Friday, December 13, 2013

Gingerbread Mini Cakes

Pin It
I think December is the favorite month of the year for most people here, and I am no exception. The weather is nice and there's so much yummy stuff to eat this month - thanks to Christmas! 

Christmas is a such a blessed and wonderful time of year, and this year I've been spending a lot of time explaining to Aimee that Christmas isn't all about Santa and cookies! We've been telling the Christmas story to her and she's starting to understand the significance of Christ's birth. And she's as excited about Christmas as any four year old would be - especially after she found Santa's been leaving her candy in the advent calendar every morning!  
And Christmas baking is just amazing, isn't it? This past week, Aimee and I baked some gingerbread together. The aroma of gingerbread is just so Christmassy!

This recipe is adapted from a Martha Stewart book on cakes and I was pretty pleased with it! The flavors are amazing and the hardest part of making this cake is getting the cake into the oven - the batter is that yummy!

Gingerbread Trees  
Makes one 9x5 loaf or 8-10 cupcakes or mini-cakes like these trees
150g all purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon 
3/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1 tsp ground ginger 
1/4 tsp ground cloves
180g unsalted butter, soft (slightly more than 3/4 cup) 
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
Icing sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat the oven to 180C or 350f. 
2. Sift together the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and spices and set aside. 
3. In large bowl, cream the butter with the sugars until light and fluffy - about 3-4 minutes. 
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each egg into the mixture before adding the next egg. The mixture may appear curdled at this point but that's perfectly fine. 
5. Add the vanilla and beat into the mixture. 
6. Add the flour mixture and mix just until completely incorporated. Don't over-mix the batter. 
7. Pour into a greased and floured mould and bake for approximately 45 minutes for the loaf or approximately 25 minutes for the cupcakes, or until a toothpick inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out clean. 
8. Allow to cool in the baking pan for 10 minutes and turn out onto a plate. Allow to cool some more and dust generously with icing sugar. 
If you want to make your house smell like Christmas, this is the recipe you want to make. 

I love my little Christmas tree moulds, and dusted with icing sugar 'snow' and decorated with jimmies, they sure make a a very pretty picture. 

Pin It

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Bacon, Mushroom & Spinach Muffins

Pin It
I am beginning to wonder if I need to rename this blog. Maybe I should name it The Harried Muffin Maker. That's how much I've been making (and posting) muffins lately! 

Muffins happen to be my husband's breakfast of choice, and so I tend to make them quite often. And it helps that muffins freeze really beautifully and so I sometimes make a double or even a triple batch of his favorite muffins and pop them in a freezer bag, and into the freezer they go!

These particular muffins are amazingly good! They taste fabulous warm and fresh, and somehow taste even better the next day! And they're not too bad for you either!
Bacon, Mushroom & Spinach Muffins
Ingredients (Makes 6 muffins)
2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup (tightly packed) chopped leeks 
3 rashers bacon, chopped
1 cup (tightly packed) chopped spinach 
1 cup chopped button mushrooms
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
Pepper, to taste
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg
1/2 cup yoghurt
1/3 cup grated cheese (I used a mix of parmesan & cheddar)

1. In a frying pan, sauté the leeks and mushrooms together in the 2 tablespoons of butter until the leeks are soft and translucent. 
2. Add the chopped spinach and the chopped mushrooms and sauté until the spinach is wilted and the mushrooms have softened - about 3-4 minutes. Season lightly - just a pinch of salt will do. Set aside to cool slightly. 
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Line your muffin tray with paper liners or grease and flour them. 
4. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, salt, pepper, baking powder and baking soda. 
5. In a small bowl or measuring jar, stir together the oil, yoghurt, egg and cheese. Whisk together lightly and combined. 
6. Take the bowl with the flour mixture and make a well in the middle of these dry ingredients. Pour the oil mixture into this space and stir lightly till just combined. Don't overmix. 
7. Add the slightly cooled bacon mixture and fold lightly to distribute evenly. Don't overmix. 
8. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups. Don't fill more than 2/3rd of the way. 
9. Bake in the preheated oven until lightly golden on top and springy to the touch. 
10. Serve warm. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers. 
I made these muffins based on what I had in the fridge. I guess substitutions will work well - onion, garlic chives, ham etc. should all work great! I didn't follow a recipe and these turned out great (whew!) - so don't hesitate to experiment!

The muffins should stay good in the fridge for a couple of days. If you want to store them longer, pop the fresh muffins into a freezer bag and put them in the freezer. They should stay good for a couple of weeks. 

The flavors are really complementary to each other, and somehow the flavors really meld, and intensify overnight. So good! You really must try this recipe!

Pin It

Monday, December 2, 2013

Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins

Pin It It's been a while, hasn't it? It has been a roller-coaster ride around here. First the kids were sick. Then I joined them and now it's my husband. It has been almost one whole month of coughs, colds and fevers. Thankfully, nothing more serious than that. We're well on our way to recovery - thanking God for that!

I have been doing a lot of baking and cooking but haven't had time to post. Will post those recipes in the coming weeks. 
Baked goods for breakfast seems to be becoming a favorite in our household! I've been making muffins, scones, rolls and so much more! And I am trying to keep them as healthy as possible! 

This muffin recipe is so good, easy and quick to put together, and really healthy too - made with whole wheat flour and oatmeal. Fresh strawberries & white chocolate - who can deny that's a match made in heaven? And add to that a crunchy topping and you're all set. Tartness from the strawberries, explosive sweetness from the chunks of white chocolate and crunchy, toasty hazelnuts. What a way to start your day!
Strawberry White Chocolate Chip Muffins
(Makes 6 large or 8 regular sized muffins)
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup canola oil 
1/2 cup yoghurt (I used low fat)
1/3 cup light brown sugar 
1 egg
3/4 cup roughly chopped strawberries
1/3 cup white chocolate, chopped into small chunks 
1/4 cup roughly chopped hazelnuts 

1. Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line your muffin tin with paper muffin cases. 
2. In a large bowl stir together the oatmeal, flours, salt, baking soda and baking powder until well combined. 
3. In a small bowl, stir together the oil, yoghurt, sugar and egg. Whisk until completely blended. 
4. Make a well in the center of your dry ingredients and pour in the wet mixture. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon fold gently until you can't see dry streaks anymore. Stop mixing at this point. Don't over-mix. 
5. Gently stir in the chopped strawberries and white chocolate. Stir lightly until well-distributed. 
6. Spoon the mixture into your lined muffin tins, filling them about 2/3 full. 
7. Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with the chopped hazelnuts
8. Bake in the preheated oven for
15-18 minutes or until the tops of the muffins spring back when touched. 

Serve these warm while the chocolate chunks are oozy soft and the hazelnuts are still crunchy. Add that to bursts of freshness from the strawberries, and everyone's happy!
These are a crowd pleaser, for sure! Try them and tell me what you think! :)

Pin It
Real Time Web Analytics