Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sometimes Even Muffins Ain't Enough

Knowing that this week was going to be tough, I made some muffins on Sunday. Low fat lemon poppyseed from a new blog I discovered. Here's the recipe:

I altered it in the following ways - used large lemons for extra lemony goodness, used low fat non-Greek yogurt, used 1 1/2 cups APF and 1/2 cup whole wheat flour. Did without the glaze for the sake of all of our figures.

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins
Adapted from Baking by Dorie Greenspan by Sara at

For the muffins:

  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • zest and juice of 2 small lemons
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup non fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons poppyseeds

For the glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 400F. Prepare your muffin pan or whatever muffin cooking apparatus you will be using, and place on a baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, rub together the sugar and lemon zest until the sugar is moist and you can smell the lemon.
  3. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  4. In another bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the yogurt, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice, and canola oil until well blended.
  5. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and with a rubber spatula gently and quickly stir to blend. Do not over-mix. Stir in the poppy seeds. Divide the batter evenly in 12 muffin cups, I like to use an ice cream scoop to measure this out.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the tops are golden brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for about 5 minutes, and then remove them from the molds and let cool to room temperature.
  7. To make the glaze, whisk together the confectioners’ sugar with 1 1/2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Add more lemon juice as needed to get it to the consistency so you can drizzle the glaze over the muffins.

They were good and moist and very lemony. But still not enough to make this exhausting week any better...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple cookie quest

So you can tell I've been a little stressed by the inordinate amount of baking I've been doing of late.

The most recent was an attempt at the glorious apple cookies that Daniel and I used to purchase on our trips to French Canada. They were made by monks in Notre Dame du Lac, and they were heavenly, in every sense of the word.

I've been on a search for a recipe that approximates their moist apple-y wonders, and when I saw one on the blog of a French Canadian baker, I thought I'd hit the jackpot. While the results were good, and relatively healthy, they bore little resemblance to the object of my desperate quest. They were supremely oaty and did not hold together as well as I might have liked. However, those who sampled them did seem to enjoy them, so here is the blog from the website One Whole Clove...

Sarah Lou's Apple n' Cinnamon Porridge Cookies

1 3/4 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine
1 gala apple, peeled, cored half grated half cut into small pieces
1 egg
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cookie sheet with a silpat mat or spray with nonstick cooking spray.
In a medium bowl combine oats, flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt
In a mixer bowl, with an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and on high speed, cream together brown sugar and margarine until fluffy. Add grated apple half, egg and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients, stir to blend, add the apple pieces and sultanas.
Drop dough by heaping tablespoons onto lined baking sheet. Flatten with the back of a wet wooden spoon. Bake until lightly brown, at least 15 minutes. Cool on cookie rack.

(For the record, I used two Pink Lady apples and no raisins. Otherwise I stuck to the recipe...)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

So good I had to throw away the last piece...

Periodically, I make something so good that I literally cannot keep myself from gobbling it up. It sits in the fridge or on the counter and calls my name with a voice so tempting and powerful that I ultimately have to throw it away because I just cannot be trusted to restrain myself. These sirens tend to be ooey gooey cakes, like Claire's cake or chocolate chip Passover pudding cake.

This Ginger Macadamia Coconut Carrot Cake from Vegan with a Vengeance landed in the bin tonight. I just couldn't take it anymore. Pictures and the recipe below...

Into the cake pans. In my baby oven, it took almost twice as long as the recipe called for to bake...

Daniel does his frosting magic

Notice his new glasses and the fact that he's doing the frosting on the coffee table, lest he miss a second of American Idol

Please note the undeniable ooey gooeyness

Here's how you too can drive yourself insane with deliciousness:

Ginger-Macadamia-Coconut-Carrot Cake

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground or freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup macadamia nuts, roughly chopped (honestly, I might lose these next time; they didn't add that much)
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut (I could only find sweetened, so I cut the sugar in the recipe a bit)
2 cups carrots, grated

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease two 8-inch round springform cake pans, or one 9×13″ baking pan. (I just used two cake pans as my spring forms are different sizes)

In a medium mixing bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground spices.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the pineapple juice, oil, sugar, maple syrup, and vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and combine well with a hand mixer or strong fork. Fold in the macadamias, ginger, coconut, and carrots.

Divide the batter evenly between the two round pans, or spread in the rectangular pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. Let it cool in the pans. Once it is cool, remove from the pans and put coconut icing (recipe to follow) between the layers and more icing on top. If you’ve used a rectangular pan, you can cut the cake in half to form the two layers, or leave it as one layer.

Coconut Icing:
1/4 cup margarine at room temperature
1/4 cup coconut milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Cream the frosting until light and fluffy. Add the coconut milk and vanilla and combine. Add the confectioners sugar and mix until smooth. Hand held mixer recommended for this! Add the coconut, mix to combine, and refrigerate until ready to use. (I only used half of the icing and I sprinkled the coconut on top rather than mixing it in)

Friday, March 13, 2009

A milliner of sorts - hamantaschen

An email sent to Daniel earlier this week
(with supplemental pictures...)

hi baby-
just wanted to fill you in on the information about our cookies.

1) there is a big tupperware full of poppy seed filled ones on the counter...

2) there is a baggy of 4 experimental chocolate peanut butter ones also on the counter...

3) also on the counter is a small baggy with some mess ups.

4) in the fridge, there is a final tupperware. it is full of what became of the fig paste ones. it turns out that the fig paste was too soft, so those hamantaschen would not hold together no matter how hard i pinched the corners of those hats.

SO i made them into fig and cheese sandwich cookies. they are quite delicious, if i do say so myself. they remind me a bit of our favorite date bars. in fact, i think with this cookie recipe, i could try my hand at making the beloved date bars...

anyway, we should figure out who to give some of the pretty little poppy ones to because they are quite nice.

also the dishwasher is full of CLEAN dishes, but the sink is full of dirty ones.

i love you.

And with that I went to bed.

A final note - they really were very, very good. I used the Joan Nathan recipe for the dough (adding in a touch of orange juice).

The poppy filling was poppy seeds, milk, honey, dried dates, and walnuts, heated over the stove until it got thick. A balabusta is indeed what I am.

Fast Food - random Chinese bakery on Mission

Have no idea the name of this place. Daniel and I were taking a study break last Saturday to go get burritos when we happened upon this place. Never one to overlook an exciting seeming house of baked goods, I urged us in, and we went for this scallion bun. Soft, warm, eggy, and oniony. Daniel compared it to challah, and he's been wanting one ever since. It is Friday, so maybe we can motzi on over and pick one up. (sorry, truly terrible pun).

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Bread Project - What could be sweeta than a pita?

So one of the many things I miss about my beloved New York is the Middle Eastern food. Oh the hummus (Damascus Bakery.) Oh the shawarma (Zaytoons.) Oh the lentil soup (also Zaytoons.) Oh the pita. (for Daniel Damascus, for me Hummus Place.) Out here they mysteriously call all Middle Eastern food "Mediterranean," which seems to be a euphemism for not that good. (Just to clarify, I know that much Mediterranean food is delicious, just not in this context...)

So, when Daniel was in NYC for a couple of weeks, I had him bring me back whole wheat pita from Hummus Place, which being a mensch, he did in spades. And so I just finished my last bite of hearty, nutty pita goodness last week. My pita needs had been whet, and nothing was fitting the bill, so where was a girl to turn? To her own crafty resources.

I found a recipe on Epicurious that had gotten good reviews, and so yesterday while plowing through my enormous load of end of quarter homework, I began my quest for the perfect whole wheat pita.

While the recipe required several rises, the cooking time itself was a mere 3 minutes, directly on the oven rack (which you see above left an impression), and the kneading wasn't too bad or intensive. A pretty easy afternoon yeast bread. Here's the process...

The pitas all shaped, waiting for their final rise

In the 500 degree oven, now slightly mis-shapen from the trip from pan to oven

One beautifully puffed-up pita

Tuna sandwich with warm fresh pita

The verdict: These were good, and who can argue with fresh, homemade bread? They were not as heartily whole wheat as I would have liked, so I might up the whole wheat to bread flour ratio next time. And I would add a bit more salt and honey. But I will definitely make them again, and if anyone has a good pita recipe, send it my way. I've got a fierce pita hankering.

The Bread Project - Coconut bread

Thanks to the Times of London's list of the 50 Best Food Blogs, last week I discovered a whole bounty of new recipes. I wanted to try one out immediately, so I looked through my cabinets and realized that I had a pantry calling out for me to make this Coconut bread recipe from The Wednesday Chef.

At my suggestion, and Daniel's immediate acceptance, I added chocolate chips into the mix. It took a good bit longer to bake than the hour the recipe suggested, and since we had dinner plans (at Burma Superstar!), I had to take it out of the oven while it was still a bit ooey gooey, but really, when it comes to chocolatey baked goods, a little ooey gooey never hurt anyone.

I have to say, this is not a recipe I'll probably return to. I found the combination of cinnamon and coconut here a little odd, but Daniel has been enjoying it as toast, so it's not a total loss, and the rest of the recipes on the site sound great. More to come...

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Bread Project - Corn muffins

With the workload these days, the bread project his pretty much defunct, but I did manage to whip up some King Arthur Flour corn muffins the other day, and since they're listed in the Quickbreads and Muffins section of that auspicious website, I'm including them here.

They were yummy, especially when rewarmed and served with the maple butter I mixed up or with a little schmear of apricot jam. Nothing extraordinary, but certainly satisfying. Next time, I may add some cheese and jalapenos and serve with veggie chili.

We Want Food - Holy Basil, Batman!

The picture may not be terribly clear, but one thing is - this recipe is a keeper. Made Gai Pad Krapow for din din last night , and loved the results.

I pulled the recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Serious Eats and will definitely make it again. I made a few adjustments because what I had on hand (switched ground chicken for ground turkey; used broccolini instead of green beans; added some soy sauce; and chiffonaded the basil before adding.) I also went without the egg because, frankly, I forgot. I did, however, make and use the Nam Pla Prik (chili fish sauce), which in my opinion, totally made the dish. It added the tang of the lime and the umami of the fish sauce. The whole dish was spicy and salty and flavorful. Can't wait to have it again (although being a dutiful girlfriend, I let Daniel take the leftovers for lunch today...)