Strawberry Orange Muffins

This was kind of a no-brainer. I had my eyes on a strawberry muffin recipe that looked totally tweak worthy and I knew that I wanted to add orange to it. I had not tried the combination before but it felt right. 


 Two batches later, let me tell you…..it’s totally, deliciously, absolutely right! Try it out for yourself! The orange glaze is optional however. You can save it for when you feel like giving yourself a little treat. The muffin still tastes great without it.

My only concern with this recipe is – it’s not exactly ‘healthy’. You hear ‘muffin’ and think that this is a health-food version of a cupcake, something that you can wolf down in twos and threes and still be able to get on your weighing scale without an overwhelming feeling of dread. Well yeah, there’s no frosting so it is a wee bit better – but it still has a good quantity of butter and all purpose flour and sugar. So for my third batch, I want to try some substitutions and see how that goes. Hopefully it will be successful enough to earn its own blog post!

This is a very versatile recipe. It can be had for breakfast, as an afternoon tea time snack or for dessert. As an added bonus, this recipe is toddler certified. I got 11 cupcake sized muffins. It should give you about 6 regular sized muffins.

UPDATE: I used blood orange zest and juice for the second iteration and I think it’s even better! Aaannndddd……the muffins taste so much more strawberry-orangey the next day, believe it or not. WIN! 

  
Blood oranges give the glaze a beautiful pink hue! 

Adapted from Strawberry Muffins over at Garnish and Glaze

Ingredients

Muffins

  • All purpose flour – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Baking powder – 1 and 1/4 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/4 tsp
  • Salted butter – 5 tbsp at room temperature*
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Freshly squeezed juice of half a regular sized orange (You can use blood oranges. See update above)
  • Orange zest – 1 tsp
  • Yogurt – 1/4 cup
  • Milk – 1/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Diced frozen strawberries – 3/4 cup You can use fresh strawberries too

*If using unsalted butter add about 1/4 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients 

Glaze – 1 cup icing sugar and juice of half an orange

Method

  • Preheat oven to 400F or 200 Degree Celsius. Line a muffin tray with liners and set aside
  • Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a bowl. Mix with a whisk until thoroughly combined
  • In another bowl, mix together orange juice, orange zest, vanilla extract, yogurt and milk and set it aside
  • In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream butter and sugar together until it turns pale and fluffy. This usually takes 3 to 5 minutes
  • Add the egg and mix again until thoroughly combined
  • Add half the flour mixture and mix on very low speed until just combined. It’s ok if there a few dry streaks. You do not want to over mix the batter
  • Add the wet ingredients and mix briefly. Then add the rest of the flour mixture and mix until combined
  • Using a spatula, gently fold in the strawberries
  • Using an ice cream scoop fill all the liners till about 3/4 full. You can also stud the top of these muffins with additional diced strawberries to make them look prettier
  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 12 to 15 minutes. Check for doneness at the 12 minute mark. The muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean with a few moist crumbs attached
  • Leave them in the pan for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool thoroughly
  • For the glaze – take the icing sugar in a bowl and add orange juice to it 1 tsp at a time. Stir after each addition. The glaze should be thick enough to coat the back of a spoon and drip off slowly
  • Dip a cooled muffin into the glaze. Rotate it gently to coat the entire surface and then twirl it to remove the excess. Place on a wire rack set over a tray to catch drips. Eat immediately or wait for the he glaze to harden

Enjoy!!

Avocado and Blueberry Muffins

These muffins are my current favourite! No butter and no oil. The avocado supplies all the fat you need – talk about healthy!

  
     
I was looking for unconventional ways of using up that one ripe avocado sitting in my fruit bowl when I had a brainwave – why not make muffins? One simple search on Pinterest however, revealed that I was not the only creative baker in the world – of course this has been done before! So I picked up the most promising recipe I could find and set out to make it my own. As with all recipes, I try not to vary the original recipe too much on the first attempt. But this one needs no tweaking – it’s purrfect! And the lovely, all natural, pale green colour just took my breath away – yes, I’m that easy to please……somebody tell my husband that haha!

  

The recipe has been adapted – very very slightly – from Gimmesomeoven’s version.  The original recipe has a streusel topping which can be left out but I find it works great with the muffin and doesn’t make it too sweet. 
I got 16 cupcake sized muffins from this batch

Ingredients

Muffin

  • All purpose flour – 2 cups
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Ground nutmeg – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Mashed avocado – 1
  • Granulated sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Egg – 1
  • Yogurt – 1 cup
  • Blueberries  (or any berry of your choice) – 1 cup

Streusel Topping

  • Melted and cooled butter – 2 tbsp (I used salted)
  • All purpose flour – 4 tbsp
  • Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
  • Raw cane sugar – 1/4 cup

Method

Streusel Topping

  • Whisk all the ingredients together and set aside

Muffin

  • Preheat oven to 375 F or 190 degree Celsius
  • In a bowl combine all the dry ingredients and mix with a whisk until thoroughly combined. You could use any spice you like though cinnamon and nutmeg work best. Or you could leave out the spice altogether
  • In a bigger bowl beat avocado with a mixer until it turns into a smooth puree
  • Add the sugar and beat until the mixture looks a little light and fluffy
  • Add the egg and whip again till completely mixed in
  • Add the yogurt and vanilla extract next and whip till combined
  • Now add the flour mixture in two batches. After the addition of each batch whip only until it is just combined. Do not over mix
  • Fold in the blueberries using a spatula
  • Scoop into prepared muffin/cupcake liners. Make sure fill only up to 3/4 of the liners. These muffins do rise a bit
  • Sprinkle the streusel topping generously over each muffin and bake in a preheated oven for about 15 to 17 minutes till a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean. Turn the pan around at the halfway mark. I used a cupcake pan. If you use a regular muffin pan the bake time will increase to about 20 minutes
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 5 minutes. Transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely
  • You can store them in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 36 hours. They will need to be refrigerated after that

BONUS

They’re Toddler Approved! Score 🙂

  

Blueberry Brownies

There are brownies and then there are BROWNIES – the kind made with dark chocolate and blueberries. The difference? Night and day! If you haven’t added blueberries to your brownies yet you’re truly missing out on one of those mind numbingly good dessert moments that leave you completely speechless. No, really! I was completely dumb struck. No words. No adjectives. Nothing. Just a warm satisfied glow.
So I won’t ramble on here. I’ll just tell you that these are the best brownies ever made and leave it at that. The recipe has been adapted (ever so slightly) from I am baker’s fantabulous recipe

  
Of course they don’t look as awesome as hers. I didn’t have the right pan or tools but that’s the beauty of it – they still turned out sensational.

Ingredients 

  • Blueberries – 1 cup
  • Salted butter – 1 stick or 1/2 cup
  • Semi sweet chocolate chips – 1/4 cup
  • Sugar – 1 and 1/2 cups
  • Eggs – 2
  • Vanilla essence – 2 tsp
  • Dark cocoa powder – 1/2 cup
  • All purpose flour – 1 cup

Notes – You can use unsalted butter. Just add 1/4 tsp salt to the dry ingredients. I used Hershey’s special dark cocoa powder. You can use regular cocoa powder too. Leave out 2 tbsp sugar from the measured amount to enhance the chocolate flavor.

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 Celsius
  • Melt butter in a saucepan on medium low heat. Just as the butter melts add the blueberries and stir them around
  • Take the butter and blueberries off the heat. Add the chocolate chips and stir until the chocolate melts
  • In a separate bowl mix the eggs, sugar and vanilla with a whisk. To this add a teaspoon of the chocolate-blueberry mixture just to temper it. This will prevent the eggs from scrambling when the rest of the mixture is added
  • Add this tempered mixture back to the rest of the chcocolate-blueberry mixture and stir briefly to combine
  • Add the cocoa powder and flour (amd salt if using unsalted butter) and mix just until it is combined
  • Pour it into a greased 9×9 pan. Even out the top with a wet spatula and bake in a preheated oven for about 30 minutes
  • Check for doneness at 25 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the brownie should come out clean with a few crumbs attached. Do not overbake
  • Cool on a wire rack till it completely cooled. Cut only after the brownie cools down completely

   

 

Blueberry Muffin Cake

Looking for recipes on Pinterest is dangerous. Very dangerous. You’ll start off wanting to make one thing but will end up making something else entirely! 

For example – I started off wanting to make ‘healthy’ baby-friendly blueberry muffins. So I searched for it on Pinterest. What did I see? An absolutely drool worthy recipe for a Blueberry Muffin Cake posted by thecountrycook.net. This promised to be a much more delicious way of using up blueberries and I felt that a teeny tiny bit of cake wouldn’t harm the baby – I was sold!

  
Isn’t it gorgeous? I made only two changes to the original recipe. I amped up the lemon flavour and I used frozen blueberries as that was all I had. If you have fresh blueberries even better!

Make it. Eat it. You’ll love it.

Ingredients

Cake

  • All purpose flour – 2 and 3/4 cups
  • Baking powder – 2 tsp
  • Baking soda – 1/2 tsp
  • Butter – 1 cup at room temperature*
  • Sugar – 2 cups
  • Eggs – 3 at room temperature
  • Vanilla extract – 2 tsp
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice – 1 to 1.5 tbsp
  • Buttermilk – 1 and 1/4 cup at room temperature*
  • Zest of one medium sized lemon
  • Frozen blueberries – 200 gm

Glaze

  • Icing sugar – 1 cup
  • Lemon juice – 2 tsp
  • Milk – 2 tbsp

*Notes – I used salted butter. If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp of salt to your dry ingredients. I made my own buttermilk by mixing 1 cup homemade thick set yogurt with 1/4 cup of water. The result is a thick, tangy buttermilk which is the magic ingredient in this cake. You can use store bought as well. Just make sure it’s thick and fatty.

Method

Cake

  • Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius. Grease and flour your 10 inch bundt pan. Be sure to get all the corners and the centre support
  • Using a mixer beat butter and sugar until it turns light in colour and is very fluffy. This takes 5 to 7 minutes
  • Next, add the eggs one at a time beating well after each additon 
  • Add the vanilla extract, lemon juice and zest and beat to combine
  • In a separate bowl, add flour, baking powder and baking soda (add salt if using). Mix it with a whisk to make sure all the dry ingredients are evenly combined
  • Next, add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately to the sugar-butter mixture. Start and end with the flour mixture. DO NOT over mix. After each additon mix only until it is combined
  • Gently fold in half the blueberries into the batter
  • Pour the batter evenly into the prepared bundt pan. Spread the remaining blueberries evenly over the top of the cake and gently press them down into the batter

  

  • Bake in a preheated oven for about 45 minutes
  • If you find that the cake is browning too much but hasn’t cooked fully through then cover the top with foil and continue to bake. This will keep the top from burning
  • My cake took a little over 50 minutes to bake. Rotate the cake once at the 25 minute mark and check for doneness at the 45 minute mark. Adjust baking time as needed
  • The cake is done when the top feels springy and a tester comes out clean
  • Cool the cake in the pan placed on a wire rack. 
  • Don’t attempt to remove the cake from the pan till it is completely cooled. Only then will it come out clean and in one piece

Glaze

  • Take icing sugar in a bowl and add the lemon juice to it. Mix with a spoon or small whisk
  • Add milk one teaspoon at a time, mixing after each additon till you reach a thick pouring consistency 
  • If the glaze becomes too runny add more icing sugar to thicken it
  • Pour the glaze over a completely cooled cake

This cake is very versatile. You can have it for breakfast, lunch and/or dinner. You should definitely try it. It’s sure to become a family favorite 🙂

  

Oatmeal-Whole Wheat Shortbread Cookies

Don’t let this post’s title fool you. This cookie may have oatmeal and whole wheat by the spadefuls but it isn’t exactly diet friendly and that’s what makes it sooo good!

This recipe started off wanting to be ‘low-cal’ and ‘healthy’ as any self-respecting oats cookie recipe should be. But a half a dozen trials later I decided that I don’t like the taste of oats and that I want my cookie to taste less like sawdust and more like a shortbread.

So in went more butter – without compromising on the amount of oatmeal of course – and some brown sugar instead of white. The result is a beautifully buttery, melt in your mouth cookie that goes oh so well with your coffee or tea.

You should absolutely give this one a go!

Ingredients

  • Oats – 2 cups
  • Whole wheat flour (atta) – 1 and 3/4 cups
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
  • Corn flour – 1/4 cup
  • Salted butter – 1 and 1/2 cups (if using unsalted butter add 1/3 tsp salt to the dry ingredients)
  • Light brown sugar – 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp ( you can use white instead of brown but it will not taste as rich)

Yield : My cookies were roughly 1/4th of an inch thick and I used an 80 mm wide cookie cutter. This recipe gave me 30 cookies

Method

  • Whizz oats in a blender till you get a fine powder. It will not be as fine as whole wheat or all purpose flour but that’s fine
  • In a bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly with a whisk
  • In another bowl beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes 5 to 7 minutes on medium speed in a stand mixer

Creamed butter and sugar

  • Reduce the mixer’s speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients one cup at a time. Mix till the dough starts leaving the sides of the bowl and clumps together at the center

Cookie dough 

  • The dough should not be wet. When squeezed together in the palm of your hand, it should form a ball but it should not stick to your fingers. If the dough is too wet add whole wheat flour, one tbsp at a time till you reach the desired consistency
  • If the dough is too dry add melted butter one tbsp at a time till you reach the above mentioned texture
  • Divide the dough into two portions, wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. You can leave the cookie dough in the fridge for up to 4 days
  • Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius
  • Roll out one portion of the dough at a time. Make it as uniformly thick as possible.
  • Punch out the cookies with a cookie cutter of your choice. Here I’ve used a cookie stamp and then used a cookie cutter to cut around the stamp
  • Gently lift each cookie using an offset spatula or flat knife and place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. These cookies do not expand so you can place them half an inch apart

If you are a wannabe perfectionist like me you’ll want a foolproof system to help you get uniformly thick cookies at every iteration. I have a post for that! Its right here –  Rolling out cookies. Go check it out.

Cookie tray 

  • Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes. These cookies do not brown too much so keep an eye on them around the 10 minute mark. They’ll turn golden brown around the edges and the tops will become dry.
  • Cool the cookies on the baking sheet for about 10 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature. These cookies will stay good for a week to 10 days

Rolling out cookies 

I use a simple technique to ensure that my cookie dough is rolled out evenly every single time. All my cookies turn out to be of identical thickness and they bake uniformly. This method also minimizes clean up. A win-win for me! So I thought I’d share it with you. Let me know how it works in your kitchen.

Place your chilled cookie dough on a silicon mat. Take a sheet of clingfilm roughly as large as your mat and place it over the cookie dough.

Refer to the image below and please ignore my obsessive labelling here. Of course you know what a rolling pin  looks like!

Now take two separators of the same thickness. These could be cake dowels or wooden rulers or any thin and long objects that are of uniform thickness. These cake dowels, which are 1/4 of an inch thick, work perfectly for me.

Place them on either side of the dough and start rolling. Keep rotating the silicon mat in between, repositioning the dowels as needed.

Stop rolling when the rolling pin begins to rest on the dowels on either side. At this stage, the dowels will prevent the dough from being flattened out further.

Peel off the cling film. Reserve it for the next round. Cut out cookies using a cutter of your choice.

Using an off set spatula or flat knife, carefully lift each cookie and place it on a parchment lined sheet for baking.

Re-wrap the leftover dough and chill for 5 minutes before rolling it out again

See? Perfectly even cookies every time! The ocd freak in me is happy 🙂

Coffee Granita

All you need is coffee. Really. Hot, cold, chilled, frozen….doesn’t matter. I’ve applied this mantra to every little tangle life has thrown at me and it has produced brilliant results.
Dishes piling up in the sink and maid is on leave for a couple of weeks? Make yourself a cup of coffee. In no time you’ll find yourself enthusiastically scrubbing away, a favorite melody playing in your head. 
Husband getting on your nerves and all you want to do is bop him on the head? Take a deep breath and remember that he is a fellow coffee drinker – better sense will prevail. 
Been walking the length and breadth of the mall looking for that one elusive outfit? Stop for a cup of coffee. The next store you hit will have an utterly amazing pair of shoes on sale and outfit will be completely forgotten. Until the next trip to the mall.

See what I mean? I’ve also applied the mantra to this dessert – again – with brilliant results. It’s as easy as 1-2-3
I used my favorite stainless steel coffee filter to brew my coffee. You can use whatever you have. As long the coffee is strong and flavorful, you’re good!

This recipe is adapted from Simon Hopkinson’s coffee granita recipe and serves 2

You’ll need

Method

  • Put a shallow, rectangular baking dish (glass or metal) into the freezer before you start brewing your coffee. The dish should have a capacity of about 1 litre. It’s needs to chill for at least half an hour
  • Brew coffee to the desired strength
  • Place the brewed coffee on a low heat. Add sugar to the coffee and stir until dissolved. You can add more or less sugar than the recommended amount depending on your taste.
  • Set aside to cool completely
  • Once the coffee has cooled, pour it into the chilled baking dish and put it in the freezer for about 45 minutes
  • After 45 minutes, check the granita to see if it is beginning to solidify. You should be able to see crystals forming around the edges of the pan
  • With a fork, gently scrape around the edges and bring the crystals to the centre. Put the granita back into the freezer for 40 minutes.
  • Repeat this process every 40 minutes, gently scraping and mixing the granita together every time till there is no liquid left. The granita should be completely solid and much lighter in colour than the brewed coffee you started with
  • You will need to do this about 4 times in all. More, if your freezer is slow (like mine)

    Serving suggestions

    • Chill your serving bowls or glasses
    • Add a generous amount of granita. Top with a dollop of ice-cream or whipped cream
    • Alternatively, add a couple of tablespoons of granita to a tall glass. Top up with chilled milk for instant cold coffee