Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Buttermilk Blueberry Muffins

So, I have to confess.....breakfast is not my meal of choice. In fact, I'm one of those unhealthy people who tends to skip breakfast in favor of just a few cups of really strong coffee.

I know, I know. Bad choices.

However, I do love muffins for two reasons:

1. They are portable.
2. I can pretend they are cupcakes

This is one of my favorite muffin recipes. I've substituted the heck out of it and they always turn out amazing!

Here's what you'll need:

Blueberries, butter, buttermilk, 1 egg, 1 egg yolk, vanilla, fresh orange peel, flour, sugar, baking powder,  and salt

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease or paper line your muffin tin.

In a large bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients: 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 3/4 teaspoons of salt.

In a separate, smaller bowl, whisk together 1/3 cup of melted butter, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, 1 egg, and 1 egg yolk.

Take your orange and grate about 1/2 tsp of orange peel. I always do a little more because I love citrus.
Add it into the egg/buttermilk mixture and combine.

Add your liquid mixture to the dry ingredients.

Way back when I was in my high school foods class, the teacher told us that whenever you make quick breads or muffins, always create a "well" in the dry mixture and then slowly pour in the liquid mixture. I'll be honest....I'm not exactly sure why this is important, but I always do it. If any of you know the answer, then please share!

Now, dump in your blueberries! The recipe calls for approximately 1 1/2 cups. Sometimes I'll add up to 2 cups. Just because I like fruit. You can be flexible.

Mix until just combined. Don't over-do it.

Divide the batter evenly among your muffin cups.

Now, you can bake them at this point. And they would be fine. Buuut if you want them to be extra fantastic, then you have to make the streusel topping.

Combine 1/3 cup of flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, and 3 Tbsp. butter with either your fingers or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Sprinkle evenly over the batter.

Pop them in the oven and bake them for about 23-25 minutes, or until golden brown.


~ Megan

Saturday, August 21, 2010

S'mores Bars

So...recently I've started this book club. Mostly because I woke up one morning and realized that I hadn't read anything even remotely intellectually stimulating in over a year. Which was a bit alarming for me. Can I share a little bit of my nerdness with you? I used to give myself summer reading assignments. I used to try to fit in at least 5 great classics a summer. But when I started my graduate degree.....leisure reading went straight out the window.

Hence, the book club. We call ourselves the "Park Ave Book Club". Fancy Fancy.

We also really like food. and wine. and baked goods. When I was thinking of something to make I found these s'mores bars at Crepes of Wrath. They were a hit!

Here's what you need:

Butter, brown sugar, white sugar, 1 egg, vanilla, flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking powder, salt, chocolate bars (about 4 to 5 bars), and marshmallow fluff

Cream together 1/2 cup of unsalted butter with 1/4 cup of brown sugar and 1/2 cup of white sugar until it's light and fluffy.

Add in 1 egg and 1 tsp. vanilla extract and keep on mixing.

In a separate bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients: 1 1/3 cups of flour, 3/4 cup graham cracker crumbs, 1 tsp. baking powder, and 1/4 tsp. salt. Whisk it all together until it's all combine and then gradually add to your butter/sugar mixture in the mixing bowl.

Take half of the dough and press it to the bottom of a greased (or lined) 9x9 pan. '

Take your chocolate bars and line the entire dish. You can just break them to make them fit, but they should cover the whole thing.

Now take 1 1/2 cups of marshmallow fluff and spread it on top of the chocolate bars. *Important* I had a whole bunch of marshmallows and was just going to use those instead when I read that using actual marshmallow would make this things turn out hard as a rock when they cooled. Trust me. Just use fluff.

Take the rest of the graham cracker dough and lay it over the top of the marshmallow fluff. This is a bit tricky...since you can't really press it down. I used my hand to flatten out little pieces and then layered them over the top. Don't worry if it's a little funny looking. The dough will expand in the oven and you'll never know.

We've got some nice layering action here.

Place into a preheated oven at 350 degrees. Bake for about 30 - 35 minutes.

Yum. Wait until it cools completely before you cut it. Or else you'll have melty goop everywhere. You have to trust me again.

Cut apart into squares and serve.



Monday, August 16, 2010

Chocolate, Coconut, and Pecan Cookies

I love cookies. Obviously. 

These are one of my all - time favorites. 

Milk chocolate. Coconut. Pecans. There really isn't anything else to say.

I don't even remember where I found this recipe, but it calls for about a cup of each ingredient above. What's wonderful is that if you just double the recipe, you can just throw in a whole bag of each and call it a happy, happy day. 

Here's what you need:
Flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, brown sugar, white sugar, an egg, vanilla, milk chocolate chips, flaked coconut, pecans

In a medium bowl, mix all of your dry ingredients: 1 and 2/3 cup of flour, 3/4 tsp. of baking powder, 1/2 tsp. of baking soda, and 1/2 tsp. of salt.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together 7/8 cup of butter (which is a stick and 6 Tbsp.), 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar, and 1/3 cup of white sugar.

Yum. I love butter and sugar. Too bad it's technically not socially acceptable to eat it this way.

Add in 1 egg and 1 1/2 tsp. of vanilla and mix it all in.

Take out your beaters and dump in 1 cup of milk chocolate chips, 1 cup of flaked coconut, and 1 cup of chopped pecans. Mix them all together with a wooden spoon.

Form little 1inch balls and place them 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. It should make approximately 3 dozen....depending on how much you eat along the way.

Place into an oven that's been preheated to 375 degrees and bake for 8-10 minutes. I like cookies to be *slightly* underdone, so I took them out at exactly 8 minutes. Perfect.

Let them cool on the pan for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack.


~ Megan
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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Coconut Peach Cobbler

So.....do you ever get into these weird phases....where you only want to eat one thing...for weeks on end? Well, this summer, for me it's been coconut. I've gone through more boxes of coconut popsicles than I care to admit and have been adding toasted coconut to almost everything I can think of. So when I saw this recipe in an old Cuisine at Home magazine.....well, it was fate.

Here's what you'll need:
Peaches (about 3 lbs), sugar, coconut, ground ginger, butter, flour, baking powder, table salt, buttermilk, coconut extract, and milk

Get your peaches peeled and sliced and in a bowl. You'll need about 6 cups total. If you want to save some work, you can even use canned peaches. I won't tell.

Toss them with 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup coconut and 1 tsp. of ground ginger.

Place mixture into a deep dish pie plate or a 9x9 square baking dish and dot with 2 Tbsp. butter, cut into small pieces.

In a different bowl, combine all of your dry ingredients: 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, and 1/2 tsp. salt.

Cut in about 1/4 cup of butter  until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Then add in 1/2 cup of coconut, 1/3 cup of buttermilk, and 1 tsp. coconut extract.

Mix it all together, and then form it into a ball. Let it sit for about 5 minutes.

Roll out the ball until it's about an 8 inch circle and around 1/2 inch thick. It's okay if it's a little rough around the edges. Cobbler is not a real fancy thing.

Lay it on top of your fruit mixture. Here's where I made a little mistake....you should have about an inch between the crust and the edge of the pie pan for steam to escape. I didn't....and things got a little messy. Learn from my mistake people.

Brush the top of the crust with 1-2 Tbsp. of milk. (*tip* this not only helps the coconut stick to the crust, but it also makes it shiny and pretty. You can do this to pies as well). Top with 1/2 cup of coconut and throw it into a 400 degree preheated oven for about 25 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).

Ta da! If you don't want your coconut to be this dark (mine definitely got a little crispy) you can cover it with foil for the first 15 minutes or so.

Serve with your favorite ice cream and enjoy!!!

~ Megan
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