Archive for January, 2015

A nod to brunches past – Orange-Scented Chocolate Chunk Muffins

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Guys, remember that time I went to brunch? I mean, yes, I’ve gone to brunch more than once, so maybe you don’t, but this time was standout, so please try your hardest to remember that time.

It was L.A. At Huckleberry. There was bread pudding involved.

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So after that brunch made of dreams, I spent the next half-year trying to forget about brunch. And then Huckleberry came out with a cookbook, so there went that goal. I didn’t buy it, but I did scan the Internets for recipes from within and found this chocolate chunk muffin recipe on Yahoo!

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Y’all know I be all about muffins these days, and these were just the next in a long line. I like the method was a little more cake-like than regular muffins; the batter was thick and creamy instead of runny. I switched out the sour cream for Greek yogurt because I had it and added orange zest because it is winter and orange and chocolate are a match made in heaven.

They were so good that I may end up trying this recipe again. Full size and strictly to their recipe instead of tweaking it. Or, you know, I could try another recipe from the book. Whyever would I not do that?

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Mini-fying,

Lauren

Orange-Scented Chocolate Chunk Muffins

Adapted from Huckleberry

The recipe below is for 12 full size muffins. If you want to make mini muffins, decrease the baking time.

3⁄4 cup/170 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
3⁄4 cup + 2 Tbsp./165 g sugar, plus more for sprinkling
1 tsp. kosher salt
2 eggs
1 1⁄4 cups/160 g all-purpose flour
1⁄4 cup/25 g almond flour
1 1⁄2 tsp. baking powder
1⁄2 tsp. baking soda
3⁄4 cup/180 ml plain greek yogurt
1 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract + zest of one orange
2 1⁄4 cups/210 g mini chocolate chips

Position a rack toward the top of your oven and preheat to 350°F/ 180°C. Line one 12-cup muffin pan with 12 paper liners.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until nice and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Incorporate the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape the sides of the bowl well with each addition. Pause mixing. Add the all-purpose flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, yogurt, vanilla, zest and chocolate. Mix cautiously, just until incorporated.

Fill the muffin cups with batter all the way to the top, even a little over. Sprinkle the tops with a little sugar.

Bake for 22 to 25 minutes,until the muffins are brown and just spring back to the touch. Do not overbake.

Pipe Dream #314: To Say Knackered – Checkered Chai Cake

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I half-tried to make a checkerboard cake like this. Kind of like I half-tried to make a lattice pie crust once. It sort of got at the idea of what I was trying for. But I wasn’t really trying. I was knackered, meaning ‘checkered’ wasn’t going to happen.

That’s a fun bit of British slang for you. ‘Knackered’ means tired, like “I’m beat.” I wanted to laugh with joy the first time I heard my friend say it like it was nothing, but I tried to play it cool and act like that was a totally normal crazy word to say. What a great expression.

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I was thinking about Chai because I had this box of Chai concentrate for over a year and eventually it expired and I’m sorry to whoever ate this cake you didn’t know it’s ok you’re not dead. It’s possible that I have a pretty good immune system because I don’t really care about germs and don’t care to care other people’s concerns about germs.

I’m sorry for the grammar of the above paragraph as well as the truth of my heart that inspired its creation.

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Anyway, if you want to make a checkered layer cake, it’s actually fairly simple. See the tutorial I linked above. Or just follow my amazing picture tutorial below to make a cake that might cut up into different flavors. I topped the white cake with vanilla cream cheese filling and the chocolate cake with Nutella cream cheese filling. No issues with that part.

checker cake 1

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Overall, the taste was average. I replaced the milk with the concentrate for Chai flavor, but it could have used even more cardamom/cinnamon goodness. Try adding a teaspoon or two of some Chai spices for a bolder kick.

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Knackered,

L

Checkered Chai Cake

An LH Original

For the two vanilla cake layers:

2 cups white sugar

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup  Tazo chai tea concentrate

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease the paper and the sides of the pan well.

In a large mixing bowl, with an electric mixer, beat sugar and eggs together until slightly thickened, about 1 minute. Add flour, chai concentrate (or milk), oil, baking powder, and vanilla and beat for another minute, just until the batter is smooth and creamy. Don’t overbeat. Pour batter into the prepared baking pans.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until the tops are golden and a toothpick poked into the center of the layer comes out clean. Loosen the sides of the cake from the pan with a thin knife, then turn out onto a rack and peel off the paper. Let cool completely before covering with frosting.

For the chocolate layer:

Split the above recipe in half, swapping in 1 cup cocoa powder for 1 cup of flour.

For filling:

Beat 8 ounces cream cheese with 1 cup powdered sugar and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla until well-combined. Fold in 1 regular-sized tub of Cool Whip. Section out 1/3 of this mixture and fold in 1/2 cup Nutella. Spread between layers as desired.

Favorite Shots: The Reason I Attend Weddings

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Dancing + cake. In that order.

And like, supporting my friends in their lifelong marriages and celebrating with them.

But really, cake + dancing.

L

Legit Question: Worth it to clean the front entry during winter? Bacon Fat Cornbread

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This isn’t “true cornbread,” as detailed by this extremely comprehensive history of cornbread on Serious Eats. The real Southern deal is like, straight cornmeal and not a trace of sugar. I forget the historical reason why this is so because I only skimmed that article. I was thinking about more important things like whether or not I should bother cleaning the front entryway now that it’s winter. I feel like I’m just going through the motions, yeah?

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While this cornbread recipe is chock full of sugar and regular flour, it is also full of bacon fat because what YUM. It’s more like a cake that has cornmeal in it than anything. The recipe was quick and tripled like a charm–I took it to a multitude of gatherings.

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A note on pans: The bread baked quicker in the glass 9×13 than in the smaller ceramic pan. In fact, even though the glass pan is bigger, it overbaked before the ceramic pan was even done. So watch it carefully to make sure the bottom isn’t browning too quickly, and adjust baking times as needed. Also, sift your dry ingreds together–see those little bubbles of unincorporated flour? You needn’t have those marring your crackly crust.

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What if you whipped solidified bacon fat with a little honey and served that on the side? Please try that.

Lauren

Bacon Fat Cornbread

Adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe

½ cup cornmeal

1 ½ cup flour

2/3 cup sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola oil

3 tablespoons rendered bacon fat, melted

2 eggs, beaten

1 ¼ cup milk

Add dry ingredients to a large bowl. Make a well and add oil, butter, eggs, and milk into the center. Stir until just mixed. Bake in an 8×8 square pan at 350 degrees for 35 minutes.

Pipe Dream #313: To Goo Forth – Rosemary Pine Nut Blondies

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So I told you about the burned biscotti. Now let me redeem myself with these blondies. Less fuss, same flavors, and I added a splash of limoncello even more flavor mashing.

Blondies are so easy, you guys. They are easier than brownies because they don’t require figuring out how to make sure the chocolate is deep enough or how to make them chewy or crackly or fudgy. They are like cookies but easier because you use melted butter or oil instead of creaming room temp butter. One bowl. You bake them in a pan instead of having to scoop. Blondies are meant to be underbaked. They just always turn out.

limon blondies 1

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Goo forth. Yum.

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Take these to your next party if you want a little bit of “Hm. Interesting.” in your life.

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Gooing forth,

L

Rosemary Pinenut Blondies
An LH Original
3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 egg
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light tasting olive oil or canola oil
1 tablespoon limoncello + 1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1/2 cup pine nuts

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl, stir together the eggs, brown sugar, sugar, canola oil, and limoncello until well-combined. Stir in the flours, baking soda and pine nuts until well-combined. Scrape the dough into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Sprinkle a few pine nuts on top. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown. Allow to cool completely before cutting and serving.

Pipe Dream #312: To Be Twice Baked – Rosemary Pine Nut Biscotti

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Thus follows another recipe that failed, but that I couldn’t resist posting because I like the pictures. And this savory flavor combo whaaat? Getting all up in your grill with this one. Doubling back for a second bite.

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And while this rosemary/pine nut/cornmeal dipping cookie might make you think twice, I’m bad at second passes, ok? Case in point, nearly every other biscotti recipe on this blog (sans this one) is underbaked because I’m impatient. In this case, I tried to compensate for past failures by leaving the sliced cookies in the oven longer and fell to the other extreme by forgetting them and toasting them to an inedible crisp.

Lesson learned here: I can bake it once, but don’t ask me to bake it twice. Or do. I’ll try to be better. Next week, I’ll post a variation on this theme that turned out better.

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Up in that grill,

L

Rosemary Pine Nut Biscotti

Adapted from Eating Well

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2/3 cup fine cornmeal

2/3 cup pine nuts

2 tablespoons dried rosemary, minced

2 teaspoons baking powder

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup sugar

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.

Combine all-purpose flour, cornmeal, pine nuts, rosemary and baking powder in a large bowl, mixing until the rosemary is evenly distributed throughout.

Whisk eggs, sugar, oil and salt in a medium bowl just until combined and uniform (but not until the sugar dissolves).

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients to form a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a 12-by-2 1/2-inch log. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool on the baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 325°F. Slice the log crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices; place them cut-side down on the baking sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes. Turn over and continue baking for 10 minutes more. Cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, then transfer the biscotti to a wire rack to cool completely.

Pipe Dream #311: To Keep It Crackly, Yo – Apple Cinnamon Crunch Muffins

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Oh, these muffs. Whole wheat flour, orchard apples and a crunchy cinnamon top that makes these feel like a double treat. Will I ever tire of muffins? Likely not.

apple muffins

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These are best the day they’re baked, and make sure you let them cool completely on a wire rack before storing. The crunchy top lost it’s crackle after a few hours in a storage container. But it’s not like that killed it for me, no sirree. Great flava flav remained.

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Lovin’ these muffins,

L

Apple Cinnamon Crunch Muffins

Adapted from Pinch of  Yum

For the apple muffins:

1½ cups finely chopped apples

⅓ cup canola oil

1 cup milk

1 tablespoon white vinegar

⅓ cup white sugar

1 teaspoon molasses

1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 2 1/2 tablespoons water, let set for 1o minutes)

1/2 teaspoon maple flavoring

1 cup all purpose flour

1½ cups whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon allspice

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

For the crunchy topping:

2 tablespoons canola oil

3 tablespoons white sugar

½ teaspoon cinnamon

Add the vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes to curdle (or just use buttermilk).

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, whisk the oil, buttermilk, sugar, molasses, flax egg, and maple flavoring until smooth. Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Stir until just combined. Fold in the chopped apples. Scoop the mixture into the twelve cups of a greased or lined muffin tin.

Stir together the oil, sugar and cinnamon; spoon over the tops of the muffins.

Bake the muffins for about 15 minutes, until golden brown with big round tops that spring back when pressed.


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