31 January 2010

Blueberry Muffins


To start off muffin week I felt as though I had to go with blueberry, the archetypal muffin, the tried and true, model muffin. Who doesn’t like a blueberry muffin? I mean, really, is there anyone alive and well whom doesn’t enjoy this moist and delicious palm sized bread?

If there is, I surely don’t want to know them.

I am only kidding. I would never judge a person for what they wouldn’t eat.

But I think it is safe to say, overall, that most people like a good blueberry muffin, right?

And this, this is more than a good blueberry muffin. It’s a great one. So there’ll be no problems then.

I went searching for a good blueberry muffin recipe last summer after I had myself an Elaine from Seinfeld moment and bought a muffin top pan. Of course the muffin top pan search was started the spring before that, after a winter long pregnancy induced obsession with Panera Bread Pumpkin Muffin Tops.

This muffin is very forgiving and flexible. I have made it as a mini muffin, as a large jumbo muffin, as regular muffins and thanks to my muffin top pan, as muffin tops. I have made it with applesauce, with canola oil, with vegetable oil. I have tried eggs and eggbeaters. I have added spices sometimes and taken away spices other times. And yet this muffin always turns out great.

Blueberry Muffins

Prep time: 15 min

Cook time: 20 to 25 min.

Serves: 8


1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

3/4 cup white sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/3 cup applesauce (or Canola oil)

1 egg

1/3 cup buttermilk (or regular milk if out)

1 cup fresh (or frozen) blueberries

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup butter, cubed

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon


1.) Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners.

2.) Combine flours, sugar, salt and baking powder. Place applesauce (or vegetable oil) into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup.


Mix this with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb topping mixture.

3.) To Make Crumb Topping: Mix together 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, 1/4 cup butter, and 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon. Mix with fork, and sprinkle over muffins before baking.

4.) Bake for 18-20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.


Sift blueberries in flour so they don’t sink.

29 January 2010

For the love of muffins and two tin pans.

Do you know the muffin man?clip_image002

January 31-February 6 : Muffin Week

7 Days/7 Muffins

28 January 2010

Sock It to Me Cake

You may have heard of a Sock It to Me Cake, until this week I had not. Turns out it's a pretty popular cake. I was looking for a pecan cake to make in my bundt pan and this is what I kept finding. So alas, I decided to use my only yellow cake mix in the pantry, make a few alterations to the recipe and give it a try.

The toasting and chopping of the pecans were the worst thing about this cake. I personally hate toasting nuts. All too often I burn my nuts and have to start over and nuts are not cheap. So if I'm not burning my nuts I am under-cooking my nuts where the whole process is probably pointless. And I hate chopping nuts. I buy my nuts in bulk at Sam's because I like to save money, but chopping nuts causes a little anxiety attack to begin because my OCD mind gets frustrated with the vast difference in my nut pieces. But I made this cake even with the toasting and the chopping. The cake was good but I think in the future I would chop my pecans even smaller and maybe skip the whole toasting process altogether.

Sock It To Me Cake


1 package yellow cake mix
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup water
2 eggs
1/2 cup eggbeaters
1 cup toasted and chopped pecans
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 tablespoons milk


1.) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2.) Grease bundt pan. Toast pecans for 8 minutes at 350 degrees. Chop pecans.
3.) Blend cake mix, sour cream, applesauce, sugar, water, eggs, and eggbeaters. Beat on high 2 minutes. Pour 2/3 batter into greased bundt pan.
4.) Combine pecans, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Sprinkle oven batter. Spread remaining batter evenly over sugar mixture.
5.) Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack 25 minutes.
6.) Mix confectioners sugar and milk. Remove cake from bundt pan and drizzle with glaze.

27 January 2010

Chewy Coconut Cookies

I began this blog because I had been baking a lot in the fall and realized how much I loved to be in the kitchen with my fists in the flour container and because the amount of time I was perusing cooking sites had surpassed the amount of time I spent on all other sites combined. I thought it would be fun to bake and cook and have a place to share my recipes and experiences as well as a chance to work on my food photography.

I realized however that where as I had measuring cups galore and half a dozen loaf pans, I didn't have but one or two plates on which to present the decadent things I was baking. I decided that I would begin collecting plates and platters of any size and design and that in and of itself has been a bit of fun.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, the plate in the picture above was a surprise a week or so ago from my brother's girlfriend. I had told her about my plate collecting venture and she had found this at Target and thought of me. The plate and my brother's girlfriend are grand, are they not?

Ok, so on to today's cookie. Remember when I told you I was losing my hair? Well, I can't forget because every morning I have to unclog my drain. But after making those cookies that didn't have any coconut in them I decided to bake up a cookie that was almost nothing but coconut and boy were they simple and sweet. I took half of them to my grandmother today because it looks as though I am the only one around here eating them. Coconut is not everyone's favorite fruit but keep in mind that it has more protein than many other fruits, it also has many minerals your body loves like iron and zinc. My point? I think you should give these cookies a try even if coconut is not your usual thing . If coconut is your thing I definitely think you will find these chewy treats a must.

Chewy Coconut Cookies

1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/3 cup flaked coconut

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, soda and salt.
2.) In medium bowl cream butter and sugars until smooth. Add egg and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour mixture and then add coconut.
3.) Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Cookies should be 3 inches apart.
4.) Bake 10 minutes or until lightly brown. Cool or racks.

26 January 2010

Good For You Banana Oatmeal Cookies

I realize that I have sort of gone off tangent, I mean originally this blog was to be all things cookie but I realized too late and yet all too quickly after undergoing this project that I just like more things than cookies. For example, this week I had gotten it in my head to do all things muffins but then I went and caught a bug someplace and have been like a zombie for half the week. I am on my way to recovering but alas this week is half way over so maybe next week.

But I did manage to make these cookies. I started with a recipe out of the Taste of Home Cookbook and decided to add a few spices and make it a 'good for you' cookie. The result was 4 dozen cookies that adults and kids alike could enjoy without worrying about the waistline. Not too much anyways.

These cookies were definitely more of the cake-like variety than the chewy variety but if you're looking for flavorful and healthy dare I recommend you look no further.

Good For You Banana Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup applesauce (I use Mott's unsweetened)
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup eggbeaters (or 2 large eggs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 mashed bananas (the riper, the better)
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1.) Preheat oven to 350 *F. Grease cookie sheets with Baker's Joy or your choice of cooking spray.
2.) Cream applesauce, butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggbeaters and vanilla. In separate bowl combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt. Slowly add to creamed mixture. Stir in bananas, oats, chips, and walnuts.
3.) Bake on greased cookie sheets 10 minutes. Remove immediately to wire racks to cool.

Yields 4 dozen cookies approximately.

22 January 2010

Beljavian Pure White Chocolate

This past weekend I was doing my weekly grocery shopping and I just happened to stumble across these White Chocolate Chips in the deli at Kroger. They were originally $6.99 but they were being offered, probably because no one could find them at Christmas, for only $2.99. Their sell by date isn't until August so I imagine the store just wanted to see them gone. I, of course, bought two packs. The second ingredient is Cocoa butter where as the white chips don't have anything 'cocoa' in them. Now that I finally have my white chocolate chips I want to use them for a really good recipe, any suggestions?

21 January 2010

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

Let me begin by reiterating that I absolutely love quick breads and that my all time favorite quick bread is zucchini. Over the last few years I have grown from having a disinterest in zucchini, to not minding zucchini, to downright loving zucchini, especially in quick breads. I have even been seeking out zucchini recipes and have started thinking about growing a garden this spring just to have my very own zucchini in the backyard.

So with that out there, let me just tell you, from one who truly sees herself as a friend of zucchini, that these cupcakes were just s0-s0. The taste wasn't bad, they were very much like a spice cake, but they weren't very moist and if anything they were dense feeling when a cupcake should never be dense feeling. There was a crown to them too, so I know they did some rising, it just wasn't what I expect from a cupcake.

The recipe came from the Martha Stewart but I will admit I made a few changes, maybe the changes made this cupcake sub par but I don't think so, the changes I made were the type of changes I often make (i.e. substituting a little whole wheat flour, adding a little extra cinnamon, canola instead of vegetable oil) with little or no difference in the finished product. And besides, the cupcakes weren't bad, they were just unlike cupcakes to me. Had they been named muffins and had no cream cheese frosting they would perhaps have been fine, but alas then they couldn't have gone into her cupcake book. So here we are.

Zucchini Spice Cupcakes

2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated nutmeg )
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup unsweetened applesuace
1 /2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
2 cups packed light-brown sugar
3 cups packed grated zucchini
1 cup walnuts toasted and coarsely chopped


Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flours, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. In separate bowl, combine applesauce, oil, eggs, vanilla and lemon zest until well blended. Stir in brown sugar until smooth followed by zucchini, then add flour mixture and stir until just combined. Stir in walnuts.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20-22 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

I used store bought cream cheese frosting but I think that if I make these again I will definitely go homemade cream cheese frosting.

Ultimate Double Chocolate Ghiradelli Cookies

For the past two years we have thrown a Cookie Exchange party around Christmas. Everyone seems to be in the mood for baked goods and who couldn't use a few more cookie recipes to try out. The first year I was going to make Snickerdoodles but decided at the last minute to make Oatmeal cookies that we christened 'Jake Just Got a New Haircut Cookie' from that period of time when every new baked good was given a name depending on what had happened that day. This past year I was going to make Snickerdoodles and then my husband suggested I make these cookies that I had taken for a test run the week before the Exchange. They were pretty fabulous so I was easily swayed.

These cookies are a bit more work than your average cookies, or at least my average cookies, but they are so rich and divine that it really is worth what seems like a fair bit of hassle. These particular cookies pictured are actually made from a leftover log I had in the freezer from the cookie exchange that I had never baked. They were still as awesome after sitting in the freezer for a month as they were the first day. In fact I had all but forgotten what a pain in my arse they were that they may have even been better this time around.

  • Ultimate Double Chocolate Cookies courtesy of Ghiradelli (the best chocolate on Earth?)
  • Ingredients:

  • 2 cups Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  1. Melt the bittersweet chocolate chips and butter in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar with an electric mixer until thick; stir in the chocolate mixture.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder; stir into the chocolate mixture. Gently mix in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
  4. Using a sheet of plastic wrap, form the dough into two logs, each 2 inches in diameter and about 8 inches long. Because the dough will be quite soft, use the plastic wrap to hold the dough in the log shape. Wrap tightly; refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until firm.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a cookie sheet or line with parchment paper.
  6. Unwrap the dough. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3/4-inch slices. Place the slices 1 1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until a shiny crust forms on top of the cookies but the interior is still soft. Let cool on the cookie sheet. Then remove from the cookie sheet with a metal spatula.
  8. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

19 January 2010

Her name is Joy.

I would like to give a shout-out to my favorite tool in the kitchen without which many of these recipes would still be possible but far more troublesome. Three years ago for Christmas my husband bought me this fine mixer. Apparently I had begged and pleaded enough about wanting an electric stand mixer because my father also bought me a Hamilton Beach stand mixer the same year. We hid the KitchenAid so his feelings wouldn't be hurt though I'm sure he saw it at his next visit shining solo on the counter, as it is the only kitchen gadget, other then the coffee maker that is allowed to permanently reside outside the cabinets or pantry.

Often times I get something that I think I really, truly want, like a sewing machine or treadmill, just to find out after the fact that these things are not necessarily up my alley. The sewing machine and treadmill may be collecting dust but my mixer is constantly being used. I think the longer I have it the more often I find uses for it. Pizza dough, whipped cream, and pancake batter just to name a few, but the possibilities of this machine are still presenting themselves to me each and every time I open up a cookbook or food site.

I put a lot of love into maintaining this little beauty, I wash it down thoroughly each time it's used and I see the scrapes and scratches on the sides of the bowl as the memories of batches of oatmeal cookies and Chocolate Torte topping. There is no doubt that if this wonderful culinary invention should ever break she will be replaced by weeks end.

But perhaps with a Professional 600 Series 6-Quart Empire Red stand mixer.

I'd even wait two weeks for that.

18 January 2010

Banana 'N Cream Cake

How good is this cake? Let me count the ways-I mean slices.
So first there was that slice at a little before midnight last night when it was fresh out of the oven and freshly dusted with Confectioner's sugar.

Then there were the three slices for breakfast this morning. I gave the kids leftover Nutty Pancakes but coulnd't pass up fresh banana baked goods for myself, greedy I know.

Then there were the three slice post-Olive Garden lunch where I didn't even splurge on Tirmisu because I knew there was moist cake at home on the counter.

Then there were the two slices the kids and I snacked on after nap.

Then there were the twelve slices I cut up, wrapped in threes and stuck in the freezer for a later date knowing that this cake would be the death of me if I didn't wisen up.

Not there are about five slices left, for breakfast in the morning. That is if I can resist it that long.


Bananas 'N Cream Bundt Cake

1/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
confectioners' sugar for dusting

In a mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Blend in vanilla. Add bananas and mix well. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with sour cream, stirring just until combined. Stir in walnuts. Pour into a greased and floured 10-in. fluted tube pan. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool 10 minutes in pan before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

15 January 2010

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Drops

As I sit here writing this post I am partaking in the last of these astonishing cookies. What started as an attempt to use up a few pantry items before their use by date resulted in possibly the best cookie tested thus far. Both soft and chewy as their name implies, these cookies are nothing shy of sinful. The batch made a little more than four dozen and they are-hold on a minute-all gone just over 24 hours later which means that six of us were eating these at a rate of two per hour. Try these little bits of heavenly goodness-you won't be sorry. However, you may have to extend your next workout session because hedonism seldom entails low fat.
These cookies are very simple with only eight ingredients but they are a tad bit time consuming as the cookie dough should be refrigerated for approximately one hour between mixing and baking to make the dough more workable.
The cookie starts with butter (3/4 cup) and 4 ounces (squares) of Baker's Unsweetened baking chocolate. I have a double boiler but the microwave is so much easier and makes these cookies a one bowl (two if you count the glaze) recipe. Also, the double boiler takes longer and is no fun to clean. I microwaved the butter and chocolate for two minutes to get the better completely melted. I love recipes that call for melting butter, I hate having to soften butter, I always feel like I don't do it exactly right.
So after the butter was melted I mixed them for about three minutes to get the chocolate to melt entirely. Then I added 2 cups of sugar, 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of vanilla.
Then I added the 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour and covered the cookie dough with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge for almost an hour (I get inpatient and want to move on).
I made slightly bigger cookies than the recipe called for, but if I'd made more cookies that would have changed nothing but the rate at which they disappeared.
While I was baking the cookies I mixed one frozen tub of Cool Whip and 6 ounces of Baker's semisweet chocolate together and put them in the microwave for about 1:45, stopping to mix the chocolate after a little over a minute.
When the glaze was completely smooth I let it sit for about twenty minutes. I then put it in a disposable icing bag and went to work on my little chocolate cookies. The recipe told you to wait until the glaze was set and I took that as a recommendation only and took to eating them right away, however the ones I had today (about a dozen) were much better so I would recommend that you let the glaze completely set before eating all of these cookies.

The kids loved these, the husband loved these, my brother and his girlfriend loved them. I was going to take them to a playgroup but got too greedy and ate them all up before the playgroup even had a chance. Maybe I will make another batch...but really that just spells trouble.

At least for my waistline.

Soft and Chewy Chocolate Drops

4 squares BAKER'S Unsweetened Chocolate
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2-1/2 cups flour

1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping (Do not thaw.)
6 squares BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Chocolate


PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Microwave unsweetened chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Add sugar; mix well. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour; mix well. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or until dough is easy to handle. Roll dough into 1-inch balls; place, 2 inches apart, on lightly greased baking sheets. Bake approximately 7-8 min. or just until set. (Do not overbake.) Let stand on baking sheet 1 min.; transfer to wire racks. Cool completely.


PLACE frozen whipped topping and semi-sweet chocolate in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is shiny and smooth, stirring after 1 min. Let stand 15 min. to thicken. Spread over cookies. Let stand until glaze is set.

14 January 2010

Oatmeal Cranberry White Chip Cookies

I have been perusing cookbook after cookbook here lately looking for ideas and considering new recipes to try out. In addition to salivating over Giant Chocolate Sugar Cookies and Banana Walnut Chocolate Chunk Cookies I have picked up a few tricks of the baking trade. My idol, Alton Brown, for example recommends that you measure everything out ahead of time and have all of your ingredients ready to go before mixing anything. This technique, Mise en place, is very popular among professional chefs. I decided I would give it a try even though it seems to dirty up a few more dishes and it was a very handy technique. For one, you will not find yourself halfway through making a Black Forest Torte before realizing that you don’t have any Heavy Whipping Cream. And even though set up takes a few minutes more the actual mixing stage goes a lot faster and easier. Having kids up and running around I have found that I can slowly get all my ingredients together and then begin the mixing phase when the kids are immersed in an activity or down for a nap. I don’t see myself proclaiming Mise en place as my religion like Anthony Bourdain does, but I can definitely understand its appeal.

In addition to perusing many books about cooking I have also been checking my pantry for recipes on the backs of such staples as Craisins, chocolate chips and rolled oats. I figure these recipes must have been baked in test kitchens and must be worthy enough if gracing the back labels of such fine products. So Monday after putting all the ingredients in place I whipped up Oatmeal Cranberry White Chocolate Chunk Cookies, a recipe taken right off the back of the Ocean Spray Craisin package. Having Oatmeal and craisins in them, I thought they were bound to be a big hit with my tastebuds.

These cookies called for flour, rolled oats, baking soda and salt. I swapped some (1/2 cup) of the all purpose flour for whole wheat flour and added a heaping teaspoon of cinnamon. Like I said, I do love cinnamon.
These cookies also called for two large eggs, brown sugar and 2/3 cup butter softened. To soften butter quickly I cut it into tablespoon or smaller slices and set it out for about 10 minutes or so. I am very impatient when ready to get baking.

These cookies call for white chocolate chips. Unfortunately, I have failed all winter to find real chocolate chips in the grocery stores around here. I have found ‘Premier’ white chips by Hersheys and ‘white candy coating’ by Baker’s but a white chip with real cocoa butter in it has failed to reach the shelves of my local grocers. So the cookies I made this past Monday were not in fact White Chocolate cookies but white chip cookies. The difference I fear was far too great.

This cookie was fine. Not bad, moist, slight aroma and taste of cinnamon, but the white chips were just too sweet without any real flavor other than that of straight sugar. These cookies were moist and soft for several days, but they just won't ever make my favorites list as they were. I may try them again if and when I ever finally locate some honest white chocolate chips.

Oatmeal Cranberry Chip Cookies

2/3 cup butter or margarine, softened
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cups flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 heaping teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 6-ounce package Ocean Spray® Craisins® Original Dried Cranberries
2/3 cup white chips (should be white chocolate chips)


Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Round up and measure out all ingredients ahead of time.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter or margarine and sugar together in a medium mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add eggs, mixing well. Combine oats, flours, cinnamon, baking soda and salt in a separate mixing bowl. Add to butter mixture in several additions, mixing well after each addition. Stir in dried cranberries and white chips.

Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on wire rack.

07 January 2010

Pineapple Banana Birthday Loaf

Tuesday morning I got up with every intention of celebrating my children’s second birthday with pancakes or waffles or something else that falls in the extravagant category when compared to a handful of cereal and a cup of milk. Unfortunately, they woke up too early to let me get a head start and were ready for cereal before I was ready to sift flour so I decided then and there that I would create a recipe just for them incorporating things I know they love, bananas, pineapple and bread.

I make, shall I dare to say, too much quick bread around here, and I have a basic knowledge of what goes in them so I sat down and jotted down some ideas for a tropical themed bread and worked out a recipe to try. As I was putting the bread together I made a few changes as I saw the batter form and having now tried it I think I would make one more change but overall I thought this bread was a huge success. The children, who got to try it following their lunch, loved it. They each had two slices for lunch and then again for breakfast the next morning. By Thursday the two loaves the batter had made were all gone.

Pineapple Banana Birthday Loaf

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup Fat Free Buttermilk
3 eggs
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup applesauce
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup crushed pineapple
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1 cup coconut
4 bananas (very, very ripe and mashed)
1 overflowing cup of walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans generously.
2. Combine flours, soda, salt, cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Combine sugars, applesauce and oil using an electric mixer. Add eggs, buttermilk, vanilla, bananas, pineapple and juice.
4. Combine flour mixture with wet ingredients by hand. Add coconut and walnuts.
5. Pour into prepared loaf pans and bake 55-60 minutes rotating halfway through.

One thing I decided in making this bread was to mix applesauce and oil. Since having a baby four months ago I have been making small changes to my baking. Applesauce has been the biggest change and I implore you to give it a try in your next quick bread recipe. Sometimes I substitute all the oil for applesauce and other times just some of the oil. With this recipe I decided to add applesauce and oil to equal 1 1/3 cup. First I added this:

My applesauce of choice, Mott's No Sugar Added All Natural applesauce. I have this stuff stashed throughout my pantry. I added a little more than 2/3 applesauce and then poured oil in to equal 1 1/3 cups.
I then creamed the wet ingredients; Buttermilk, eggs, sugars, applesauce, oil, vanilla and my secret ingredient, pineapple juice and bananas with my electric mixer. In a separate bowl I combined the flours, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Not wanting to over mix I combined the wet and dry ingredients by hand. I have learned that a dense quick bread is the result of overmixing so I try and be very gentle with my breads.

Ah, yum, coconut. To think there was once a day when I refused the stuff.
This bread was made with a half a cup of crushed pinapple and a half a cup of pineapple juice. I think the next time I make this bread I will reduce the juice to a quarter of a cup. The flavor wasn't that strong and I think it would make for a little less moist of a bread.
I like to heavily grease my pans. I hate when things stick.
So with the oven preheated, the pans greased and the wet and dry ingredients combined I added the coconut and a lot (1 overflowing cup) of walnuts to the batter.I baked the loaves for 25 minutes and then rotated them and baked them for another 30 minutes. I cut into one of them right away (it was after lunch and wanted the children to be able to try it before nap) and I think this was a mistake. The second loaf wasn't cut until the next morning and it tasted not so moist and quite delicious. Needless to say both loaves were gone in two days.

05 January 2010

Nut and Grain Pancakes

I know this is a cookie blog but occasionally I want to try something new and it isn't going to fall into the cookie or bar genre but I am still going to want to share. Especially when that something new is absolutely delicious.

I don't do pancakes...usually. I am a waffle person. I can do waffles and I have them down to a science. But pancakes seem to baffle me. I am always making them too runny or too thick. They are either too done or runny or soft in the middle which makes me want to gag just a little. So I let my husband do pancakes and I do waffles.

That was until today. A few weeks ago after a 5k our family went to iHop and I choose pancakes when I usually go French Toast. The pancakes were Nut and Grain pancakes and they were so nutty and just wonderful. They had me wanting to go back to IHOP. Unfortunately, the service at the local IHOP is so bad that the pancakes weren't good enough to actually bring us back. But they did have me searching the internet for a recipe I could attempt here at home. I am proud to say that I found a few recipes I melded together and tried out this morning. They were possibly better than the IHOP because I got to eat them in my snowflake pajama pants and not even have to worry about how much to tip the waitress who we haven't seen since we ordered. I wasn't planning on posting them so I didn't take any photos, so you'll just have to take my word for it...they were pretty awesome.

So for tomorrow morning...

Nutty Pancakes.

3/4 cup Quaker oats (ground in food processor)
3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup fat free buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/4 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
6 tablespoons of ground walnuts and pecans

1. Heat griddle to medium high heat.
2. Combine ground oats, flour, soda, powder and salt.
3. In separate bowl combine buttermilk, oil, egg, cinnamon, vanilla, and sugar. Add flour mixture and nuts.
4. Pour 1/4 cup mix onto griddle and heat through on both sides.
5. Enjoy.

This made about 12 pancakes for me but depending on the size it could make more or less.

04 January 2010

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

Oatmeal cookies are by far my favorite type of cookie. Their flavor is so rich and full and they seem to turn out well almost always so let it be no surprise to find many a cookie containing Oatmeal on this blog. Another nice thing about an oatmeal cookie is that often times you have a simple dough that you can add any number of things to; chocolate chips, raisins, walnuts, coconut, craisins, pecans, white chips (notice I didn't say white chocolate as many grocery stores don't contain white chips that contain any cocoa in them), etc. etc. You can also add any number of spices to an oatmeal cookie. My absolute favorite oatmeal cookie is made all the better by a simple teaspoon or more of Cloves.

But I digress, yesterday I was in the mood for a warm your heart and soul simple oatmeal cookies but I wanted to try something new. I had searched high and low for Hershey's Cinnamon Chips this season to make a crumb cake with and having finally found the chips I set right about to forgetting to make the crumb cake. So here it is, January and I have several (read five) bags of Cinnamon chips on my hands. I decided to try the Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookie recipe right on the back of the bag and boy am I glad I did because not only do I love Oatmeal, I love cinnamon. A lot.

I mean I did buy five bags of the chips. I knew I could find a use for them crumb cake or not.

The only change I made was to swap Craisins for raisins as most of the people in my family can do without shriveled grapes. The dough was a little stiff but pretty easy to work with. The recipe made more than four dozen cookies.
Four dozen cookies yesterday...and only 11 left today. Yes, they were that good, especially right off the cookie sheet while the oatmeal was still very soft.
They didn't even need the traditional slice of bread stored with them to keep them soft, they are as soft today as you could expect from a cookie a day old.
So oatmeal and cinnamon is definitely a do. The craisins didn't add as much as I would have expected but perhaps I could have used more.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Cookies

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2-1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 1-2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) HERSHEY'S Cinnamon Chips
  • 3/4 cup craisins
1. Heat oven to 350°F.

2. Beat butter and sugars in a bowl until creamy. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Combine flour and baking soda; add to butter mixture, beating well. Stir in oats, cinnamon chips and craisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls unto ungreased cookie sheet.

3. Bake 9-10 minutes. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.

Makes approximately four dozen delicious cookies.
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