Archive for February, 2011

Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

February 8, 2011 5 comments

The longer I cook, the more often I find myself eye-balling measurements of ingredients. It’s not that I see myself as this awesome ninja chef with some mad cooking skills. The truth is I hate doing dishes and I figure the less I have to wash, the better. However, one arena of cooking where I don’t throw caution to the wind is when I bake. The balance of ingredients like baking soda, baking powder and salt can really cause culinary chaos when your ratios are off. So you can imagine my dork-like excitement when I opened up one of my Christmas gifts to find new measuring spoons and cups. But these were just no ordinary measuring devices…they were magnetic!

The magic of these measurement devices is that they have a spoon on each end and you only need to wash the spoon you use and you get two uses out of each spoon.  And with their magnetic-ability they stay together when you need them to and apart when you don’t.  It’s genius if you ask me.  So when making this new recipe for Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins, I busted out both the spoons and the cups.

These small but fluffy muffins are so light and airy, I will warn you: it is possible to consume more than one at a time. Since they are not huge, it’s a great size for the kids. I am not a big fan of super sweet breakfast pastries, as these are perfectly balanced with not being too sweet. The apple adds a fun taste for the buds and keeps them from drying out (I HATE the word *moist*).  These are based on a recipe from Isa Chandra’s Vegan with a Vengeance cookbook. You may notice the lack of eggs (as they are based off a vegan recipe) but you would never know the are eggless.  In my opinion Isa has mastered the art of baking without dairy and eggs.  Try them and you will not be disappointed.

Apple-Cinnamon Crumb Cake Muffins

For Muffins:
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup apple juice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup grated apple
1/2 cup chopped apple (1/4 inch pieces)

For topping:
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
Pinch of salt
2 Tbs canola oil

Prepare the topping by mixing all the dry topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Drizzle the oil while mixing with your fingertips until crumbs form. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and lightly grease a 12 – muffin tin.

In a large mixing bowl, mix together all the dry muffin ingredients. Create a well in the center and add the apple juice, oil, and vanilla. Mix, then fold in the grated and chopped apple.

Fill each muffin cup 2/3 full. Sprinkle the crumb topping over each muffin. Bake for 20-22 minutes.


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A Safety Net of Noodles

February 1, 2011 1 comment

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Yesterday I did not have a very good day. In the grand scheme of life, it was just a bitty blip on the bad day radar. But still I was stressed and found a way to relieve some of that ickyness. So what did I do? Some yoga? Hit the bottle? No, I busted out my pasta maker. For Christmas my husband got me a pasta maker attachment for my KitchenAid and the downward spiral has officially started. For those that know me well, many of them have been surprised I have not entered the experience of homemade pasta. I had a fear. I knew that once I made fresh pasta, anything out of a box would be inferior in taste and I would be destined to make fresh all the time. I was not ready to take that path, until yesterday.

Within a blech kind of day I found solace and comfort in cooking and here’s why. What I realized while boiling the pasta water was that I appreciated the consistency of cooking. My pasta water would always boil at 212 degrees. My blueberry coffee cake would always take 45 minutes to bake. Cooking makes no judgment on you and best of all, cooking will always be there for you. I will always have to cook and I appreciate that stability in life’s ups and downs.

So how did I use my fresh fettuccine? I made Fettuccine with Peas and Asparagus – a nice light and appealing dish where using fresh pasta really makes the dish.  I did not use pancetta (I just used a little olive oil to serve as the fat) or fresh basil.  Sorry…I missed taking a photo since we gobbled it up so fast (if you click on the recipe link there is a great picture there).

Today has been a better day and perspective has kicked in as well…but after last night’s dinner therapy, I may have to attend another type of meeting…those addicted to making fresh pasta.  Crap, I knew this would happen.

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