Sunday, March 30, 2014

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins

I really don't need a reason to make muffins but it is always nice to have someone to share them with. We had a church brunch. I knew there would be children present so I opted for a mini muffin. Dorie has a great lemon poppy seed muffin recipe in her book Baking, From My Home To Yours. I made a few minor changes. I added more lemon flavor and replaced some of the sour cream with non-fat Greek Yogurt. I made minis and I replaced the 'drizzle' with a frosting. I had one yummy muffin. I think you will like it!

Mini Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
2/3 cup sugar
zest of one large lemon
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
juice from 1 large lemon
1 stick butter, melted and cooled
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons butter or cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon lemon zest
fresh lemon juice--to desired consistency

In a large bowl rub the sugar and lemon zest together with your fingertips. This will smell wonderful! Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl whisk together the sour cream (or Greek yogurt), eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and melted butter. Pour the liquid ingredients over the dry ingredients and, with a rubber spatula gently but quickly stir to blend. When mixing muffins a few lumps are better than over mixing. Add poppy seeds.
Scoop muffin in tins that have been sprayed with Pam. This recipe makes 12 regular size muffins or about 42 mini muffins. I use a large Pampered Chef Scoop for the large muffins and a small Pampered Chef Scoop for mini muffins. Bake muffins at 375. Regular muffins take about 18-20 minutes, mini muffins are done in 11-12 minutes.
Cool muffins and drizzle with frosting. To make frosting mix powdered sugar, butter and lemon zest. Add lemon juice till it reaches desired consistency.
Printable Recipe

Friday, March 14, 2014

Key Lime Tarts for Pi Day

Pi Day
How about a mini pie for Pi Day! These little gems are packed full of flavor. Key Limes are fun if you can find them--if not regular lime juice/zest will work. 
My sweet neighbor Kristi is a great cook and surprised me with these yummy little tarts. They are easy to make and taste delicious. Try them! Kristi found the recipe on All Recipes.

Key Lime Tarts for Pi Day
6 mini graham cracker crusts
1 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup freshly squeezed Key Lime juice
1 tablespoon Key Lime zest
whipped cream for garnish
Put graham cracker crusts on a baking sheet. Heat oven to 350. Mix together sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, lime juice and zest. Pour into crusts. Bake for 8 minutes. Let cool and top with whipped cream.
Printable Recipe

Monday, March 10, 2014

Coffee Cake Muffins

Muffins are always a great way to start ones day. These muffins really do taste like Coffee Cake--only they are easier to serve/share. The recipe comes from America's Test Kitchen Quick Family Cook Book. I trust ATK and they didn't let me down. These muffins come together quickly thanks to my kitchen workhorse-- The Food Processor. I think they will become a family favorite.

Coffee Cake Muffins
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar (3.5 ounces)
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons chilled butter--cut into 1 inch pieces
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream--I used Greek Yogurt
1/4 cup toasted pecans
Pulse granulated sugar, 1/2 cup flour and 1/4 cup dark brown sugar in food processor until combined--about 5 pulses. Transfer 3/4 cup mixture into a bowl for streusel, leave remaining mixture in processor bowl. Add cinnamon and remaining 1/4 cup dark brown sugar to the bowl of streusel, whisk together and set aside.
Add remaining 1 cup flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to mixture in bowl of food processor. Pulse until combined, about 5 times. Scatter butter evenly over mixture in food processor. Pulse until mixture breaks down into small pebbly pieces about 10 pulses. Add eggs and sour cream or yogurt; pulse about 8 times until mixture is well combined and thick
Heat oven to 350. Spray muffin tins with Pam. Portion a generous tablespoon of batter in the bottom of each muffin cup. Then top each muffin with 1 1/2 tablespoons of streusel and 1 teaspoon of chopped toasted pecans. Spoon remaining batter evenly into cups. Bake until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center of muffin comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Rotate pan halfway through baking.
Let muffins cool slightly before removing from pan. When cool drizzle with Quick Glaze.
 Quick Glaze
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
pinch salt
1-2 tablespoons cream
Mix sugar, vanilla and salt together. Gradually add cream it get the right drizzle!
Muffins a good slightly warm but they we the best after about 2 hours. Gives the streusel time to set up. This was one yummy muffin. Thanks ATK!!
Printable recipe

Friday, March 7, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Craft

My sweet neighbor gal knocked on my door--apron in hand wanting to know if we could bake today. Emma likes making cookies as much as I do. I was ready with a fun food project that is easy and tasty. Kids can do more than just watch--Emma was happy to separate mini M&M's, dip Oreo's, decorate and clean up. This project takes under an hour--it is fun for the entire family.

 Supplies needed:
Oreo Cookies--we chose Mint because we were going with a green theme, you really could dip any cookie or pretzel. How about dipping Thin Mints--yummy.
White, Milk Chocolate or Semi Sweet Melting Discs--purchase at craft stores, Winco or my favorite, Gygi's
Sprinkles--green for St. Patrick's Day
Mini M&M's--we picked out the green ones
Edible Eyes--purchased at Gygi's
Melt chocolate discs in the microwave. Dip Oreo a little over half way. Put on parchment lined sheet. Decorate dipped cookies as desired. We had a great time--you can too. This activity can be adapted to any holiday or season. Sprinkles are inexpensive and come in a variety of designs. Have a package of Oreo Cookies in the storage room and you are ready for a quick activity. Chocolate melting discs are a staple in my kitchen--a chocolate drizzle can make most anything look and taste better!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Sugared Almonds--A 'How To' Post

Sugared Nuts
See the progression of the sugared almonds. 1 cup nuts to 1/4 cup sugar. Start on medium heat, stir often--like don't leave the stove. This is not the time to multi-task. Try it and you just might end up with burnt almonds, I know! When the sugar melts the almonds brown quickly--stir continually. They are easy to burn. Pull them off the heat at the desired brownness. Pour on a large dinner plate that has been sprayed with Pam.
Cool and break up if desired. Serve on any salad--especially good on Strawberry Spinach Salad. I buy bulk sliced or slivered almonds at Sprouts or Winco. Costco also had sliced almonds. Sugared pecans also work, same measurements. You could also chop the pecans first. Whole sugared nuts are great snacks.
Printable recipe

Monday, March 3, 2014

My Favorite Granola

I am a granola junkie. I love granola--for breakfast, for snacks for gifts. What's not to love about granola? I have several granola recipes on my blog and they are all delicious. Try any one of them and you will be happy. So why a new recipe?? Because it is the best! It is a pretty ordinary recipe with a few crucial differences. First use whole almonds and just rough chop them. I use my Pampered Chef Food Chopper, a few chops and you have an assortment of almond pieces. This adds a great texture. The next big difference is the way the granola is cooked. Spread it on a large rimmed cookie sheet and press it down with a large metal spatula. Use some pressure. Bake it--and Do Not stir it. When the granola is cool you can break it in chunks. This granola is crisp and light. It is delicious. It is a recipe from America's Test Kitchen. It is my new favorite granola!

My Favorite Granola
5 cups Old Fashioned Oats
2 cups Almonds, chopped coarse
4 teaspoons Vanilla
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/3 cup Maple Syrup
1/3 cup Brown Sugar
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1 cup Dried Fruit--if desired
In a large bowl whisk together salt, sugar, syrup and vanilla. Add oil and mix well. Add oats and chopped almonds, mix until thoroughly coated. Transfer mixture to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Using a large stiff metal spatula press mixture into pan until compact.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 35-40 minutes until light brown, rotating pan once half way through baking.
Cool on a wire rack for at least 1 hour. Break granola into pieces of desired size. Add dried fruit if desired.
Granola can be stored in an airtight container for 2 weeks.
Printable Recipe