Breads & Muffins
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. I look forward to it before I fall asleep at night. It makes an incredible difference falling asleep if I know that I’ll wake up with a healthy breakfast already prepared. It’s like having your outfit already picked and laid out for the day. An ease in my life. Now I love a good elaborate breakfast with a multifaceted array of different flavors - savory and sweet all together on the same plate. Bacon happily sitting next to eggs, lavish fluffy pancakes, savory hash browns in a pile next to fresh fruit, and maple syrup on top of it all. That’s what the weekends are for - being able to sit down with a mug of coffee and enjoy a leisurely breakfast with our loved ones. I don’t know about you, but my weekdays are packed with obligations - children, spouse, work, friends, and other haphazard activities. Weekdays are just not the time for an extravagant breakfast.
Pumpkin! The market is saturated with pumpkin spice lattes, donuts, and scones. Everywhere we turn, the bright orange vegetable is being prominently turned into the epitome of fall.
Just when I thought I had enough of pumpkin, I remembered this absolutely delicious pumpkin muffin recipe I created a few years back. Perfectly moist, the right amount of spice to pumpkin and the most delicious pecan pie topping. Go to your pantry, collect all the ingredients and make these now! They are that good!
Banana bread is a classic treat often served with brunch or breakfast. Carrot cake, banana bread's “big sister”, is another classic favorite. What do you get when you cross banana bread and carrot cake together? Hummingbird cake! Hummingbird cake has a long but rather unknown history in the South. The first known published recipe was in 1978 in Southern Living Magazine. Mrs. Wiggins, of Greensboro North Carolina submitted the recipe to the magazine after winning numerous awards and ribbons for the cake. The recipe went on to be the most requested recipe in the magazine's history.
One of my favorite times of the year is when the cherry trees begin to blossom; a signal that summer is drawing near and winter is around the corner. The fragrance and the beauty of these tiny blossoms is intoxicating!
Cherry trees produce small, bright red fruit perfect for pie, scones, jams, jellies and muffins. Cherries are so versatile they can even be used in savory applications such as sauces, salsas and bread stuffing.
If you have ever been to the mall or shopping center you are instantly greeted by the delicious smells wafting from the pretzel stand. It is hard to miss and even harder to resist!
The soft pretzel is said to have originated from Germany. History states that in the year 1111, the first documented picture of the pretzel appeared in the baker's guild crest. In the 1440's the pretzel was seen in a prayer book, St. Bartholomew was pictured surrounded by the soft and chewy knotted bread. The pretzel was said to bring luck and spiritual wholeness to the people. Pretzels were used in other traditions in Europe, often in Easter hunts (much like today's Easter egg hunts) and hung on Christmas trees as a symbol of luck and prosperity. The pretzel was also used in wedding ceremonies, the bride and groom would tug on each side and wish for happiness in the marriage, similar to the modern day turkey wishbone.
I have never met a doughnut that I didn't like. That being said, it is the New Year and we all are looking for ways to trim a few calories and dreaded fat from our diets. Traditionally, donuts are yeast or cake dough that is fried and then dredged in a sweet, creamy frosting or filled with a sugary fruit filling. Donut muffins satisfy the craving for a calorie-laden fried donut, but with fewer calories, and no frying! Simple to make with the texture of a classic cake donut, donut muffins are sure to satisfy even the diehard donut fan.
Donut muffins are the perfect way to begin your morning. Light, with a cake donut-like texture, they are easy to make the night before and hand out to tired and hungry family members as they leave for the day. Portable, baked and delicious, these muffins are a sensible replacement for the overly fried and sweet donut.
Trying to get yourself ready for the day amongst the chatter of young children, the moodiness of a teenager and a spouse that can't seem to find the car keys is enough to make you want to pull your hair out! Getting any number of children, backpacks, lunches and maybe a spouse out the door is no easy task. Wouldn't it be nice to take a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee (or tea) and enjoy a slice of homemade sweet bread? A cup of caffeine and a slice of chocolate cappuccino bread can bring a much need energy boost to start your day off right. Continue reading
My garden is huge! The tomatoes have all grown together to form one gigantic tomato plant. I pick up one branch and realize that I will have more tomatoes than any one family could possibly ever need. If you see me trying to give them away to neighbors, friends or even on the side of the road in a makeshift farm stand, please politely smile and wave. The tomatoes may have taken over, but the zucchini is just getting started. I was able to go out and pick a few the other day. While flipping through magazines and websites for culinary inspiration, I stumbled upon a delicious recipe for zucchini muffins. Perfect! Zucchini muffins are delicious on their own, but the addition of fresh picked blueberries and a tart and creamy cream cheese glaze pushes them over the top.
Sweet oranges pair perfectly with tangy cranberries in this soft and fluffy muffin creation. Typically, when you think of cranberries and orange juice your mind instantly wanders to big mid-day meals filled with mounds of roasted turkey and carb loaded stuffing. Cranberries are a very versatile fruit that can be utilized in many applications beyond Thanksgiving dinner. Cranberry-orange muffins are a great example. The muffin is inherently sweet, the orange juice adds a nice sweet citrus flavor and the cranberry adds an unexpected pop of tartness. This is the perfect combination of flavors to brighten up any morning routine. This muffin is wonderful just as it is, but the addition of Tahitian vanilla bean paste brings it to a whole other level of deliciousness.
There is no aroma quite as comforting or as intoxicating as freshly baked bread. The art of bread-making dates back to the ancient Egyptians; grains were cultivated, and a simple mortar and pestle were used to grind the grain into a very course flour. The first bread was unleavened, similar to a tortilla or a naan bread. The addition of yeast to these breads began when wild yeast was attracted to the ground grains and "contaminated" them, and then the warm climate and the addition of water activated the yeast and caused the dough to rise.
Although the ancient Egyptians had no working knowledge of how the yeast microorganisms caused the dough to rise, each time the dough would rise they would remove a small piece to add to the next batch of dough. In modern times this would be considered the mother. Many bakers have one or two mothers that they start their artisanal breads from, assuring consistency in flavor from one batch to another. I have worked with many artisanal bread bakers that keep a storage container that holds the original mother from when they began their career as bakers. They feed and care for it as if it was more precious than gold.
The leaves begin to fall, the weather starts to turn, and there is a crispness in the air. Fall has begun to show its colors, and my mind turns to baking. This time of year I bake with rich savory spices; spices that fill the house with their aroma. Cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves are a few that come to mind.Continue reading
It’s Saturday morning, and you are awoken to the smell of freshly baked cinnamon rolls wafting down the hallway. You happily jump up out of your warm bed, and head to the kitchen in search of the comforting aroma. As you approach the kitchen, your significant other greets you with a kiss and a cup of piping hot coffee.
What a pretty picture I have painted; a picture that can be yours tomorrow morning. My orange ginger rolls are a twist on the traditional, and the flavors are familiar but unique. They are gooey, soft, fragrant, and delicious on a lazy weekend morning!
We recently moved back to the Midwest from sunny Southern California. Although I miss the ocean and mountains, I am thrilled to be closer to family! One of the benefits of being so close to family is the ability to "stop" by and raid my father's garden.
Looking for inspiration for a breakfast pastry, I gathered up my camera and the kids, and drove up to his house. I was very pleasantly surprised by the abundance of tomatoes, but tomato muffins did not sound appealing to any of us, so we continued our hunt. Beneath large green leaves I spied a very large zucchini, and then a second one. Perfect! Zucchini bread it is! The moisture from the zucchini keeps the bread moist for days, and even after it has gone past its prime I have been known to make french toast out of the leftovers. But that's another post...Continue reading
Raspberries are my absolute favorite fruit. The sweet tartness is amazing all on its own, but when paired with lemon you create the perfect combination of sweet and tart. Combine these two flavors into a muffin that is sweet, has a light crumb and is low in fat, and you will have an amazing way to start off your day.
Jumbo bakery muffins are loaded with sugar, fat and calories. Did you know that one jumbo muffin from your local coffee house can total in excess of 800 calories? Add in a latte, and you're almost halfway to a normal daily intake of calories. I don't know about you, but I feel incredibly guilty eating that many calories early in the morning (I'll save those calories for a dessert after dinner). Low-fat muffins often leave a lot to be desired because they are either too dry, too sweet or simply taste downright disgusting. Not this recipe! Delicious, moist, not too sweet and very addictive is the best way to describe this recipe, and at 350 calories per jumbo muffin you can save your guilt and your waistline.Continue reading
The soothing aroma of cinnamon and vanilla is sure to impress anybody walking through your front door while making this recipe. Another great development from Rachel at www.rachelcooks.com is Cinnamon-Vanilla Bread with Tahitian Vanilla Bean Whipped Butter. We hope you enjoy!Continue reading