Saturday, March 8, 2014

Applesauce Raspberry Orange Muffins

This week I've been thinking muffins. We've been really lucky with the oranges we've been buying from the store lately, so I really wanted to do something that incorporated orange zest. We've also been trying to eat healthy lately, so I wanted to do something that used applesauce as a sweetener, rather than cups and cups of sugar. Finally, I had some of those raspberry preserves leftover, and I thought that would be tasty.

I found a recipe here that seemed easy enough to start with, and not difficult to alter. However, when I started making these I didn't realize that I didn't exactly have all the ingredients.
 

In theory, these are all the ingredients you need. It really helps to check how much applesauce you actually have. The original recipe calls for a cup and a half of applesauce, and I could just barely scrape out a whole cup. Other ingredients you may realize you really should add are brown sugar, powdered sugar, and milk.


Combine egg, applesauce, and oil. Whisk lightly until combined.


Realize that this would be a really good time to add the raspberry preserves. Add them too. 


 Realize that you've forgotten the orange zest, and add that too.


Mix up white powders, and be in awe of obligatory white-powder photo.

 

Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients.


Realize that, whoa, maybe that extra half cup of applesauce would have made a big difference because, man, that batter is way too dry. Frantically squeeze the juice of the orange that you zested into the batter. Breathe a sigh of relief as the batter starts to act more like muffin batters you've seen before. Taste a little of the batter. Realize that the juice from the orange has made the batter tangy, but also a little bitter.

 

 Come to terms with the fact that, yes, a tablespoon of brown sugar would really make the whole thing taste better.
  

Spoon the batter into muffin pan. Realize you forgot to preheat the oven to 375. Turn the oven on and bake the muffins for about 20-25 minutes.


Give the muffins a minute to cool down, and taste a piece. Realize that, yes, these taste healthy, and if you wanted muffins that taste healthy then these are perfect for you. But oh my goodness, you're just not in the mood for healthy tasting muffins right now. Whip up a quick glaze with about a quarter cup of powdered sugar and a splash of milk. Dunk the tops of the muffins in the glaze, and think happy thoughts.

 

 Oh, now really, doesn't that look better?


These are pretty good while they're still warm, so don't hesitate to eat while they're still a little steamy.


Goodness knows I didn't.


Recipe: Applesauce Raspberry Orange Muffins
Prep Time: 30-45 Minutes | Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 6

Ingredients

Muffins:

  • 1 Egg
  • 1 cup Applesauce
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 3 1/2 tbsp Raspberry Preserves
  • Zest of 1 Orange
  • Juice of 1 Orange
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 3/4 tsp Baking Soda
Glaze: 
  • 1/4 cup Powered Sugar
  • 1 tsp (a splash) Milk

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F, and grease your muffin pan. (Or use muffin cups.)
  2. Whisk together egg, applesauce, oil, preserves, zest, juice, and brown sugar.
  3. Add mixture of flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin pan.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cake tester comes out clean. Cool muffins on a rack until cool enough to pick up. (Less than five minutes.)
  6. Mix powdered sugar and milk for glaze. Dunk muffins into glaze and allow a minute for glaze to set.
  7. Eat while still warm. Or don't. I can't make you.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Baked Raspberry Nutella Swirl Doughnuts

Kristin here again! With Valentine's Day coming up, I've been giving a lot of thought about trying new fruit and chocolate pairings. With it being another Saturday morning, I was also giving a lot of thought to doughnuts. These Raspberry Nutella doughnuts are the results. Well, they were. Before we ate them. The nice thing about these doughnuts is that even though there are a number of ingredients, they're all things that are commonly already in the pantry, and this is pretty much a mix-and-bake recipe. 

For the doughnuts you need flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, a little salt, butter, an egg, milk, preserves, and Nutella. I decided to use raspberry preserves because raspberries and chocolate make me happy, but I bet these would be great with almost any fruit. The glaze needs powdered sugar, vanilla, a dash of salt, milk, and I threw some leftover preserves in there too. 



First things first, the obligatory mixed powders shot. Whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl. 



Once it's fairly homogenous, create a well in the middle of the powder. 



Put the milk, egg, and melted butter in the well. 



Mix until all ingredients are incorporated. The dough will be sticky. 



Now it's time for the preserves. I started with a couple tablespoons, mixed it up, and then decided that I wanted a little more of the flavor. It's not an exact science so just add more until you like how it tastes. 



Once it's all mixed in the dough will be considerably wetter, but that's okay. 



Now here's a step where I tried getting a little fancy. I've tried just using a spoon to fill up the doughnut pan, and it makes a gigantic mess. It can also make it really difficult to fill the pan evenly. Piping is definitely the way to go. Because I wanted ribbons of Nutella swirled throughout the doughnuts, I didn't just mix it into the dough. Instead what I did was smear two spoonfuls of Nutella along the side seem of my Ziplock/piping bag. 



Then I filled the rest of the bag with the dough. When you cut off the corner and start piping, the dough pulls a ribbon of Nutella out with it and creates beautiful swirls.  Before you start piping, make sure you grease your doughnut pan!



Although some of them looked more like beautiful globs. 



I filled my pan all the way the top, and it was enough dough for six fairly large doughnuts. You could fill them less full and make more doughnuts that are smaller. 



Because the consistency of the dough and the consistency of the Nutella are so different, it came out of the piping bag a little unevenly. When I saw this, I thought I'd give my tasty ribbons a little swirly help by running a toothpick around center of the doughnut. While this step is probably unnecessary, it certainly made the swirl a lot more pronounced, and it seemed to help distribute the Nutella throughout the entire doughnut.



These doughnuts are post toothpick-swirl. 



 Isn't that pretty? Now these are ready for the oven! Oh, did I mention that you should preheat the oven to 425 degrees? If you haven't done that yet, go do that now. They bake quickly, so they should be done in just about 8 to 10 minutes.
 

While the doughnuts are baking, you can whip up the glaze. Just mix the powdered sugar, vanilla, salt, and milk with the whisk. Because I felt daring I threw in a couple teaspoons of the raspberry preserves, and it really worked.



The edges of the doughnuts are light brown, and the tops of the doughnuts are springy to the touch. Time to take them out of the oven and let them cool. You should be able to get the doughnuts out of the pan just by turning the pan over above the cooling rack. If a little Nutella got stuck on the bottom of the pan they might require a little more convincing.



After about five minutes, dunk the doughnut into the glaze and then return to the cooling rack so the glaze can set. 



It is a beautiful sight. 



I will be honest with you. These doughnuts didn't last long enough for the glaze to set.  That meant that they were very sticky but oh, so worth it.



Beautiful swirl action. 



The raspberry added to the glaze is delicious and it adds a nice pop of color. 



 Po was really hoping for a recipe that involved pork. Or beef. Or chicken. Or bacon. 



I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!


Recipe: Baked Raspberry Nutella Swirl Doughnuts
Prep Time: 45-60 Minutes | Cook Time: 8-10 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 2-3

Ingredients

Doughnuts:

  • 1 cup Flour
  • 1/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon 
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 tbsp melted Butter
  • 3-4 tbsp Raspberry Preserves
  • 3 tbsp Nutella
Glaze: 
  • 2 cups Powered Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/3 cup Milk
  • Optional: 1-2 tbsp Raspberry Preserves

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F, and grease your doughnut pan.
  2. Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Create a well in the middle of the mixture.
  3. Add milk, egg, and butter to the well and mix into the dry ingredients. Mix in 3-4 tablespoons of raspberry preserves, depending on how you want it to taste.
  4. Smear two spoonfuls of Nutella on the inside of a pastry bag. (I used a Ziplock bag.)  Fill the rest of the bag with dough. Cut the corner off the bag and pipe the dough into the doughnut pan.
  5. Optional Step: Swirl the Nutella in the dough with a toothpick.
  6. Bake doughnuts for 8-10 minutes, until the doughnuts spring back when you touch them. Allow to cool on a rack for about five minutes.
  7. To make the glaze combine powdered sugar, salt, vanilla, milk, and raspberry preserves. When doughnuts had cooled, dunk them in the glaze. Put the doughnuts back on the rack to let the glaze set. 
  8. Devour. Be happy.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Apple Nut Pull-Apart Loaf

Kristin here. That's right. I'm taking over. Now take a seat, say good-bye to your extra calories, and get ready for one of the tastiest (and easiest) breakfasts in existence.

When I was very little, I wanted to help out in the kitchen. Unfortunately I was terrified of the oven, the stove, and knives. This was one of the first meals that my mom ever taught me that I was able to help with. Eventually I grew out of my fear and realized that this breakfast is so easy that I could sneak downstairs and make it for holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day. This morning, I made it for the holiday commonly known as Saturday. Note: This is not the exact recipe my mom sent me. There was a pan that we had that was specifically for this recipe that Alex and I don't own. That, and I have a really hard time baking without brown sugar, so I just had to throw that in.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees, and grease your bundt pan.

Here are your ingredients.


You see those apples? You see that I have three- count them - three apples? You do NOT need three apples. Even if they're kind of on the smallish side. You might be in the produce section, looking at the apples, thinking to yourself, "I could totally fit three apples into this." You can't. You won't. You will end up eating at least one, perhaps one and a half of the apples. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but you definitely don't need three for this recipe.

What you do need is a can of biscuits, sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, butter or margarine, apples, raisins, and nuts. And probably a cup of coffee. It's early, and you deserve it. 


Take the biscuits out of their package (this recipe becomes very difficult if you skip this step) and tear them in half. Don't worry about cutting them perfectly, just use your hands and eyeball it. 


Then roll the biscuit halves into balls. 


I started with eight biscuits, so now I have sixteen dough balls. 


Melt two tablespoons on butter or margarine. I used margarine today, but they both work well.  Then mix the sugars and cinnamon. 

The original recipe calls for six tablespoons of white sugar, but I have a really hard time baking something without brown sugar. I only used three tablespoons of white sugar and then I threw in three tablespoons of brown sugar. Because I'm a rebel like that. Also, a teaspoon and a half of cinnamon gets mixed in there.


Roll the dough balls in the melted butter or margarine. 


Then roll them in the sugars and cinnamon. Previously when I made this, I would get a lot of cinnamon and sugar into the butter because it gets all over your hands. Today I realized that if I only buttered with my right hand, and only sugared with my left hand, the butter didn't get sugared. I'm pretty sure it doesn't make a difference, but I felt better about myself. That's what's important, right?  Important note: Save the leftover sugar and cinnamon!!


Put the lovely little dough ball into your greased bundt pan. Oh, but he's lonely. Let's get him some friends.  


What a lovely ring of dough balls! Now they are all friends, nice and cozy in your pan.


Glamor shot. They look like you could just eat them now, but don't. Raw biscuit dough is gross. 


After peeling and coring my apples, I pulled out my faux-mandoline. Apparently it isn't a real mandoline because it doesn't juilienne, but I still love it. 


My knife skills are very weak, so it's really nice to have a gadget that helps me get such nice, consistent slices. The slices should be a little on the thin side so that they can get nice and tender while they bake, but not so thin that they just disintegrate. 


In the original recipe, it calls for apples between each biscuit and along the outside of the pan. What you see here is a result of me having too many apples. Honestly though, if you have a space where an apple slice can go, put an apple slice there. You won't regret it later.


 Remember that cinnamon and sugar that you saved earlier? Now you get to mix it up with the two tablespoons of raisins and three tablespoons of chopped nuts. I used to be able to find mixed chopped nuts and that was delicious, but we couldn't find that at the store. I went with chopped walnuts and it worked well. Pick your favorite, be adventurous, it will probably work out. Attempt to resist just sitting down and eating this with a spoon. Please believe me when I say that it will be worth it.


Sprinkle the nuts and raisin mixture over the dough and apples. 


 It's just. So. Beautiful. Now pop that beauty in the oven for about 25-30 minutes.


Remember that cup of coffee? If you have a chance to photograph it artfully in front of the gently falling snow, it will really add a richness to the flavor. If you can't, well, you'll just have to make do. 


After only fifteen minutes your kitchen will smell amazing, but it won't even be close to done! Now close your oven and let it get back to baking.


The final result! I called it done after about 28 minutes. The apples on the outside looked a little overdone, but they were beautifully caramelized and very tasty. The most important thing was that the dough was cooked through.


I will admit it, it's not the prettiest looking thing. 


It's probably not going to win any beauty awards. 


But I still maintain that it's one of the tastiest breakfasts that you could make. And besides, if it's easy enough for a ten year old with, essentially, a fear of kitchen, then it's easy enough for anyone. 


Fun fact: When you don't blog in almost a year, the light box gets very wrinkly. Also, kitties think that it's a box for them to play in.


Posey was pretty sure the wrinkles were there to attack. 


Kitties be crazy. 


So anyway. back to breakfast. This is what Alex's plate looked like about thirty seconds after I asked him to taste test it for me.


Easy to make, wonderful to eat, I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!

Recipe: Apple Nut Pull-Apart Loaf
Prep Time: 45-60 Minutes | Cook Time: 25-30 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 4-6

Ingredients


  • 1 can Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits
  • 3 tbsp Sugar
  • 3 tbsp Brown Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp Butter or Margarine, melted
  • 2 small Apples or 1 medium Apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 3 tbsp Chopped Nuts
  • 2 tbsp Raisins

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Separate biscuits in half and roll into balls.
  2. Mix sugars and cinnamon.
  3. Dip dough balls into butter, then roll in sugar and cinnamon mixture.
  4. Arrange sugared biscuit balls into bundt pan.
  5. Place an apple slice between each biscuit ball, and around the outer and inner edges of the pan.
  6. Mix nuts, raisins, and leftover sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle over the biscuits and apples.
  7. Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown.