Honey Cornbread Muffins

We’re having a drop-dead gorgeous day today. The weather is spectacular. It’s the first time in months that I’ve enjoyed my quasi-daily walk outdoors – in fact, Monday’s walk so brutal I considered turning back after less than a block. I spent much of my time outside just revelling in the warm (ish) breeze, really just enjoying every second of it. It’s amazing what weather and sunshine can do for my psyche. Best medicine. If you’ve been cooped up all day, RUN, don’t walk to your nearest exit and get out into that beautiful fresh air.

Now to business. Muffin business. Does that sound risqué? No? Okay, I guess it’s just me then. Maybe it’s because I’ve eaten approximately 4 of them in less than 24 hours (sorry I’m not sorry), so I know that they really are risqué, and sinfully good. I used a heaping teaspoon of coarse sea salt, and it was the best idea I’ve had all week. I used the full amount of sugar and honey. I’ve been spreading them with butter, and dipping them in cheese-strewn minestrone soup. I also ate one for breakfast. I also ate one as a snack. Such is the blessing and the curse of living alone.

I first spotted these on Elise’s blog, and when I felt like baking something quickly last night they were the perfect recipe to make. I haven’t baked since I was home over reading week, and I actually got a little tingle of happiness when I pulled out my brightly coloured bowls and old wooden spoons. I can’t explain my love for baking. It runs in my family.

These muffins are really delicious. The sugar and salt probably help with that a lot, but their texture is really nice as well. I remember growing up our cornbread would always be crumbly (and I like it that way too!) but in the muffin form it holds up pretty well.

The original recipe is here.

PS. I’m not counting this toward my 2012 bread goal, because it doesn’t use yeast.

Frozen Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls

It’s been a while since I made this absolutely delectable treat (before Christmas!), but I loved it so much that I needed to share it with you.  Although I just finished reading Kris Carr’s absolutely outstanding and inspiring lifestyle book, Crazy Sexy Diet (read it read it read it!) which eschews sugar, dairy and processed foods, I’m having a hard time kicking my long-time habits. Until I get my hands on my boyfriend’s juicer and a basket full of greenery, I’m going to try to my best to use up the bad things in my pantry and fridge. So maybe that yogurt could be put to good use in this dessert? I’ll be posting about Crazy Sexy Diet (and my Kindle!) just as soon as I catch up on some readings..school’s been taking a backseat lately.

But in the meantime, I give you Joy the Baker‘s frozen chocolate chip cookie dough balls. Not only are they the tastiest cookie dough I’ve ever consumed, they’re also safe (no salmonella!) and take about 10 minutes to prepare.

Either click the link above for the recipe (I didn’t change much) or see below for more!

Baking up a storm!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter (that’s 1/2 a cup, and FYI I used salted butter..oops!)
  • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup Greek yogurt/applesauce (I used Balkan-style yogurt, which was delicious)
  • 1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips, melted for dipping

Cream butter and sugars together.  Beat in yogurt and vanilla extract. Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda; add the mixture to the creamed butter/sugar. Once combined, mix in the chocolate chips.

Scoop out little balls onto a baking sheet, put in the freezer for a few hours. I found that the balls never really froze through, just got nice and cold, so I don’t think it matters exactly how long you put them in for. Then you can melt some chocolate chips, dunk the dough balls and put them back in the freezer for a little while. I was too busy eating them to take a picture of that step!

Oh my gosh, I may just have to run into my kitchen imminently and whip these up again!!

Or, alternatively, you could make me some and I could eat them?

Bon appetit!!

xoxo,

Pie That Made Me Cry

Happy American Thanksgiving!

I’m so lucky, I got to have two Thanksgivings this year: one with my family in October, and one with my friend-family yesterday night!

There was: turkey, tofu, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberries, jello, pumpkin pie (with chocolate swirls and without), brownies, blondies, chocolate pie..

We sat around in food comas for a long time after.

It was awesome!

I didn’t take any photos, since I was too busy stuffing my face and proclaiming my exasperation about not having seen HP7 yet (jeez!). But I do have a few photos of the pecan pie that I made a couple days ago with my besties.. :)

We used Pioneer Woman’s Pie That’ll Make You Cry recipe, and it was..delicious.

It’s basically all sugar. And pecans. And amazing.

You want some?

Okay do this:

Make 1 pie crust. Pioneer Woman suggests a specific recipe, but since we were without internet, we used a basic pastry recipe in one of our basic cookbooks. Use whichever you want. Feel free to dip the extra pieces of pastry into the extra filling and then eat it. Yay salmonella!

It should look something like this..

..But potentially more pretty.

Then mix up the following, it should take approximately two minutes.

1 cup white sugar, 3 tbsp brown sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 cup corn syrup, 3/4 tsp vanilla, 1/2 cup melted butter, 3 eggs.

Pioneer Woman explains in her post the reason for chopping the pecans and putting them in the crust first: so that they rise up, triumphant, and distribute themselves beautifully throughout the filling. I would like to say amen to this. It was perfect!


So you follow her recipe, you hear? Put the 1 cup pecans in the bottom of the pie crust. Then pour the filling overtop. You can (like me) try to recreate Pioneer Woman’s awesome action shot of this process and (like me) fail miserably. Wanna see?

Fail. Gotta get my head out of the way. Sorry guys, I tried!

Then the pecans will rise. It’s beautiful. You should watch it happen, it’s like a magic trick.

Then bake that sucker.

Pioneer Woman says bake it at 350 for 30 minutes covered with tinfoil, then to remove the tinfoil and bake for 20 minutes longer. We tried this method, but since it was still jiggly (and PW says NO JIGGLING) we put it back in, covered with tinfoil and checked periodically until it was finito. Yes!

Look how beautiful it is..

YUM.

Happy Thanksgiving indeed.

I am thankful for: pie, food, friends, family, love.

How about you?

xoxo,


Apple Pie

A word up front: this pie is VEGAN.

Ooh, big scary words. Them’s fightin’ words.

Let me assure you, however, that this is one of the most delicious pies I have ever consumed, ever. Period. Vegan or not, it was marvellous, delicious, outstanding. I ate it warm out of the oven, giggling away in delight. Om nom. Nom.

So, why vegan? Well, for one thing, the boyfriend is lactose intolerant. And for another, why the heck not? I’ve been trying to move myself in the vegan direction for quite a while now, with little success (Damn you cheese. Why do you have to be so irreplaceable?) but I’ve been perusing some fantastic websites lately, like Vegan Dad and Vegan Yum Yum that are giving me tons of delicious inspiration. I may be throwing some more awesome vegan recipes at you in the very near future, so if you’re a squeamish carnivore: watch out! Rawr.

But for now, please just make this wonderful pie.

I used two recipes in hybrid: Joy the Baker’s With Love, Apple Pie for the apple prep + Savvy Vegetarian’s Vegan Pie Crust

I rolled out my pie crust with a wine bottle, since my mother refused to buy me a rolling pin at the beginning of the year since, when she was in university, she rolled things out with a wine bottle. Granted, I think her wine bottle would have been a) empty and b) had the label removed. Since my wine bottle had neither, it is a miracle that this pie turned out at all. I was so afraid that at any second its cheap twist-on lid would somehow pop off and turn my pastry red..and winey..

Here we go!

First things first: obtain some apples. I know that so many apple pie recipes specify not to use McIntosh apples, but since they were accidentally all I bought, and since I was fighting a cold and just wanted some apple pie, damnit, I decided to risk potential mushiness and go ahead with my macs. Verdict: not mushy! Delish! I don’t know if that was just good luck on my part, but I loved the consistency of the pie using these babies.

Here I am! Looking my best, as usual..peeling some apples.

Ta-da! Yummo. Now slice those babies up into small, equal slices.

Like so. Now go ahead and toss them with 1 tbsp lemon juice, 1/4 cup each of brown and white sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 tsp salt.

‘OOH, HEAVEN IS A PLACE ON EARTH’

Pause here to eat several slices. Consider the possibility of giving up on the pie entirely and just eating these.

Fine. We will continue. Reluctantly.

Now here is where I differed from Joy the Baker’s recipe: she uses a cool technique of caramelizing the apple juices with butter, which I was too exhausted to attempt. Instead, I just mixed the apples with a couple tbsp of flour (I didn’t have cornstarch, my grocery store seems to be, for all intents and purposes, hiding it from me, along with cornmeal. Both are probably hiding together in the same aisle, giggling as I walk past for the fortieth time..) and let them hang out while I made the pie crust. Which was awesome. And easy.

Around this time, preheat the oven to 425 and put a cookie sheet inside! This is a special trick I just recently learned from Joy the Baker. I think it helps to cook the pie from the bottom as well as the top. Who knows. All I know is, it works.

For the pastry: I didn’t have Earth Balance, so I used Becel Vegan margarine. Same diff. I stuck 1 cup of it in the freezer for about 1/2 an hour, and chilled my 2 1/2 cups flour in the freezer as well. That’s what the recipe said to do!

Basically all you need to do for this recipe is mix the margarine with the flour until its crumbly, then add a few tbsp of cold water until it all sticks together and you can form a ball with your hands. Then plop it down onto the floured counter, whip out your wine bottle and go at it. Unfortunately, I did not take photos of me rolling out the pie crust with a wine bottle. I will leave that up to your imagination.

PRESTO!

Fill the pie shell with apples and any juices, roll out the top crust, put it on top, crimp the edges so they look pretty.

Then cut some vents in the top. I was feeling lovey dovey so I cut out hearts.

..It sort of ended up looking like a creepy mask. I was okay with that. Mainly, it was cute.

Guys, it was really cute! Okay??

I sprinkled some sugar on the top, but didn’t have a brush to brush it with egg wash or water. I was okay with that too.

Now take the baking sheet out of the preheated oven, put the pie on top of it, put it back in. For 45-55 min. Warning: your entire house will start to smell absolutely divine. Resist the urge to yank the pie out of the oven and eat it as is, immediately. I promise, it’s worth the wait.

Ooh la la.

My apartment seriously smelled like apples and cinnamon for like 3 days.

So delicious.

The pastry is delicious and flaky, the apple juices were bubbling, and the apples actually held their form, despite being McIntoshes.

YUMMO.

Okay, I’m off to have my eighth slice.

I would also like to say: I just forgot how to spell eighth. Thank goodness for spell check. I don’t know how the cavemen did it.

xoxo,