Monday, September 29, 2008

The Search For The Perfect Blueberry Muffin: Round 2

Earlier in the month, I set out to find the perfect blueberry muffin. This one comes pretty darn close. It was very good. But what else did I expect, it comes from the other Queen of Butter. No, I'm not talking about Paula Deen, I'm talking about Ina Garten- The Barefoot Contessa. I have one more blueberry recipe I want to try, before I declare the winner, so stay tuned!

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel muffin recipe from Barefoot Contessa

  • 12 tbsp. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temp.
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1 recipe Cinnamon Stresuel (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees . Place 24 paper liners in muffin pans, set aside.

In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, with a hand held or stand up mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs 1 at a time, then add the vanilla, sour cream, and milk.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low speed (or by hand) add the flour mixture to the batter and beat until just mixed. Do not overmix or you'll have tough muffins. Gently fold in the blueberries with a spatula.

Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin pans, filling each 3/4 of the way. Top muffins evenly with cinnamon streusel and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean.

Cinnamon Streusel

  • 1 c. flour
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1 stick butter, cold and diced into pieces
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in the cold butter with a pastry cutter, or by hand. When the mixture resembles coarse crumbs, you're done. Chunks of butter the size of peas is okay. Squeeze the mixture in your hands forming a fist. The mixture should keeps it's shape. Return back to the refrigerator, til you need it.

I also made a few mini muffins for my brother, because he likes the little ones. Check out the streusel hat on this one!

NOTE: The original recipe says this makes 16 muffins. Mine made 24, but I also topped them with streusel. If you want a higher domed muffin top, leave off the streusel and fill them to the very top.

This can also be made in 2 cake pans, but the baking time may vary. Bake til golden brown or when a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

I give this recipe 9 stars. These were very good. Much better tasting than the last batch of blueberry muffins I made, but not as pretty. I would definitely make these again. I might add another cup of blueberries next time and maybe a coarser crumb topping. Also this recipe with out the blueberries makes a great basic muffin. This would be awesome with a cinnamon swirl throughout the batter. I'll have to give it a try :-)

Friday, September 26, 2008


Pancakes aren't usually my thing. I prefer the crisp edges of waffles, but I was craving warm fluffy pancakes and this recipe delivered. Don't tell my MIL, but my hubby said these were better than hers- woohoo!

Pancakes with Blackberries from Martha Stewart

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, or vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or melted butter

Preheat oven to 200 degrees; have a baking sheet or heatproof platter ready to keep cooked pancakes warm in the oven. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together milk, butter (or oil), and egg. Add dry ingredients to milk mixture; whisk until just moistened (do not overmix or they'll be tough; a few small lumps are fine).

Heat a large skillet (nonstick or cast-iron) or griddle over medium heat. Fold a sheet of paper towel in half, and moisten with oil; carefully rub skillet with oiled paper towel.

For each pancake, spoon 2 to 3 tablespoons of batter onto skillet, using the back of the spoon to spread batter into a round (you should be able to fit 2 to 3 in a large skillet).

Cook until surface of pancakes have some bubbles and a few have burst, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip carefully with a thin spatula, and cook until browned on the underside, 1 to 2 minutes more.

Transfer to a baking sheet or platter; cover loosely with aluminum foil, and keep warm in oven. Continue with more oil and remaining batter. (You'll have 12 to 15 pancakes.) Serve warm, with additional fruit or syrup.

NOTE: Makes about 10 4-inch, or 5 'hand size' pancakes.

I added a teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the batter because my husband loves it- it was very good. I also made it the night before to save time the next morning. I tripled this recipe and froze all the extras for those lazy days when I want to sleep in rather than cooking.

Once I ladled the batter onto the griddle, I placed 5-6 frozen blackberries (per pancake) to the batter. The berries cooked through then their juices released with the heat. mmm!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Good Morning Glory!

No, this is not a cutesy nickname I gave to my husband :-) My MIL used to make these muffins for my husband when he was still living at home. I think she got the recipe from the local newspaper, but I'm not sure. They were good and good for you. They're chock full of fruit and would be perfect on any brunch menu. I googled the recipe and realized I had all the ingredients- so voila!- here they are in all their glory.

The Original Morning Glory Muffins
  • 2 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 c. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. shredded, sweetened coconut
  • 3/4 c. raisins
  • 1 large apple, peeled and grated
  • 8 oz. (1 cup) crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 c. grated carrots
  • 1/2 c. chopped pecans or walnuts
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Place muffin liners in tin or spray indentions with non-stick spray and set aside.

Sift or whisk together the sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Add the coconut, raisins, apple, pineapple, carrots, and nuts, and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs with the oil and vanilla. Pour into the bowl with the dry ingredients and blend well.

Spoon the batter into muffin tins, filling each to the brim. Bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool muffins in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling.

NOTE: Makes 16 muffins.

I only have one muffin tin, so I made one dozen medium sized muffins and 24 mini muffins. I baked the mini's for 15 minutes. Fill them to the very top, they do not rise much.

Of all the recipe recommendations I read on these muffins, almost every one commented they were oily, so I decreased the oil from 1 full cup to 2/3 c. This amount seemed to be just right.

These muffins are better the next day. So if you have the time, make them the night before or freeze them until you need them. They'll keep fresh for up to 2 months in the freezer.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Can I Have Some More Please?

I like soup. I like many kinds of soup. My husband does not. It has to snowing before he'll eat soup, which here in Texas doesn't happen very often. He does like chili, but that's a manly dish, potato soup is not. So I had to dress it up to his liking by adding (more) cheese, bacon and chives for a hearty baked potato feel. It was a hit. In fact my husband said (his exact words), "This soup is so good. I'm gonna get some more, want some?"

Cheesy Potato Soup with Toppings

recipe slightly adapted from Culinary Concoctions by Peabody

  • 7 c. potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 c. potatoes, peeled and shredded
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 c. chopped celery
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 qt. (4 cups) chicken or vegetable broth or water*
  • 1 qt. (4 cups) half-n-half
  • 6 tbsp. butter
  • 1 c. freshly grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 4 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley

Place cubed potatoes, onions, celery and salt in a large pot. Cover potatoes with broth or water (you may need a little more than 4 cups) and simmer until tender, about 30 minutes up to an hour depending on how tender you like your veggies. Place shredded potatoes in a separate pot (just covered with water) and boil til tender.

Once cooked to your liking, put in blender or food processor fitted with the metal blade and puree until smooth.

Return to pot then add half-n-half, butter, shredded potatoes, parsley and cheese. Stir and simmer until piping hot, but do not boil. Top with bacon pieces, cheese and chives- yum!

NOTE: If you have an immersion blender, I suggest using it. It's one less thing to clean up and easier than transferring hot veggies from pot to pot.

Also, I used dried parsley because I didn't have fresh and reduced the amount to 2 tbsp.

*The original recipe called for water to boil the potatoes in, but I used chicken broth for more flavor. Use what you have or like.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

In Search Of The Perfect Blueberry Muffin

I love blueberries and I love muffins, so this is the perfect combination for me. I have had many a muffin in my day and you can tell by the size of my hips, but that's beside the point. I tend to like the tops better, so they need to be substantial- crowned nicely, and have a crunch- either from sugar, such as these, or a crumb topping. But they must be light, airy and tender on the inside. Don't worry there will be more blueberry muffin recipes on this blog, until I find the perfect one. Until then, happy eating :-) Blueberry Sour Cream Muffins adapted from Baking Bites
  • 1 3/4 c. all purpose flour + 1 tsp.
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 c. fresh blueberries
  • coarse sugar, for topping

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour(excluding 1 tsp.), baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl, beat together sugar, egg and melted butter. Add in 1/2 of the flour mixture and the sour cream and stir to combine. Stir in milk and remaining flour, just until no streaks of flour remain. Do not overmix, or you'll end up with a tough muffin.

Dust blueberries with remaining 1 tsp. flour. This will keep them suspended in the muffins, so they don't sink to the bottom. Stir in blueberries and divide into prepared muffin cups. Sprinkle each (about 1/2-1 tsp. each) generously with sugar.

Bake for 16-19 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

NOTE: Makes 1 dozen muffins.

These were fairly easy to make and were light and tender. Like I said, I'm always in search of a good blueberry muffin and these were good. I think they could have browned a little more on top, but the sugar kept them from getting golden, and I didn't want to over bake them. They would be excellent with about 1/2 c. more blueberries and a streusel topping- yum!

I don't usually rate recipes with stars or number scales, but since I am in search of THE PERFECT MUFFIN, I will. On a scale from 1-10, I give this one a 7-1/2.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wordless Wednesday- Heart With Wings

I made chicken-n-dumplin's last night for dinner. As I was pulling the chicken apart, I was left with 2 breast and 2 wings forming a heart with wings. Too funny! Here's aside by side comparison :-)

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Say Cheese!

Cheddar Cheese Risotto from Nigella Lawson
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 2 baby leeks or 2 fat scallions, finely sliced*
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1 ½ cups risotto rice
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 cups hot vegetable stock or chicken broth
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, cubed or shredded**
  • 2 tablespoons chopped chives (optional)
Melt the butter and oil in a medium stock pot and cook the sliced leeks, scallions, and garlic until softened.

Add the risotto and keep stirring for a minute or so, then turn up the heat, add the wine and mustard, stirring until the wine is absorbed.

Ladle in the hot stock, while still stirring, allowing it to completely absorb before adding the next one. Stir and keep adding stock until the rice is al dente and all the stock is absorbed, about 18-20 minutes.

Then add the cheese, stirring it into the rice until it melts. Take the pan straight off the heat, still stirring as you do, and then spoon into warm bowls. Sprinkle with chopped chives.

NOTE: You don't want to add all the stock at once. Slowly adding it to the rice and allowing it to absorb in between ladlefuls allows it to become creamy.

If you don't like Dijon mustard, leave it out, but you can't really taste it in the final product.

*I don't usually have baby leeks or scallions on hand, so I used half of an onion, finely chopped. And I don't sprinkle food with chopped chives or parsley just for the sake of garnish, so I skipped that step.

**Freshly cube or grate your cheese. The pre-shredded variety has stuff added to it to keep it from sticking together. This can sometimes make the final product grainy, and not creamy, which would ruin all your hard work. So buy a block of cheddar and cut it up yourself- it's usually cheaper in block form anyway.

This makes 4 generous servings. We ate this twice, once with sausage (ie: lil' smokies- slightly white trash, but good) and broccoli. And with pan seared shrimp and asparagus spears. I do have to say the leftovers were even better the second time around.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Autumn's 3rd Birthday Cookies

I made these last year for Autumn when she turned 3. Her 4th birthday is coming up on the 15th, so stay tuned for a new treat!

Bacon & Cheese Doggie Treats

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 4 oz. shredded cheese (1 cup)
  • 4 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 tablespoon chicken or beef bullion granules
  • 2 cups white or wheat flour (plus more for kneading)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray. In a large bowl combine oats, butter and water. Let stand for 10 minutes to soften oats. Stir in cornmeal, sugar, bullion, milk, egg, cheese and bacon. Mix well. Add flour one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition to form stiff dough. Dough will be sticky.

On a floured surface, knead dough and add enough flour (1-2 cups) until dough is smooth and no longer sticky. Knead for about 4-5 minutes. Roll out dough to 1/2 inch thickness, cut dough into shapes using your favorite cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheets about 1/2 inch apart. Cookies will not spread.

Bake for 35-50 minutes or until golden brown. Bake time varies depending on the size of your cookies. Cool completely. Place back in hot oven then turn your oven off. Leave cookies in oven for at least 4 hours to remove any moisture in your cookies. If you don't want to do this step, cool cookies and place in airtight container in your refrigerator to reduce spoilage. Makes about 3-4 dozen cookies, depending on size.

She loved them!

Related Posts with Thumbnails