Posts tagged ‘baking’
…someone peed in my cornflakes.
I am a realist. Some people call me a pessimist. I’m not. I’ve had this conversation with my friend Annie once. People thought she was a pessimist as well, but we concluded that we were realists. We are the type of people that do not put all of our eggs in one basket, we don’t hope for the best, we set our goals on what can realistically be achieved, and that is what keeps our lives and everything around us positive. We avoid conflict, but you’ll know when we are not happy. And most of all, when someone pees in our cornflakes, we sit quietly and busy ourselves with other projects – like I did today. I enjoyed the ballet and then I baked some seasonally divine gluten-free pumpkin muffins (and tried desperately to put the last two days behind me).
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (gluten-free)
I’ve recently switched to a gluten-free diet due to some health concerns; big ones. I’ll have to share these when they make more sense. Until then, you can enjoy some gluten-free recipes. I’ve made these muffins twice. Once with potato starch and once with arrowroot starch. I liked the arrowroot better, but play with them and let me know which ones you like better. If you are sensitive to gluten, make sure your chocolate chips and vanilla extract are gluten-free. If you can’t find sorghum flour use brown rice flour instead. Canned pumpkin may not be as moist as fresh pumpkin; you can always add a bit of unsweetened apple sauce if need be. Makes 12 muffins.
- 1 cup sorghum flour
- 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons chia seed, ground
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice blend
- 1 cup pureed pumpkin (I used local fresh, steamed pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup organic coconut oil (melted)
- 3/4 cup organic palm sugar (or brown sugar if you must)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract (the real stuff)
- 2 large organic free-range eggs
Spring will come. Sigh. I wish it would hurry up, but until it does, I keep crafting, cooking and baking spring at our house. We made up these little cookies for the teacher’s at my daughter’s daycare as a little Easter treat last week. I used this recipe here, but I shaped them into nests before baking. Then we added a couple little candy coated chocolate eggs. These are a nice little Easter treat or a springtime treat (especially when spring doesn’t seem to want to grace us with her presence).
I have been very tired lately and not feeling particularly inspired. Work has been busy and the dust in my house from the hallway reno is driving me bananas. But life is not all bad. My friend Heather put a pink hyacinth on my desk at work this morning. I’m looking forward to seeing it bloom. My mom tells me they smell nice too.
Here is something to chew on while I’m going bananas from all of the dust.
Banana Carob Chip Muffins
I’m not sure if carob chips have dairy in them, but if not, then this recipe somehow ended up being egg and dairy free. I started with a basic banana muffin recipe and kept changing the recipe until I was certain that they had more goodness in them than bad.
- 1 ¼ cups whole wheat pastry flour
- ¾ cup brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 3 ripe bananas, well mashed
- ¾ cup rice milk plus 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup sucanat
- ¼ cup apple sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup carob chips
Preheat your oven to 350F degrees. Line a standard muffin tray (12 muffins) with muffin papers and set aside.
In a small bowl, mash the bananas really well and set aside. In a separate bowl or in a one cup measure add the vinegar to the rice milk and set aside.
In a large bowl, sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. Add the sugar, apple sauce, milk, bananas, vanilla and chocolate chips to the flour mixture. Stir until just combined. Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.
These muffins are very moist and best stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Last week we visited the sugar bush. This inspired me to cook everything with maple syrup, which means that this week’s make it Monday is all about maple syrup. First, a few things I learned at the sugar bush:
- It takes 50 to 60 years before you can tap a maple tree. This means that even if I started now, I’m too late. I would have to buy a sugar bush; I cannot create my own. Sigh… I guess I will have to keep bees and make honey instead (more on that later)
- To have a viable maple syrup bush (and a small one at that) you need to have at least 1000 tapped trees.
- The sweetness of the sap from each tree can be tested (sign me up!) so that you can selectively cut trees down so that new trees can establish themselves. Maple trees need light to grow and will not grow under the canopy of other trees so to keep things healthy you have to cut some down every now and again.
- You have to check the buckets every day – think how fit you would be checking a minimum of 1000 buckets! You could eat more pancakes (with maple syrup of course!)
I borrowed The Maple Syrup Book from the local public library. The edition I have dates back to 1983, but it is full of factual information, recipes, crafts and activities. However, the best education is to visit your local sugar bush or plan a family trip to a country that has one. Your taste buds won’t be disappointed!
I’ve made a lot using maple syrup this week and I will post a few of the recipes over time, but I wanted to share this particular experiment with you because it is one of those recipes that I absorbed from my childhood; kind of like this one. Although, this maple recipe, I’m sure is learned from my dad’s annual peanut brittle making at Christmas time.
I scoured the internet to learn to make these and when I couldn’t find what I was looking for, I simple did what I thought I should be doing: bring the maple syrup to hardball. Pure and simple. You will need a candy thermometer for this recipe.
Butter or line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Carefully butter the first inch from the top of a medium saucepan. This will prevent the maple syrup from bubbling over the pot. Add the maple syrup to the pot and carefully monitoring the temperature of the syrup while boiling it over medium to high heat. As soon as the temperature reaches 260F degrees (hardball) remove the maple syrup from the heat and allow it to cool for a about five minutes. Carefully spoon the maple syrup into circle shapes on the prepared baking sheet. Place a lollipop stick in each lollipop and allow to cool completely. That’s it.
I missed posting a “make-it” feature last Monday and now I am late this week… sigh. I had to get some training complete which required commuting last week. Fourteen hour days… I don’t know how people do this day in and day out. Yuck! I promise if you make these cookies, you’ll forgive me.
I used this recipe from 101 cookbooks to make these delightful Valentine’s cookies. They were almost too yummy to give to the staff at my daughter’s daycare, but alas, we must share. We used pink sugar, a heart shaped cookie cutter, and half spelt and half whole wheat pastry flour. Otherwise, I followed the recipe (for a change).
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Sometimes, when my thyroid meds aren’t quite right I cannot seem to do much of anything. It becomes hard to get a restful sleep or cook a healthy meal (which is what I really need the most when things aren’t balanced). I seem to be getting out of the latest “slump” so to speak and I have been back in the kitchen. I was actually kicked into high gear when two of my family members needed my attention 2 weeks ago; I had no choice but to get moving. Now, I am hungry, and hungry for good, healthy food. I’m still a bit tired, but last night I wanted a treat, and since it is the holiday season, I wanted something holidayish, but quick. I was hoping that these cupcakes would inspire me to start wrapping Christmas presents…
Gingerbread Cupcakes in a Minute
Okay, so maybe these cupcakes took a bit more than a minute to make, but I did have them in the oven in under 10 minutes. That is pretty speedy in my world. These cupcakes would be good with some whipped cream or vegan whipped cream.
- 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or spelt flour)
- ½ teaspoon ginger powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 egg white
- 1/3 cup molasses
- 1/3 cup water
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil (melted, cooled slightly)
Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Line a muffin tin with eight muffin liners. Set aside. Mix the flour, spices, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl, lightly beat the egg white. Add the molasses, water and melted coconut oil and stir together. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until combined. Spoon into the prepared muffin cups. Bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cupcakes comes out clean.
It was a cold and rainy night. The rain pelted the slate roof of the old house sending chilling creaks and groans throughout the plaster walls. The windows rattled against the wind and cold drafts floated eerily across the room. Underfoot, the floor was cold, so cold… we had to bake some cookies to warm up.
Health Alert!!! These are not at all good for you and I didn’t feel like playing around with the recipe to make it so. They are, however, fun for little ones to practice making the letter “s”.
Makes 4 dozen
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (I left this out)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 large egg yolks
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line baking sheets with Silpat baking mats or parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine butter and sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add vanilla, lemon zest, and salt. Beat to combine. Add egg yolks, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, until fully combined. Reduce speed to low, and add flour, 1 cup at a time, beating until fully combined.
Roll a walnut-size piece of dough into a ball, then roll out into a rope about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch in diameter. Shape into a decorative S. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough, placing cookies about 1 1/2 inches apart on baking sheet. Bake until firm, 12 to 15 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool. The cookies will keep in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.