Category Archives: baking

Homemade Granola

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I have a bit of an obsession with greek yogurt. It’s thick, it’s creamy, it’s full of protein, and it’s awesome with fresh fruit or applesauce and some homemade granola. Specifically, this homemade granola.

You’re probably thinking to yourself-why would you make granola when you can just buy a box of it at the grocery store? Well, friend, store bought granola is expensive and much less tasty. This recipe has a hands on time of about 5 minutes and the final result has the best flavor and texture-perfectly nutty and crunchy. You may never buy granola again.

Homemade Granola

Ingredients

  • 4 C old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick cooking)
  • 1 C sliced almonds
  • 1/2 C shredded coconut (preferably unsweetened)
  • 1/4 C unsalted pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) and/or shelled sunflower seeds (I like to use 1/4 cup of both)
  • 1/2 C pure maple syrup
  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1 t vanilla
  • 1 t almond extract
  • 1/2 t kosher salt
  • 1 C dried fruit (such as cherries, cranberries, raisins, or currants)-optional

Heat oven to 350. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss the oats, almonds, coconut, and pepitas with the maple syrup, oil, vanilla, almond extract, and salt.

Bake, tossing once, until golden and crisp, 25 to 30 minutes. Add the dried fruit if using and toss to combine. Let cool. Keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 1 month. Makes 6 cups

Recipe adapted from Real Simple.

Side note: I once was out of maple syrup, so I substituted honey. Don’t try this unless you like your granola charred and your kitchen filled with smoke .

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Cheers,

Christine

Hazelnut cupcakes with mousse filling

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This is probably the most ambitious thing I’ve baked in a while. We won’t talk about the semi-disastrous pirate ship “shipwrecked” cake for my sister’s fiancé’s son’s 3rd birthday. (Hint: it wasn’t supposed to look shipwrecked.)

The recipe is adapted ever so slightly from Vegan Cupcakes take over the World, quite a good cupcake cookbook even if you’re not vegan, which I am not. So my cupcakes were sort of vegan because I had only regular milk on hand though the recipe intends for soy or nut milk to be used in actuality. It tastes just as good either way. Your friends will never guess the secret ingredient in the mousse, just as my unsuspecting coworkers didn’t. Legit deliciousness.

The cupcakes are meant to be filled with the mousse and topped with ganache, but I was running short on chocolate chips and the mousse recipe makes a lot, so I decided to fill AND top the cupcakes with the mousse. I have included the ganache recipe below if you’d like to go that route.

A note on toasting hazelnuts: it’s easiest to toast them in a skillet on the stovetop, just be sure to be vigilant, because they can burn in a second. Once they’re nice and golden brown, let them cool off for a minute then pour them onto a clean kitchen towel. Fold the towel over top and rub them until the skins come off. Obviously, you can skip this step if your nuts came without the papery peel on the outside.

Directions: Prepare hazelnut mousse first so it can chill. Make the cupcakes. Once they are completely cool, prepare the ganache.

Hazelnut cupcakes with mocha hazelnut mousse filling

Ingredients:

  • 1 C plus 2 T all-purpose flour
  • 1/3 C hazelnut meal or flour (I just ground up toasted hazelnuts in my coffee/spice grinder)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • ¼ t baking soda
  • ½ t ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t ground nutmeg
  • ½ t salt
  • 2/3 C rice, nut or regular milk
  • 1 T ground flaxseeds
  • 1/3 C canola oil
  • ¼ C pure maple syrup
  • ½ C brown sugar
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1 T hazelnut liqueur or 1 ½ t hazelnut extract
  • 1 C chopped toasted hazelnuts for garnish OR chocolate covered coffee beans
  • 1 recipe chocolate ganache (see below), prepare when cupcakes are fully prepared (optional)

To make the cupcakes:

Line cupcake pan and preheat oven to 350. In a small bowl which milk and ground flaxseed. In a large bowl sift together flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.

Add the maple syrup, brown sugar, canola oil, vanilla, and hazelnut liqueur to milk mixture and beat well. Add wet ingredients to dry, mixing until mostly smooth. Pour into liners, filling them 2/3 full. Bake 22 to 24 minutes until toothpick inserted in the center of one comes out clean. Cool completely on racks before filling.

Fit a pastry bag with a wide piping tip and fill with mocha hazelnut mousse filling (see recipe below). If using ganache, have prepared.

Poke or scoop holes in the top of each cupcake. A small spoon works for this. Fill with as much mousse as you can.

If using ganache, remove excess mousse from top of cupcake. Spread ganache on top. Two layers of a heaping teaspoon each time makes a smooth surface. Sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.

If not using ganache, pipe mousse on top of cupcake like you would frosting.

 

Mocha hazelnut mousse filling

Ingredients

  • 6 oz extra firm silken tofu (half a package of the aseptic kind, such as mori-nu)
  • 2 T milk or soy milk
  • 1 T agave nectar or pure maple syrup
  • 4 t instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee since that’s what I had on hand)
  • 2 t hazelnut liqueur
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 6 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped, or 2/3 C semisweet chocolate chips

Crumble the tofu into a blender. Add the milk, agave nectar or maple syrup, espresso powder, hazelnut liqueur, and vanilla. Puree until completely smooth and set aside.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler. Once melted remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add chocolate to the tofu and blend until combined using a spatula to scrap down the sides of the blender

Transfer mousse to an airtight container or bowl covered in plastic wrap and let chill for an hour. Remove 10 minutes before using. Stir with a fork if too firm to work with.

 

Chocolate ganache

Ingredients

  • ¼ C milk, rice milk, or nut milk
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped, or 4oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 T pure maple syrup

Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and add chocolate and maple syrup. Stir to combine.

 

This recipe puts me one step closer to my goal of making everything on The List of Stuff I Want to Cook actually two, if you count the mousse, which I think I just will.

  • ·         Can something
  • Make a soufflé
  • Poach something in olive oil
  • Bake fish wrapped in parchment
  • Make crepes
  • Make homemade vegetable stock
  • Make a cupcake with a filling
  • Make panna cotta
  • Cook something Indian
  • Make risotto with saffron
  • Bake focaccia
  • Make ice cream with vanilla beans
  • Make mousse
  • Make homemade ravioli
  • Bake French macarons

Anyone doing any baking or working on any cooking challenges out there?

Cheers,

Christine

You might also like: coconut macaroons

Mega-adorable cupcake alert!

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You definately need to go to Pick Your Plum stat and buy some of these adorable cupcake liners. At $2.30 for 96 they are a steal!

I was so pleased with the last purchaseI made from Pick your Plum, I jumped all over this. Get some before they’re gone!

Cheers,

Christine

Rhubarb Muffins

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Ahhh-the smell of rhubarb muffins in the springtime. Every spring, I buy a bunch of rhubarb and I make these muffins. Rhubarb is in season now and you very well might be able find it at your local farmers’ market. I picked some up over the weekend along with some other seasonal goodies including asparagus and (almost local) strawberries. (Check out my roasted asparagus with goat cheese recipe here.)

As I was making my purchases, these little buggars began to develop their reputation as strawberry thieves. They’re cute, they know it, and they use this to their advantage.

A rather tart red-green stalk, rhubarb is commonly made into pies with a boatload of added sugar. I dig this recipe because it doesn’t have too much sugar and the rhubarb provides a nice kind of tangy contrast.

I will contend that the number one most awesome way to get muffin batter into muffin tins is to use an ice cream scoop. Try it. You can thank me later when you can use the extra time you aren’t scrubbing baked on muffin batter off the muffin tin to watch some trashy tv.

Check out the full recipe below.

  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 C flour (may use all whole wheat flour, as I did)
  • 1 C whole wheat flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C buttermilk or plain yogurt
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 C oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 t vanilla
  • 1 1/2 C diced rhubarb
  • 1/2 C nuts (optional)

Crumble topping

  • 1/4 C sugar
  • 1 T butter, melted
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1 t flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt thoroughly in a medium bowl.

Combine the buttermilk or yogurt, brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla well in a large mixing bowl. Stir in dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in rhubarb and nuts if using. Fill greased or paper lined muffin tins 2/3 full.

Combine crumble ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter. Bake prepared muffin tins until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Makes about 18.

Recipe from Simply in Season.

Cheers,

Christine

Put the…coconut…in the coconut.

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I don’t bake a lot. Not because I don’t enjoy eating baked goods but because I don’t enjoy measuring stuff. I’m more of a Rachael Ray two turns of the pan with the EVOO and a handful of parsley type of person, if you know what I’m saying. I made an exception the other day to bring in some goodies for my ladies at work. You gotta take care of your peeps. 

Behold – delicious Coconut Macaroons! So easy, and minimal measuring required (a bonus for the other Rachael Ray-type cooks out there). Plus, everyone thinks you’re a culinary genius when you bring in a batch of these babies. Double the recipe at will-it only makes a dozen and a half.

Coconut Macaroons

  • 7 oz sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1/2 C Sugar
  • 3 T Flour
  • 1/8 tsp Salt
  • 2 Lg egg whites
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp Almond Extract
  • Optional-1/2 to 1 bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Mix the coconut, sugar, flour, and salt. Stir in the egg whites and almond extract. Drop rounded tablespoonfuls about two inches apart onto greased and floured cookie sheets. Bake for approximately 20 minutes, until macaroons start to brown. Let cool slightly, then transfer to wire racks to cool completely. These are excellent dipped in milk or dark chocolate. Simply melt the chocolate over a double boiler or carefully in the microwave and dip cooled macaroons or drizzle over top. Makes about 18.

I made these once for an auction and the buyer later tracked me down for the recipe. I gave it to him, but didn’t have the heart to tell him it’s on the back of the bag of coconut. Let’s keep that our little secret.

If you’re ever down the shore near Ocean City, NJ you’ve got to hit up George’s. They make the most amazing macaroons and fudge. Plus, if you’re not in a baking mood, they ship. Win!

Cheers,

Christine