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Archive for the ‘muffins’ Category

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Last summer, we ate the most delicious cupcakes at Volunteer Park Cafe. I was faced with the dilemma that always plagues me when going out for brunch- do I choose savory or do I choose sweet? Do you also have the same problem? It seems to be the only meal when I crave both taste dimensions and have a hard time being satisfied by only one. To make both sets of taste buds happy, I picked a savory main course and opted for a little sweet treat to share with the table, yet, admittedly, I ended up eating most of it!

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The cake was not too sweet, almost more muffin-like than cake-like, and it was spiked with bacon crumbles! The frosting tasted like a creamy mixture of butter and syrup. Yum…it was really good! And, I’ve been craving it since, which is why it was the first thing to pop into my head when deciding on what to bring to a baby shower brunch ages weekends ago. I always love an excuse to be indulgent and, honestly, I will take any reason to eat bacon!

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The version I made at home was not as good as the ones at Volunteer Park Cafe, but that’s not to say they were not absolutely tasty! Mine certainly tasted even more muffin-like as the batter was not sweet at all- I simply used a homemade pancake batter and poured it in a muffin tin. The buttercream frosting was spiked with maple syrup and vanilla and was really sweet, yet a perfect accompaniment to the pancake muffins and the salty bacon.

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Next time, I think I will crumble some bacon right into the pancake batter before filling the muffin cups. Yum!

Pancake Muffins with Maple Buttercream Frosting and Bacon
adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

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INGREDIENTS:
For the Cupcakes:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups whole milk
2 eggs
1 ounce (2 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

For the Frosting and Topping:
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups powdered sugar
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 slices of bacon, cooked, cooled and broken into 1-inch pieces

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray the cups of a muffin tin with non-stick spray or olive oil.

2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl; set aside. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the milk and eggs, then stir in the melted and cooled butter. Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together until just moistened and combined. Remember it’s like making pancakes, so lumps are okay! Divide the batter between the muffin cups and bake until puffed and firm to the touch, about 10 minutes. Let cool for about 5 minutes and then remove cupcakes to a wire rack to cool completely. It’s important not to overcook the muffins or they will be too dense and lose the fluffy pancake quality.

3. To make the frosting, use the whisk attachment of a stand mixer to whip the butter on medium-high speed for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the powdered sugar a little at a time, waiting until it’s mostly incorporated before adding more. Once all of the powdered sugar has been added, scrape the sides of the bowl and increase the speed to medium-high and whip until fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the maple syrup and the vanilla and whip for another minute or so to incorporate. Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting on the cupcakes. Top with the bacon pieces.

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Before I jump into new posts with new photos and new recipes for 2012, I thought it’d be fun to look back through my food photos from 2011. I have to admit, I got better and better at shooting my food as the year went on. Perhaps I’m getting better with my camera. Or, maybe I’m more comfortable staging the shot. Or, perhaps the lighting is better in our Seattle home.
I’m not sure what it is exactly, but I do know I still have a lot to learn. I’m inspired every day by photos from other bloggers and I have my goals set high for 2012. I think I’m saying goodbye for good to the weekly menu…it’s way too time consuming and I think the pressure of a daily food post was robbing me of my creativity a bit. So, I plan to devote more time to the recipe development and, especially, more time to quality photos this year. I have big plans for my blog and hope you continue to join me on this fun, creative journey.

My favorite food photos from 2011, with a link to their recipe:

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Winter Farm-Fresh Stir Fry

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Grilled Peanut Butter and Jelly

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Grilled Salmon with Fennel and Lemon

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Ruby Red Grapefruit Sour Cream Pancake

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Blueberry Ginger Mojito

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Blueberry Whole Grain Buttermilk Pancakes

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Grilled Naan Pizza

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Vegetable Ratatouille

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Watermelon and Mint Skewers

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Slow Cooked Pinto Beans

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Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Salad

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Pumpkin Muffins

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Slow Cooked Lentils

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Pea Pesto Pasta

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Blackened Catfish

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Pumpkin Muffins

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What better way to welcome fall than with the taste of pumpkin? These pumpkin muffins are the next sure addition to my muffin making/baking line-up. They make for a scrumptious early morning breakfast and are super easy to make…both good things. And, the crunchy top created from the cinnamon and sugar topping…oh. my. Spread a little mascarpone cheese on for good measure, or not, either way you will have an autumn-flavored breakfast delight awaiting you!

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I expect muffin making to dirty a max of two bowls, to be hand mixed, and to be completed in less than 8 steps. This recipe met all of that. For me, making muffins is a way to have a little homemade added to our every day, not so I can master the art of complicated baking. I’ll save that for birthday cakes…

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Pumpkin Muffins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a 12-cup muffin tin (I don’t believe in using paper muffin/cupcake liners because of the waste and the way it slows down the muffin/cupcake eating! Just be sure to oil well.).

Using a wire whisk, whisk together 1 cup of canned pumpkin (the unsweetened one, not the pie filling), 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 2 large eggs, 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1 1/4 cups sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl until smooth. In a separate bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour with 1 teaspoon baking powder. The, whisk flour mixture into wet ingredients until just combined.

Stir together 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of sugar in another bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups, then sprinkle tops with the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Bake until puffed and golden brown and wooden pick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.

Cool in the muffin tin on a wire rack for five minutes, then transfer muffins from tin to rack and cool to warm or room temperature.

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Banana muffins

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I adore banana bread. Perhaps the same amount that I adore granola (click the link for a great granola recipe, but also for a sneak peak at my life pre-Jack…wow! What a busy, yet relaxing day I had in August of 2009, 2 1/2 moths before Jack’s birth day…now I fit all those “me time” things into nap time blocks and post-Jack bedtime. Makes for busy days, but a happy mama! I don’t know how to function without time for cooking, reading, and exercise.).

While I’m on the topic of granola (which I only sort of am)…I so wish I could share the recipe for Blue Bottle’s granola with you! I did some recipe testing for their new cookbook and, of course, their granola is one of the recipes I chose to test. Oh. My. Goodness. So. Good! I’ve been sworn to secrecy, but if you visit, I promise to serve it for breakfast with lots of fruit and plain yogurt. My parents said it looked like a bed and breakfast spread! Here’s a look (please forgive my terrible morning lack of light creating a yellow picture), just come try it:20110922-020942.jpg

Another “to-do” that my parents and I didn’t get to during their visit was making banana bread. I love my mom’s version and have been craving it for weeks! Inspired by Deb at Smitten Kitchen (not an infrequent thing), I decided to quench my craving by adapting her adapted recipe to try my hand at banana muffins. Little did I know that this would launch my weekly baking obsession…but, I’m so thankful it did. Having these muffins to pull out and warm in the early morning hours for a tasty, quick breakfast was so nice…I’m excited to find lots of new baked goods to try!

(Jacked Up) Banana Muffins:

Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a wooden spoon, mix 1/3 cup melted salted butter with 3 medium to large sized mashed bananas in a large mixing bowl. Stir in 3/4 cup brown sugar, 1 beaten egg, 1 teaspoon vanilla, and 1 tablespoon bourbon (I used Jack Daniel’s), then stir in 1 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt over the mixture and stir in. Last, add 1 1/2 cups of flour and stir. Spoon mixture evenly into an oiled 12 cup muffin tin. Bake for 40 minutes, or until browned. Remove from muffin tin, eat one, and then store the rest in an air-tight container.

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