March 25, 2010
I love chocolate. Well, I actually love any dessert. As far as desserts go, chocolate could be worse for you. It’s healthy antioxidants, along with dark chocolate’s low sugar content, make it reasonable! Cocoa powder is fat-free and packs a punch of flavor; it’s downright healthy! Clearly I’m in the same school of thought as my friend M-; her health food is creme brulee. How? Well, there’s protein from the eggs and calcium from the cream!
However, these chocolate muffins are (relatively) healthy. I was walking through the hallways of my school when an intense craving for a chocolate-chocolate muffin hit me. Our school sells Sara Lee muffins which are huge, oily, and about 500 calories each. Dunkin Donuts sells delicious ‘muffins,’ but in reality those baked goods are more like cake. Instead, I pulled out flour, cocoa powder, and chocolate chips as soon as I got home and got to work. A little tweaking resulted in a healthier muffin that was still chocolaty and indulgent. What’s more, they have my brother’s stamp of approval, which is no small matter, I assure you.
November 11, 2009
As fall comes around, I start to get really excited about the apples and pumpkin just waiting to be baked. I dream of pumpkin pies, apple crisps, and other classic desserts. I also start school, which makes it very difficult to transform any of these dreams into reality. I went apple picking a total of zero times this fall, and didn’t even have time to carve a pumpkin.
However, I have diligently squeezed in time to make a few fall-themed goodies. I am a pumpkin lover (we have about 4 giant cans in our pantry right now), so I will add pumpkin to everything! My first experiment was chocolate pumpkin cream cheese swirl muffins. Whew, that’s a mouthful. I actually made these low-fat, and was not one-hundred percent happy with the texture. They were a tiny bit dry. I think adding more pumpkin (or more fat, if you want to) would easily solve this. The taste, on the other hand, was delicious, and they looked so pretty!
August 26, 2009
Along with baking, I really like to make breakfast. However, once school starts, Sunday mornings are the only time I can ever do that, and usually even that doesn’t work because I’m too busy catching up on sleep! So, in the last days before school starts, I’m trying to fit in my breakfast making. =]
We had 1 pint of raspberries from our farm share, and I knew if I wanted to make anything with them, it had better be made fast! In my house, any fruit left out on the counter is gone in a couple of hours unless specifically claimed. Actually the worst is grapes. A whole bunch of grapes can be eaten in an hour. My mom takes to hiding them in her room if she wants to save some…
Anyways, I wanted to use the raspberries, and what sounds better for a summery breakfast than raspberry lemon muffins? These were delicious. Because they weren’t sickeningly sweet, they were perfect for breakfast, and light enough to have two or three! The only thing I would change would be to add more lemon if you really love a citrusy flavor. They’re also relatively healthy, so you can start the day off well. I strongly recommend trying these muffins.
Raspberry Lemon Muffins
adapted from Allrecipes
- 1/2 cup strawberry fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 heaping tablespoons raspberry jam (homemade by my dad!)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 cup egg-beaters
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract
- grated zest of one lemon
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 3/4 cup white sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup fresh raspberries
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 10 raspberries
- powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease a 12 cup muffin tin, or line with paper liners.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the yogurt, oil, jam, lemon juice, egg-substitute, and lemon extract. In a separate large bowl, stir together the flours, 3/4 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and lemon zest. Add the wet ingredients to the dry, and mix until just blended. Batter will be thick. Gently stir in the raspberries. Spoon batter evenly into the prepared muffin cups.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the top springs back when lightly touched. Cool muffins in the tin on a wire rack.
- Top muffins with powdered sugar and lemon zest, and garnish with raspberries.
Makes 12 muffins
August 8, 2009
Out in our front yard we have two peach trees. One is old and slowly falling apart. Actually, last year a bear ripped off one of its branches! The other one is a tiny little thing, but this year it’s really been impressive. We’ve gotten a bunch of peaches from it. They’re not perfect, since we don’t spray the trees with anything. After picking, all the little ants have to get washed off, and then I have to scour out which ones are ripe enough to use. The green ones get to ripen on our counter for a few more days. Without pesticides these homegrown peaches aren’t beautiful or extremely photogenic, but they still taste delicious, and are ideal for baking (which, after all, is the most important thing, right?).
I found this recipe on passionateaboutbaking.com. It seemed a perfect use of our peaches, and I also threw in a few of the wild blueberries from our yard. Another great thing about this recipe is its low fat content. The only added fat is what’s used to grease the pan. Since my family eats more of what I make if it’s on the slightly healthier side, this is a plus! If I’m going to make something like triple chocolate brownies I have to make sure my friends are willing to help me devour them.
I unfortunately didn’t have any candied ginger, so I subbed in freshly ground ginger. This gave it a kick of spiciness that was delicious, but strong! I would love to try the recipe with candied ginger sometime as well. The dish itself is difficult to place. It’s not a cobbler, although it’s close to one. The edges are cake-like, while the middle is juicy and fruity. My makeshift name for it, since I baked it in a pie plate, is cobblerpie, but if you can come up with something better, I’m not offended!
I would recommend this recipe for anybody looking for a light summery dessert to use up their fruit. Even my brother, who’s a picky eater, had two helpings. Although we were running low on ice cream, I bet vanilla bean ice cream would only make this better! This dish was also extremely quick and easy to make. I’m sure it could also be adapted for any season; Apples instead of peaches, with some cinnamon added into the cake batter would make a delicious fall dish.
Ginger Peach Blueberry Cobblerpie Adapted from passionateaboutbaking. Ingredients: 2-3 cups of peaches, halved, pits removed 1/4 cup blueberries 1/2 cup light brown sugar 2 tsp shredded or finely chopped fresh ginger Juice of 1 lime 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour 1/2 cup white sugar 3/4 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 cup milk, plus 1 tablespoon 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
Garnish: Whipped cream Slivered almonds (optional)
Generously grease a 10½-inch diameter ceramic pie plate with a 5-6 cup capacity, or 6-8 small shallow individual tart pans. Any pan with a similar capacity will also work.
Halve the peaches, pit, & roughly chop for small tart pans, or quarter (bigger pieces for 1 large dish.) Put these in a big bowl with the blueberries, brown sugar, ginger, vanilla extract and lime juice. Gently combine the peaches with the other ingredients. Reserve.
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, the 1/2 cup white sugar, and the baking powder. With a wooden spoon or whisk, beat in the milk & vanilla and almond extracts to produce a smooth batter. Don’t over beat. However, the batter should not have too many lumps either. Pour the batter into the center of the buttered dish. It will spread out on its own.
Place a spoonful of peaches, and some of their remaining liquid evenly over the batter, leaving a 1/4–inch open border of batter around the outside edges. For a single large gratin dish, place all the fruit on top of the batter, & leave a 3/4″ border. (this will allow the batter to rise dramatically at the edges).
Place on rack in upper third of preheated oven. Set an edged baking sheet on the rack below to catch any overflow.
Bake for 40-45 minutes (a little less for smaller cakes), or until the sides are fully puffed, the center is slightly puffed, and the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven to a wire rack to cook for 15 minutes before cutting / serving. To serve, sprinkle with almond slices and cut into wedges for 1 large pie, or as is for smaller cakes. Top with whipped cream (or ice cream – yum!).