Category Archives: Baking

Banana Muffins: Just like Grandma used to make.

Well almost.  They are almost like Grandma used to make.  I’ve replaced a few things, changed the recipe slightly and added some chocolate but let me tell you, Grandma’s essence is the heart of these addictive beauties.  I am absolutely delighted with the outcome of these muffins.

I started with my grandma’s recipe and tweaked some of the ingredients.  The result is a slightly healthier albeit equally delicious rendition of her recipe.  It’s so good.  If you have bananas that are soft, make these tonight!  Your breakfast tomorrow will be the best part of your day.

If you’ve noted the Thomas the Tank Engine wrappers please understand that I live with a two year old who is obsessed with trains and cars.  Imagine the devastation when he realizes we need to remove them in order to eat the muffins. 

Banana Muffins
just like Grandma made 

Ingredients:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 c soy milk
  • 3/4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 2/3 c brown sugar
  • 1 scant c unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  •  4 extremely ripe bananas
  • Optional: 1 c chocolate chips
Instructions:
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Line 2 muffin tins with liners.  Lightly spray each liner with cooking spray.
  • Cream bananas, sugars, applesauce, and vanilla.  Set aside. 
  • Combine soy milk with the apple cider vinegar to create sour milk.  Stir and set aside. 
  • Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and corn starch. 
  • Alternating dry ingredients with the sour milk, add to the banana mixture and stir until just combined. 
  • If using the chocolate chips stir them in. 
  • Bake for 20-23 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. 
  • Enjoy! 
Extra Information:

  • This makes 24 good size muffins.
  • There are many add ins that would work with these.  I think walnuts would be delicious.  Some coconut or chopped dried fruit might be nice.  Anything your heart desires {and believes would go with banana} is a welcome addition.  Create your own masterpiece!  
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge {dairy free}

Lately I’ve been dreaming of fudge.  The chocolate the melts in your mouth and contains loads of butter and milk.  The kind that is delicious and whipped up by my mother in her kitchen.  You know the kind I’m talking about.  Sadly as I no longer eat butter or milk I can’t indulge in my Mom’s recipe.  Also I’m exhausted after church on Sundays so when I want a treat it has to be easy.   This is my easy, lazy fudge.  So good!  Dairy free!  It’s probably something I shouldn’t eat every day but I figure once in a while won’t likely hurt me.  There are four ingredients and it takes about 20 minutes to pull it all together.   After a couple of hours in the fridge you’ll find yourself with a nice soft fudge square.  Life couldn’t be sweeter.

Cheater Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge

Ingredients:

  • 3 c chocolate chips {we used dairy free}
  • 1 c natural peanut butter
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 cup + 2 tbsp soy milk

Instructions:

  • Grease a 9×9 cooking pan.  Set aside.
  • Combine the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of soy milk in a small bowl until smooth.  Set aside.
  • Combine the chocolate chips, peanut butter and remaining soy milk in a sauce pan.
  • Melt the mixture over medium-low to medium heat until smooth and lump free.
  • Add the cornstarch mixture to the chocolate and stir until completely combined and the mixture is smooth again.
  • Remove from heat and beat the mixture by hand until it thickens {approximately 10 minutes or so}
  • Pour the mixture into a pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • This isn’t your typical hard fudge.  It’s a smooth soft fudge that cuts well and you can definitely get pieces of it to serve individually.
  • This is extremely decadent.  Very little is needed to satisfy a chocolate craving.  If you freeze it you can enjoy some as needed.
  • I used the Enjoy Life brand of chocolate chips.  They are delicious!  If you can get your hand on a bag, try them.  You won’t regret it.

Carrot Cake Muffins

I flipped through recipe books quite a lot this week looking for perfect superbowl recipes.   I knew from the very start of planning that the layered taco dip I make would have to be served along with some other treats my family loves but I wanted something sweet to finish off the evening and I couldn’t find the right one.  I got to work and picked out a few recipes, narrowed them down and then changed my mind this morning.  I threw caution to the wind today and made a healthy version of my Coconut Lime Cupcakes.  Then to make sure no one left hungry {highly unlikely but you never know} a dozen carrot cake muffins.

Here is the Carrot Cake Muffin Recipe.  They were delicious! I began with the Happy Herbivore Recipe and then made some changes to make them my own. When one is cooking healthy muffins with no oil, moisture can be a problem.  As a result I boosted the applesauce to make sure they didn’t dry out.  I’ve made them both ways and I have to say I like the changes better.  The addition of the walnuts and raisins makes it a truer carrot cake and the added applesauce keeps everything moist.  I will definitely make these again!

These muffins are healthy enough to be eaten for breakfast and tasty enough to be iced and served as dessert.  If you don’t tell people they’re made with whole wheat flour, they will never know!

Enjoy!

Carrot Cake Muffins

(As you can see 2 are already missing from the dozen!  They are so good.) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 c whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 c sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine salt
  • 2 scant c applesauce
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 c raisins
  • 1 large carrot shredded

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place muffin liners in pan and grease lightly with cooking spray
  • In a small bowl combine applesauce, shredded carrot, chopped walnuts, raisins and vanilla.  Set aside.
  • In a large bowl whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.  Mix well.
  • Fill 12 muffin cups.
  • Bake for 23-27 minutes.
  • Once the muffins are done, place on a cooling rack.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • The muffin cups will be very full.  It’s completely fine.  They will be nice big moist muffins but not the mutant size muffins you see in coffee shops.  Don’t worry about them overflowing as they cook.  They don’t rise that much {as you can see in the picture}.
  • Don’t over bake them.  You want to make sure that the fork/toothpick comes clean of course but if you bake them for too long they may dry out.  Moisture is a good thing.
  • Feel free to mix up the add ins if you so desire.

Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

When X. was born, we were at the hospital everyday for close to a month.  We got to know the facility like the back of our hands and there was a Tim Horton’s in the basement (a very tiny Tim’s) that served much better muffins and coffee than the cafeteria.  Everyday when we ate lunch we would head down stairs and take our freshly packed soup out of our lunch bags and finish it off with a Chocolate Chip muffin.  It became a problem for us.  We loved them that much.

The Tim Horton’s Chocolate Chip muffin is deadly.  According to the Tim Horton’s  website, it comes with 410 calories, 15 gm of fat, 2 gm of fibre.  It’s more cake than muffin and definitely not the healthiest dessert choice.  Calorie wise it’s better to eat a donut!

Since that time I’ve tried to stay as far away from those muffins as I can.  They are much too high in calories and fat for my liking and the fibre leaves a lot to be desired.  I had always wanted to make my own version, but I never got around to it until now.  I can thank an afternoon spent with a toddler who wouldn’t sleep and needed many activities to keep him happy for this recipe.  They are very good and much healthier than the Tim’s version.  No added oils, whole wheat flour and a healthy dose of cinnamon make these a keeper.  I’ve already made a second batch and the last muffin was eaten today.  I guess I’d best get back in the kitchen.

I hope you give these a try if you’re looking for a healthier option in your muffin repertoire.  They are delicious!

Healthier Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ingredients:

  • 2 C whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 c sugar (I used cane sugar in one batch and white sugar in another.  They both turned out great).
  • 1/2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 scant c applesauce
  • 3/4 c milk (I used soy but I’m sure any variety would be fine).
  • 1 c chocolate chips

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Prepare the muffin tin by placing liners in cups and lightly spraying the liners with cooking spray.
  • In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar.
  •  In a small bowl combine cornstarch and milk beating the mixture with a small whisk or fork to remove all lumps.
  • Add apple sauce to the cornstarch mixture.
  • Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until combined.
  • Fold the chocolate chips into the batter.
  • Evenly distribute the batter between all muffin cups.
  • Place muffins in the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, or until done.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • I lightly spray the liners to ensure that the muffin comes out.  When you cook with no added oil, the liners tend to stick.  If you forget this step you might lose 1/4-1/3 of your muffin on the bottom.  It doesn’t need a lot of spray, just a little and it saves you a lot of hassle when you want to eat your muffin.
  • The muffin cups will be very full of batter once you distribute everything evenly.  Don’t worry about this.  Your muffins will rise nicely, shouldn’t make a mess and everything will turn out fine.

Peppermint Christmas Cups

There are many things I love about Christmas.  There’s the baby Jesus, the Christmas tree, bad Christmas movies and good Christmas movies.  All of these are wonderful and I feel that each experience is enhanced with peppermint {except maybe Jesus, I think he stands on his own}. The flavor of mint at this time of year seems to bring back all kinds of Christmas memories and really adds some festive flair.

One of those memories is a weekend long ago that I spent at my Grandma’s with my cousins.  We were busy of course and a visit to Grandma’s always involved a little bit of baking.  That weekend Grandma decided we should learn how to make Peppermint Patties and they were delicious.  Unfortunately we left with no recipe and just memories.  My grandmother is like that.  She throws things together and it works out brilliantly.   This year, I decided to recreate that experience.  One bite of these Peppermint Christmas Cups and I’m transported back to that Christmas long ago.

These cups are for all the mint lovers out there.  They are beautiful, delicious and perfect for entertaining.  Once you peel the wrapping away you see the various layers and it’s quite a lovely effect.  I would have taken another picture of them unwrapped but the cup just jumped into my mouth after I unwrapped it. You’ll have to forgive me!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I enjoyed making them!

Peppermint Christmas Cups

Ingredients

For the filling:

  • 4 c icing sugar
  • 3 tbsp soy milk
  • 3 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

For the chocolate:

  •  1 1/2 c chocolate chips
  • 1/2 c soy milk
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Instructions:

  • Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  • Mix the icing sugar, soy milk, vanilla and peppermint extract for the filling together in a medium size bowl until well combined and free of lumps.
  • Drop the filling onto the parchment lined sheet in small drops (approximately 1-2 tsp worth of filling each).
  • Place the filling in the freezer for at least an hour.
  • Once the filling is set and you’re ready to build the cups, line a mini muffin pan with appropriately sized cups and set aside.
  • In a medium size saucepan combine the chocolate chips, soy milk and vanilla.
  • Place on the stove over medium heat and stir regularly as the chocolate melts.
  • Once the chocolate mixture is smooth, remove from heat and set up your work station.  Place the mini-muffin pan in front of you.  Have the chocolate sauce off to the side.  Pull the filling out of the freezer and place on the other side of the pan.
  • Place a small amount of the chocolate sauce on the bottom of each cup.
  • Working quickly roll the filling mixture into balls and place on top of the chocolate.
  • Top the balls with the remaining chocolate mixture.
  • Once all of the layers are complete place the tray back in the freezer for at least an hour to firm up.
  • When firm, remove from freezer and transfer the Peppermint Cups to an air tight container to store in the fridge.  If you layer the cups be sure to separate each layer with parchment paper.
  • Enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • This made 36 mini Peppermint Christmas Cups.
  • These are really rich.  They would be excellent on a cookie platter or served individually {with wrapping removed to see the pretty layers}.
  • Make sure these are stored in the fridge.  You don’t want them to melt!

 

Accidental Breakfast Biscuits

These biscuits were an accident.  I was fooling around and thought I would make some cookies that were healthy.  I threw some ingredients in a bowl, rolled out the dough and was hoping for a nice fluffy cookie.  Instead I got this delightful surprise!

They are:

  • Great with some jam.
  • Delicious smeared with peanut butter.
  • Delectable eaten beside some scrambled tofu.
  • So good that my son begged me to serve them with his breakfast & lunch the day after I made them.

The serving styles are really endless and they are incredibly easy to make.  I enjoyed them so much that I am contemplating some kind of holiday brunch event as I feel these should be a featured side. I almost forgot the best part, they are healthy!  Whole wheat, oil free and still tasty, you really can’t ask for more.

Accidental Breakfast Biscuits:

Ingredients:

  • 6 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 c apple sauce
  • 1/3 c powdered sugar
  • 1 c white sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla
  •  2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cornstarch

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cornstarch.
  • Combine applesauce, vanilla and sugar.
  • Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients.
  • Mix well.
  • Prepare the surface you’re going to roll the dough on with a dusting of flour.
  • Roll out dough to about an inch in thickness and cut out desired shape.
  • Place on cookie sheets
  • Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Remove, cool and enjoy!

Extra Information:

  • I think these would also be delicious with a pinch of cinnamon added to the mix.
  • They took exactly 22 minutes in my oven.
  • The recipe made 24 huge biscuits.  I think it would make around 36-48 regular size ones {depending on the biscuit cutter used}.

It’s all in the icing…

The cookie experience I had last night was delightful but it wasn’t the cookie that turned my head, it was the icing.  The cookie was okay.  Your usual, standard sugar cookie.  This cookie was a variation on my Vanilla Butter Cookie {my new version is egg and butter free} and it was good.  I tried it before I added icing but when I added the icing the cookie moved from pretty good to amazing in an instant.  This icing is the perfect topping to your Christmas treats.

It makes loads.  Loads, I tell you.  Don’t let that stop you.  Cut the icing in half or use it on everything.  You won’t be disappointed!  I intend to make many things and am hoping to find the perfect pound cake recipe to use the rest of it on. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 c icing sugar
  • 1/3 c soy milk

Instructions

  • Combine the peppermint extract, vanilla, soy milk and 1 c of icing sugar in a bowl.
  • Continue adding sugar until you reach the desired texture and consistency.
  •  Ice the cookies!

Extra Information:

  • It may be tough to stir the icing.  Keep stirring.  It’s worth it and you’ll get a creamy, thick texture.