Thursday, May 8, 2014

Twofer, Thursday!

Cream Cheese Crumble Muffins (keep reading for recipe!)
Many months have passed and it just goes to show that I really suck at that whole consistency thing. Maybe it will improve as I get older. But for now...Hi again!

Let's just get straight to the point, shall we? I can catch you up on my life later. And what is the point, Elle? I'm so glad you asked! The point is, I came up with two recipes just a few weeks ago and said that I would share them at a later, but soonish, time. If you'll please look at your clocks... Yes, that's right. The time is "later, but soonish". So, here you go:

Carrot Cake Oatmeal
Most recipes that I found in my search were baked or overnight slow cooker versions. As I lack patience in the morning, I decided to skip all of the extra work and make things easy on myself. I cooked down some steel-cut oats on the stove top and added the same ingredients I would if I were baking my mom's carrot cake. It was delightful (and fast)!

1 C. steel-cut oats or old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 C. water for steel-cut or 1 C. for old-fashioned
1 1/2 C. milk/almond milk for steel-cut or 1 C. for old-fashioned
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
2 Tbsp. apple sauce
1/4 C. raisins or dried cranberries
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
a pinch of ground clove
1-2 Tbsp light brown sugarshredded coconut and toasted pecans/walnuts/almonds and cream (optional for topping)

In a medium sauce pan bring the milk and water to a low boil. Stir in the oats, salt, and spices. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 to 8 minutes (depending on the kind of oats you chose to use; steel-cut cook longer). Then, add the carrot and raisins. Continue to simmer for an addition 5 to 8 minutes, or until the oats come to your desired consistency. Last, stir in the applesauce and brown sugar. Serve topped with shredded coconut, toasted nuts, or a splash of cream.

 Cream Cheese Crumble Muffins
I was looking for a yummy treat to make for my husband, son, and father as a "thank you!" for waking up incredibly early on a Saturday to support me in running my first 5k. I wanted to try a cheesecake muffin. My husband wanted a crumb cake muffin. I met him in the middle with this recipe. It's adapted from a recipe I saw on Your Homebased Mom. She adapted from someone else and so forth and so on. Completely original ideas are hard to come by anyway... But I'm here to tell you, I'm pretty sure I could bake my way out of trouble with these. They are delicious muffins! You just have to watch them like a hawk. They over bake very quickly and become dry if you don't pull them out of the oven at just the right time.

Muffins and filling:
3 C. all-purpose flour
2 C. granulated sugar, divided
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 C. milk
1/2 C. vegetable or light cooking oil
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tsp. lemon zest
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1 C. granulated sugar
1/4 C. butter, softened

Start by preheating the oven to about 375 degrees F. Prepare two 12-cup muffin tins by spraying them lightly on the edges and between the cups with pan spray, then lining the cups with paper liners. In a small bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, one cup of sugar*, lemon zest, and lemon juice; set aside. In another small bowl, combine all of the ingredients for the crumb topping. Mix very well until it is crumbly; set aside. In a large bowl, place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Next, add the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix just until combined. This will be an extremely thick batter. You may need to add a little more milk to be sure all of the dry ingredients are moist and blended. Gently mix only half of the cream cheese mixture into the muffin batter. Then, fill each muffin cup about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Using a small spoon, place a dollop of the remaining cream cheese mixture on top of each filled cup, gently pressing it into the batter slightly. The cream cheese does not have to be covered by the batter completely as it will sink to the middle during baking. Generously sprinkle the crumb topping over each muffin-to-be, place in the oven, and bake for about 25 minutes. They should be a light golden brown and spring back when gentle pressure is applied to the edges. Allow them to cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes.

*I found that I could cut back on the sugar in the cream cheese filling. I used about a half a cup and it still tasted lovely. If you choose to do this, add 1/3 of the filling directly into the batter. Save 2/3 for filling the centers of the muffins.

If you try either or both of these recipes, I hope you enjoy them! If you have questions you can send me an e-mail, leave a comment, or find me through various social media outlets.

<3 Elle

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Surprisingly not awful "awffles"

Strawberries are out of season right now. So if you use strawberries
on your waffles, they better be from the freezer! If they aren't, I'll
 hunt you down and yell at you!
My son loves all manner of breakfast foods. "Cancakes" are his absolute favorite, followed closely by "awffles". Then "yohgert". When he's all grown up and can say words properly, I know I'm going to miss the way he speaks now. Anyway...back to awffles. I've had some pretty great waffles in my life, but have had a tough time getting them just right when making them at home. I finally found a recipe a few years ago that beats any other that I've ever tried. Then I played around with it and found that I could make 2 different kinds of waffles with 2 simple ingredient switches. The first kind (and my personal favorite) is the light, crisp, airy waffle. The second (and equally delicious) is the slightly dense, moist waffle that is crisp just around the edges. Please don't mistake that for meaning soggy. It's just not as feathery as the original recipe. Without much more ado, here you go!

Affles! (recipe adapted from Fine Cooking)

3/4 C. AP Flour
1/4 C. cornstarch
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 C. milk
1/4 C. buttermilk
6 Tbsp. veg oil (coconut oil works well, too)
1 large egg, separated
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 150 degrees. Take a cooling rack and put it on a sheet pan. Place this in the oven to stay warm as well. Or, if your oven happens to be spotless, you can place the cooked waffles straight on the rack. The point of this is to keep them warm AND crisp until they are ready to serve. You should also go ahead and preheat your waffle iron while you're mixing up the batter.

In a bowl, mix the flour, cornstarch, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together well. In a separate bowl or large measuring cup, mix the milks, egg yolk, and oil together. Set aside. In yet another bowl, beat the egg white with the sugar and vanilla until the firm peak stage. Gather up all your bowls, make sure you've given your dishwasher a little pep talk, and you can finally make your batter. Mix the milk mixture into the flour, just until the ingredients start to come together. Next, gently fold in the egg white.

Cook the waffles according to the way your temperamental machine will allow you to without scorching the suckers. The recipe suggests about 1/2 C. batter per waffle in a standard waffle iron. I like my waffles about the same color as a pancake- nice and golden. Once each waffle is done, place it in the warm oven on the prepared pan or straight on the rack.

For the more dense and moist version, skip the cornstarch. Use 1 C. of AP flour instead. You should also interchange the milk measurements. Use 3/4 C. of buttermilk and 1/4 C. regular milk.

I've been absent the last few weeks. I swear I'm not trying to abandon anyone, I just got busy. Life happens. I am already back to writing and have those posts I've been promising nearly ready to go. So please, watch this space!

I would like to thank/blame my friend J**** for this post. While this actually all started during a Facebook conversation, it's so much easier to type out a recipe here than it is with the limited formatting options of a Facebook comment.

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