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

   

 

Double Chocolate Nankhatai

When you’re craving a cookie that is chocolatey and rich but all you have are a whisk and a bowl, coffee time can get pretty tough. I mean, sure there’s a lot you can do with a whisk, or so I’ve heard but I did not want to risk an injury whipping up butter and sugar. So I poked around the internet a bit and found this fantastic recipe just begging to be tweaked.

Five ingredients, a bowl, a whisk and in about 20 minutes you’re done. If you’re feeling a little fancy you can even hide a surprise inside these cookies.

  
The pictures are not that great but the cookies definitely are! 

This recipe makes 10 cookies

                                                                

Doesn’t it look delicious? Let’s get started!

Ingredients

  • Salted butter at room temperature – 4 tbsp 
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp
  • Cocoa powder – 2 tbsp
  • Powdered sugar or caster sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Baking powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Hershey’s milk chocolate drops – 10 Optional

You can use unsalted butter. Just add a pinch of salt to the flour if you do. Ghee is another sunbstitute for butter that works well here

Method

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius 
  • Whisk butter and sugar in a bowl for about 5 minutes till the sugar is well incorporated and the butter begins to look a little pale
  • Add the rest of the dry ingredients and knead gently till it comes together. The dough will look a little crubmly but it should be soft to touch and should not be sticky 
  • Form balls of dough a little smaller in size than ping pong balls. The cookie balls should be smooth and crack free.
  • Make an impression in the cookie with your thumb and press one milk chocolate drop into the centre. Gently roll the cookie back into a ball making sure the chocolate drop stays in the center
  • If you don’t want a chocolate centre skip the previous step. 
  • Flatten the cookie balls gently, not too much though and place them on a cookie tray lined with  parchment paper or greased foil. Make sure you place them about 2 inches apart
  • Bake in a preheated oven for 12 minutes
  • After 12 minutes take them out of the oven. Rest for a couple of minutes. Then try to nudge a cookie gently with a spatula. If it moves easily the cookies are done. If the cookie doesn’t move easily put the tray back in the oven for 2 more minutes and check for doneness again
  • Be very careful not to over bake these cookies. The chocolate colour makes it hard to tell if they’re burning around the edges
  • Cool the cookies completely on a  wire rack
  • Store in an airtight container 

  

Can you spot the tiny hand trying to grab one 😉

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 🙂

  

Sweet & Spicy Almonds – Dark Chocolate Bark

Strictly speaking this cannot be called a recipe post. It is a two-step process with an oven time of about ten minutes and that’s it. Roast almonds, pour melted chocolate on them and you’re done. The wait time is a true test of endurance though. This bark takes about 3 hours to firm up.

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The molten chocolate poured over shiny glazed almonds looked so tantalising that those three hours passed in total agony! I made constant trips to the refrigerator – poking, prodding, touching, lifting (spot the fingerprints and knife wounds in the picture above!). Turns out, you cannot will the chocolate to harden. It is stubborn and temperamental and will take its own sweet time.  So I suggest you make this at night, just before bedtime and let it set overnight. Easier on you and better for the chocolate too.

Sweet and Spicy Almonds recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon

Ingredients

  • Whole raw almonds – 2 cups
  • Honey – 2 and 1/2 tbsp
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbsp (can be substituted with honey)
  • Vegetable oil – 1 tbsp
  • Red pepper flakes – 1 tsp
  • Chilli powder (cayenne) – 1/4 tsp
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt or rock salt – 1/4 tsp
  • Dark chocolate (at least 60%) – 350 to 400 grams

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160 degree Celsius.
  • Add almonds to a big bowl. Pour in honey, maple syrup and vegetable oil. Add the red pepper flakes, chilli powder and salt and stir thoroughly until the almonds are evenly coated.

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  • Looks gorgeous doesn’t it? Now, if you haven’t already wolfed them down at this stage, line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spread the almonds on the tray in an even layer. Bake in a preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. After the initial 5 minutes stir the nuts around on the tray and continue to bake. Keep a close watch! Nuts tend to burn very quickly. Mine were toasted perfectly in about 12 minutes.
  • Allow the almonds to cool completely. Leave them on the tray till they are cool and the syrup has formed a nice hard glaze. The almonds will form delicious little clusters.
  • When the almonds are nearly cool, melt the chocolate in a double boiler – a glass bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the melting chocolate gently, making sure the chocolate doesn’t come into contact with any water at all. Once it has all melted, take it off the heat. Line another baking sheet or brownie pan with parchment paper. Break up the almond clusters and spread about two-thirds of the almonds on the sheet. Pour the chocolate over the almonds and try to spread it out as evenly as possible using an offset spatula or a flat knife. Sprinkle the remaining almonds on top of the chocolate and gently press them down with the spatula. Sprinkle sea salt over the chocolate.
  • You’re done! Well almost. Refrigerate till the chocolate is set hard. This takes about 3 hours. After the nearly interminable wait, when the chocolate has finally set, break it up into chunks either with a knife or by hand. If breaking it up by hand, avoid getting your fingerprints on the chocolate by placing a layer of parchment on it first. Keep this almond – dark chocolate bark refrigerated.

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If you, like us, have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this should last you a couple of days. If you are blessed with greater self control it should be good for about a week to ten days.

Microwave Brownie in a Mug

I’ve made multiple versions of this cake-in-a-mug dessert. And blogged about it once before. It can be found here. It’s truly quick, fast and satisfying. What’s not to love?

But why am I blogging about this again? Especially when there are millions of great recipes online?

It’s because this little brownie swept me off my feet! Quite literally. It is so rich and so gooey and so fudgy that the moment I dug into it I stopped, grabbed the nearest chair, took a deep breath and did what any blogger would do.

I clicked this picture. Then I posted it on whatsapp and Instagram and publicly declared my love for it on Facebook!

The magic ingredient here is the chocolate chunks. It elevates the brownie to a different level altogether. Try it for yourself. It’ll make you go ‘mmmmm!’

Note: The quality of your cocoa powder and chocolate will determine the quality of your outcome so do use the best you can lay your hands on

Ingredients

  • All purpose flour – 1/4 cup
  • Icing Sugar – 2 tbsp (you can use regular white sugar but I suggest you blend it to a coarse powder first. The crystals here in India are too large)
  • Cocoa Powder – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – a pinch
  • Water – 1/4 cup
  • Oil (anything but olive oil) – 2 tbsp
  • Brewed coffee – 1 tsp (you can add a 1/2 tsp vanilla extract instead)
  • Chocolate chunks – 1 tbsp plus a few more for the topping

Method

  • Add all the dry ingredients to a microwave safe mug and stir with a fork to combine.
  • Add all the liquid ingredients and stir to combine. There should be no lumps. At this point you will be excused for wanting to skip the next step and drink this straight out of the mug. I know I was tempted but hold on. You will not regret this
  • Add the chocolate chunks and stir. Do not leave this ingredient out. This is what makes the brownie so gooey and delectable
  • Sprinkle a few chocolate chunks on top and and microwave it for 1 minute.

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  • I have a 750W machine and my brownie was done in 1 minute. But check at the 45 second mark.
  • Since it’s a microwave we’re dealing with, the difference between a moist brownie and a lump of coal is literally a few seconds. So keep checking after the 45 second mark.
  • Forget the coffee – I know I can’t believe I’m saying this – but this brownie is best paired with vanilla ice cream

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