Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Well ok so strawberries may not be in season, but chocolate always is right? Don't you love how I justify any baking situation. These muffins were originally intended to be healthier, but I only had the more unhealthy options to go with. Oh well...that is why I go to the gym. It is all about balance folks.

The original recipe I found over at Sally's Baking Addiction. I have been on her site before and with this last trip have found a few more recipes (a few being a very gross understimation) of recipes I need to try. Like those cake batter chocolate chip cookies. I mean..hello. How could that possibly go wrong?

These muffins were a big hit with the co-workers as always. How do you cheer up a bunch of teachers after coming back after a three day weekend? Feed them. Feed them sweets.

Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 10 muffins
Print this recipe!

Please note: I changed the recipe slightly by adding in some buttermilk. I found that when I swapped out the applesauce from the original recipe and added vegetable oil the consistency of the batter seemed off to me. I didn't want to throw in the proverbial towel, so I threw in some buttermilk. 
** My suggestion is that if you follow my recipe, be proactive and add your buttermilk in with your wet ingredients and not use my reactive approach trying to desperately mix it in after the "wet" and "dry" came together. I was reading Sally's great post on making muffins and knowing full well if she watched me she would be yelling at me, "you're mixing it too much!" I mixed, cursed a little, and said a little prayer afterwards.
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg white, beaten
  • 6-7 Tablespoons cold buttermilk 
  • 2/3 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350F degrees. Spray 10 muffin tins with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, gently toss the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, and oil until together until no brown sugar lumps remain – a fork works well to break up the brown sugar here.  Combine the egg white and buttermilk. Whisk together.  Add the beaten egg white and buttermilk mixture until fully incorporated.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry until *just* combined – do not overmix.  Fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.
Divide the batter evenly between 10 muffin tins.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Muffins will be lightly golden in color and a toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
 Allow muffins to cool and enjoy!
Muffins stay fresh in an airtight container at room temperature for 7 days.  Muffins can be frozen.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Orange Chocolate Chip Scones

I'm calling these my mental health scones, because that's when I made them. Today during my mental health day off. Shhh..don't tell. The thing is baking is good for my mental health! I'm sure you can agree with me. There is nothing more satisfying then cutting cold butter into well sifted flour. Or kneading bread dough with your bare hands. Or rolling a fragile pie crust. *Sigh*. I could go on and on. There is nothing more healing than baking. At least for me anyways.

I also figured these scones have some good dark chocolate and orange zest in them. So it's kinda healthy in that regards right? Ok maybe not really..but that is what I told myself! These are good for my mental health AND my immune system.

These scones also used up some of the leftover buttermilk I had in my fridge. I have made many scones in the past and will again. I love the simplicity and the one-bowl method with scones. So simple. So satisfying. So versatile. I think I need to take more mental health days....and make more scones.

I am just starting to get back into blogging and any helpful hints on how to improve my pictures- please do not hesitate to let me know! I am all ears :-)

Orange and Chocolate Chip Scones
Adapted from Joy the Baker
Please note:
*This recipe made for me 8 small scones.  I patted the dough into a rectangle. Cut it into four squares then into 8 small triangle shaped scones. I will definitely double this recipe the next time I make it!

*I added twice the original amount of buttermilk. Adjust as you see fit. Scones can be finicky based on the weather. You may find you need a little more or little less of the buttermilk. Such is life.

*I also think these would not be harmed by the addition of walnuts. Or an orange icing. I was just feeling lazy today and didn't put an icing on them. Experiment and let me know!

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter
1 large egg yolk
1/2 cold buttermilk
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1. Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
2. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, sugar, orange zest, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal.  I use my fingers to rub the butter and dry ingredients together.    3.In another bowl, combine egg yolk and buttermilk and beat lightly with a fork.  Add to flour mixture all at once, stirring enough to make a soft dough.  Fold in the chocolate chips.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead about 15 times. (I simply get folding it together in the bowl to avoid another mess to clean up. Eventually the dough came together for me).  Roll or pat out into a 1-inch thickness.  Cut into 8 small triangles.     Place on prepared baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes.  (note: at 12 minutes mine were done. I think I could have taken them out a minute or two earlier. Set it to ten minutes then watch carefully!)

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Cannoli Cups

Happy New Year! It has been a long time since I blogged. As part of my new year's resolution, I have decided to get back into the blogging world again.  If you have stumbled upon my site, I hope you stick around for what's to come. If you visited once before, I'm glad to see you found your way back again!

To commemorate my return to blogging, I decided to post these cannoli cups. Now I know it's a Christmas-themed recipe and well Christmas is over. And I know we are all trying to forget all those calories we consumed in the last few weeks. I should be posting quinoa-kale-salady recipes, but I had to share these. Even if you don't make them until next Christmas-trust me- you won't regret it.  These cannoli cups give you all the pleasure of eating a cannoli in bite size form. See it's sort of New Year's resolution friendly, right?

The original recipe I found on  The recipe actually comes from a fellow recipe blogger, Arlene Cummings, from her site, "Cooking With Sugar! How cool is that! After reading some reviews, I took some of the advice and decided to strain the ricotta cheese overnight. Other claimed their filling never set up and Arlene suggested straining the ricotta before making the filling. Because I was making these for a get together with co-workers the last thing I wanted was soupy filling. The ricotta cheese I used was actually quite thick, so it might not have been necessary. I would recommend straining if your ricotta cheese is liquidy.

I changed the filling recipe slightly by adding some almond extract. I am in love with almond extract. I think the little bit of almond extract was the ticket to making the filling taste like these cannolis in the North End of Boston. Mmm, Mike's pastry...if you have never been..well go. And if you can't go. Well, then make these.

P.s. Like  my new camera?! Yup, that's right I have upgraded for my phone camera to a real camera. Ok, it is nothing fancy. But it's a start right?

Cannoli Cups 
note:  I actually made these over the course of three days. I first made the pastry cups and stored at room temperature. The second day I strained the ricotta cheese. And on the third day, I made the filling and piped it into the cups. Fill only when you are ready to serve! The second day they were definitely a little soggier, but still delicious.

1 container (15 oz) part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1 package of store-bough pie crust
3 Tablespoons turbinado sugar (I didn't have any raw sugar, so I used granulated sugar!)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
Sprinkles (optional)

1. In large bowl, beat all filling ingredients with electric mixer on medium speed until creamy. Place filling in 1-gallon resealable food-storage plastic bag; refrigerate while making cups.
2. Heat oven to 425°F. On lightly floured work surface, unroll pie crusts. Sprinkle each crust with turbinado sugar and cinnamon. Lightly roll rolling pin over sugar and cinnamon to press into pastry. With 2 1/2- to 3-inch round cutter, cut out pastry rounds. Lightly press each pastry round into ungreased mini muffin cup.
3. Bake about 10 minutes or until pastry cups are golden brown. Cool completely in pans, about 15 minutes. Remove from muffin cups to cooling racks.
4. Just before serving, remove filling from refrigerator. Cut 1 bottom corner off bag; pipe scant tablespoon filling into cooled pastry cups. Sprinkle with chocolate chips and sprinkles. Serve immediately. Store any remaining pastry cups at room temperature and filling in refrigerator.