Monday, June 16, 2014

Brown Butter Cherry Squares

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I have been so exhausted lately. I feel there aren't enough hours in the day to do all the things I need to get done! But I still find time to bake. :D

Last week, when we went shopping at the fruit and vegetable market, I saw the most amazing looking cherries! Though there were a little expensive, I just couldn't resist and I bought a big box of them!

Most of the time, when we buy fresh cherries, we just wash them and eat them. Really - there's no better way to enjoy fruit. But, this time I decided I would save some to make this recipe I've had bookmarked for a while now. 
The 'brown butter' in the title is enough to get my attention, really. But throw in some fresh cherries and you've sold it! 

Brown Butter Cherry Squares
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the crust
100g salted butter, melted 
1/3 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour

For the filling
Scant 1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla 
A pinch of salt 
1/4 cup flour 
1/2 cup unsalted butter 
450g ripe, fresh cherries 

For the crust
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 
2) Lightly grease an 8x8 square pan and line with parchment paper or aluminum foil. 
3) In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, vanilla and sugar. Add the flour and mix to form a dough. 
4) Press the dough into the lined pan to form a even crust. 
5) Bake in the preheated oven for 18-20 minutes or until lightly golden and puffy. Prepare the filling during this time. Once the base is ready, remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly. Keep the oven on. 
For the filling 
1) Wash the cherries and remove the stems and pits. Set aside. 
2) In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, melt the butter on a medium heat while stirring frequently. Keep cooking until the butter turns golden brown and smells beautifully nutty. Don't overbrown, or you will have burnt butter. Set aside to cool. 
3) In a small bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla till light. 
4) Add the flour and mix till completely incorporated. 
5) Mix in the slightly cooled brown butter. 
6) Arrange the prepared cherries on the pre-cooked base. 
7) Pour the filling over the cherries. 
8) Bake for 30-40 minutes until set and a cake-tester inserted into the center comes clean. 
9) Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan. 
10) Remove from the pan using the aluminum foil/parchment paper. Using a sharp knife, cut into 1" or 2" squares. 
11) Store any leftovers in an airtight box in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. 
I really enjoyed this one. It was very different from anything I have ever eaten. Sort of like a baked custard tart but with more complex flavors. The buttery base, the nutty-custardy filling studded with juicy sweet-tart cherries was just sublime. And the textures were all there too. 

As you can probably tell, mine weren't as pretty and neatly cut as the ones on Smitten Kitchen, but I'm certain they tasted as brilliant as hers. 
I loved this one, and I hope you do too!!

Until next time :)
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Monday, June 9, 2014

Healthy Carrot Breakfast Muffins

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Before we had kids, I was someone who never really considered breakfast to be important. Now I breakfast is one of my favorite meals.
I'm always looking for new and interesting muffins. All of us enjoy muffins and I make muffins at least twice a week (during non-hectic weeks!). Personally, I prefer the savory muffins, but haven't been able to sell it to my daughter. The kids love their sugar hit. 

These muffins are packed with goodness and once you have the carrot and fruit grated/chopped, the muffins come together quite quick! 
Not too sweet, really moist and bursting with flavor, I think you would really enjoy this one! My favorite part of the muffin is the bits of pineapple. Such a juicy burst of flavor in the mouth. Super yum!
Healthy Carrot Apple Muffins
Loosely adapted from Joy the Baker 
2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 whole wheat flour
3 tbsp oat germ/wheat germ 
1/4 cup rolled oats 
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
A generous grating of nutmeg 
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar 
1/3 cup oil 
1 small apple, peeled, cored & grated
1 1/2 cups grated raw carrots 
1/4 cup chopped pineapple (I used canned)
Walnut halves to garnish 

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon powder, nutmeg, oats and oat/wheat germ. Stir well and set aside. 
3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, oil and sugar and whisk for a few minutes. 
4. Add in the grated apple, grated carrot and chopped pineapple. Whisk to combine. 
5. Add the egg mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined and no dry flour mixture is visible. 
6. Spoon/scoop the muffin mixture into your lined muffin tray. Top each muffin with a walnut half. 
7. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until the top of the muffin springs back to the touch and a toothpick/cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
8. Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve warm. 

These muffins are very reminiscent of an old-fashioned carrot cake - moist, fluffy and with that lovely hit of spice. 

I love that these are healthy and that my kids are getting whole grains, fiber, nuts, a vegetable and a couple of fruits in one shot. I think you could even throw in chopped nuts and dried fruit to up the nutrition, flavors and texture. 

Definitely a keeper, this one! 

Until next time... 

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