Peach Cobbler Muffin

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I have been staring at a counter full of peaches this week and trying to come up with uses for them before they start to attract fruit flies or get mushy.  We have enjoyed fresh peaches in our oatmeal, grilled peaches in our salad, peach sorbet, and we just ate some.  Plain and simple.  I set to work the other morning to freeze quite a few, using this method.  Besides enjoying the taste of a peach smoothie somewhere in the midst of late October or November, I have found several other reasons to freeze the peaches.  There are some great beverage recipes that use frozen peaches that I hope to enjoy in the next few weeks in addition to breakfast smoothies.

Knowing Little Miss Mixture has a sweet tooth, I offered to let her assist with baking a peach pie or cobbler, but she wasted muffins instead.  I really liked this idea as we are nearing the end of summer, which means earlier mornings and the need to have a quick breakfast before school.  Muffins, like pancakes and waffles freeze well and are a pleasant surprise on random mornings as we head out the door.

Yesterday afternoon we made blueberry muffins, using this recipe that I found a few months ago.  It is amazing the flavor that fresh blueberries provide.

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Next up was to make a batch of peach muffins.  I recall making a peach muffin several years ago that had a streusel type topping, but I could not find the recipe, so I took the basic blueberry recipe concept and made some changes.  I love cinnamon especially when it is paired with peaches.

 

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I used brown sugar rather than white sugar and added cinnamon and nutmeg.  The muffin batter was thinner than the blueberry batter as it was hard to avoid peach juice getting into it, but the muffins cooked up nicely and once cool they were perfect.  In fact if you closed your eyes you may not know if you were eating a muffin or some cobbler.

Peach Cobbler Muffins       Printable Recipe

Ingredients

  • 5 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3/4 Cup sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 11/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided
  • ¼ tsp. Nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 Cups all – purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup peaches chopped, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.
  2. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well, then sour cream. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to the wet ingredients. Mix until combined.
  3. In a small bowl mix chopped peaches with 2 Tbsp. brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon. Coat the peaches well and allow to sit for a minute for excess juice to drain.
  4. Gently fold in your peaches, trying not to allow all the drained juice to get into the batter. Spoon or scoop the dough into the muffin tin.  Filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.  Don’t forget to fill the empty muffin cups about 1/2 full of water so your pan does not burn.
  5. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool on rack and serve.  Be sure to enjoy at least a bite when they are warm as that is when they are definitely at their best.
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Homemade Croutons

Homemade Croutons

Day old bread, if available

olive oil or butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut or tear bread into cubes about 1-2 inches in size. Toss bread in olive oil until lightly coated. Spread on a baking sheet and cook for 15 minutes. You can season with salt, pepper, or herbs of choice if you want a particular flavor. For the caesar salad I simply used olive oil knowing the dressing would be the prominent flavor.

Homemade Croutons

 

Back to Basics – A Blueberry Muffin

IMG_2935IMG_2936I think we go through food phases sort of like a person changes moods, or the seasons change.

I have not made muffins in awhile. And I think the reason is because I struggle with a love for muffins and knowing they are not the healthiest option for breakfast.  Also muffins seem to be best the day they are made and too often we are left with too many muffins that are not exactly the flavor we prefer.

I have dabbled with whole wheat muffins, gluten free muffins, and low fat and low sugar muffins, but only a few have hit the right balance of flavor and texture.

I recently got some local blueberries which I enjoy.  However blueberries have mixed reviews in our house.  We traveled to Maine for the last few summers and after being introduced to Maine wild blueberries, Little Miss Mixture became a little bit of a blueberry snob.  Until this week she had avoided blueberries unless they were Maine wild blueberries.  For those who are unfamilar wild blueberries are much smaller and have a sweeter flavor.  When I bought the local ones Little Miss Mixture indicated she did not want them, but when I presented the German Pancake Sunday morning she ate them.

With just over a week of school left, Little Miss has decided she is bored with some of the lunch and snack items, so I mentioned I could make muffins.  She answered YES and requested blueberry.

Funny thing blueberry muffins are probably the most popular muffins, but something I have never made from scratch.  I scoured recipes looking for one that was a nice balance of sweet and healthy.  I knew I was going to stay away from whole wheat with my first attempt, but what caught my eye was a recipe that was already halved.  Perfect if they are not to our fancy less ingredients have been used and less wasted.  Also one of my favorite quick breads incorporates sour cream, so I liked the idea of a muffin recipe that did the same.

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Blueberry Muffin

5 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream or plain yogurt
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 10 liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray.

Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy.  Add egg and beat well, then sour cream. Put flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a sifter and sift half of dry ingredients over batter. Mix until combined. Sift remaining dry ingredients into batter and add cinnamon, and mix just until the flour disappears. Gently fold in your blueberries. The dough will be quite thick.  Spoon or scoop the dough into the muffin tin.  Filling each muffin cup about 3/4 full.  Don’t forget to fill the empty muffin cups about 1/2 full of water so your pan does not burn.

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Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean. Let cool on rack and serve.  They are best when still slightly warm.

* recipe was adapted from one that appeared on Smitten Kitchen and originally comes from Cooks Illustrated.  I like cinnamon so I chose to omit the lemon zest and add cinnamon.  I also added a pinch of nutmeg but to some that may be overpowering.

Blueberry Muffin Printer Version

 

Orange Popovers

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Popovers and I have history.  Funny thing is I  never introduced my family to them until this past fall.  I would probably put them in the Treasure Chest of recipes, but I guess they got buried for the past fifteen years. Popovers are simple, take very few ingredients and are almost foolproof, or so I thought.

As a dietetic student in college I had a textbook that was a cookbook.  It was my senior year internship and I was living alone, so I had to learn how to make meals for one. When you are living in the lake effect snow region of the United States one cannot survive on salad alone.  I would often decide on a meal or two I wanted that I could make ahead and heat when I returned home from the hospital each night.   I had a couple of casseroles that I learned to make, but then I would be left with extra ingredients.  This happened a couple of times with eggs and milk.  So I began searching my Good Housekeeping cookbook to determine a way to use up my ingredients before they went bad, I found popovers took little more than milk and eggs and they were fairly quick to make.  I had a ceramic baking dish so rather than individual popovers, I made a giant one. My first attempt was a success and the light fluffy bread was a perfect accompaniment for myself on a salad night.

Fast forward to a recent family vacation and my father was awstruck by fresh popovers he found at a local farmers market.  So I decided to dig out my recipe from the trusty Good Housekeeping Cookbook, which I still have and reference occasionally, and give them a try.  Needless to say Mr. Mixture and Little Miss Mixture were very happy and a little taken back that I had never made these for them before.  They have now been made several times over this past winter.

As I browse pinterest I have seen a lot of popover recipes, one in particular caught my eye for coconut and dark chocolate.  I gave them a try. but was not happy with the consistency of them.  That is not to say I will not attempt them again, but when I think popover I want light and fluffy so if it does not rise to double what the batter began as, it is not the taste I am looking for.

Determined to make a sweeter more unique popover for a brunch, I decided why recreate the wheel.  So I referenced my trusty recipe and decided to tweak it by adding some orange zest and orange extract.  The result was a light and refreshing taste.  I also had some leftover grated chocolate from my failed coconut and dark chocolate popover attempt, so 6 of the mini popovers got that tossed in the batter as well.  Again a success. If you are looking for a light bread to go with a meal, a brunch, or you need to use up your milk and eggs give popovers a try.

Mini Orange Popovers

Ingredients

3 eggs

1 cup milk

3 Tbsp. melted butter

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp orange extract

2 tsp grated orange zest

3 Tbsp. grated chocolate (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease 24 mini muffin cups

2. In a large bowl with mixer at low speed beat eggs until frothy.  Beat in milk and melted butter.

3. Continue at low speed and beat flour and salt into egg mixture

4. Add orange extract and orange zest and beat until well blended.  If adding chocolate do so at the end and store to incorporate.

5. Spoon batter into mini muffin cups filling each about 3/4 full

6. Bake in preheated oven at 375 for about 50 minutes

Popovers are best served warm.

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Printer Version mini orange popovers

Coconut Zucchini Bread

HAPPY NATIONAL ZUCCHINI BREAD DAY

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Who is behind all these national days to celebrate random food, historians, and other things in our life?  I enjoy these days but I went to share the history of this day because I myself wondered when was it created?  Is it a new holiday?  Is it an old favorite?  Did holidays such as these even exist before the world of the internet, food blogs, twitter?

Now I am at a complete loss.  I can not provide you the history as I am not even sure what day is the actual National Zucchini Bread day anymore.  Am I two days late, one day early, or just in time?  The majority of the items that come up in the GOOGLE search engine when “National Zucchini Bread Day” is typed in are from the last three years.  Most reference April 25th, but I came across a webpage from 2006 that indicates National Zucchini Day is April 23rd always.  In fact it appears the person who wrote this page had the same idea as I.  To find the history of this day. Another random one from 2014 indicated April 23rd as well.  But wikipedia, , national day calendar, and a couple of blogs such as FoodimentaryAlmanac of Eats,  and American Food and Drinks all show April 25th as National Zucchini Bread Day and yes some of these have been around since 2006 or before.

Regardless of what day it is sometime this week marked National Zucchini Bread day and we are celebrating.

I have always enjoyed Zucchini bread and have been amazed how it transforms into a sweet delicate bread, muffin, cake.  I have tried to make certain recipes healthier and I know quick breads are not the healthier way to start the day even if they do include a vegetable or a fruit, but I just cannot seem to find a whole grain version that has the delicate balance that I enjoy. The closest one I have have is this recipe by Prevention RD that I substituted 1/2 cup maple syrup for the sugar. If I am going to enjoy a muffin or quick bread, I need it to be moist and light and whole wheat version are just too dense.

I have altered several recipes to decrease the sugar and increase the nutritional benefits by using healthier ingredients.  Here is my recent favorite. The recipe provided makes 1 loaf or 2 mini loaves.  This is half the amount of most recipes as I find I prefer to make it fresh and enjoy than to freeze it for a later time.

Coconut Zucchini Bread

1/2 cup coconut oil, in melted form

1 egg plus 1 1/2 Tbsp. beaten egg (1 1/2 eggs)

1 cup grated zucchini

3/4 cup maple syrup

2 tsp. cinnamon

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour (I use all-purpose)

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

2 Tbsp.  and 2 tsp. shredded unsweetened coconut, divided

Optional Add ins or substitutions for the coconut: Walnuts, Chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together and pour into prepared loaf pan, reserving the 2 tsp. coconut.  Top the loaf/loaves with coconut as it will toast up nicely while the bread cooks.  If you are using a mini loaf pan like mine that the spot for 4 loaves do not forget to fill about 1″ of water in the empty ones to avoid the pan from burning.

Bake 350 degrees approx. 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

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