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Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

Walnut Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins – adapted from Betty Crocker Cookbook (1950 edition)

This is from the “Sweeter Popular Muffins” recipe – the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup of milk but I found that the muffins are too dense for my taste so I always double the milk.

1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup sugar

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 cup soft shortening

1 egg

1 cup milk

1 cup blueberries (frozen, canned or fresh) – put an extra 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of flour aside.

Nut-Crunch Topping

Mix together 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/3 cup broken nuts (walnuts or pecans are excellent!), and 1/2 tsp. cinnamon. Make sure to break up any lumps.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix together with blending fork or pastry blender. Then stir JUST UNTIL ingredients are blended. Roll your blueberries into the sugar and flour you set aside. Carefully fold your blueberries into the rest of your mixture. Then should help keep your blueberries from bleeding purple juice into your muffins. Fill greased muffin cups 2/3 full. Sprinkle the Nut-Crunch Topping over the muffins.

Bake until golden brown, about 20-25 minutes. Makes about 12 muffins.

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I use frozen blueberries I get at one of the club stores and have a lot of broken blueberries, and I never know when I’m going to get a tart one I like to add some sugar onto them.

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Copycat Cookie Recipe: Walnut-Chocolate Chip

IMAG0577Gotta love the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chip cookie recipe (at least my Husband does) but I have a wondering eye. I like my cookies to be more fluffy as a “cookie” and chewy. I don’t like flat cookies (chips that are higher than the cookie part), greasy or salty.

The other night I was begging, whining and asking for some chocolate so my husband dropped the bag of chocolate chips in my lap. I rolled my eyes and went looking for my old standby from “Mrs. Fields” first cookie book. I checked the book out from the library so many years ago and never looked back. Can’t remember what page it’s on but it’s her (the one she gave for public release!) Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe. I actually like it better than the one from the store, which I found to be too salty

The key secret to her cookies are baking at the specified low temperature. It is the low temp and longer baking time that gets the cookie to the right consistency. You can chill the dough too which allows time to enhance the flavors.

Here is the recipe word for word, I encourage you to go to her website to snap some other suggestions for cookies too:

“Blue-Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. In a medium bowl combine flour, soda, and salt. Mix well with wire whisk. Set aside. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, blend sugars at medium speed. Add butter and mix to form a grainy paste, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add eggs and vanilla extract, and mix at medium speed until just blended. Do not overmix. Add the flour mixture and chocolate chips, and blend at low speed until just mixed. (Again, do not overmix.)

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Drop the dough by rounded tablespoons onto an un-greased cookie sheet, 2 inches apart. Bake low and slow for 18-22 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer cookies immediately to a baking rack or cool surface.”

I filled an entire cookie sheet of the recipe and added 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts to the remainder of the dough. I was craving some walnuts too, I guess. Mmm…don’t you love seeing morsels?

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What do you think? My Mom’s favorite mix-in are potato chips, not walnuts or chocolate (or even white chocolate) chips! I’ll post that recipe soon because it’s too good not to share.

 Link your fav chocolate chip cookie recipe in a comment.

Back of the Bag Recipe: Banana Bread

Do you ever notice on the back of packaging there are “suggested” ways to use the product? Every so often you get a real winner, while others you wonder why they bothered because they were so bad.

I was wondering what I could make that would be sweet, easy to make, and quick to bake. I was wanting muffins and my eyes lighted on the banana nut bread recipe on the back of the flour bag. Why not? A new recipe is always welcome, right?

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Banana Nut Bread (from ConAgra Mills, Bakers & Chefs division “enriched &  bleached All-Purpose H&R Flour)

1 3/4 Cups flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 Cup sugar

2 eggs

2/3 cup vegetable oil

3 Tbsp. milk

1 Cup (2 large) mashed bananas

1/2 Cup chopped nuts

Mix together flour, baking soda, salt, sugar. Blend in eggs, oil, and milk. Stir in banana and nuts. Pour batter into greased 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 X 2 1/2 inch pan. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.

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While I had 2 bananas on their way out I didn’t have any nuts except slivered almonds, which is what I used as a garnishment only on top. It didn’t taste too bad, it was still moist despite leaving it in the oven too long because I forgot to set the timer.

Cranberry-Orange-Almond Shortbread Wedges

This is such a great recipe! It’s a recipe I’ve adapted from the Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges the No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal (as in flour) Holiday Cookies & Candy issue (looks to be 2001?). To be honest I’ve never made the recipe as printed – I don’t keep crystallized ginger on hand, so I substituted orange flavoring and orange zest.

This is how I make Orange-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges:

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Photo Credit: Ginger-Cranberry Shortbread Wedges, No. 33 Issue of the Gold Medal Holiday Cookies & Candy issue

2/3 Cup butter, softened (it’s almost 11 tablespoons, by the way)

1/3 Cup powdered sugar

2 Tablespoons orange zest

1 Tablespoon orange flavor

1 1/3 Cups all purpose flour

1/2 Cup dried cranberries, rehydrated

1/4 Cup almond slivers

Topping:

2 teaspoon sugar (this is to sprinkle on top)

1 Tablespoon orange zest

Photo11691. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Make sure you have enough ingredients.

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This is how I soften butter in winter…

Mix butter, powdered sugar, orange zest and the orange flavor in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Try to remove as much liquid from the cranberries and coat them with some of the flour so they don’t bleed as much into the dough. Stir in flour, almond slivers and cranberries. It should be like cookie dough, not too sticky. Flour your hands for the next step to make it easier to shape.

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2. Shape and pat dough into 9-inch circle on ungreased cookie sheet. Sprinkle with the sugar and zest. It should remind you of a small wheel of cheese Smile If you don’t feel that talented, just make shape into a square or rectangle.

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3. Bake about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 10 minutes on cookie sheet on wire rack. Cut into wedges as thick as you like.

Notes from Wyoming: I really love a versatile recipe that doesn’t flop with additions or substitutions. I share those the most because they are flexible enough not to frustrate a once-in-a-while baker who tends to have oops moments and can challenge an experienced baker who likes to use exotic or amazing quality ingredients.

If you’d like to try the original recipe which calls for 3 T finely chopped crystallized ginger, leave out the orange flavoring and zest. It also uses dried cranberries as opposed to the juicy cranberries I used.

Another substitution I’d like to make in a future recipe is to swap the cranberries for lychee (lee-chee) a popular Chinese fruit. If you can believe it I saw it as a “snack” on Ni Hao, Kai-lan at Lulu’s sky house but has been offered in the buffet at my favorite Chinese food place. It is spelled many different ways but it looks like a white cherry with a texture/meat like a pear, and tastes like a blending of several different fruit’s flavors (banana, cherry, pear, maybe mango?). You would not use dried (quite bitter tasting), but fresh as the substitution since the canned version are very juicy from being packed in liquid.

Mid-baking I realized that I’d forgotten the almonds, they did taste good sprinkled! Oh well, here’s the photo:

Photo credit: wyomingstorygirl

If you “Try It Out” let me know if you went with the “Original”, “Wyoming’s” or “My Own” (let’s hear your changes.)

I’m linking at 

Barn-Hop

Apple & Cheddar Muffets from “Julia’s Child” by Sarah Pinneo

I just read a book as part of my 2012 Reading Challenge (read more about my review of the book) about a mompreneur trying to have it all in Julia’s Child. I decided to make this delicious sounding muffin coined a “Muffet” by the authors character Julia Bailey. In the book Julia Bailey runs an organic toddler meals and backed goods business from Brooklyn, N.Y. called Julia’s Child. I’m kinda jealous that The Book Fetish got to review her book and interview her! The author Sarah Pinneo is on tour in New England currently.

Here is the recipe I”m making for breakfast and I’ll update with the pictures as soon as possible. HERE ARE THE PHOTOS!!! YUM

Apple & Cheddar Muffets

Ingredients

1 very large apple or 2 small ones

2 tablespoons butter

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 egg lightly beaten

1/3 cup whole milk

1 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups grated cheddar, divided

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Generously grease and flour 12 muffin cups.

Peel and core the apples and dice finely.  If your toddler is helping, peel and slice an extra one to share. If you play your cards right, he or she will be busy eating the apple slices while you’re measuring out the dry ingredients.

In a small skillet, melt the butter and sauté the apple until tender and just beginning to brown, about 7 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat and set aside to cool.

All the dry ingredients

The wet ingredients & cheese

Wet meets dry ingredients

Meanwhile, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, sour cream, and 1 cup of the cheese. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients; then add the apples and butter.  Stir just to combine.

  MMMM…cheeese

Spoon into the prepared tin, and top with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until very brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffets comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes on a rack. Loosen muffets by ringing their edges with a plastic knife. Turn them gently out onto a plate. Serve warm or room temperature.

Check out some tasty recipes this weekend at “bethfishreads”!

http://asouthernfairytale.com/

I'm Lovin' It at TidyMomfingerprints on the fridge

Saved: Red Velvet Massacre

Yesterday, I made The Pioneer Woman’s red velvet cake as cupcakes and my baking powder was flat – so were my cupcakes! It wasn’t her recipe, it was my ingredients but I needed an alternative for Big Boy’s cupcakes FAST. I searched for a recipe without baking powder to save me a trip to the store if possible today until later. Wow – now I understand the importance of “tags” in a post!!!!

Honestly? I could cry. I am hopelessly depressed when a recipe goes wrong. Do you feel the same way too? I was so depressed I let my son tear the things (which tasted horrible, by the way) out of the muffin pan and let the dog “clean” them up.

I came across White Whimsy who posted the recipe she uses for Red Velvet Cupcakes: (here is the recipe copied from her blog), if you try them please go to her page, leave a comment [I suggest, ‘thank you’], and follow her.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
2 T. red food coloring
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease 24 muffin tin cups or fit the cups with paper liners. (Wyomingstorygirl says: grease the paper liners because I hate cupcakes/muffins that stick!)

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In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Beat in eggs.  In a small bowl, make a paste of cocoa powder and food coloring; blend into creamed mixture.  In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt; add to creamed mixture and mix well.  Beat in buttermilk, vanilla and water. (Wyomingstorygirl says I didn’t have buttermilk so I put 1 Tablespoon into just under 1 cup of milk – sours it perfectly if you let it sit for a few minutes. Also, I didn’t have apple cider vinegar, so I used regular vinegar) In a small bowl, combine vinegar and baking soda; fold vinegar mixture into cake batter just until blended. Spoon batter evenly into the muffin cups.

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Bake the cupcakes for 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Let the pans cool on  a rack for 10 minutes before removing cupcakes from pans to cool completely.

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Meanwhile, prepare the frosting.  Beat together frosting (recipe follows) until smooth and creamy.  Spread frosting on cupcakes.  Serve promptly or refrigerate.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 (8oz.) pkg. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. clear vanilla extract

I’ll have to update with frosting after they’ve cooled. I’m going to keep it simple with a toothpick decoration of a tiny heart and white frosting not quite as fancy as White Whimsy’s. I’m typing one handed so that I can enjoy a cool, unfrosted one right now.

 Smile YUM…because really I want to be that mom that everyone asks “what did she bring?” in anticipation…not fear!

I'm #356

Hop #49 and I’m #177
fingerprints on the fridgeI’m #437!

An Oldie But Goodie Cookie: Ethel’s Sugar Cookies

IMAG0360One of my all-time favorite, reliable sugar cookie recipes is from Betty Crocker. (See photo on your right to try the recipe!) It’s the go-to sugar cookie my Mother used when I was a child to make rolled out sugar cookies. It’s the recipe I made for Big Boy’s preschool class Valentine’s Day party. I decorated them like flowers since I couldn’t find a heart cookie cutter.

This recipe is older than I am, hence the modifications to the recipe in my Mom’s handwriting! I like to work with room temp butter and lard (formerly I used shortening for a balance of crispy and soft cookie. I use Watkins’s vanilla flavoring and put the salt and baking powder in before the flour. At sea level I didn’t have to adjust the amount of flour I used by about 1/2 cup more plus the flour used when rolling it out, but I have had a lot of mixed results at high altitude with spreading (the butter/lard mixture) even when I’ve chilled the dough. It doesn’t end up tasting too floury for me. They are good plain or decorated!

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Making cookies was a special activity my Mom shared with me, and we baked cookies at least once a week. I have tons of wonderful memories of us baking and using this recipe. She grouped similar or holiday cutters she put in colorful bags we’d get at Hallmark when we bought stationary items. Orange for Halloween and Thanksgiving, Red for Christmas, Pink for Valentine’s Day, Green for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. After Thanksgiving passed, we’d begin baking, almost spending 2 weeks straight making batch after batch of cookies for Christmas plates we’d give to neighbors, friends and family. Some of our cookie cutters were handmade and were from the 1920s, there is even one she made in shop class in high school! Baking was a special thing for us and I miss that with her. Baking and cooking is an activity I love sharing with my Big Boy and Baby. I hope my children remember our baking times as fondly as I do with my own Mom.

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Do you have special memories with a loved one baking or cooking?

Do you have a favorite recipe used in that special time together?

Here are some more of the decorated ones …

Flower power!

using homemade frosting for "sandwiches"

I’m linking to some great Valentine’s treats & ideas this week! Seriously, wow – how may Red Velvet recipes are there? All yummy!

I’m #30
I’m #359!
In Hop 49 I’m #118
fingerprints on the fridgeI’m #438!
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