Category Archives: brown sugar

Chocolate Banana Streusel Muffins

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Maybe it is just me but in my kitchen bananas seem to go from inedible green to perfectly golden yellow then to brown in a matter of days. This leads to the never ending kitchen question is what to do with bananas that are beyond their eating prime. So what is a banana loving cook to do? Enter these tasty banana muffins from Food 52.

Now these aren’t your ordinary banana muffins. Using overly ripe bananas ensures that the muffins are sweet and filled with banana flavor. The batter is then spiced with both cinnamon and ginger but the best part of the muffin, in my opinion, is the streusel topping. Not only does it add a delicious crumbling topping to the muffin but it contains chocolate chips which add a sweetness all their own. So yes you can eat chocolate for breakfast. After all it is paired with bananas.

For the muffins:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar

egg

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

cup mashed very ripe banana (about 2 medium bananas)

cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 

 

For the streusel:
1/2 cup flour

1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips 

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. Line a muffin pan with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
  • Stir in the egg, vanilla, and banana and mix well to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking soda, and ginger.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix just until combined.
  • Divide the batter into the prepared muffin tins.
  • In a small bowl, combine all the streusel ingredients except for the chocolate, mixing with a fork or your fingers until combined.
  • Add the chocolate and mix well.
  • Crumble the streusel topping over the muffins.
  • Bake for 18 to 25 minutes. The tops should feel just set and the edges of the muffin should be starting to turn golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan until cool enough to remove.

Yields 9 muffins

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Carrot Tahini Muffins

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I have a carrot fan in my house. Ever since his teeth came in, my son has been obsessed with carrots. We visited Rome, Italy when he was just over a year old and tried to introduce him to McDonald’s french fries. Much to my husband’s display the fry was discarded in favor of a carrot. A year later on an epic road trip he ate so many carrots that crunching became the soundtrack for our trip and I began to see an orange tinge on his skin. (Maybe it was my imagination but given the amount of carrots he consumed I’m not so sure). At school he is known as the kid who loves carrots and will opt for the crunchy orange vegetable over a sweet treat any day. And carrots have become a staple on my weekly trip to the market; not having them in the house can cause chaos to ensue. But really, I’m not complaining because what mom doesn’t want her children to like healthy foods.

So in my quest to keep things fresh on the carrot front I’m always on the lookout for new recipes that include this favored vegetable. So when I came across this SmittenKitchen recipe for carrot muffins, I knew I had to give them a shot. I loved the fact that they aren’t filled with a lot of sugar and butter, instead relying on olive oil, buttermilk and a tahini for their moistness and flavor. Yes, tahini; the sesame paste most often associated with hummus and other Middle Eastern treats. Plus the afore mentioned carrots.

And the results? Absolutely delicious. They were a hit in my house and will be making regular appearances on my breakfast menus.

CARROT TAHINI MUFFINS
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup tahini
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup packed coarsely grated carrots

Sesame seeds, for garnish

  • Heat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Whisk the olive oil, tahini and brown sugar together in the bottom of a large bowl.
  • Whisk in the eggs, then the buttermilk and vanilla.
  • Whisk in baking powder, baking soda and salt, then switch to a spoon or flexible spatula and stir in flour, then carrots, mixing just until combined.
  • Coat a standard sized 12-cup muffin tin  with a nonstick spray.
  • Fill each about 3/4 of the way with batter then sprinkle the tops with sesame seeds.
  • Bake muffins for 14 to 16 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center of each comes out batter-free.
  • Let them cool in pan for 5 minutes on a rack before transferring them to the cooling rack to cool completely.

Yields: 12 muffins

Cinnamon Buns w/ Cream Cheese Icing

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There’s nothing like waking up to a house filled with the aroma of warm cinnamon. Well, it isn’t a scent this cook wakes up to herself but her family does. And then I get to enjoy it alongside my lucky family. If you love cinnamon, and specifically cinnamon buns, then this recipe from King Arthur Flour is for you. It is rich, spicy and with a smear of cream cheese icing on top, decadent but the perfect weekend morning treat.

If you have night owl tendencies the way I do, even with the two separate dough risings, you can have these warm buns on the table by the time the rest of the family wakes up. Some mornings I do this but on others I prepare the rolls to the point of the second rising the night before. I then cover the buns and let them rise overnight before popping them in the oven in the morning. I also let the icing ingredients set out too; this ensures that they are soft and ready to go when the buns are. So however or whenever you prepare them, enjoy. They are just so yummy.

 

For the dough:
1 cup lukewarm milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast

For the filling:
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, packed
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon

For the icing:
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1/4 cup  unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer combine combine the milk, eggs, butter, flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Use a wooden spoon and stir until the mixture becomes cohesive. 
  • Using a dough hook, mix for 4 to 7 minutes at medium speed until the dough is well combined and smooth. 
  • Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turn to grease all sides, cover the bowl with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let it rise for 60 minutes, till it’s nearly doubled in bulk.
  • Transfer the dough to a lightly greased work surface, and roll it into a 16 x 21-inch rectangle.
  • Spread the dough with the 1/3 cup butter.
  • Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl then sprinkle it evenly over the dough.
  • Starting with a short end, roll the dough into a log, and cut it into 12 slices.
  • Place the buns in a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan or two 9 inch round pans.
  • Cover the pan with a proof cover or plastic wrap, and let the buns rise until they’re nearly doubled, about 30 minutes.
  • Bake the buns in a preheated 400°F oven until they’re golden brown, about 15 minutes. While the buns are baking, make the icing.
  • To make the icing: In a small bowl, beat together the cream cheese, butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Spread the icing on the buns while they’re warm. 

Yields: 12 large buns

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Twenty-Five Days of Cookies: Maple Pecan Shortbread Cookies

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Christmas is just seven days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

For me, nothing is more New England than real maple syrup so when I’m longing for home this holiday season, this is one of my go-to recipes. The recipe is adapted from Cuisine At Home and brings together the rich buttery flavor of shortbread with toasty pecans and of course, maple syrup. With its sweet and nut filled filling, these bars are reminiscent of a maple flavored pecan pie. If you prefer and it is readily available, feel free to substitute maple sugar for either or both of the brown sugars. You can also use toasted walnuts instead of pecans. Regardless of which nut or sugar you use, be sure to use real maple syrup in the filling. Anything else is simply not acceptable. So bake up a batch of these tasty bars today and celebrate the start of a new season.

MAPLE PECAN SHORTBREAD BARS

For the crust:

12 sticks unsalted butter plus more for the pan, at room temperature

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the filling:

1 cup pure maple syrup

2/3 cup packed brown sugar

2 eggs, lightly beaten

2 tablespoons bourbon

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Lightly coat an 8 inch square baking pan with softened butter; line the pan with parchment paper then coat the pan, sides and parchment paper with non-stick cooking spray. Dust the pan with flour, shake out the excess then set aside.
  • To make the crust, using an electric mixer, cream the butter with the sugar in a medium sized bowl.
  • Add the flour and salt and mix until completely incorporated.
  • Press the dough into the prepared pan making sure the crust reaches the corners.
  • Chill the pan in the refrigerator for 1/2 an hour.
  • Bake the crust until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.
  • To make the filling, using an electric mixer, beat the syrup, sugar, eggs, bourbon, vanilla and salt in a medium sized bowl until frothy.
  • Stir in the nuts until combined.
  • Pour the filling over the crust and bake until brown and set, 35-40 minutes.
  • Transfer the pan to a rack and let cool for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edges and corners of the pan to loosen the bars.
  • Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Yields: 9 bars

Twenty Five Days of Cookies: Dark Brown Sugar Coconut Oil Cookies

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Christmas is just eight days (gulp) away and what better way is there to countdown to the big event than to feature a cookie recipe each day? Think of it as a cookie recipe advent calendar. And to fill that advent calendar I’m featuring twenty five of my favorite holiday cookie recipes that are sure to fill your holidays with cheer. Bake them to fill your cookie trays, bring them to a cookie swap or eat them yourself; they are guaranteed to bring about holiday joy. And if you love baking as much as I do, making them is a fun filled gift unto itself. Enjoy!

Coconut oil seems to be everywhere these days. From beauty products to elixirs that will solve all of your health woes, coconut oil is one of the latest health trends. My own cabinets are filled with health and beauty products whose main ingredient is coconut oil and I’ve eaten my share of baked goods that contain it as well. . But until recently, I’ve never actually cooked with the oil itself. I decided to take the plunge with these super easy and tasty cookies from the Averie Cooks website.

I read quite a bit about the different forms of coconut oil then studied the shelves in my local grocery store before taking the plunge and buying my first jar. Because I was going to be using the oil in baked goods, I was most concerned about its consistency since it was taking the place of butter. I finally settled on a jar from The International Collection oil company since at least in the jar it looked solid enough for baking. And it was. Although a bit softer than room temperature butter, the oil creamed together nicely with the brown sugar the same way a butter or vegetable shortening does. (Here’s a hint: if your coconut oil is too soft and runny, simply refrigerate it for a few minutes until it begins to harden to your desired consistency).

Because coconut oil does have a soft consistency, the cookie dough does need to be refrigerated for at least two hours, or up to several days, after the cookies are formed before they can be baked. If you don’t do this, the cookies will spread too much.

And the verdict? Well, with copious amounts of rich dark brown sugar, these cookies have a hint of vanilla and coconut flavor the aforementioned oil, so they are just as good as they promise. So go ahead and bake up a batch–or two since they are so good–today.

DARK BROWN SUGAR COCONUT OIL COOKIES

1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsulphered mild to medium molasses
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

  • In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the coconut oil, egg, brown sugar and beat on medium-high speed to cream until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
  • Scrape down the sides of the bowl then add the vanilla and molasses, beating just to incorporate, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Add in the flour, corn starch, baking soda and salt,  mixing until just combined.
  • Using a medium cookie scoop, form mounds that are 2 heaping tablespoons in size.
  • Place dough mounds on a large plate, and slightly flatten each mound.
  • Cover with plastic wrap  and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place the dough on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until tops have just set, even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center. They will firm up as they cool.
  • Allow the cookies to sit for 15 minutes before moving them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Yields: 15 cookies

Baked Oatmeal

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Mornings are hectic in our household. Between waking up and getting out of the house on time on the first try with everything we need for the day, eating breakfast is often a secondary thought. But eating a good breakfast is important so I am always on the look out for easy and healthy alternatives to our usual standby of cold cereal. My family doesn’t eat eggs and reheated muffins or waffles work if we have leftovers from the previous weekend. In my quest for finding something that would work I came across this baked oatmeal recipe comes from The Yankee Kitchen Ninja. And it turns out that this recipe is a family wide hit.

The oatmeal is softer than a cookie but more solid than a bowl of cooked oats. Eating it with a spoon is recommended but I’ve also included it in lunch bags as a snack where it is eaten with your fingers. I used golden raisins and dried cranberries as my dried fruit of choice but the options are only as limited as your imagination. And best of all this recipe is super easy and fast to make. Meaning you can whip up a batch in no time at all (you could even make it first thing in the morning and have it on the table for breakfast if you are an early riser). So here’s to the most important meal of the day……….

Baked Oatmeal

2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup golden raisins

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 cup milk

3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Combine the oats, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.
  • Stir in the raisins and cranberries.
  • In separate bowl, whisk together the milk, yogurt, egg and vanilla.
  • Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir thoroughly.
  • Pour the contents into a lightly greased 9 x 9 baking pan.
  • Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and firm.

Serves: 9

Brown Sugar Banana Crepes

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Our trip to Paris this past spring inspired me to perfect my crepe making skills. These simple thin pancakes are just as likely to be sold in upscale restaurants and neighborhood cafes as they are from street vendors.  They can be sweet or savory, plain or filled with meats, cheeses, jams, chocolate or fruit.  I like to think of a crepe as a blank slate on which to build a masterpiece.

Making a proper crepe takes some practice and patience.  Pour too much batter into the pan and you end up with a thick and gloppy mess.  Too little and the edges are too crisp and they are too fragile to flip without breaking them.  A heaping gravy ladle is usually the right amount of batter to fill a 6 inch crepe pan.  I pour the batter into the center of the pan then using circular motions to distribute the batter evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Work quickly though since the batter begins to set immediately.  Use the pan itself to turn the crepes over using a flipping motion.  A spatula or a pair of tongs are unnecessary and only cause the crepes to tear.  Take some time to practice your technique and soon you will be flipping crepes like a pro.

This recipe makes a lot of crepes so feel free to cut it in half.  The first one or two crepes of each batch are usually “throw away” ones for me as I adjust the heat and perfect my technique to plan accordingly.

BROWN SUGAR BANANA CREPES

For the crepes:

1 cup cold water

1 cup milk

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

  • Place all of the ingredients in a blender and puree for 1 minutes.  Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a large deep bowl and use a stick blender to puree for 1 minute.
  • Cover and allow to sit for at least two hours or overnight.
  • When you are ready to cook the crepes, pre-heat a 6″ crepe pan over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes.  When the pan is hot, lightly spray it with cooking spray.
  • Lift the pan off of the direct heat.  Using a small ladle (a gravy ladle is perfect) place a heaping spoonful of batter in the center of the pan and swirl to evenly coat the bottom of the pan.
  • Return the pan to the stove and cook for 2-3 minutes or until the edges of the crepe begin to curl and small bubbles form on the top of the crepe.
  • Lift the pan off of the heat again and give the pan a firm shake to release the crepe. If it sticks return the pan to the heat again for a few more seconds.
  • Gently flip the crepe with the shake of your wrist.  Return the pan to the heat and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Turn the pan upside down over a plate to remove the crepe and repeat the process until all of the batter has been used.

Yields 25-30 6 inch crepes (you will have plenty left over)

For the banana filling

2 ripe but firm bananas (the skin should have some brown spots but be mostly yellow)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

3 tablespoons light brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • Cut the bananas in thirds then slice lengthwise.  You should get 9 banana slices out of each banana.  Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.  Once the butter has melted, add the bananas and saute for 2 minutes per side.
  • In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  Sprinkle over the top of the banana-butter mixture and gently stir to combine. Saute for an additional 1 minute.
  • To assemble the crepes, place a crepe on a plate.  Spoon 2-3 banana pieces onto the center of the crepe and fold in the top and bottom.  Gently turn the crepe over so the seam is facing the plate.  Repeat the process with each crepe.
  • Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Serves 4

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