Sunday, 2 April 2017

Low Sugar Granola Wholewheat Muffins

These muffins are not as sweet as others I have on my site. The good thing about that is if you want to make it sweeter, you can spread the muffin with a low sugar, or no sugar added spread to bring it up to your taste. The muffins are rich in fiber since I have used flax meal, granola, oatmeal and wholewheat flour. While not as gigantic in size as a true breakfast muffin, it does provide a satisfying snack.
Ingredients 
1 cup Whole Wheat Flour
½ cup flax meal
½ cup oatmeal
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed (I use Colombian Panela Redonda)
1 tablespoon molasses
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon allspice
1 cup prepared granola ( I use my homemade Chocolate Caramel Toffee Granola, also on this site)
½ large granny smith apple, peeled and coarsely shredded
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
¾ cup yogurt
¾ cup half and half
1 tablespoon lemon juice

 Directions 
1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Insert Jumbo muffin liners into a 12 piece muffin tin.   
2. Whisk together all of the dry ingredients, including the granola. 
3. Gently warm the half and half mixed with the vanilla, molasses and brown sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Set aside to cool. 
4. Peel and shred the apple. Add the lemon juice to this and set aside. 
5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable oil, yogurt until combined. Add to this, the half and half mixture and mix until combined. Add in the apple and lemon juice and quickly add to the dry ingredients, stirring just enough to combine (you will see bubbles forming in the batter at this stage due to the reaction between the lemon juice and the soda). 
6. Spoon the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 2/3 full. 
7. Sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional granola, if desired. 
8. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the middle of one of the center muffins comes out clean. Cool on a rack.
 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Orange Cranberry Tea Bread

There are two ways to make this tea bread. The first (method 1) is more labor intensive, takes longer but has a more intense orange flavor, and cake-like texture. The second (method 2) is much quicker, does not use an egg, has a lighter orange flavor, and is more bread like. Both ways make a very delicious loaf bread that you can enjoy, slathered with butter, with tea or coffee.
Method 1
Ingredients
1 stick or 4 ozs butter
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon loose tea or a tea bag
1 egg
1/3 cup orange puree (as prepared below)
6 ozs dried cranberries
4 ozs granulated sugar (white not brown)
9 ozs self-rising flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
Directions
1. Wash the whole orange carefully ( I try to use only organic, and the smallest one I can find). Trim about 1⁄2" from the tops and bottoms of oranges. Cover with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Again, cover the orange with cold water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer with the cover on for about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Don’t try to rush this part as the prolonged boiling minimizes the bitterness of the skin and pith. Tip: I used a pressure cooker to do this in 30 minutes. Remove from heat but don’t flash cool, let it cool naturally until the pressure has dropped, and it is safe to open. Allow the orange to cool. The orange is “cooked” when the rind gives easily when pierced with a fork. This step can be done the day before and the puree kept in the fridge until ready to use. Remove the center, and seeds if any. Puree in a small blender. Set aside to cool. I freeze any leftover puree (if any) for future recipes.
2.  Brew the tea in 3/4 cup boiling water. Pour over dried cranberries, and orange puree. Leave to soak for about 1-2 hours.
3. Mix together flour, baking soda and powder, chocolate chunks, spices, and salt. Set aside
4. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add egg and beat well. Mix in tea and fruit mixture, then add the flour mixture all at once. Mix at low speed or by hand until just combined.
5. Pour into a greased and floured 2 lb loaf tin (I line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper). Bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out. 
Method 2
Ingredients
1 stick or 4 ozs butter
1 cup water
1 teaspoon loose tea or a teabag
6 ozs dried cranberries
4 ozs granulated sugar
9 ozs self rising flour
zest of 1 orange
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks
Directions
1. Brew the tea in 1 cup boiling water. Add this to the dried cranberries, butter, and sugar. Bring to just below boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add the grated orange zest, and allow to cool to room temperature. 
2. Mix together the flour, baking soda and powder, spices, and salt. Add the tea mixture to this, and mix until just combined. Mix in the chocolate chunks.
3. Pour into a greased and floured 2 lb loaf tin (I line the bottom with a piece of parchment paper). Bake in 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for 1-1 1/4 hours or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in tin for 10 minutes before turning out.


Saturday, 18 March 2017

Chocolate Orange All Bran Muffins


I love the mixture of chocolate and orange. It reminds me of the chocolate covered orange cremes that are made by one of the better known chocolate manufacturers. I wanted a combination that would liven up All Bran muffins so this recipe is a result of that. As a starting point, I visited the Kellogg's All Bran  cereal site, then modified their basic recipe heavily, cutting back on the amount of sugar and adding a couple other ingredients. I retained some things in the original, but it is certainly not as boring, and it definitely has the taste of chocolate covered orange cremes! 

Ingredients

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup Brown sugar (I use Coconut sugar for the caramel taste)

1 tablespoon molasses

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/3 cups half and half

1 cup All-Bran® cereal (I used Kellogg's because the ingredient list did not have a lot of additives)

1/2 cup Scottish oatmeal

¼ cup flax meal

1 egg, slightly beaten

1/3 cup orange puree prepared as below (and in my previous recipes)

1/3 cup crunchy almond butter

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

½  teaspoon nutmeg

½ teaspoon allspice

1 cup dark chocolate chunks
Directions

1.      Wash the whole orange carefully. Trim about 1⁄2" from the tops and bottoms of oranges. Cover with water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Drain. Repeat boiling process twice more with fresh water. Again, cover the orange with cold water.  Bring the water to a rolling boil, lower the heat, and simmer with the cover on for about 1- 1 1/2 hours. Don’t try to rush this part as the prolonged boiling minimizes the bitterness of the skin and pith. Tip: I used a pressure cooker to do this in 30 minutes. Remove from heat but don’t flash cool, let it cool naturally until the pressure has dropped, and it is safe to open. Allow the orange to cool. The orange is “cooked” when the rind gives easily when pierced with a fork. This step can be done the day before and the puree kept in the fridge until ready to use. Remove the center, and seeds if any. Puree in a small blender. Set aside to cool. I freeze any leftover puree (if any) for future recipes.

2.      In medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, oatmeal, baking soda, spices, and salt. Set aside.

3.      In large bowl combine half and half, molasses, and the brown sugar, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add to this, the all-bran cereal, and flax meal. Let stand about 2 minutes or more until the bran gets soft and soggy.

4.      Beat the egg, and almond butter well. Add the boiled orange puree. Mix well. Add in the half and half mixture.

5.      Mix in the flour mixture quickly. Be careful not to over mix, stirring until just combined. Portion out mixture into 12 muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 18-20 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool on rack.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Sesame Bullseye Munchies

Anyone who has been following this blog will know I like crunchy sesame cookies. This is another variation that is less "Biscotti" but more "cookie". The chocolate chunk that is baked into the cookie, makes that last bite (assuming you have carefully nibbled the edges first) the ultimate reward!
Ingredients
1 cup Durum Atta flour
1 cup all purpose flour
2 cups puffed cereal (millet, rice, quinoa, Kamu)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup white sugar
¼ cup water
¼ cup brown sugar, packed (I use either coconut sugar or Colombian Panela as they both have a very pronounced toffee taste)
1/2 cup almond butter
½ cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sesame seeds
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Chocolate chunks (dark, semi-sweet or milk)

Directions

1.      Mix the flours, salt, baking soda, puffed cereal in a bowl. Set aside.
2.      Bring the brown sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Boil to thin syrup stage (about 212 degrees Fahrenheit on a candy thermometer). Set aside to cool. When cooled, add the vanilla and vinegar to this.
3.      Cream butters, white sugar until fluffy. Add 1 egg, mix well. Separate the other egg, adding the yolk to the butter mixture. Reserve the white for later use. Set aside.
4.      Mix in the flour mixture all at once. Add the sugar syrup mixture and mix until a dough forms.
5.      Pour half of the sesame seeds out in a dinner plate.
6.      Take about 1 tablespoon of the dough at a time and roll between your hands to form a ball. Roll the ball in the reserved egg white them press the ball down in the sesame seeds, flattening it so that it looks like a little sausage patty. Do this on both sides so that the seeds cover the flattened cookies.
7.      Place on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper. When the sheet is full, press a chocolate chunk in the center of each cookie.
8.      Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes. The cookies can be eaten like this but I double bake to make them crunchy. If you like more crunchy cookies, lower the oven temperature to 275 degrees Fahrenheit, and bake the cookies for another 20 minutes. Turn off oven after this time but leave cookies in with oven door closed. After the oven has cooled down, remove the cookies from oven and cool on a rack. Store in an airtight container.