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Entries in Baked Goods (87)

Monday
Jun252012

Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Muffins

Whole wheat banana blueberry muffins

It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day again. How has another month passed already?! This month, I was assigned to the wonderful blog {Sweetly} Serendipity, written by Taryn. As soon as I got my assignment, I was instantly excited because with a name like that, I knew it would be a blog after my own heart! I mean, I love to cook, but I enjoy baking more. Blame it on my sweet tooth, I guess! So, as I perused Taryn's blog, I found several great recipes that I would love to try, as well as some great reviews of Boston restaurants (and since Boston is my favorite east coast city, I will save those reviews for my next trip there!). After debating between a few recipes, I chose to go with these muffins mostly because they seemed healthy, and I've been eating somewhat unhealthy lately. I loved that there was whole wheat flour and fruit in them; it made them seem a little more guilt-free. I ended up halving the recipe and still got 12 muffins out of the batter, which was perfect for breakfast for the week. These muffins came out so moist and flavorful from the banana, blueberries, and nutmeg. I didn't even miss the sugar! Thanks, Taryn, for sharing such a delicious muffin recipe! I'll definitely be visiting your blog again soon!

2 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 cups Rolled Oats
2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Nutmeg or Mace
1 cup Honey
1 cup Canola Oil (I used 1/2 oil and 1/2 applesauce)
6 medium Bananas, mashed
1 tablespoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Blueberries (I used frozen)

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, blend together the honey, oil, bananas, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix only until the ingredients are combined. The batter will be lumpy. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate overnight, if you wish; otherwise continue with the recipe. Gently fold in the blueberries. Line a muffin tin with paper liners. Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full with the batter. These muffins will not rise much. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Yields 16-20 muffins. 

Sunday
Jun242012

Chocolate Toffee Shortbread Bars

Chocolate toffee shortbread

One of the many recipes that led up to my removal from the kitchen last week were these shortbread bars, which I found on a fellow Buffalo blog, Christine's Cuisine. During the last full week of school, a few of us ladies had a special lunch for our friend Joanne, who is retiring in one week! We ordered subs and a few people brought different types of salads as side dishes. Of course, no special lunch would be complete without a dessert, which is where this recipe came in. Sure, there was 2 sticks of butter in the shortbread base, but they were delicious! As they say, everything in moderation…right?! 

For the Shortbread:
1 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
2 sticks Butter (never said these were healthy!)
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1/4 Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
5 tablespoons Mini Chocolate Chips

For the Topping:
6 ounces Bittersweet or Semisweet Chocolate Chips
1 1/2 cups Toffee Bits or Chopped Toffee Bars 

Combine the flour, salt, and cinnamon in a small bowl; stir to blend and set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the butter, sugar, and brown sugar, and beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Blend in the vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in the dry ingredients until just incorporated. Stir in the mini chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Line a 9x13" baking dish with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking dish and press into an even layer, covering the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes, or until the shortbread is bubbling. Remove the pan from the oven.  Sprinkle the 6 ounces of chocolate chips evenly over the top of the shortbread base. Cover the pan with foil and let it sit for about 5 minutes. Remove the foil and, using an offset spatula, spread the melted chocolate evenly over the crust in a thin layer. Immediately sprinkle the toffee bits over the melted chocolate and press down lightly to adhere. Let the bars cool to room temperature, and when the topping is set, remove from the pan, transfer to a cutting board, and slice into bars. 

Thursday
May312012

Double Chocolate Muffins {Vegan}

Vegan chocolate muffins

By no means do I follow a vegan lifestyle. However, for some reason, when I see that word "vegan"  in the title of a recipe, I convince myself that it means "healthy."  So, when I saw this recipe posted over at Prevention RD, I knew I had to give it a try. When I get a "healthy" double dose of chocolate in the morning, I know it's going to be a good day! This is the second vegan muffin recipe that I have tried, and I'm starting to think that from now on, I'll only make vegan muffins. The texture and flavor of these muffins were spectacular! I made them early in the week and they lasted throughout the whole week, which made what could have been an ordinary week extraordinary!

1 1/2 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Salt 
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
1 1/2 cup Unsweetened Applesauce
1/2 cup Canola Oil
1 tablespoon Vanilla
2 ounces Dark Chocolate (72% cocao), chopped

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, and brown sugar in a large bowl and whisk until blended. In a separate bowl, whisk together the applesauce, canola oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped chocolate. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and fill each tin nearly full. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins come out clean. Makes about 14 muffins.  

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.  

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