Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Farmers' Market Strawberry Muffins

I love going to the farmers' market downtown on Saturday mornings.  Our city has one that is several blocks long and has so much more than just farmers and produce!  There are coffee shops (hello!), bakeries, hand-crafted goods like yarn goods, wood carvings, handmade glass, jewelry; there is just about something for everyone.  And musicians along the way to keep you entertained.  And the food!  So much to choose from.

This past Saturday, I scored some of the best strawberries!  I bought two quarts, thinking I'd make some freezer jam.  Um....I think I need to buy some more strawberries before I can attempt that - between eating them as I was washing and cutting them up, feeding them to my kids (and husband), and making these absolutely amazing muffins, these berries didn't last very long!

And let me just tell you, farm-fresh strawberries (whether purchased from a farmers' market or at a u-pick field) are SO, SO, SO much better than anything you will ever buy commercially in a store!  They are juicier, more flavorful, packed full of so much goodness, you just may squeal with delight!  They are typically smaller, but much, much better!

I absolutely LOVE this recipe for muffins - it has Greek yogurt (I am a BIG fan) and lots of berries and yumminess inside.  They baked up so beautifully, I actually yelled to my husband to come watch as I took them out of the oven.  Silly, I know...but I was just a proud momma of my fresh strawberry muffins!

 You MUST get you some fresh strawberries, some Greek yogurt, and whip up this recipe.  It made ALMOST two dozen (23 muffins), and my kids and husband loved them as much as I did.  They taste a little like mini strawberry shortcakes....they're delish with a dollop of whipped cream on top!

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
10 Tbs butter, softened
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla 
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 c. plain Greek yogurt
1 1/2 c. FRESH strawberries, chopped
Raw sugar for topping 

Preheat oven to 400.  Grease or line 24 baking cups (2 muffin tins)

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.
Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, and vanilla and lemon juice.  Mix until fully combined.  Add half the yogurt, then half the flour mixture.  Repeat until all is mixed in.  Gently fold in the strawberries.

Divide muffin batter among muffin tins - an ice cream scoop is handy with this!  Sprinkle liberally with raw sugar.

Put in 400 oven and bake for 8 minutes.
REDUCE OVEN HEAT to 350 and bake for 11 more minutes, until just starting to turn golden brown.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan about 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to cool completely.

Ready to go in the oven!

Baked to perfection!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Cinnamon Chip Bake

Yes, I AM still alive!  Time to dust off Spare Time Baker and get back to baking!
Today, I really wanted some sort of cinnamon roll tasting thing.  But I needed it to be quick, I wanted it to be easy, and I had limited resources in my kitchen.  I tried to find something on Pinterest that fit the bill, but failed.  So I figured I'd experiment a little and see what I could come up with.  I'm pretty pleased with myself; it was quick, easy, and turned out delicious (if I do say so myself!).

I'm going to go ahead and dub this the "Cinnamon Chip Bake" - because I'm not sure what else to call it!  It's made of a YUMMY biscuit-type dough, that is rolled into balls, and baked with cinnamon chips nestled in between, then smothered with a rich glaze.  And there is a minimal amount of dishes dirtied - BONUS!


2 c. flour
2 Tbs. brown sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. buttermilk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2 c. cinnamon chips

for glaze: 1/2 c. heavy cream, about 1/2 c. to 1 c. powdered sugar and 1 tsp. vanilla

  • Preheat oven to 400.  Spray a round or square bake pan (or baking dish) liberally.
  • In a large mixing bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt.  Slowly add in 1 c. buttermilk, then 1/2 c. heavy cream.  Stir together until a wet dough forms.  
  • Roll dough into balls (about 2") and place them in prepared pan.  You can nestle them all right up together, it's okay.  Sprinkle the cinnamon chips all over the top, letting some fall in between.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes, until done (will not brown much).  

Mix together the glaze:  Whisk the 1/4 c. cream with 1/2 tsp. vanilla, and then whisk in the powdered sugar until you get the consistency and taste you want.  Pour liberally over the still-warm biscuits.  Share with a few of your favorite people and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Bread

I've made a lot of different pumpkin bread recipes.  Most have been really good.  I've even claimed (a few times maybe) that I'd found the "PERFECT RECIPE" and I would love it forever.  Then I'd decide to try something different next time.  I recently tried out this recipe - I loved the moist, dense texture.  I swap out oil for coconut oil in most of my recipes - you should try it!  But just in case you don't have it on hand, or don't want to invest in any just to try my recipes, you CAN use regular oil or an equal amount of applesauce.

This recipe is wonderful - it gives you a loaf to eat and a loaf to share!  My husband's coworkers were lucky enough to get the second loaf of this recipe....but honestly?  I would have eaten the whole thing, given the opportunity!

This would make a terrific side to take with you if you are attending someone else's Thanksgiving Dinner...just saying... ;)

1 (15 oz) can pure pumpkin
4 eggs
1/2 c. coconut oil (can use reg veg oil -- but coconut oil is awesome!)
1/2 c. applesauce
2/3 c. water
2 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 c. sugar
3 1/2 c. self rising flour (or ap flour + 2 tsp baking powder)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBS (yes, Tablespoons!) pumpkin pie spice

Preheat oven to 350. Grease/flour 2 loaf pans.
Cream together pumpkin, eggs, oil, applesauce, water, vanilla and sugar. Add dry ingredients and mix until fully combined. Divide among two pans. Bake for 60-70 min until toothpick comes out clean (you may want to tent foil over them for last 10-20 minutes).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

I'd like to think of these cookies as a little bit healthy - they have coconut oil in place of some of the butter, white whole wheat flour, oats, and dark chocolate.  Can't go wrong with all that, can you?  PLUS, my kids loved them and they lasted less than two days in our house.  Okay, my hubby and I loved them too and may be part of the reason they didn't last very long!

These are a great after school snack.  Or a late evening snack.  Or breakfast on the run....?  Maybe (if you're not opposed to eating cookies for breakfast - which I am not!).  These are easy to put together, particularly if you have a good stand mixer.  

2 c. white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. coconut oil
2 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 Tbs molasses
1 Tbs milk
2 c. rolled oats
1 pkg dark chocolate chips 

Preheat oven to 350.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder & baking soda.
Cream together butter and coconut oil until blended completely.  Add in brown sugar and cream mixture until fluffy.
Add eggs, molasses and milk and beat until fully combined.  Beat in oats.  Slowly mix in flour mixture until fully combined.  Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by 1/4 cupfuls (I used the large scooper from Pampered Chef) onto ungreased cookie sheet, leaving plenty of room for spreading - I put 6 cookies per tray.  Bake 14-15 minutes until golden and browned around the edges.  Let cool on cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer to cooling rack to cool completely.  Keep in airtight container to keep soft and chewy!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Pumpkin Butter...so easy, so good.

I love all things pumpkin, in case that wasn't obvious already.  
Pumpkin Butter is SO easy to make, I don't know why I haven't tried it before!  It just takes a little time, maybe I'm just too impatient.  But I gave it a whirl this week and am pleasantly surprised at the ease of making it AND it's absolute deliciousness!!

1 (29 oz) can pure pumpkin
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 c. brown sugar
1 Tbs pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
freshly grated nutmeg
juice of 1/2 lemon
Stir everything except lemon juice together in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.  When mixture begins to boil, reduce heat and cover.  You'll want to prop the lid open just a little to let the steam escape (a wooden spoon handle works great). Let simmer for at least 35 minutes.  The mixture will pop and sputter and splatter a lot, just to forewarn you.  Stir occasionally.  Remove lid after 35 minutes, stir in lemon juice and let cool for about 10 minutes.  Transfer to heatproof container and chill.  Keep refrigerated.

This can be used on so many things - from toast, to beer bread, to oatmeal, to yogurt!  It makes anything taste kind of like pumpkin pie.  It is so yummy, you won't regret trying this tasty treat!  It is perfect for this time of year.  I hope you enjoy it as much as our family does.


Friday, September 28, 2012

Banana Oatmeal Muffins (No flour)

These are a perfect on-the-go breakfast option - or, as in my case, really easy to whip up for breakfast when you don't have any cereal, bread or milk, and only 2 eggs left!  Plus, you can whip them up in the blender, saving yourself a pile of dirty bowls.  They are pretty tasty, too - like a little cup of fruity oatmeal that you can eat without the spoon!  

2 super ripe bananas, mushed up
1 c. applesauce
2 eggs  
1/2 c. sugar 
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 c. old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin pan with FOIL liners, or just spray the muffin tins with non-stick spray (paper liners don't work well with this recipe).  I chose to spray my foil liners and they came out perfectly!

Place the bananas, applesauce, eggs and sugar in the blender.  Blend until smooth.  Add in baking powder, soda and oats and blend until mixed thoroughly.  You may have to use your "pulse" button once the oats hit the bottom, but just keep blending until you have a very smooth consistency (will have SOME small lumps).  

Pour directly from the blender right into each cup - you'll be able to fill them at least 3/4 of the way full.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and done all the way through.  

I think these would be really good with some cinnamon chips, or peanut butter chips, or maybe some walnuts and brown sugar on top!  But we ate them as-is and they were perfect. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Pumpkin Snickerdoodles

Two of my favorite things together: Pumpkin and Snickerdoodles!  If you know me even a little, you know I'm pretty much a pumpkin fanatic.  And Snickerdoodles are my favorite cookie ever.  I don't know why I don't make them more often...maybe because you have to chill the dough then roll it in the cinnamon sugar.  It's always worth it though.  And these are not exception.

I got this idea from A Bitchin' Kitchen

3 3/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
2 sticks salted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 large egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Whisk together the flour, baking powder and spice.
In mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugars until fluffy.  Add in pumpkin, egg and vanilla and mix until smooth and fully combined.  Slowly add in flour mixture.  Cover with plastic wrap and chill dough (freeze at least 30 minutes or chill in refrigerator at least 1 hour). 

While the dough is chilling, mix together 1 c. white sugar with 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice in a gallon-size ziploc baggie.

Shape chilled dough into balls (I used my medium scoop from Pampered Chef - it holds about 1 Tbs, give or take).  Toss each ball in the sugar mixture in the baggie.  Place on cookie sheet and flatten slightly.

Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes, until lightly golden.  Cool on pans for 5 minutes then remove to cooling rack.  TRY to wait until they're mostly cool before you test them!!