Thursday, 29 October 2015

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins

I find muffins to be the best thing for lunches.... They are easy to pack, the kids love them, and since I can only make 12 at a time I can't be snack happy eating them all, or I end up having to make another batch before the week is through, Kinda like I did with the Orange Cranberry Loaf I made earlier this week (it's my favorite! Don't judge me if I ate 1/2 the loaf throughout the day!!!)  That recipe will come next week  :)
I didn't have a good lemon muffin recipe, so off to Google I went and found a delightful recipe on a blog I really enjoy,  I changed it up a little and was really pleased with the results.  I used half whole wheat flour (I really wanted light and airy and didn't want to chance them being too dense, but the next time I make them I will definitely use whole wheat!)  I also cut the butter down by half.  The original recipe called for greek yogurt, but since I was out I just used plain yogurt, These were so easy to make I can't believe I procrastinated so long in making them!!!  
The best tip for these is to blend your lemon zest and sugar really well.  It allows the sugar to absorb all the flavor from the zest and the results are a little heavenly.  I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!!!
So good with a cup of coffee in the morning!  This is my favorite mug, it's about 23 years old!

To Make Lemon Poppyseed Muffins you will need:
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • grated zest and juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup yogurt (greek or plain) sour cream can also be used
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 2 Tbsp poppyseeds
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  Grease 12 cups in a regular size muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups.
In a large bowl, combine lemon zest and sugar until the sugar is moist and the fragrance of the lemon is strong (I "smushed" them together with a silicone spoon, but you can also just rub them together with your fingers).
Whisk in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  set aside.
In another bowl, whisk all the wet ingredients together until well blended.
 Pour the wet mixture over the dry, add the poppyseeds and gently stir to blend.  Do not overmix!
The batter almost has a mousse like consistency.
Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.
Bake for 5 minutes and then turn oven down to 375 degrees F for another 13 minutes, until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
 Allow the muffins to cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then carefully remove them from the pan and allow them to fully cool on a wire rack.
I didn't frost mine, but if you would like to put these over the top, combine 1 cup of icing sugar with 2 or 3 Tbsp of lemon juice and drizzle over cooled muffins.  YUM!!!


Monday, 19 October 2015

Pumpkin Streusel Bars

Have you ever just made a complete mess in the kitchen???  I mean, one mistake after another?  I was just making a simple pumpkin pie, it really should not have been that hard!!!  Yet somehow, I ended up knee deep in pumpkin, mistake after mistake, and would end up using all the mistakes to produce 3 wonderful desserts!  I only wish I was taking pictures!!!!  So my mistakes?  Trying to rush would have been the first, and in my rush I opened a can of condensed milk instead of evaporated, so now I needed to use the condensed milk... enter Pumpkin Streusel Bars.  I found this idea on a lovely blog, and have made it a few times now, it is so good!  It packs great in my kids lunches, is fairly simple to make and quite versatile. I made this a few different ways, and will explain the options in the directions. So, get in your kitchen and whip this up!  You will be glad you did!!

  To make Pumpkin Streusel Bars, you will need:

For Crust:
  • 1/3 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour, spoon and sweep method
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For Filling:
  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt, or low fat sour cream
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk, or dulce de leche
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg, preferably freshly ground
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
For Filling:
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 Tbsp cold butter, cut into cubes
  • penuche frosting
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Generously grease or line a 8x11.5 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
To make the cake base, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until fluffy.
 Add the egg and vanilla and continue to beat until smooth.  Add flour, baking powder and salt and mix until just combined.
 Spread batter evenly with an offset spatula in prepared pan and bake for 15 minutes.
 Meanwhile prepare the filling.  Add yogurt (or sour cream), pumpkin puree and condensed milk (or for a twist, try using dulce de leche!)
using the dulce de leche.  
 mix on medium high speed with the paddle attachment until smooth.
Reduce speed to low and add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
condensed milk... a little lighter in colour  
Add in remaining ingredients and once incorporated, pour over the cake base. Bake in oven for 20 minutes
 For the Streusel, I tried a few cheats on this... one worked well, the other.... not so much!  to make this the traditional way, add the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl, as well as the sugar and cut the butter in, either using a pastry blender or simply rub it in the with your hands.  
I had about 1/3 cup of penuche frosting in the fridge, so instead of adding the brown sugar and cutting in the butter, I mixed my frosting into the oats mixture.

 It worked perfectly!  The second time I made this, I tried saving about 1/4 cup of the dulce de leche to mix into the streusel, and while it tasted great, it was impossible to spread nicely over the filling, so I wouldn't advise it!
Once you have sprinkled the streusel on the partially baked pumpkin filling, return to oven and continue baking for 20 more minutes until the center is set and a knife comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for about an hour, then transfer to fridge for a few hours.  Cut into 12 squares and enjoy!

Bon Appetit!!!
Oh and those other mistakes?  I made too much filling for my pie crust, (like, double!) So I added 1/4 cup whole wheat flour and about 1/2 cup of oats and poured it into an 8x8 pan.  It baked up perfectly and was a nice crustless pumpkin pie that my kids loved in their lunches!  Happy endings always rock!!! :)

Friday, 9 October 2015

Yummy Pumpkin Cookies!

I am lucky to be a part of a great program, where I get to try new products for free!  As a BZZZ Agent I recently received a package containing a Venus Swirl Razor and a canister of Venus with a touch of Olay Violet Swirl Shave Prep Cream.  Now, I must confess, I have always used store brand razors, the cheaper the better I thought.... and I have always just used soap to lather.  I was so surprised at how great this razor was!!!!  It doesn't pull on your skin at all, gets every hair and is so easy to use, I went to get a second one for my daughter, who is just starting to need to shave.  And the shave cream?  I stand corrected, what a difference it makes!!!  I suggest you check these products out, I am sure you will be glad you did!!! #gotitfree

 Now that I have that off my mind, let's get to cookies... I know, everyone out there is pumpkin crazy right now, but I am pumpkin crazy all year!!!  In the fall, when pumpkins are inexpensive, I always buy 4 or 5 fresh pie pumpkins to roast and then I freeze them in 1 cup servings, so I always have fresh pumpkin puree for baking!  I will be posting directions for this process in a few weeks.  :)    These cookies are just lovely... they have a cakey texture, which is a nice change, they are not too sweet, so the delicate penuche glaze is just perfect!  I swapped half of the butter for greek yogurt, which made them almost guilt free!  I happily packed these in my daughters' lunches, and they happily ate them!  :)  I hope you enjoy these as much as we do! 
I also always bake cookies on my pizza stones. My cookies bake perfectly, every time. Simply place your stones in the oven while your oven is preheating, scoop your batter onto parchment paper and slide the paper onto the heated stone.  Perfect.Cookies.Every.Time.

To Make Pumpkin Cookies with Penuche Glaze, you will need:
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup greek yogurt, unflavored
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour, spoon and leveled
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Penuche Glaze
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp milk
  • 3/4 to 1 cup confectioners sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  If using pizza Stones, place in oven to heat with the oven.
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, yogurt and sugars together until light and fluffy.
Blend in pumpkin, egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, combine flour,baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
Mix flour mixture into butter mixture.
Drop tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart on parchment paper, remove stones from the oven and slide the cookie sheet onto the stone.
 Bake cookies for 12 minutes, until golden around the edges
Transfer warm cookies to cooling racks.
Cool cookies completely and frost with glaze.

For Glaze:
In a medium saucepan, heat butter and brown sugar over medium heat until bubbly.  Cook, stirring constantly, for one minute or until slightly thickened.  Beat in the milk, blend in the confectioners sugar until the glaze is smooth and spreadable.  Using a silicone basting brush, lightly brush glaze on top of cookies.
 The glaze hardens fairly quickly, so keep the saucepan on the stove on the lowest heat to prevent it from hardening.