kitchen sink blueberry banana bran muffins

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As a huge fan of pastries and breakfast in general, I realized that recently I have been straight up neglecting a former favorite morning food companion of mine: the humble muffin.  As soon as I came upon this realization, I began immediately craving muffins.

However, due to the aforementioned need to reel it in diet-wise post 2014, I decided to try my hand at making them myself to monitor their contents.  I dreamed up these muffins using buzzword healthy ingredients like “oat bran” and “whole wheat flour”. Though admittedly I am not a baker by nature I think these are pretty great.  They have ripe mashed banana that keeps them moist, nuts and coconut for a crunchy and chewy texture situation, and blueberries because all muffins should have blueberries.

These are an all the time dream treat.  They are perfect as a grab and go breakfast, a midday snack, or even as dessert with a cup of tea.  They have minimal sugar and though the ingredient list looks long (hence the kitchen sink moniker) it is likely that most of this stuff is hiding somewhere in your house already. If not, it’s worth investing. You’re going to want more than one batch of these.

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kitchen sink blueberry banana bran muffins
Yield: 18 muffins

1cup whole-wheat flour, plus 1 tablespoon set aside
½ cup oat bran
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
½ cup rolled oats, plus extra for sprinkling over tops
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
1 cup mashed ripe banana
¼ cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup milk
½ tsp vanilla
1 ½ cups blueberries
½ cup chopped pecans

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, the oat bran, coconut, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil.  Add in the banana, milk, eggs, and vanilla, and combine until smooth.  Add the dry ingredients into the wet mixture slowly and mix together until just combined (it’s fine to have a few lumps).
  3. Wash and thoroughly dry the blueberries.  Toss them and the pecans in the extra tablespoon of flour until coated (this helps them not sink in the batter).  Fold them into the batter without over mixing.
  4. Fill a cupcake tin with liners and using an icecream scoop fill each tin.  Sprinkle the additional oats atop each muffin and press them in gently.
  5. Bake for 22 minutes.  If a toothpick comes out clean, remove them. Otherwise, let them cook an additional 3 minutes. Let cool completely, and serve.
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kitchen sink blueberry banana bran muffins

mini dutch babies

We threw a harVEST party. Vests were required for entry.

There was some food, but this was the only dessert treat. Perfectly poppable and subtly sweet, these little guys are great for using up all those apples you picked but didn’t manage to eat. Because it’s a law of nature that no one can possibly eat all the apples they pick.

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These are a play on a dutch pancake, which texturally and tastily is an intersection between a crepe, a pancake, a soufflé, and clafouti; and the apple and pumpkin pie spice give them that autumnal edge.

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Ideally these should be enjoyed with a cup of tea or other warm beverage. They can be breakfast, dessert, or just a snack. As we are careening at a terrifying speed towards New England winter, these might help you hold on to fall just a little bit longer.

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This recipe makes about 24 mini dutch babes if you use mini muffin tins (which you should, because that makes them adorable).

2 small apples, peeled and diced
1 tbs cup fresh lemon juice
½ tsp of pumpkin pie spice
pinch of sea salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour, plus extra for pans
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons powdered sugar, for dusting

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  1. set oven at 350 degrees. Butter and flour 2 mini muffin tins.
  1. peel and dice the apple into small cubes. Immediately coat with lemon juice to avoid browning. Toss with pumpkin pie spice and add a pinch of salt, make sure apples are well covered.
  1. whisk eggs until frothy. Add in flour, then sugar, vanilla, and milk. Throw in an extra pinch of cinnamon if you’re feeling dangerous.
  1. give each muffin space 5 or 6 apple cubes, and cover each with batter so they are ¾ full. Bake for 40 minutes.
  1. Let cool ten minutes. Dust with powdered sugar and serve
mini dutch babies

wednesdays with sourdough

A day filled with bread is a day well spent.

The following is a brief photographic exposé of a day spent not only with bread but also in the exceedingly pleasant company of the incomparable Sheryl Julian, Food Editor for the Boston Globe; and Jaclyn Fishman: food writer, friend, and baker extraordinaire.

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Jaclyn wrote this fantastic piece on sourdough for the Globe this week. Last week, she and I had the privilege to help Sheryl and a Globe photographer style and shoot the pictures for the pages. It was magical.

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 Jaclyn baked cakes. And baguettes. And soft rolls and hard rolls and boules and biscuits. We had sourdough in every conceivable variation, and it was as if all my dreams had come true.

"ode to toast". one of my all time favorite foods.
“ode to toast”. one of my all time favorite foods.

Having the opportunity to eat delicious bread while learning the nuances of food photography and styling was this hungry kid’s equivalent of Christmas.  (It’s a work in progress though, we are clearly still learning here.)

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But the best part is that you too can have all the sourdough your heart desires, because Ms. Fishman has shared her secret to starters in the article. Starters can last forever if they are well tended, and since they certainly are more versatile than you were thinking when you started reading this, hop to it! These mountains of carbs could be yours.

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wednesdays with sourdough

sunday evening chippers

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hello gorgeous.

Something about Sunday evenings makes me crave sweets.  Sometimes I fight it, mostly I don’t.  Besides, what could be better than curling up on the couch to toggle back and forth between the guts and gore of Game of Thrones and the smooth talking confusion of Mad Men with a cookie? Maybe 2 cookies I guess.  (note: we are between seasons of Downton Abbey. otherwise there would be nothing but Branson and Maggie Smith on a Sunday night.)

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brie’s originals

My sister is the baker in our family, and her chocolate chip cookies are sensational.  Maybe I’m biased, but it’s true.  She passed on her recipe to me about 2 years ago and I had yet to make them because I lack the patience, precision, and mathematical prowess inherent to most accomplished bakers.

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good enough to eat…despite being uncooked

But look at these beauties! I subbed out half the all purpose flour for whole wheat, browned the butter slightly, and cut the chocolate in half to sub in some pecans, but otherwise this recipe is a direct copy from my sister.  I also sprinkled them with flaked Maldon sea salt. Because why not, right??

They tasted as dreamy as they look. And I ate several on the couch last night.

Important note: you don’t need to eat them on Sundays. They can cure the Mondays. And just taste great on all other days also.

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too good for words

Sea Salted Chocolate Pecan chippers

1 cup melted butter (slightly browned)

1 ½ cups packed brown sugar

2 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 ½ cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 tsp baking soda

3/4 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet morsels

1 cup chopped pecans

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Set oven to 375 degrees.

  • Prepare the dry ingredients: Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  • Prepare wet ingredients: Melt the butter. In a separate bowl from the dry ingredients, cream together with brown sugar until smooth. Add in the eggs and vanilla.
  • Add the sugar/butter/egg/vanilla mixture to the flour/baking soda/salt mixture, mix until just combined.
  • Add semi-sweet morsels and chopped pecans to the batter and fold into batter.
  • Using a tablespoon as a measure, form into balls and set on parchment paper lined baking sheets.  Sprinkle the top of each with a couple flakes of sea salt.
  • Cook for 10 minutes until cookies are just set. Remove from the oven and let stand on their baking sheet for 5 additional minutes to finish cooking, then transfer to a cooling rack.
  • Cookies will be cool enough to eat in 10 minutes. Try to contain yourself.

 

sunday evening chippers