during the day when the store wasn't super crowded. I also had lunch with my mom and grandparents, and met Joel at work for lunch one day, and got to see his office and the people he works with, which was fun. But all of those things only took up so much time, so with the remaining time, I decided to tackle an item on my list of things that I've been wanting to make: English Muffins! I googled a recipe and decided to go with this one from Budget Bytes. Since this dough needs to rise 3 times, each for 45 minutes, I figured why not do it while I was home and bored with nothing but time on my hands. The recipe was very easy, and even though it took quite a while, the majority of time was hands-off. My muffins ended up being slightly smaller than the typical size, and I didn't end up with the nooks and crannies that store bought English muffins have, but the flavor was spot-on! They were delicious in the morning holding an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, and also toasted with butter and jam. I'm glad I finally decided to tackle these, and now that I have tried them, I definitely plan to make them again.

1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 cup Warm Water 
1/2 cup Milk
2 tablespoons Butter
3 cups Flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Cornmeal
Non-stick Spray

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let sit about 5 minutes, or until foamy on top. While the yeast mixture is resting, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt. In a second small bowl, combine the milk and butter and microwave it for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue stirring until the butter melts into the warm milk. Pour the yeast mixture and the butter mixture into the flour. Stir until it has combined into a pasty mix. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in more flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean countertop and coat your hands in flour. Dump the ball of dough out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the countertop while kneading--adding too much flour will yield tough muffins. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated in non-stick spray. Lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch down the dough and shape it into another ball. Cover the dough ball and let it rise a second time, another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch the dough down again and turn it out onto a well floured countertop. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or a large round glass, cut the dough into circles. When you can't cut out any more circles, gently ball up the remaining dough, roll it again, and cut some more. Place the cut dough circles onto a sheet pan that has been liberally covered in cornmeal; sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover loosely with a damp bowl and let rise, once more, until double in size, about 45 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins into the hot skillet with a spatula. Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side, about 5-7 minutes per side. Make sure to keep the heat on low so that the outside browns slowly, allowing the inside to "band". Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to slice them open. 

Thursday
Dec082011

Cranberry Cornbread

Last weekend, I felt the urge to bake...surprise, surprise! I had some cranberries in the freezer leftover from our holiday salad, so I thought of things I could do to use them up. I can't remember how, but I ended up on I Will Not Eat Oysters, and decided to adapt this recipe to suit my needs. Paired with a big mug of tea, it was a delicious way to start the day. With the rest of our beautiful Saturday, we took a trip to walk around the shops of a nearby village. I got my first candy cane of the season from a Santa who was walking out of a pet store!

5 tablespoons Butter, melted
2 Eggs
1 cup Buttermilk
1 1/3 cup Cornmeal
2/3 cup Flour
1/2 cup Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 cup Cranberries

In a large bowl, whisk together the butter, eggs, and buttermilk until well combined.  In another bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt and mix until it looks uniform. Mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with a wooden spoon. Add in the cranberries and gently mix them into the batter. Lightly grease a 8x8 inch square pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pan comes out clean. Let the bread cool for about 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday
Dec072011

Maple Cinnamon Quick Bread


Aside from the occasional large breakfast of eggs, bacon, potatoes, and toast on the weekends, I love baked goods.  I really enjoy baking on the weekends so that I have something to eat each morning during the week with my tea.  As much as I try, cereal or granola just do not cut it for me in the morning!  I have numerous quick bread or coffee cake recipes saved in my RSS feeds.  A few weekends ago, I woke up early on a Sunday morning so I chose this one from Buns In My Oven to make for breakfast.  The smell that it filled my whole house with was amazing.  I only wish I was able to get the correct consistency for the icing on top!

For the Bread:
2 1/4 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 1/2 teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Maple Syrup
1 cup Buttermilk
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/4 cup Browned Butter (I just used melted)
1/4 cup Cold Butter, cubed
1 tablespoon Cinnamon

For the Icing:
1 cup Powdered Sugar
1/4 cup Heavy Cream (I used milk...could be the reason mine was runny)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 teaspoon Salt

In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla.  Slowly whisk in the browned butter.  Combine the wet ingredients and dry ingredients and mix until all combined.  In a small bowl, cut the cold butter cubes and cinnamon together until you have small pea sized chunks.  Fold the butter into the batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 9x5 loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Allow the bread to cool for 15 minutes before drizzling with the icing.

To make the icing, whisk together all ingredients in a bowl.  Add more sugar or cream to reach the desired consistency.  Drizzle over the top of the bread or spread over each individual slice.

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