Banana bread has always been one of those all-time homey comfort foods for me (as it is, I’m sure, for most people). Give me a fresh cup of coffee and a still-warm slice, and I’m in a happy place. But there came a time, about a year ago, when banana bread became something more sinister…a treat that was only to be eaten if I felt like I was due for some massive tummy pain and nausea, resulting in me cursing the day I ever let a crumb of it pass over my lips. Continue reading Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
I recently was given the gift of a gigantic bag of apples picked fresh from my co-workers apple tree. And when I say gigantic, I mean a HUGE BAG of apples (when my co-worker brought them to me at work, he called ahead to ask me to open the trunk of my car – it took both of us to heft the bag in). So I have some apple to get through! And since I still have a decent supply of zucchini from the end of summer harvest, these wonderful little muffins seemed the perfect solution.
I have always thought of myself as more of a cook than a baker, making sauces and soups made easy sense to me in a way that the mathematics of baking and dessert making never did. This is not a great lead-up to a muffin recipe, I realize, but I want to give some perspective so that you can understand how thrilled, delighted and amazed I was at how great these muffins really are. They are soft and moist, neither too dense or too dry, and have a great balance of fruit to crumb texture. They have enough good stuff in them to not feel bad about eating more than one, and yet the crunchy sugar topping makes it feel like a treat! I love them, and best of all, my kids love them (even my husband – who is not a fan of baked-fruit desserts said he liked them).
I made them using a gluten free flour blend and xanthan gum, but you could certainly use regular all purpose flour in the same amount. I also made a large batch of them, it seems like a time effective way to bake, and it is easy to freeze the extras to enjoy later.
I hope you love them as much as I do! Your house is going to smell amazing.
For the muffins:
1/2 cup butter, room temp
2 1/2 cup sugar (equal parts white and brown sugars)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
4 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Blend)
1 tsp xanthan gum (only needed if using GF flour)
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 Tb cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
3 Tb milled flax seed
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup milk (I used almond milk, but any kind is fine)
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt
1 medium zucchini, grated
2 medium apples or 3 small apples, cored and grated
1/2 cup raisins
For the sugar topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of salt
3 Tb flour
2 Tb butter, cut into chunks
3 Tb oats
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and get out your muffin pans and muffin liners.
- After grating the zucchini, you’re going to want to get the extra liquid out of it before they go into the muffins. To do this, take the grated zucchini and put it in a strainer. Sprinkle liberally with salt (don’t worry, we’re going to wash it off!) and let it drain while you are working on the rest of the recipe – about 15 minutes.
- In a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar with a whisk attachment. Add the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and be sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl so that everything is well blended.
- In another large bowl combine all the dry ingredients (salt through flax) and stir well using a dry whisk. With the stand mixer on low, add the dry to the wet slowly, until mostly incorporated – it does not have to be smooth. Try not to over beat!
- With the mixer on low, add applesauce, yogurt and milk. Go to your strainer, and rinse the salt off your zucchini and then squeeze all of the liquid you can out of it and toss it into the batter. Add the apples and raisins. Blend until just combined, then turn off the mixer and give the batter a couple of stirs with a spoon, being sure to get to the bottom of the bowl.
- For the topping, combine all ingredients into a small bowl and mash together with a fork. This is a very flexible topping, so if you like more oats or more cinnamon, add what you like!
- Fill each muffin cup about 3/4 full and top with a pinch of the topping (press on slightly). Bake for approximately 25 minutes, and rotate your pans halfway through the baking to ensure equal doneness.
- Once they are done, take them out and let them cool for 10 minutes and then dig in.
I volunteered to bring a dessert to a summer family gathering, and I decided I wanted to bring something with fresh fruit, homemade ingredients, and something to fit into my new gluten-free lifestyle.
I have made trifles before, but this one is far and away the best I have ever tried (or tasted). It combines the lightness of homemade whipped cream and fruit with the decadence of cake and pudding. It is, in short, an Amazing Trifle!
This trifle can be made with Gluten free cake mix, or with traditional yellow cake. It is great either way! Continue reading The Amazing Fruit and Cake Trifle
I have a serious case of split personality disorder when it comes to my relationship with homemade birthday cakes.
The more sentimental, doting, and hausfrau side of me feels that making someone a birthday cake from scratch is a true expression of love for the person and is part of the gift you give to them on their special day. And then…there’s the more frazzled side of me who may just put the whole thing off out of indecision and intimidating expectations until the very last moment rush into Target to try to find a prefab cake in the cooler that I can try to pass off as special. That, of course, is the worst case scenario, and I swear it only happened that one time. Most often, the haufrau side begins Continue reading Making Fondant