Friday, April 29, 2011

healthy(er) muffins

I'm so excited about these muffins (or I was excited...three weeks ago when I made them. Yep, that's how far behind I am).  They are so moist and yummy, and I don't have to feel that guilty about eating them.  Muffins are one of those foods that are super guilt-inducing for me.  Have you noticed they've never once been featured on this lil ol' blog o' mine (I retract that - I forgot about the flip-flopping muffins, but they barely count) .  I think it comes from the fact that they manage to get away with a pseudo-healthy persona when they're really just cake without icing.  So, I never eat them, I just eat cupcakes instead.  Until now!

These are a great treat with a cup of tea in the afternoon. nom nom nom  I'm going to try making them even healthier next time, but for now, here is the recipe.

Raisin Wheat Germ Muffins
Adapted from Guilty Kitchen

Yield: 16 small muffins

1 cup wheat germ
2 tbsp ground flax seeds
1 1/3 cup buttermilk
2 1/2 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup applesauce
2 tbsp fat free plain yogurt
1 egg
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line muffin tins with paper liners and set aside.
2. Mix wheat germ, flax and buttermilk in a large bowl and set aside for five minutes.
3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg with the oil, applesauce, sugar, vanilla and lemon zest. Add to the wheat germ mixture.
4. In another separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Gently stir into wet, but do not mix completely.
5. Fold raisins into mixture and be careful not to over mix. Lumps are a-okay.
6. Pour evenly into tins and bake 12-15 minutes (mine took 12 exactly, be careful not to overbake to avoid dry muffins).

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

blonde ginger cookies

When I found this recipe a few years ago, I was instantly intrigued.  It's a fun way to mix up the classic chewy ginger cookie.  The "blonde-ness" makes it a Spring-y version of the holiday favourite.  I also love the kick that the cayenne pepper adds. 

I made this cookie for the Bushtukah event, since the event was a "Spring" event, although based on the weather we've been having lately, you wouldn't know it was Spring at all. Ugh!  This was one of the few pictures we were able to snap.  The lighting wasn't the best but what can you do.

Blonde Ginger Cookies

from 6bittersweets

Makes approximately 2 dozen cookies

2 1/4 cup flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup (1 stick or 4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar (plus 1/3 cup to roll cookies)
1 teaspoon unsulphured molasses
1 large egg plus 1 large yolk, room temperature
1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract


1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and spices. Set aside.
2.  Using a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Mix in egg, yolk, vanilla, molasses, and condensed milk until combined. Stir in the dry ingredients, mixing until fully combined. The dough will be soft.
3. Drop about 2 tablespoons of dough into the reserved 1/3 cup of sugar. Toss the dough with your fingers to coat it in sugar. Once it is coated, you can handle it better. Roll between your two palms to form a ball, then place onto a lined baking sheet. Leave 2-3 inches between cookies.
4.  Bake for 10-12 minutes. This leaves them slightly under baked so they stay chewy. Once they flatten and the centers puff up, remove them from the oven. Let cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes before moving to a cooling rack. The cookies will flatten as they cool, but should remain soft and slightly chewy.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

variations on a theme: brownies - round 1

Oh boy, it's been a while.  I've been quite the busy lady lately, and despite having stuff to share, I haven't been finding the time to sit down and actually get blog posts together.  I made these brownies a while ago for an office pot luck.  When I saw them on Always with Butter, I knew I had to make them.  They combine two of my greatest loves in life, chocolate and cheese.  Could it get any better?

The recipe (without the goat cheese layer) also works as a super easy one bowl brownie.  I may even adopt it as my new brownie.  They were definitely a major improvement on this one bowl brownie.  I did use a bit of applesauce in place of a full 1/2 cup of oil and found that they were still delicious and rich.  Makes them a teensy bit less guilt-inducing.  I will say, I tried this tool for the first time, and it didn't exactly paint a pretty picture.  Maybe it's just best to blindly eat these and not worry about nit-picky things like fat content or calories, amirite?

Next time, I'll use a slightly bigger pan.  I found the cooking time to be off for an 8x8 pan and I like my brownies thinner anyways.  They were definitely rich, gooey and delicious.  So yummy warm!  If  you love chocolate and goat cheese, I don't see any way you could not like LOVE these!

Chocolate Chevre Brownies
adapted from always with butter

2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 tsp sea salt
1 cup flour
3 eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
2 tbsp water
1 cup chocolate chunks

Chevre Layer
6 oz chevre, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp powdered sugar
1 tbsp flour
1 egg

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease (or line with parchment) a 9 x 9 pan.
2. Whisk together the oil, eggs and water.
3. Add cocoa, sugars, flour, salt, and chocolate chunks.  Set aside.
4. Whisk together all the ingredients for the chevre layer.
5.  Pour half the brownie batter into a pan.  Put the chevre layer on and cover with the remaining brownie mixture.
6. Bake until the centre is set and a toothpick comes out almost clean.  Mine took almost 45 minutes and still wasn't totally cooked in the centre. Cool a bit (let's be honest, who can wait) and enjoy!

Friday, April 8, 2011

S.W.E.E.T. take two

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of catering Bushtukah's Sporty Women’s Empowering Evening of Tips and Advice (SWEET) event for the second year in a row.  They told me to do exactly what I did last year, but based on my observations, I changed things up a bit.  I noticed last year that the bars seemed to be very popular and the cupcakes were not as popular, so this year I did more bars.  The cupcakes were a hit this year but then again everything was!  All the baked goods went really quickly.  As fast as we (my roomate Kate helped) put them out they were snatched up!  It even had me going crazy thinking I forgot to bring a box, but we counted, and I definitely had them all.  All of the craziness lead to a rather unfortunate event...I forgot to take pictures.  When we realized, it was too late, there was nothing left.  The tables were completely dessimated!  We did get one picture of all the stuff before the event.

A bunch of the stuff I made has been featured before, but a few things were new.  Here are some of the tasty treats I served up that have been featured here before.  Expect (most of) the rest in the coming days and an exciting new "variations on a theme" series (don't worry, I will still be continuing with the carrot cake series, but a girl can only eat so much carrot cake!).

P.S. An incredibly big thank you to Kate, Heather and Melissa.  I couldn't have done it without you ladies!