Posts tagged baking

Caramel Apple Muffins

Fall is in the air which means that my need to bake has kicked in. Last weekend we went apple picking and “accidentally” picked 13 pounds of apples! I’ve been trying to make good use of them this week. If you’ve read my blog before, you know that fall and my need to bake means muffin time! I make a batch of cinnamon apple muffins last week and while they were yummy I couldn’t help wondering if the could be improved with some caramel. I mean, come on, how can you not combine caramel and apples? It’s only natural!

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Caramel apple muffins

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup wheat flour
1 Tbs flax meal
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1/3 cup oil or applesauce *(see note)
1/3 cup + 1 tbs milk
4 apples shredded with skins on
1 & 1/4 cups caramel bits

Preheat oven to 400 and grease a muffin tin or line with paper liners. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Gently stir in moist ingredients including your shredded apple. Fold in caramel bits.
Fill your muffin cups 2/3′s full and bake for 18-22 minutes or until nicely brown and a toothpick come out with just a tad bit of crumb.

*(note) I doubled the recipe, since my parents are dropping by today. I used 1/3 c oil and 1/3 c applesauce when doubling the recipe.

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Mmm…Bread

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A couple months ago I started making our bread. I’m just tired of paying $4.00 for mooshy bread. Unless I’m at Trader Joe’s, then I take a few days off from baking and buy a loaf. Anyways…I started playing around with recipes around Christmas time. I usually make 2 loaves at a time, 1 for sandwiches and 1 cinnamon raisin.

Bread recipe
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
3 tablespoons lard, softened
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup oats
2 tablespoons flax meal
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
4 cups unbleached white flour

Directions
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Stir in lard, salt, oats, flax meal and two cups of the flour, starting with the wheat flour. Stir in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring well after each addition. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes.
Lightly oil a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean dishcloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form into loaves. Place the loaves into two lightly greased 9×5 inch loaf pans. Cover the loaves with plastic wrap and a dishcloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the bottom of the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.

Yes, I do use lard… Mom brought some to us, so I use it in the bread. But you could use any shortening or butter of choice.
We also make one loaf into cinnamon raisin bread. After dividing dough into 2 parts and before forming loaves, roll dough for 1 loaf out. Roll it so it is about 9 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick…it will be about 20 inches long or so.

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Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar and 1-2 Tbs of cinnamon ( depending on how much cinnamon you like), then sprinkle with about a 1/3 cup of raisins. With having a toddler in the house we always have those little boxes of raisins in the pantry. This is a great way to use up the box that got partially eaten, then dried out. The raisins will plump up great while baking.

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Roll up and shape into loaf. Put loaf into greased pan and allow to rise for about 40 minutes. Bake as directed above.

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Is there much better than a bowl of potato soup and a slice of fresh bread on a cold winter evening?
Enjoy!

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Fruit & Whole Grain Bar Recipe

I should probably rename my blog to How to Feed Squishy. Lately all of my posts seem to be new recipes, but when you have a toddler who is into food, well… So, anyways. We had some of those store bought Nutrigrain bars that someone brought us. I was grabbing one for myself to snarf first thing in the morning because when I wake up I’m starving!
Advantage of breastfeeding? I can eat like a teenage boy and not worry about my weight. Disadvantage of breastfeeding? I want to constantly eat like a teenage boy.
So, back to the bars. Just recently Squishy has decided that he should get to eat my bar with me when we get up in the morning. I had never thought too much about what was in them until he wanted a bite.
High fructose corn syrup? Mono-what? Poly saturated-huh? Somethingluten-whatta? No, not ok.
So the other day during nap time I went into the kitchen to figure something out that he would like & I would not wince if he ate it. I used a can of Oregon blueberries for the fruit because 1. I had them on hand and 2. The ingredients in them are blueberries, sugar and water. That’s it! You can use any fruit flavor you like or even preserves of your choice. You just won’t have to reduce your preserves to thicken them. If you have fresh fruit you could cook them with a little sugar and water and follow my canned directions.

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Fruit & Whole Grain Bars

1 can Oregon blueberries
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup oats
1/2 cup wheat flour
2 tbs flax meal
6 tbs wheat germ
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 and grease an 8x8x2 inch pan with no stick spray.
Pour can of blueberries into a medium sauce pan and simmer, stirring every couple minutes, for about 10 minutes or reduced by half. Set aside to cool. The syrup will be thicker once cooled.
Meanwhile mix the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, egg and salt in a medium sized mixing bowl until soft and creamy consistency. Add in remaining dry ingredients and stir. Once combined your mixture with resemble a cookie batter.

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Press half of the batter into the bottom of your 8×8 pan. Pour the cooled blueberries over and spread evenly with a spatula. Next take the remaining batter and flatten small amounts with your hands and place on top until it is covered. This won’t look pretty and may even look like a mistake, but it works. 😉
Place dish in the center of your oven and bake 20-25 minutes until the berries are bubbly at the edges and the topping is golden brown around the edges too.

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Allow to cool completely and cut into bars. I cut ours into about 1.5×4 inch bars. I wrapped 6 of them individually to freeze. Four of the bars were stored in an airtight container. Two bars were eaten as soon as they were cool enough to taste.
These passed the Squishy test right away! I should have waited until he was finished with lunch before letting him try a nibble. Oh well, at least I know exactly what is in them. No words we can’t pronounce and no high fructose corn syrup!

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Cherry Nut Muffins!

Out of boredom and a desire to bake I have come up with a new muffin recipe! This time Cherry nut!

cherrynutmuffin

2 cups flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup soft shortening
1 egg
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
3/4 cup orange juice
juice from 1 lime
Enough milk to make 1 cup liquid when added to juice
1/2 cup chopped pecans

nut topping: Mix below ingredients together for topping
1/3 cup chopped nuts
1/3 cup brown sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Simmer dried cherries on low with orange and lime juice for about 5 minutes or until cherries are tender. Remove from heat, drain and set aside left juices and cherries to cool a bit.
Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl. When juices are cooled a bit add enough milk to them to make 1 cup of liquid. Add all wet ingredients with cooled cherries and chopped nuts, mix well.
Spoon into greased muffin tin or ones lined with muffin cups, Top with nut topping mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.

Enjoy!!

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