Tag: muffins

maple muffin

All Things Maple Syrup

During maple syrup season (aka spring) there are always dribs and drabs of syrup sitting around that I need to use up … bits that are leftover after bottling since it never works out evenly. And so I make stuff with it. And no one complains. Currently there are 4 partially filled jars of syrup on my window sill that I need to use up. It’s a horrible problem to have, isn’t it? 

In this post I will share FIVE of my favourite recipes for using up maple syrup. (There are more, but I’m limiting myself today.)

Top usage, of course, is as syrup. DUH. Around here we pour it on pancakes, waffles and french toast – but we don’t leave any on the plate. That kind of waste of the golden elixir is strictly prohibited. My dad used to always pour it on vanilla ice cream and bananas, but none of my kids have found that to be particularly appetizing. They do love weekend breakfasts that involve maple syrup… with pancakes, waffles, or french toast.  Any of those will do. They’re all quick and easy, and adding a bit of fruit makes me feel like I’m not a bad mother. 

(I threw a hydrotherm photo in there for you scientific sorts.)

Here’s the pancake recipe – it’s so quick and easy. You may just never use a boxed mix again. We shall see. 

Basic Pancakes
A simple, fluffy and quick pancake recipe. Great for weekend breakfasts.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup all purpose flour (a little less if unsifted)
  2. 2 tsp. baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp. salt
  4. 2 tsp sugar
  5. 1 egg
  6. 1 cup milk, soured
  7. 3 Tbsp. melted butter (you can use margarine or shortening, but why?)
Instructions
  1. Mix dry ingredients together.
  2. Beat eggs. Add milk and melted butter.
  3. Add wet to dry. Mix. Add more milk if you are making waffles.
  4. Let sit a bit, then make your pancakes as you do!
Making it Work http://pioneerintrees.com/
I’ve already written about Deborah’s famous granola … it’s truly amazing. If you haven’t made it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it.  It’s the kind of recipe that you make and put in a cool little jar and then take to someone’s house when you’re visiting and then they love you even more.

granola
Truly the most delicious granola EVER!

And I showed you the brilliant maple bars a while back. They keep well for a few days and impress the hell out of anyone who shows up at the door for a cuppa. 

maple bars
These maple bars are so freaking good – but they will stick to the pan and ruin your day. Use parchment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year Dave at Squirrel Creek Farm Services (best place to get all of your maple syrup supplies) gave us a new ‘all things maple’ cookbook and there’s a pretty lovely muffin recipe in there. I figured it was just perfect this week for Wendy. The first time I made them they were a bit ‘meh’ … they seemed a bit dry. I definitely made them too small. I was more careful with baking time, added better apple (granny smith this time) and watched my mixing technique just in case that was the culprit. Waddayaknow, they turned out pretty freaking AWESOME! (You really should make them. Who doesn’t have maple syrup and an apple laying around?) 

maple muffins
A little drizzle on top with some toasted pecan pieces? BAM. So good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maple Drizzled Apple Muffins
A tasty maple flavoured muffin that is also gorgeous to look at!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/3 cups all purpose flour
  2. 1 cup rolled oats
  3. 1/2 cup white sugar
  4. 1 Tbsp baking powder
  5. 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. 1/2 cup milk
  7. 1/3 cup butter, melted
  8. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  9. 2 egg whiles, lightly beaten
  10. 1 cup chopped apple (granny smith are awesome)
  11. pecan halves or pieces for the top
  12. Glaze
  13. 3 Tbsp icing sugar
  14. 1 Tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. Prep your muffin tins (butter, spray or line with paper cups).
  2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well.
  3. In a separate bowl combine milk, butter, maple syrup and egg whites.
  4. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients and toss the apple bits in there too.
  5. Stir only until moistened. DO NOT overmix. Thank you.
  6. Fill to top of muffin cups - you'll have about 9 big muffins.
  7. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
Glaze
  1. Blend together the sugar and maple syrup. Drizzle over the muffins when they are cool. Toss a couple of pecans on there and drizzle again for good luck.
Making it Work http://pioneerintrees.com/
One more recipe that I MUST share with you that I found it in a newspaper years ago is a frozen mousse. You really need to make it in the morning if your’e serving it at night, since it needs to FREEZE UP. (I often forget that part.) All you need are: maple syrup, whipping cream, eggs. Ta da! (ok, it’s a bit fussy, I’ll admit… but it’s worth it) 

maple mousse constructing

I love to serve it with a ginger pound cake. It’s a great combo. I’ll do a post about that another time … 

Maple Syrup Mousse
A light and delicious frozen maple dessert.
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup maple syrup
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1 cup whipping cream
Instructions
  1. Heat the maple syrup until bubbly.
  2. Separate two eggs.
  3. Put the egg yolks in the top of a double boiler and whisk thoroughly.
  4. Add hot syrup. Whisk until it thickens to coat the back of a wooden spoon.
  5. Cool.
  6. Beat egg whites until stiff.
  7. Whip cream until firm.
  8. Combine all three and mix.
  9. Put in a dish and freeze.
  10. Take the mousse out of the freezer and put it into the fridge one hour before serving.
Notes
  1. This is a good recipe to make the day ahead!
Making it Work http://pioneerintrees.com/
mini muffin

Wendy Week 3 – Get Things Moving with Bran Muffins!

I have made this bran muffin recipe for decades – it’s straight from the side of a Quaker wheat bran box. I copied it down decades ago – I have no idea if Quaker still has the recipe on the side now … I buy my bran from the bulk food store now because I’m cheap. 

I’ve tried other bran muffin recipes, and none seem to be as good as this one. It’s easy for bran muffins to be dry and boring – these ones are neither. Nice hit of molasses, the sweetness with brown sugar and a load of milk make them somehow perfect. I usually make them for the kids with chocolate chips, but I prefer them with dates. To satisfy both, I often double the recipe, split the batter, and make the kids a pile of mini muffins with chocolate, while my large muffins have dates. I’ve tried splitting the batter and putting half in with dates and half in with chocolate, but I’m telling you, it’s bloody impossible to tell a date from a chocolate chip just by looking at a baked muffin. 

This muffin recipe differs from all of my others in that it uses shortening. That’s a bit odd, no? But it works. Cream your shortening and sugars – brown sugar and molasses – as you would for cookies. Again, … wierd. Why not melt it? Well. Don’t. Ok? Listen to me. 

Note: It’s really important that you do this creaming step well, since you have to add your eggs and milk to this … and once you’ve added those liquids, if you haven’t incorporated the shortening well, you’ll have and uneven crumb in your muffin. And that is pretty gross. Check out my handy 4 step visual guide for combining the first five ingredients. Can you figure them out?? 

You’ll have quite the runny mess by now…  

Add dry ingredients and mix till just combined. This is the point that I divide my batter and add the chips and dates to different bowls. Easy peasy. 

Bake ’em up at 400 – keep an eye on them. As soon as there is no softness in the peak, pull them out. The wee ones are done in a jiffy!

big and small
These large ones have dates, while the wee ones have chocolate chips. Delish!

Oh ya… the ACTUAL recipe from the green bran box of yore … 

recipe
The things people post online…
muffins

6 Weeks of Wendy Muffins

One of my BFFs, Wendy, just had surgery. I’ve committed to making her family a batch of muffins every week for 6 weeks. It’s a muffin pledge.

Week 1: banana oat muffins with chocolate chips. A family fav.

Sometimes you have too many bananas laying around because they’ve gone a bit too brown and they are rejected… sometimes you buy too many bananas ON PURPOSE. 

bananas
These ones were $1.15 in the dinted produce section of my grocery store. (How great is that??)

My “go to” methods for reducing the number of bananas in my house is to freeze them (peel, slice, baggie). My methods for actually using them up are generally: smoothies, banana muffins and banana bread (in that order). 

This muffin recipe is FANTASTIC. First of all, because it calls for 5  or 6 medium bananas. It’s a blessing. Amen. So many other banana muffin recipes use up 2 bananas. That’s just bonkers. Why go to all that trouble for just 2 bananas?

This recipe is also FANTASTIC because the muffins are DELICIOUS. They are moist and have a great ‘crumb’. It’s a totally standard recipe – no special ingredients other than maybe oatmeal, which is pretty standard in my opinion. The oats give it some body, which differentiates the muffin from a banana bread. (Why bother making banana bread in muffin form? Just make the bread already!)

ingredients
You’ve gotta love a basic recipe.

In all my years of baking muffins, I’ve learned that the things you toss in at the end are often most important part of the muffin. Raisins and other dried fruit can really piss kids off, while chocolate chips are not fully enjoyed by many adults. Toasted nuts are good for all, I find. Sometimes I split the batter and try to please everyone. But not usually. I generally make whatever the hell I want.

This recipe (in its infancy) actually called for cranberries – dried or otherwise. I’ve put them in once (ok, they were actually dried cherries). People at work ate them happily enough, but they’re basically always starving and desperate. So there were no further iterations with dried cranberries cherries. 

This batch has a couple of handfuls of chocolate chips. For maximum enjoyment.

muffins
Look at those melty chocolate chips! So yummy.

Try this recipe. It’s fantastic!! 

breakfast
Wendy had a great start to the day – drugs and muffin and tea. Perfecto.
Banana Oat Muffins
Uses lots of bananas, is moist and EASY!
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 c all purpose flour
  2. 1 1/4 c quick oats
  3. 2/3 c granulated sugar
  4. 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  5. 1 tsp baking soda
  6. 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt depending on your taste
  7. 1 egg
  8. 2 cups mashed bananas (5 or 6)
  9. 1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted, hurray!
  10. 1 cup of anything you like (nuts, chocolate, dried fruit)
Instructions
  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Mix well.
  3. In another bowl beat egg, banana and melted butter until smooth.
  4. Add to dry ingredients and stir to blend.
  5. Stir in cranberries just to mix.
  6. Fill greased muffin tins till almost full.
  7. Bake at 375˚ for approximately 20 minutes.
Notes
  1. Sprinkle a few large flakes oats on the top for a pro finish.
Making it Work http://pioneerintrees.com/

Plums and Blueberries

Today was a beautiful day to be alive! It was sunny and crisp – perfect for raking a shitload of leaves. It was also the “fall back” day for daylight savings time, which gives you this idea that you can tackle 50% more things than normal because you have one more hour in the day. Ya well, I was on fire!!!

Yesterday I picked up these beautiful plums at the market…

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Today I made them into this!

My nephew Ben served it up at our “traditional family dinner” … and it was AWESOME! You can find the recipe on smitten kitchen (which I LOVE). They call it a Plum Torte, but really, if you want to get technical, it’s more like a buckle. Look it up.

After making the plum thing, I polished off my LAST SET of progress reports, raked for a while, then got going on some blueberry muffins – recipe also from smitten kitchen, coincidentally. (Did I mention that I love that website? Hell ya.)

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This is currently my fav blueberry muffin recipe. It’s cakey going into the muffin pan, but moist and has a perfectly crunchy top with that fat sugar on top. Love the fat sugar.

There’s nothing like incorporating fruit in some kind of dessert. Makes you feel like a hundred bucks, eating fruit in a naughty way … don’t you think?

Wedding Weekend in the Big (Canadian) Apple

Rather than our typical Thanksgiving traditions at the lake, all of the fam and extended fam are in Toronto for my cousin’s big-ass wedding. So here I am, writing on my iPad on a Sunday morning in a semi-dark hotel room while Paul is at the gym and the kids are still sleeping.

Being a mom is always busy, but being a mom when you’re going on a trip of any sort, kicks it up a notch. So much to consider – so much to pack – so little time. So yesterday morning, in preparation for a weekend of city, and as a way to get my chi back after packing (and re-packing) for the kids plus myself, I took a long relaxing walk with the dog – in the rain, no less. Felt awesome!! I love walking through the bush as the colors are changing. The light is magnificent, and with the rain, it smelled magnificent too! I really need to do that more often. Maybe every day. (Ya right.)

Baked up a batch of banana oat muffins for the hotel room while watching a little Grey’s  (while doing some laundry and cleaning up so that the house is in some semblance of order for our return). We made it out by 1 … put Bree in the middle as a strategy for world peace, then a quick pit stop at Chapters to get a card (oops, forgot that!) and the obligatory book for each passenger (who can go on a trip without a book?).  It wasn’t a quick pit stop, but lots of fun. Paul’s book was a baking magazine for me lol. Of course Starbucks was involved and that rounded out the preparations. Who isn’t happier with a chai tea latte?

Arrived in Toronto, checked in to our gorgeous hotel and headed out to explore. Hit Bloor Street and got some deals at the Gap. We also watched a lady boldly walk right out the front door of a store with a $200 jacket. Unreal how that happens. The employees are essentially powerless. Makes me wonder how some people can have no morals.

After considerable discussion about the definition of ‘smart casual’, Paul and I, my sibs and my mom headed up to join other immediate fam for the rehearsal dinner – atop the hotel – good eats, great people! (Many of whom flew from Oz, Ireland and the UK.)  The kids ate dinner with their cousins at a restaurant on Bloor, but managed to pop in for dessert because they’re smart that way. Liam was first up to the mic after formal speeches, relaxing everyone who were considering if they had the courage to say something. His speech went something like this: “Hi. I’m Liam, I’m 12 and I’m not supposed to be here – so this is a bit ‘under the table’… (long pause)… everyone clap.” Hilarious. Stole the show.

Toronto skyline. Not exactly what I’m used to…

Tokay is Wedding Day! Stay tuned! We’ll be off to Casa Loma once we visit the ROM. Guess I’d better get the kids out of bed… (but it’s so peaceful!!!)

Lunches. Suck. 

It’s the night before the first day of school all across Ontario. Kids are irritated that their summer is over but they don’t have to give a crap about lunches because at this stage of the game the parental units are feeling generous with their time and making lunches that their kids might actually like. Truth.

In this household we started with the obligatory chat on the way home from the cabin. “So, what might you want to have in your lunches this year?” Yawning silence. Best friend of 14 yr old daughter says “well I can tell you all of the things she eats out of MY lunch…” OMG why the hell didn’t I think of that LAST year?? Turns out: pasta salad and perogies are favorites. Who the hell would guess that?? Jeez.

So tonight I embark on making pasta salad all 3 of us will like. It goes like this:

No dressing for the 12 year old. Add dressing and tomatoes for the 14 year old. Add peppers for me. Done.

Then I decided that muffins would be a good idea, so I whipped up a batch of blueberry lemon muffins. The kids have both stolen one and they’re ‘good’. Gee thanks.

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Love the Pampered Chef muffin pan … makes pro muffins every time.

Finally, I need granola for my own personal survival. I like it with yoghurt and whatever fruit I can salvage. It’s the perfect thing to keep at work and eat whenever I have the chance. This granola is a Deborah recipe … made with coconut oil and maple syrup and cinnamon and a dash of cloves … nice and crunchy and flavorful. I will give you the recipe for this one since it’s insanely good – not like that lame-ass orzo salad that I hobbled together with whatever was in the fridge…

After tomorrow’s lunch everyone is officially on their own. It’s all downhill from here.

You’ve Gotta Be Nuts Granola (odd title, but bear with me)
In a large bowl mix:
3 c large flake oatmeal
1 c slivered almonds (I used sliced, whatever)
1/2 c raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1/2 c raw sunflower seeds
Reserve: 1 c raw pecan halves (you’ll add this to the whole mixture after 15 minutes of baking time)
Melt together:
1/4 c coconut oil
1/4 c butter
Add: 1/4 c maple syrup
1/3 c brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves (go with it)
1/8 tsp salt
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry, mix. Spread onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes at 325 degrees (where the hell is that symbol on an Apple keyboard? Wtf). Add pecan halves and toss. Bake another 15 minutes or till the stuff at the edges is looking dangerously brown. Cool. Store in an airtight container. Eat it and share it and be the granola boss.