Recipe Testing – Strawberry Ginger Crisp

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Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

I am kind of obsessed with experimenting with whole wheat flour these days. Yesterday we made whole wheat belgian waffles with cardamom and today I made whole wheat banana chocolate chip muffins. Even though they still contain butter and sugar, something about the increased fiber makes me think I should reach for seconds… thirds… fourths? I’m not sharing how many I’ve eaten today but these will definitely stay in the rotation!

Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (adapted from King Arthur Flour)

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 cup mashed banana, about 2 medium or 1 1/2 large bananas
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup APF
  • 1 cup WWF
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts, pre-toasted in a 350°F oven for 8 minutes, if desired

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease 12 standard muffin cups.

2) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar till smooth.

3) Beat in the mashed banana, then the egg, flavorings, and milk.

4) Add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flours, stirring till smooth; if the mixture has a lot of lumps, beat at a higher speed until they’ve nearly disappeared.

5) Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts.

6) Heap the thick batter into the prepared muffin cups, mounding them quite full; a muffin scoop works well here. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

7) Bake the muffins for 20 to 23 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center of one of the middle muffins in the pan comes out clean.

8) Remove the muffins from the oven, and tilt them in the pan to cool a bit; this will prevent their bottoms from becoming soggy. As soon as you can safely handle them, transfer the muffins to a rack to cool completely.

Lemon Bliss Bundt Cake

I was asked to bring a light dessert to a friends house for dinner tonight. While two sticks of butter doesn’t exactly scream “light”, I’m hoping the fact that it’s not made of chocolate, peanut butter, or heavy cream will suffice. Since today is the first day of spring, I felt that a lemon cake (especially one entitled Lemon Bliss Cake) would be a perfect way to celebrate the brighter days ahead. Along with some fresh strawberries, this was indeed a sunny treat.
And yes, I’m still enamored with my bundt pan. Next time, I’ll take my friend Kai’s advice and freeze the cake for 1-2 hours, slice it horizontally, and then slather homemade lemon curd between the layers. Yum.

Lemon Cake (recipe courtesy of King Arthur Flour)

        • 1 cup unsalted butter
        • 2 cups sugar
        • 1 tsp salt
        • 4 large eggs
        • 2 tsp baking powder
        • 3 cups APF
        • 1 cup milk (I used 1%)
        • Finely grated rind of 2 lemons
        • 1 tsp lemon extract

Glaze

        • 1/3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
        • 3/4 cup sugar

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 10″ tube pan, or a 9″ to 10″, 9- to 10-cup capacity bundt-style pan.

2) Beat together the butter, sugar, and salt, first till combined, then till fluffy.

3) Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Add the baking powder, then add the flour alternately with the milk, starting and ending with the flour. Mix until smooth. Stir in the grated lemon rind or lemon oil.

5) Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.

6) Bake the cake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

7) While the cake is baking, make the glaze by stirring together the lemon juice and sugar. Set it aside.

8) Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack. After 5 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, and turn the cake out onto a rack. Place another rack on top, and flip it over, so it’s right-side-up.

9) Poke the hot cake all over with a cake tester or toothpick.

10) Stir the glaze to combine, and immediately brush it on the hot cake. Let it sink in, then brush on more glaze, continuing until all the glaze is used up.

11) Allow cake to cool before slicing.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Last week Heidi Swanson posted a delicious looking chocolate bundt cake on her blog made with some of my favorite ingredients: yogurt, cocoa powder, whole wheat flour, maple syrup, and Guinness. Since this cake was the closest I could get to having a beer, I decided to go for it. It was chocolatey and malty but not too sweet.

This was my first bundt cake – it was special because I used my mom’s old pan which has been sitting in my cupboard for years begging to be noticed. I think the retro orange is pretty awesome.

Chocolate Bundt Cake (courtesy of 101 Cookbooks)

  • 2 cups chocolate porter or stout beer
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
  • 3/4 cup natural cocoa powder (non-dutched)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups plain whole yogurt
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350F, with a rack in the center.

Butter and flour (generously) a 11 or 12-cup capacity bundt pan.

In a saucepan simmer the beer down to 1 cup – this took about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add the butter and stir until melted. Stir in the cocoa powder, mixing until smooth, then set aside to cool, stirring occasionally to let off heat.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, and maple syrup. Whisk well, until nicely blended and uniform in appearance. Gradually add the (cooled) stout mixture, stirring all the while. Stir until well blended. Add the flour mixture, folding until just blended, using as few strokes as possible.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 35 – 45 minutes if using the bundt pan, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. You really don’t want to over bake this cake – err on the slightly moist side if anything. Remove from the oven, and turn out onto a cooling rack after seven minutes.

If you can wait until it’s cooled to eat it, more power to you. We dug in immediately! Heidi used a frosting on her cake which I omitted. For the exact recipe, check out her blog here.

10-Grain Muffins

I was gearing up to make a batch of bran muffins this morning when I realized I only had  10-grain hot cereal mix instead of the wheat bran. Instead of just the bran, the mix contains red wheat, rye, oats, corn, barley, soy beans, brown rice, millet, and flaxseed. Happy wholesome ingredients yes, but I worried about the grains not absorbing enough liquid to soften up inside of the muffin. Now that I’ve eaten two of them, I can confidently claim that these are awesome – I actually prefer the crunchy texture inside.

Hearing great things about the La Brea Bakery in LA, I found a version of their bran muffins on David Lebovitz’s website. I didn’t have all of the right ingredients so I listed what I actually used below.

  • 2 cups 10-grain hot cereal mix
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1 cup, plus 1/2
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • a few swipes of fresh orange or lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
Recipe makes 12-18 depending on the size of your muffin tin.

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper or silicone liners.

2. Spread the wheat bran or hot cereal mix on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for six to eight minutes, stirring a few times so it cooks evenly. Let cool.

3. While the cereal is toasting, heat 1 cup of the raisins with 1/2 cup of the water. Simmer for ten minutes, or until the water is all absorbed. Puree the raisins in a food processor or blender until smooth.

4. In a large bowl, mix together the toasted cereal, buttermilk, 1 cup water, then mix in the raisin puree, zest, and brown sugar.

5. Stir in the oil, egg, egg white, and vanilla.

6. Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt, and sift directly into the wet ingredients. Stir until the ingredients are just combined, then mix in the remaining 1/2 cup raisins.

7. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins, making sure the batter is mounded slightly in each one. Because muffin tins can very in size, if your tins are larger, make fewer muffins.

8. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the muffins feel set in the center.

9. Let cool in muffin tins for 5 minutes and then carefully remove to cool on a rack.