blueberrymuffinlemoncurd

The start of this recipe began with 6 left over egg yolks. From there it evolved to something quite beautiful. The perfect blueberry muffin. A little bit of homemade lemon curd and the best blueberry muffin recipe I have produced the most wonderfully moist, sweet, tangy and delicious  muffin I’ve ever tasted. The batter is sturdy, and just sweet enough. The bright citrus flavor and sweet juicy blueberries taste like a sunny summer’s day. Make the lemon curd yourself or buy a store bought version. You can also use fresh blueberries but I do recommend frozen as they’re easier to mix in without turning the whole batter blue. It’s a pretty simple straight forward recipe, and you can start munching within 10 minutes of the muffins being out of the oven. In fact, I suggest that you do! They taste amazing warm! On a cold snowy day like today I think we could all use a little taste of summer.

blueberrymuffintin

Blueberry Lemon Curd Muffins

Servings: 12
Ingredients:

  • 1 Stick Room Temperature Butter
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Zest of one Lemon, plus 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Tbsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Milk, (I used 2% but whole is fine)
  • 1 Cup Frozen blueberries.
  • Lemon Curd  for filling (about 1 tsp per muffin)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. In a stand mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar on medium speed.
  3. Once sugar and butter is creamed add beaten egg and mix until incorporated.
  4. Scrap bowl.
  5. Mix in lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla on medium-low until combined. If necessary, scrape bowl again.
  6. On low, slowly mix in flour and baking powder, scraping bowl when needed.
  7. Once flour mixture is well incorporated, add milk and mix on low until batter is a smooth thick consistency.
  8. Once Batter is mixed, transfer to a large shallow mixing bowl. Fold in frozen blueberries,  1/4 cup at a time being careful not to over mix.  You don’t want your batter to be dyed blue!
  9. Spray a 12 muffin tin with nonstick spray.
  10. Divide half the batter among the 12 muffin cups.
  11. Scoop 1 tsp of lemon curd onto each muffin. This can be homemade curd or store bought.
  12. Divide remaining batter among the 12 muffins.
  13. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or when inserting a toothpick it comes out clean.

blueberrymuffincloseup

Allow muffins to cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes before removing. Enjoy right away or store for up to a week in an airtight container.

 

gingergranolabars

Servings: 8

Time: 45 mins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Cups Rolled Oats
  • 1/3 Cup Flax Seeds
  • 1/2 Cup Raw cashews, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/3 Cup candied ginger, finely chopped
  • 6 Dried figs, roughly chopped
  • 2/3 Cup Agave syrup, maple syrup, or honey. Keep in mind it’s no longer vegan if you use honey.
  • 1/3 Cup coconut oil, melted

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Line a pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray.  Lining pan with foil makes for easy removal and clean up.
  3. In a large mixing bowl combine the oats, seeds, nuts, ginger, and figs and stir til combined.
  4. Stir in oil and syrup to coat all ingredients evenly.
  5. Spread mixture onto baking pan and press firmly.
  6. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown.
  7. Let bars cool COMPLETELY in pan before removing.
  8. Once bars are cool, remove from pan, and cut into 8 bars.

Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

 

 

chocoavocadopie2

Crazy, I know!

I just started dipping my feet in to the art of vegan baking. The bakery I work for has a small selection of gluten-free and vegan desserts so I’m using a lot of butter, cream, and eggs on a daily basis. While at home, I’m trying to work in healthy alternatives to the sweets that I adore.

avochocopiesmini1

Since baking is my career of choice it should come to no surprise that I have a wicked sweet tooth! It’s also no surprise to those who know me that I am an avocado fiend. So, combining the two only seems natural. I know there’s a ton of chocolate avocado pudding recipes floating around now. It took me this long just to try it, and I have no idea why! Now that I’ve gotten my taste for something truly amazing (and healthy!) I feel I must share it with the rest of you!


Ingredie
nts: 

Crust:

  • 1/2 Cup Pecans, chopped
  • 1/2 Cup Rolled Oats (certified gluten-free)
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Flakes
  • 2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, melted
  • 2 Tbsp Maple Syrup

Filling:

  • 2 Medium sized ripe avocados
  • 2 Cups coconut milk (canned or refrigerated)
  • 1/2 – 3/4 Cup Maple syrup, depending how sweet you like it
  • 1/4 Cup dark cocoa powder
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Directions:

For crust:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine pecans, rolled oats, and coconut flakes in a food processor and pulse until resembling a course meal (about 30 seconds).
  3. Add melted coconut oil and maple syrup and blend again until combined.
  4. For mini pies, spray a mini muffin tin with nonstick spray. Divide pie crust evenly and press down each pie crust lightly to form a packed crust.  *
  5. Bake for 10 minutes or until crust starts to turn golden brown.

For the filling:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy.
  2. Once pie crusts are cooled, remove from pan using a spoon.
  3. Place pie crusts onto mini muffin liners or serving dish, whichever you prefer. **
  4. Pipe pudding mixture onto pie crusts. About 1 Tbsp per pie crust.
  5. Top with coconut flakes, chopped nuts, cocoa nibs, sprinkles, whatever you like!
* For a full pie crust, spray an 8 inch pie pan with non-stick spray. Pour pie crust into pan and spread out to an even layer, pressing down crust to form a packed crust. Bake for 10- 12 minutes or until golden brown.

** For full pie, spoon out pudding mixture onto cooled pie crust and smooth out. Garnish with nuts, or coconut shavings. Or top with your favorite vegan cream topping!

Not sure what to get your sweetie for Valentine’s Day? I have a couple recipes for you that are so easy you can bake these babies up AND devour them in less than 20 minutes! However, if these are a gift, I don’t suggest doing such a thing. I know it can be rather difficult to ignore your inner cookie monster but please try! Your sweetie will love you for it!

20121113_183827

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Natural Peanutbutter
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Vanilla extract
  • Sea Salt

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture reaches a smooth even consistency.
  3. Scoop about a tablespoon of cookie batter onto a baking sheet.
  4. With a fork, press down cookie in a criss-cross pattern.
  5. Sprinkle cookies with a little bit of sea salt.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden.
  7. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

Optional: Add half a cup of chopped dark chocolate to the cookie batter for some added yum!

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better…

vdaycookies

Flourless Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Unsalted Natural Peanut butter
  • 2/3 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Cocoa Powder
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup white chocolate chips
  • Sprinkles for decoration.

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients except for the white chocolate chips. Stir with a wooden spoon until mixture reaches a smooth even consistency.
  3. Stir in white chocolate chips.
  4. Scoop about a tablespoon of cookie batter onto a baking sheet.
  5. With a fork, press down cookie in a criss-cross pattern.
  6. Optional: Sprinkle cookies with hearts!
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes.
  8. Cool cookies for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack.

trufflemac1Truffle Mac & Cheese

This is the best mac and cheese I’ve ever put in my mouth. It’s rich, it’s earthy, and the onions add a slight sweetness to this indulgent savory dish. The smell of the truffle is heavenly, and once you’ve had that first bite you won’t be able to stop eating it! I love this recipe. And I especially love Trader Joe’s for carrying this amazing and affordable cheese.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb pasta: orecchiette (pictured), macaroni,  cavatappi or whatever you prefer.
  • 1 Cup panko bread crumbs

Caramelized Onions:

  • 2 Small onions, halved and sliced
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp Cream Sherry
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

Cheese Sauce:

  • 2 Cups Whole Milk
  • 8 oz  Trader Joe’s Italian Truffle Cheese , grated
  • 4 oz Sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • 2 Tbsp Flour
  • 1 Tsp freshly ground pepper
  • Kosher salt to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat butter and olive oil for the caramelized onions.
  3. Add onions to saute pan and cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat until tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add garlic to onions and continue to cook  until onions are starting to caramelize.
  5. Once onions are caramelized, add the cream sherry to the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes.
  6. When the sherry has been absorbed, remove onions from heat and set aside.
  7. Fill a large pot with water and a pinch of salt, bring to a boil. Once water is boiling add pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes, until al dente. Drain.
  8. In a sauce pan, heat up milk, stirring occasionally. Once milk is just about to boil, remove from heat and set aside.  (This can also be done using a microwave by putting milk in a microwave safe dish and microwaving on high for 3 minutes or when milk is just about to boil. Keep an eye on it!)
  9. In a large sauce pan, melt butter and add flour to create a roux. Whisk flour and butter over low heat for 2 minutes.
  10. Slowly whisk in hot milk and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  11. Once milk has thickened to a creamy consistency, remove from heat and add the cheese, salt, and pepper.
  12. In a large bowl, mix together sauce, pasta, and onions. Pour mixture into a 9×9 baking dish.
  13. Top pasta mixture with bread crumbs and freshly ground black pepper.
  14. Bake for 40 minutes or until bread crumbs are golden brown and edges are crispy.
  15. Try not to eat it all immediately.

carrotspearscurrymayo01012013

Spiced Carrot Frites with Curry Mayo

Spicy, fragrant, and warming. This dish is super easy and perfect on a cold winter day. Serve it up as a side dish, a snack or a lunch.

Spiced Carrot Ingredients:

  • 1 Bunch Petite Carrots, sliced in half length-wise
  • Pinch of each: cinnamon, nutmeg (freshly grated), ground ginger
  • 2 tsp Olive Oil
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Curry Mayo:

  • 1 Cup  Mayo
  • 2 tsp Curry Powder

Method:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350.
  2. Line a sheet pan with foil.
  3. In a mixing bowl, toss carrots in oil. Add spices, salt, and pepper, and toss again to coat. This is a very lightly seasoned dish but feel free to add as much or as little spice as you’d like. You could even add a pinch of cayenne for some heat.
  4. Place carrots on sheet pan in a single layer and place in the pre-heated oven.
  5. Roast for 15 minutes then flip carrots over to roast for 15 minutes longer, until they’re slightly browned. Pierce with a fork to check for done-ness. They should be soft but not mush!
  6. While carrots are roasting you can whip up the curry mayo. This is extremely easy and takes only a matter of minutes! Start by measuring out 2 tsp of curry powder. In a small non-stick skillet, toast the curry powder on the stove top over medium heat for about a minute and a half. Move spices around with a wooden spoon to ensure spices toast evenly. Toasting the curry powder activates natural oils in the spices,  enhancing flavor and aroma. Trust me, just smelling the difference will have you hooked on this method!
  7. Once your curry powder is toasted, transfer to a small bowl. Wait a few minutes for the powder to cool back to room temperature before adding mayo.
  8. Mix mayo and curry powder to a smooth even consistency.

Serve frites immediately with curry mayo on the side for dipping.

gingerbreadbears01122012Ginger Bread Bears

Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 stick butter (softened)
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar (packed)
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Method:

  1. Sift flour, spices, salt and baking soda into a medium sized bowl.
  2. In your stand mixer bowl (or large bowl) cream together butter, light brown sugar, and shortening to smooth consistency. About 1-2 minutes.
  3. Scrape bowl.
  4. Beat in egg, molasses, and vanilla until combined. About 1 minute.
  5. Scrape bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
  6. On the lowest speed setting gradually add the dry mixture to the butter and sugar mixture.
  7. Continue to mix on low speed until the mixture forms a stiff dough.
  8. Divide dough into two balls.
  9. Wrap each ball of dough in wax paper and refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Once dough has chilled for at least 3 hours it is ready to be rolled out and cut into desired shapes.
  10.  Pre-heat oven to 350.
  11. Using flour to lightly dust the surface of your table or counter top, roll out dough to approximately 1/4 inch thickness. Continue to dust surface with flour when necessary to prevent sticking.  Keep dough chilled by reforming balls and refrigerating for 5 minutes after rolling out and cutting shapes. This will make for a more tender cookie as well as make it easier to roll and cut.
  12. Cut dough into desired shapes using your favorite cookie cutters. In this case I used bears.
  13. Place the cookies on a cookie sheet that’s lined with parchment paper.
  14. Bake cookies on the middle and top racks for 10 minutes, rotating half way through.
  15. Let the cookies cool on the sheet pan for  2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to finish cooling.
  16. Decorate using the royal icing recipe below!

frostingbears122012

Royal Icing:

Ingredients:

  • 4 Cups Powdered sugar
  • 3 Tbsp Meringue powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 Cup water

Method:

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix together the powered sugar and meringue powder for 1 minute.
  2. Add the vanilla and water and mix on low to a smooth consistency.
  3. If it’s too thick, add a tiny amount of water gradually until you reach the desired thickness.
  4. To keep the icing from drying out, cover bowl with a damp cloth.