Tag Archives: baking

Peanut Butter Pumpkin Muffins

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I guess I was on a muffin kick? A pumpkin kick? A baking kick? Some type of kick…a sweet kick, that’s it! Yes, as I procrastinated studying for my Econ test, I was on a baking kick. Plus, I needed a quick breakfast that I could grab on my way out to the car. Plus, I had a lot of pumpkin puree (overstocked for Thanksgiving…). PLUS I love peanut butter. And almond butter. And pistachio butter. AND these little things are actually pretty healthy- about 230ish kcal and 5/6g protein per muffin.

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ANYWAYS.

Here’s a wonderful recipe that I got from food52. I changed it up a little to lower the calories a tad. But boy, did they come out well!

Ingredients-

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2tablespoons toasted wheat germ
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup vanilla almond milk
  • 3tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon honey

Directions-

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Put cupcake liners into 9 cupcake tins.

In a large mixing bowl combine the white flour, wheat flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, sugar and brown sugar. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the almond milk, peanut butter, vanilla extract, pumpkin puree, egg, and honey.

Gradually mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients by hand. No hand mixer involved! Mix until there are no visible dry bits left, be careful not to over mix (how many times have I said the word “mix” in the last two lines?).

Scoop enough batter into each tin so that it’s 3/4 (or almost all of the way) full.

Bake in a middle rack for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove to a cooling rack immediately.

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Enjoy! Here’s a link to the yummly link to it…I can’t find it on the actual food52  blog! This will have to suffice :p

http://www.yummly.com/recipe/external/Peanut-butter-pumpkin-muffins-332658

 

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Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

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As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently got my driver’s license. What does this mean? Driving to school! What does THAT mean? Parking at a farm that’s at least a 5 minute walk from campus! What does that mean? Leaving the house at 6:40a so I can get a good parking space so it’s a 5 minute walk, not a 15 minute walk! And finally, what does THAT mean? Breakfast on the go!

What will I ever do without my overnight oats, or my ezekiel bread with almond butter and yogurt? Hmmm…as I pondered this idea, I started to crave a pastry. But not just any pastry. An awesome breakfast: muffins. And it just so happened I had some peanut butter on hand…and some really ripe bananas…

BAM. Breakfast and a happy Nica. And these muffins happen to be: huge, jam packed with protein (about 4 or 5g), low calorie (190kcal/muffin), and delicious! It’s the best all of the dimensions of the world of baking. So, without any further hesitation…

This recipe was adapted from the blog Crumb. Original link is at the bottom.

Ingredients-

  • 3 medium mashed bananas (about 7′)
  • ½ cup peanut butter (like Jif)
  • ½ cup honey
  • ½ cup plain yogurt (I used Fage total 0%)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ¾ cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put 10 cupcake liners in cupcake tins.

In a large bowl, beat together the mashed bananas, peanut butter, honey, yogurt, egg, and vanilla until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, mix together the flours, baking power/soda, salt, and cinnamon. Add the dry to the wet ingredients, and stir until just barely combined. Don’t over stir! Divide the batter among the prepared cups; they should be pretty filled.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick stuck in the middle of a muffin comes out with moist crumbs. Let cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Store in air tight container. These muffins taste especially good when toasted.

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Enjoy! Here’s the original link-

http://www.crumbblog.com/2011/10/love-me-tender-peanut-butter-and-banana-muffins.html#ixzz2oFJwm2dw

Pumpkin Biscotti

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…So I may have gotten a bit too much pumpkin for Thanksgiving. But how could I not? I love pumpkin! It’s so delicious; it provides that subtle fall taste that I love. But I needed to make something out of these cans of pumpkin puree that I had sitting in my pantry. And as I mentioned in an earlier post, I made little cookie baskets for friends and teacher and such. BAM. Pumpkin Biscotti. I like biscotti because it’s a cookie, but it of course has that classic crunchy texture that’s perfect for morning coffee. Or, you could always just use it as a spoon for ice cream. Which would be pretty awesome, as well. Point is, biscotti is a great treat for whenever, is pretty simple (and fun!) to make, and is way too easy to eat. And pumpkin? Who said pumpkin puree had to be limited exclusively to fall? It’s the first day of winter, and I’m posting this pumpkin recipe and you should all make it because pumpkin is underrated! So there.

Anyways, a note on this biscotti. It is adapted from Simply Recipes, author Garrett McCord. The link is at the bottom. The recipe says it only makes 15 biscotti, but that means it only makes 15 long, 7′ inch biscotti. I made about 40 mini biscotti out of this recipe, so don’t hesitate to make this recipe if you think you won’t get that many cookies out of it. You will…

Ingredients!

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ginger
  • Pinch of cloves
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup of pumpkin purée
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted (for drizzling on top) 

How to: 

Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and spices into a large bowl.

In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, and vanilla extract. Pour the pumpkin mixture into the flour mixture. Mix together the ingredients with a hand mixer on low, until JUST mixed. 

Lightly grease a baking sheet or line it with parchment paper. Form the dough into 2 log, roughly about 15 inches by 2.5 inches. The loaves should be relatively flat, only about 1/2 inch high. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until the center is firm to the touch (but not too firm! Just not gooey and soft). 

Let biscotti cool for 15 minutes and then using a serrated knife (a bread knife. Trust me. Use a bread knife. You’ll think “Oh, I’ll just use whatever knife I have. WRONG. Bad idea. Bread knife.) cut into 3/4 inch- 1 inch wide pieces. Turn the oven to 300 F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cool completely. Drizzle chocolate over biscotti. 

Biscotti may be still a tad moist and chewy, so if you prefer it crisp let it sit uncovered overnight in a dry space. 

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Enjoy! Here’s the link to the original recipe: 

http://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/pumpkin_biscotti/

Dark Chocolate Crackle Cookies

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So this holiday season, despite the workload, I wanted to make cookies for people to show how much I appreciated them. So, I put together tiny chinese takeout boxes (that were Christmas patterned) of four cookies: classic peanut butter cookies, pumpkin biscotti, classic sugar cookies, and these dark chocolate crackle cookies. These cookies are a twist on regular chocolate-chocolate cookies; instead of using white sugar, it only uses brown sugar in the batter. Instead of being overly sweet, white sugar on the outside compliments the cookie. The cookie also uses orange zest, which gives a tiny kick and a fresh, citrusy taste. These cookies are perfect for a more mature palette, one that craves something a tiny bit different than the classic chocolate chocolate cookie.

Adapted from Abigail Johnson Dodge from Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. table salt
  • 8 oz. (1 cup/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 oz. (2/3 cup) natural, unsweetened cocoa, sifted if lumpy
  • 2 tsp. finely grated orange zest
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled until barely warm ( actually used semisweet and those worked as well)
  • 3/4 cup (4 oz.) chopped chocolate (white, bittersweet, or semisweet, or M&M’s! hehe)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar; more as needed

Procedure:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350ºF. Line three large cookie sheets with parchment or nonstick baking liners, like the silpat.

In a bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, beat the butter, brown sugar, cocoa, orange zest, and vanilla until well combined, about 4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly between additions. Add the cooled chocolate (make sure it’s cooled all the way! You don’t want those eggs to curdle, now do ya?) and mix until blended, about 1 minute. Add the dry ingredients and mix on low speed (so you don’t have a flour explosion!) until almost completely blended, about 1 minute. Add the chopped chocolate and mix until blended, about 15 seconds. Shape the dough into tiny balls, about 2 tsp-1 tbs big.

Pour the granulated sugar into a tiny bowl. Roll each ball in the sugar and set the balls about 1-1/2 inches apart on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake the cookies 11 to 12 minutes, maybe a little more if you’re doing more than one sheet at a time. They’re done when they crackle a little bit on the top, like pictured. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a rack to cool completely.

Enjoy! Here’s the link to the original recipe:

http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/dark-chocolate-crackles.aspx?nterms=112342,50060

Parmesan Crisps

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Cheese.

Glorious Cheese.

Probably one of my favorite things ever.

Ricotta. Cheddar. Mozzarella. Pepperjack. Brie. Anddddddd Parmesan! Classic Italy, Classic home cooking. And all parmesan crisps are are baked bits of parm! Perfect for snacking on as an appetizer, and so easy to make. Plus, they’re so pretty! Just look at them!

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Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup finely shredded Parmesan cheese (preferably Parmigiano-Reggiano, but domestic will work too)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour

Putting ’em together:

Preheat oven to 350°F and line a lightly-greased baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a small bowl stir together Parmesan and flour.  Spoon level tablespoons of mixture in mounds about 4 inches apart, and spread out into little circles. Bake crisps in middle of oven until golden, about 8 to 10 minutes. Cool crisps completely on baking sheet and remove carefully with a spatula. Crisps may be made 2 days in advance and kept between layers of wax paper in an airtight container at room temperature.

Here’s the link to the original recipe:

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Parmesan-Crisps-14947#ixzz2o9qLqvKQ


Almond butter for my nut-butter habit

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No, dear blog! I haven’t forgotten about you! Unfortunately, junior year has been difficult. More than difficult. There’s just so much going on! Classes are hard (although, I enjoy them), winter rowing has started (UGH. It’s all indoor conditioning. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love rowing and in a way, I love the winter season because you get so much faster. But it is very, very physically and mentally demanding) and of course, violin every morning before school! In addition to that, I recently got my driver’s license, which is an awesome thing, but practicing took up so much time. So fair to say, stress has been on my plate. Ironically, I just had to create a Public Service Announcement for my health class about stress. The irony.

With stress comes those sudden urges to make food. Seriously. I mean, I’m not making cupcakes every night or cookies every weekend. But, once in a while, if I have a few minutes, I’ll make something simple and sweet that satisfies that cooking craving.

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So one night, I noticed two things. 1. I had a lot of almonds. 2. I was out of peanut butter.

The rest is history.

5 great benefits to homemade nut butter-

  1. it’s fun
  2. it’s simple
  3. you can add in whatever you want (sweet or savory? Honey or salt? Cinnamon or…more salt?)
  4. it’s cheaper (get a thing of almonds from Trader Joe’s for about $5 vs store- bought almond butter for $7-$10_
  5. It’s healthier. Many store bought nut butters have oils added in. In other words, it isn’t made from JUST nuts. For example, a certain huge peanut butter producer also includes sugar and palm oil in their product. Not that this is bad, it’s just unnecessary and not all that great for you. At home, you can choose whether to include some oil or to just blend the nuts and eat.

You get the idea.

So without further ado, here is the simple approach to making homemade almond butter.

Need:

  • 2 cups almonds
  • cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 tbs veggie oil (also optional. I didn’t use any because I like raw almond butter, but for those who want a smoother consistency, adjust amount of oil to your liking.)

Directions:

Pour everything into a food processor and let it go. It’ll take a while for it to get to it’s true butter consistency. First, a powder will form. Then it’ll get crumbly. Then a ball will form. That ball will stay together for a while, but it’ll eventually break up. It’ll start to stick to the sides, becoming more and more buttery. Don’t stop it yet! Don’t fret, you’ll know when it’s done. It’ll be that creamy consistency that you love.

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*Note: Make sure to scrape the sides down every once in a while so that no crumbs are left out.

Scrape into a jar and enjoy on toast or in muffins or plain with a spoon (that’s my favorite way). This recipe makes about 1.5 cups of almond butter (I think? maybe 1.25). But anyways, I don’t have exact nutrition facts, but they are around 180 per 2 tablespoons and 7 grams of protein if this is made with no oil. Enjoy!

 

Mocha Slice Cookies from Martha Stewart

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Look at these little dudes.

Chocolatey bites of amazingness with a kick of coffee flavor jam packed into every cookie. Chocolate and coffee; sounds good for hungry rowers (although to be quite frank, any food is good for hungry rowers. I take food to practice, and it is gone within 5 minutes. poof!). Although, as mentioned in my previous post, I forgot to take the cookies out! So, I’m left with a bunch of mocha slice cookies. But that’s okay, because they’re small enough to serve as a tiny taste of something sweet, and they aren’t heavy. Make these cookies big or small, they’ll be perfect to satisfy a chocolate craving at any time of day. I found this on Yummly, which found this on Martha Stewart. I’ll post the original link down at the bottom. Now, without further ado……

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for work surface
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

How to:

Mix together flour, cocoa, salt, espresso powder, and cinnamon into a large bowl; set aside. In another bowl, beat butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. Reduce speed to low so you can add flour mixture in without it spewing all over you. Unless you want to get into a flour fight (which I’ve done).  Mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Turn out dough onto a lightly floured surface; roll into a 2-inch-diameter log. Wrap in saran wrap. Refrigerate until firm, at least 1 hour or up to overnight. Or, you could just keep them in the freezer until you need to bake them, which is what I did. I bet they’d last up to two weeks when stored in the freezer, but don’t take my word for it.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Unwrap log, and let soften slightly at room temperature, about 5 minutes. . Cut log into 1/4-inchthick rounds. Space 1 inch apart on baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake until centers are set, about 10 minutes. They should be soft, but not gooey soft. Don’t try to bake these until they get solid: THEY WILL BURN (trust me). Transfer to wire racks; cool completely. Store in airtight containers at room temperature up to 2 days.

Recipe makes…a lot of small little cookies.

Here’s the original recipe:

http://www.marthastewart.com/340252/mocha-slice-cookies?search_key=mocha%20slice%20cookies

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Eat up!