SMS – Peach Muffins

*note: this blog was written, edited, and ready to go on Friday MORNING!! I set it up for auto post for Sunday morning. I guess wordpress didn’t deem my post important enough to follow through on the directions given. This frustrates me. I don’t procrastinate and it still appears as though I did.*

peach muffins

When it came to muffins, I never made them from scratch. They were always one of those baked goods that I made from a premade baggie. You know the ones: dried fruit bits in a flour-like substance that you add milk and oil to which yields quite possibly THE lumpiest dough in the world and bake up to be pathetic, tiny doorstops. Yah, you know the ones.

This was my first foray into the world of scratch muffin making. Although I can’t say that this has been the best muffin I’ve ever tasted, They were tasty and I did enjoy making them (even though I made a big whoops!)

I decided that since this was a first for me that I would just follow the recipe rather than try to be creative, there’s always next time!

*stirring brown sugar/butter mixture*     “this is going exeedingly well”

*tossing peached with flour mixture*        “doing great!”

*dumps flour mixture into brown sugar mixture*     “this is kinda thick…”

*gently folds. and folds. and folds.*     “whyyyy is this so difficult?”

*spots cream and milk on the opposite counter*  “$h!t, $h!t, $h!t”

*frantically pours liquids into already uniform mixture*

My kitchen smelled lovely and I awaited the outcome anxiously. I set the timer to 25 minutes wanting to check on them a bit sooner. Next time I’ll take off about three minutes as they were a tiny bit on the dry side. Learning, learning.

peach muffins

Thankfully, these muffins appeared to be the slightest bit forgiving to a cotton-headed ninny-muggins like me. THEY ACTUALLY LOOKED LIKE MUFFINS! Eureka!!! The texture was a bit off to me, but I take full blame for that (see above self conversation for a few points of clarification) The taste however was strongly reminiscent of cinnamon. I was disappointed that the peach flavor was slim to none. I’ll add more peaches, less milk and cinnamon and up the lemon zest a bit next time.

Oh and I won’t forget to mix in the milk and cream next time either. ;)

peach muffins of the 70's

For the recipe, head on over to JoVann’s blog The Givens Chronicles. She’s a southern girl like me!

For more pictures of these muffins, click here.

TWD – Creamiest Lime Cream Meringue Pie

lime meringue pie

Ten limes. TEN LIMES and NO lime juice to show for it!! Are these just grown purposely to be stubborn and juice-less in order to effectively AND efficiently drive me into a sweat filled panic?!

*squeezes lime*     “arg!”

*squeezes another lime*    “what the….”

*squeezes the bejezus out of yet ANOTHER lime*     “ok, seriously?!?”

*throws lime at fiance, in defeat*

Ok, not really the last part but these limes were nothing short of frustrating!

Thankfully a friend had some extra lime juice (yes, in a bottle. I know, I know. I have punished myself accordingly) but it was getting late. Oh the time, the TIME!!!

The crust came together great, thankfully I had some cinnamon graham crackers left over from my smores obsession a while back. The cream would NOT come to temperature for me (was it because I was using a meat thermometer?) so I kept it in my make-shift double boiler and left well enough alone. The meringue came together quickly (and burned just as quickly, see note at the end).

All in all, I can’t rave too much about this pie. It was ok, but I think it could be better and I honestly think it’s my fault that it isn’t. Mental note: research tell-tale signs of juicy limes. But you live and you learn. My mom and my fiance (gasp! One small step for man…) actually liked this pie so I guess it wasn’t a total loss. I would definitely make this again to conquer this recipe… using fresh limes, of course and less butter. Yes, definitely LESS BUTTER. *shudders*

lime meringue pie

My favorite part: the crust. I opted for the graham cracker crust. I firmly believe that I would have a love affair with graham cracker crust, if it were at all possible and not frowned upon in most civilizations.

My lesson learned note: when broiling the pie to brown the meringue, WATCH IT and do NOT walk away. Not even for 30 seconds, literally. By the time I put the pie in the oven and walked to the couch and sat down I smelled burned pie emulating from my oven. I quickly ran over to discover that my meringue was a bit on the, erm… DARK side.

Cue Darth Vader.
lime meringue pie lime meringue pie

For the recipe, visit Linda of Tender Crumb. Her pictures are great and they will make your mouth water (unlike mine :D )

lime meringue pie

Click here for more pics.

SMS – Mom’s Banana Apple Bread

banana apple bread

Ok everyone… STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW… yes, everything! Ok, you can keep breathing but RUN (do not walk) to your nearest kitchen and make this bread!!! It is ahhh-mazing!! I just can’t rave enough!!

Rave, rave, rave!!!

banana apple bread

My banana’s weren’t as ripe as I would have wanted them to be, the apples smelled funny to me in the saucepan, did i just add too much clover?, I MELTED my “silicone” spatula, I was everywhere (mentally), I was afraid I over mixed, I was afraid that my loaf pan was too small, I was afraid that  my BUNDT pan was too small…. worry, worry, worry. (I never realized how much of a worry wart I am when it comes to baking, ha.)

There was NOTHING to worry about. Not. A. Thing.

This bread is moist, flavorful, banana-y, deliciousness!! The recipe seems simple enough to put together (although it does require dirtying a few dishes), versatile enough to make cupcakes, a loaf, or a bundt! And you can even add a few things of your own like raisins, nuts, etc.

banana apple bread

If you don’t dream about this bread tonight, there’s just something wrong with you ;)

banana apple bread

*angels sing*

Joy of Hot Oven, Warm Heart chose/hosted this recipe and I can’t thank her enough!! Thanks a bunch Joy, you have given me a go to banana bread!!

I apologize for this post being a day late. I had a little critter to pick up from the HSPCA! This is Madeline. She is 6 years old, likes sinks, meowing and constant lovins.

Madeline

Are you STILL here?? GO MAKE THIS BREAD!!

For more pics of this awesome bread, click here.

Silver Palate Banana Bread

banana bread

Have you ever popped into a bakery or a cafe and been teased and tantilized by what appeared to be a delicious, promising banana nut muffin or bread? And it turned out to be nothing short of… synthetically flavored and over sugared? Don’t feel bad, I fell for it everytime until one day I was just plain grossed out by them. I shunned them and they’ve mocked me eversince.

But no more!! I’d just make it at home… erm… someday!!

And someday has finally arrived! I was tired of waiting and I finally had an excuse to make it. From that moment of clarity I decided then and there that I would choose the recipe carefully, methodically. It had to be perfect: easy on the sugar, gracious amount of banana (not flavoring or extract), dense crumb but still slightly fluffy. I found a winner and I went to work… excitement in tow.

This cake is heaven on a plate! I slightly overbaked it and it was still fluffy and delicious. It wasn’t overloaded with sugar and butter and had a banana flavor to die for!!

banana bread

The recipe is really simple to bring together and I bet you have most of the ingredients on hand! So what are you waiting for? Grab those ripe bananas and put em to some delicious, good use!

Silver Palate Cookbook Banana Bread: (makes 1 loaf)

8 Tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp**
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all purpose flour
3 large ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/4 cups – 1 1/2 cups)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped

1. Adjust an oven rack to the center position and reheat oven to 350. Grease 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. (or generously spray Pam for baking in every crevise of your bundt pan/muffin tin.)
2. Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and toast until fragrant, 5 to 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Chop them coursely when cooled.
3. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt together in a small bowl.
4. Mash bananas with a fork, add vanilla to the banana mixture. Set aside.
5. Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy (in a large bowl, this will be the main mixing bowl). Add eggs, one at a time and beat.
6. Add flour mixture to butter mixture, making sure to mix well.
7. Fold in banana mixture and nuts until combined.
8. Pour into pan. Bake 50-60 min, or until cake tester comes out clean (it took roughly 40 mins in a bundt pan). Cool in pan 10 min, then on rack.

**alternatively, you could melt the butter and go from there to make muffins or a muffin textured banana treat.

banana bread

Angelic, no?

For more pics click here.

TWD – Applesauce Spice Bars

applesauce spice bars

Ahh Fall. Brimming with promises of delicious, warm, and tantalizing scents, colors and flavors.

As soon as I read the recipe for these bars I was excited ecstatic! Apples, cinnamon, nutmeg… oh my head swirled with happy thoughts of (slightly) cooler weather and pretty Fall colors. I daydreamed of jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves and coming home to these bars and the smell of my favorite mulled apple cider candle.

I had high hopes for these bars, I really truly did.

Once I put them in the oven, I nervously awaited the outcome. The air smelled DIVINE (but also hinted to me that I needed to add more spices next time) but for some reason the taste just didn’t match up to the scent. But I hadn’t written them off yet.

“I’ll let the flavors meld together for a day, that’ll do the trick!”

And I did, but they still fell short (maybe because I used Cruzan Rum rather than an apple based one?). Don’t get me wrong, they are good, just not what I expected. But that’s my opinion alone, as I’ve already heard great things about my cake-like bars.

Next time I’ll add more spices, use the apple rum suggested or maybe substitute some of the liquid for apple cider, bake them in a smaller pan for some height, add the nuts and raisins, and I will most definitely use a different glaze (or at least sub honey for the corn syrup).

applesauce spice bars

Side note: brown gooey bars don’t exactly photograph too well (especially when you aren’t a professional photographer), so please forgive the shots of these.

If you want to try the recipe for yourself, Visit Karen over at Something Sweet By Karen.

Click here for more pics.

SMS – Truffles (4 different ways)

truffles

When I bake from a recipe I usually don’t take much creative license. I’m just too afraid that if I substitute anything or remove something that the concoction will just blow up in my face like a chemistry experiment gone awry.

But this has been bothering me a bit and I decided that I should just take the bull by the horns. I wanted to get creative! I wanted to take a written recipe and make it my own!

truffles

Forget baby steps. Psh, try leaps and bounds!! Ok, maybe its just leaps and bounds to ME but this took some creativity on my part and I think I fared quite well!! I took the base truffle recipe (made 1-1/2 times the recipe and separated into 4 batches) and nipped, tucked, sploshed, and rolled until I ended up with 4 different, tasty variations of these delightful truffles.

truffles

First up is the Almond truffle. I substituted chopped toasted almonds for the hazelnuts (mainly because I couldn’t find them) and almond extract for the hazelnut liquor and I rolled them in cocoa powder.

truffles

For the second variation I  added the zest of 1 orange and rolled it in chopped chocolate bits.

truffles

For the third variation I added Bailey’s Irish Cream liquor and rolled them chopped almonds.

truffles

For the last variation I added peppermint extract and rolled them in chopped white chocolate. I think I’ll be making these around Christmas. How cute would they be boxed and tied with a big red bow?

It says that these are best served room temperature but I find that they are on the mushy side so I prefer them chilled.

For the original recipe you can visit Annie from Living Life Foodcariously.

For more pics of these lovely truffles, click here.

TWD – Brownie Buttons!

brownie buttons

If I tell you a little secret will you promise not to hate me, yell at me or write me off? Stone me with month old biscuts? Promise? Ok. Here goes…

I’ve never technically made brownies from anything other than a box.

I know, I KNOW! What kind of self proclaimed baker could I possibly be having not made from scratch brownies?

The argument (in my head, mind you) usually goes something like this:

crap, gotta make brownies”  -  find recipe.

mmm these look good”  -  I hope I don’t ruin these.

just doooo it, chicken”  -  eep. scared. never made brownies.

tick, tock”  -  running out of time! arg!

get on with it!”  -  WHAT? Not enough ______? UGH!!

le sigh. boxed brownies it is”  -  whew. what a relief.

*Sigh* So you see, its all a giant jumble of fear for wasting ingredients and turning out something completely inedible and a lack of time management. Did I mention I’m a procrastinator?

Well let me tell you, I have changed my ways. Pinky promise. At least on using boxed brownies for everything. They definately taste better homemade AND they instill a sense of pride I never knew I could bestow upon myself!

brownie buttons

See how pretty? I just LOVE the craters in brownies, don’t you?

Dorie’s brownie buttons were originally supposed to be made in a MINI muffin pan BUT I didn’t have one (and I wasn’t about to buy one for $30 at the last minute… I mentioned I’m a procrastinator, right?) so I made then in a regular ole cupcake pan. And darnit, they are still cute as…. well…. buttons!! It yielded 7. I promptly ate the odd one out, I have a quirk about even numbers. Don’t ask.

The only thing I changed was that I used the zest of an entire orange, rather than half. It looked so lonely only half zested and I figured what the heck… orange and chocolate are a match made in heaven anyhow. I also didn’t “dip” my brownies in the melted white chocolate. Instead, I melted a handful of white chocolate chips and piped dots on each brownie. Why you ask? Well they ARE called BUTTONS. Duuuuh. :)

brownie buttons

Let me tell you, these are good! Have you ever eaten those chocolate oranges? They are a bit reminiscent of those. My mom used to buy those for me on her way home from work so, these brownies are quite nostalgic for me.

Tony on the other hand, won’t touch them with a ten foot pole. “Fruit in baked goods is gross” he says. *shakes head* Men :)

For the recipe visit Jayma’s blog Two Scientists Experimenting in the Kitchen

brownie buttons

For more pictures of these lovelies click here.