Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Almond Olive Oil Rosemary Muffins

It has been a while. This is partly because I've been busy and partly because I'm very attached to a few old favorites. But with temperatures dropping and my heat not working, my oven has been on constantly. I finally figured I may as well put something in it and try something new.

I tweaked a walnut cake recipe I found on EatingWell, and the muffins came out delicious. (I also halved the recipe for my batch, but I'm posting a full recipe). They are light, fragrant, moist, and not overly sweet.

3/4 cup almond meal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup olive oil
4 teaspoons very finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs at room temperature
2 egg whites at room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar

Preheat oven to 350º.
Combine almond meal, flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and walnuts.
Combine buttermilk, oil, rosemary, and vanilla in a glass measuring cup.
Place eggs, egg whites and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer on high speed for 5 minutes. The mixture should be thickened and pale.
With a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into the egg mixture, making 3 additions of the dry and 2 additions of liquid.
Bake in mini muffin tin for about 13 minutes or until top spring back. (If making a cake, 35-40 minutes).

Friday, July 22, 2011

Earl Grey Cupcakes with Lavender Frosting

The one and only time I have gone to Bi-Rite Creamery was a day (the day) when there was no line. I took advantage and tasted as much as I could. They suggested I try the Earl Grey with the Lavender flavors because they complement each other well. I have been meaning to recreate the combination in a bite-sized baking form for quite some time now. This is my attempt. I'm not entirely satisfied (I think the flavors could be stronger), but they came out interesting. Tasters (Britt, Ryan, Meghan, Tina, Reid) all seemed pretty stoked on them, but I think there is room for improvement. (Side note: look at the adorable tiered serving plates Rael got me for my birthday!)

1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup milk (I used 1 %, but next time I'll use whole milk)
6 Earl Grey tea bags

1/3 cup milk (again, I used 1% but should use whole)
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
food coloring (I gradually added I think 4 drops of red and 4 drops of blue)

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Heat milk in small saucepan until barely simmering. Put 4 tea bags in milk to steep and set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then stir in the vanilla.
Combine flour, 2 remaining tea bags and baking powder, add to the creamed mixture and mix well.
Remove 4 tea bags from milk. Measure out 1/2 cup and stir into batter until smooth. Discard remaining milk.
Spoon batter into the muffin papers 2/3 full.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Cupcakes are done when they spring back to the touch.
Let cool completely.
For frosting, bring milk and lavender just to a boil in a small saucepan.
Remove from heat, and let steep 10 minutes.
Strain, and discard almost all of lavender.
Cream butter until smooth.
Beat in sugar and 1/4 cup milk.
Add food coloring until desired shade. Frost immediately.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Blueberry Maple Coffee Cake Muffins

Sports Basement likes to celebrate, and the most recent occasion was the departure of two employees going to grad school. Almost the entire store went to a bar, so I had to represent. The recipe is adapted from one on 101cookbooks. I brought two dozen of these bad boys (in egg cartons of course), and they were gone pretty quickly. I might have to double the recipe next time. Quote of the evening: "If I'm not sleeping, working, or partying, I'm baking."

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
scant 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/3 cup maple syrup, room temperature
1 large egg, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup blueberries

1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut 1/4-inch cubes
1/3 cup turbinado sugar
1/3 cup chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 350º.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In a separate large bowl beat the butter with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Drizzle in the maple syrup and beat until well incorporated, scraping down the sides of the bowl a couple times along the way.
Beat in the egg and vanilla extract, scraping the sides again.
Add half of the flour, stir just a bit, now add a splash of the buttermilk, stir again just a bit. Add the rest of the flour and stir a bit, and now the rest of the buttermilk. Stir until everything barely comes together and then very gently fold in one cup of the blueberries.
Spoon batter into mini muffin papers or buttered loaf pan.
To make the streusel topping, mix the flour, butter, sugar, and pecans until the topping is beyond sandy/crumbly and a little moist.
Crumble over the cake batter. Barely pat in place with your fingertips.
Bake 18-20 minutes, depending on size of muffins. If baking a whole loaf, baking time will be more like 30-40 minutes.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Firecracker Cornbread (Welcome Home, Bree!)

Breana Connor is one of my best friends, even though we rarely see each other. We first met at a program down in Valencia, CA the summer after my freshman year of high school. She was a dancer, I was a composer, we were roommates and fast friends. After the program ended, she returned to the East Bay and I to the City. Then she went off to school in New York, me to Boston, then she transferred to AUP. I visited her before my semester in Ghana and we galavanted around Paris for ten days. And now, she has graduated and moved back to San Francisco. She followed my baking and told me she likes cornbread, so this is my attempt at a welcome home/congratulations on graduating gift. I can't wait to see what adventures lie ahead for us!

The cornbread is moist and spicy and delicious. Would be great as a side dish to any number of things, especially chili of course. (Recipe from 101cookbooks)

3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg
2 cups corn

Preheat oven to 350º.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter, stir in the red pepper flakes, and pour into a 9-inch pie tin or casserole dish. Place in the hot oven.
In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
In a separate bowl whisk together the buttermilk, egg, and corn.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir until just combined.
Now very carefully remove the hot pan with butter from the oven. Fill it with the cornbread batter, pushing the batter out to the sides if needed.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the edges are golden and the center is just set.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Double Chocolate Cardamom Meringue Cookies

I can confidently say I think these are my favorite cookies I have ever made. The texture is like a meringue and the cardamom spice is surprising and wonderful. Also, they are super easy to make.

2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt

3 egg whites
scant tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 320º.
Sift together sugars, cocoa powder, salt.
Stir in egg whites and vanilla.
Stir in cardamom and chocolate chips.
Spoon batter onto parchment paper-lined baking sheets, allowing plenty of room for them to expand.
Bake until they puff up, about 11-15 minutes.
Let cool briefly, then eat while still warm and gooey for maximum pleasure.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Peaches and Cream Cupcakes

I asked for suggestions for my next flavor, and ended up doing what I wanted anyway: peaches and cream. I used a recipe for a passionfruit curd cake from 101 cookbooks as a starter for the batter, then added the fresh fruit and preserves. The white chocolate was my attempt at "cream". They are super moist and really tasty, plus the peach preserves and white chocolate on top make them quite pretty.

3 ripe peaches
1/2 cup peach preserves
1 1/2 cups white chocolate chunks

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

1 1/2 sticks organic unsalted butter

1/4 cup +1 1/4 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Skin and cut up peaches into small chunks. Cover with 1/4 cup sugar, mix, let sit.

Combine your dry ingredients: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt into a small/medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Combine your wet ingredients: In a separate medium-sized bowl beat the butter with the whisk attachment for about three solid minutes. You want the butter to be smooth and creamy before you add any of the rest of the ingredients. Now add the remaining sugar and beat some more - another three minutes minimum. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl once or twice during the process so you end up with a nice, even, creamy butter/ sugar blend.

Add the eggs one at a time: After you add each egg, mix until the egg is fully incorporated and the batter is smooth and creamy - scrape down the sides of the bowl now and then along the way. If you don't beat well enough at this stage you'll end up with little butter/sugar flecks throughout your batter in the end. After the eggs are well incorporated stir in the vanilla extract.

Combine wet and dry ingredients: Dump the dry ingredients into the mixing bowl and gently fold in the flour. You don't want to over mix the batter at this point, so continue to fold the flour in until the last of the flour just barely disappears.

Add peaches and almost all of the peach preserves. Chop white chocolate chunks into smaller pieces, then add to batter.

Fill each mini cupcake paper about half way, then top with a bit of peach preserves and a couple white chocolate pieces.

Bake for 30 minutes or until muffins bounce back a bit when you push the top with your finger.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Lavender Almond Cookies

These were a bit of an experiment. I wanted to make more of a shortbread cookie, but these were doughy and delicious anyways. I made them for my cookies and beer party, and they flew off the table.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 confectioners sugar
1 egg

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup ground almonds, plus handful of chopped toasted almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dried lavender
splash milk

Preheat oven to 350º.
Beat butter and sugars until fluffy.
Add egg, then vanilla.
Add flour, almonds, salt, lavender.
Mix, adding splash of milk if too dry.

Drop spoonfulls, then bake on parchment paper 10 minutes or until golden brown.