Category Archives: baked good

Double Chocolate Cupcakes with Salted Caramel Frosting

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I know cupcakes are a bit passé, but I don’t much care. These cupcakes had to happen. And they need to happen over and over. And now they need to happen in your kitchen. And then in your mouth.

I’m going to get straight to the point today. I can’t even handle how good these cupcakes are. R described them as possibly the best thing I have ever made (although didn’t he say that about the jalapeno beer corn bread? Maybe he is just easy to please… or wants to keep me happy so I keep baking…) and N suggested that they might be the best cupcake he has ever had. I tend to agree with both of them. I don’t have much nutritional insight to offer here… since, well… these are cupcakes. They are obviously vegan, and I used olive oil and applesauce in them… and that is about as nutritionally sound as they get. Except that the salted caramel frosting is actually made with anything but. The salted caramel sauce in it used the date caramel you saw in my baked oatmeal. I. Can’t. Get. Enough. I don’t even like frosting (I almost always wipe it off of my cupcakes), and I found myself dipping into the bowl with a spoon. It’s that good.

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Here’s the skinny/fat/whatever: high quality chocolate riding the silky olive oil express straight to your mouth. You can’t necessarily taste the olive oil, but I know its in there, and it makes me happy. They are super chocolaty and every bit as light. For something as decedent as these, you almost feel lighter after eating them. I bestowed a batch on my roommates this weekend, I bestowed another batch on my lab this morning, and another batch will be presented at book club tonight (for those of you that read this before book club tonight, get pumped). Now it’s your turn to spread the love!

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Double Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes w/ Salted Caramel Frosting

Inspired by In Jennie’s Kitchen

Materials:

  • 3 oz Bittersweet Chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 62% cacao semisweet)
  • 2 tablespoons Dutch-processed cocoa
  • 3/4 cup Hot coffee
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
  • 2/3 cup Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 6 tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup Applesauce
  • 2 teaspoons Cider Vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • One batch of salted caramel frosting (see below)

Methods:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line cupcake tin with 12 paper liners.
  2. In a large bowl, pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and cocoa powder and mix until melted and smooth (if all of the chocolate doesn’t melt, pop it in the microwave for about 30 seconds).
  3. In another bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and whisk to combine.
  4. In a third bowl, combine the olive oil, apple sauce, cider vinegar, and vanilla and whisk to combine.
  5. Add half of the flour mixture and half of the liquids to the chocolate and mix for about 1 minute (the color should lighten slightly as the vinegar reacts with the baking soda).
  6. Add the remaining flour and liquids and mix for an additional 2 minutes.
  7. Fill prepared cupcake liners 3/4 full and bake for 18-20 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, remove from oven. Leave in the pan to cool for 5 minutes before turning out to cool completely on a wire rack.
  8. One the cupcakes have completely cooled, swirl the salted caramel frosting (I used a wilton 35 closed star tip) on as you see fit.
    • It is also acceptable to pipe frosting directly into mouth here.
  9. Optional: drizzle on some melted chocolate and sprinkle on some flakey sea salt.
  10. Enjoy!

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Salted Caramel Frosting

Materials:

For the Caramel Sauce

  • 10 medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt

For the Frosting

  • 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan margarine
  • 1/4 cup nonhydrogenated vegan shortening
  • 1-2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4-1/2 cup salted caramel sauce

Methods:

To Make the Caramel Sauce

  1. Place pitted dates in food processor and blend until they form a big ball.
  2. Add the milk, vanilla, and salt and process until smooth and creamy.

To Make the Frosting

  1. Bring the margarine and shortening to room temperature.
  2. Beat the margarine and shortening together in a stand up or hand mixer on high until light and fluffy, about 1-2 minutes.
  3. Reduce speed to low and slowly start adding in the sugar until desired consistency is reached (another 2 minutes).
    • It may take on the look of coarse sand when you first add the sugar, but keep beating and it will turn into fluffy frosting.
  4. Add the caramel sauce, more or less depending on more caramely you want it, and beat for an additional 2 minutes.

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Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

My guess is that it is that time of the summer when everyone is getting pretty sick of zucchini. When you think you can’t possible find another way to use it and these little green gems are haunting your dreams.

As I was watching my zucchini plant take over my life earlier in the summer, I planned ahead. I gathered an arsenal of recipes and spaced them out throughout the summer. While many probably skip straight to the zucchini bread to use up this abundant summer time crop, I strategically decided to save it until last. And the day finally came for my first loaf of zucchini bread. I had been making chocolate zucchini cookies all summer, and have fallen in love with the combination of chocolate and zucchini. Therefore chocolate chip zucchini bread it was.

I have had a bit of a rough week, and therefore my garden was being a bit neglected (i’m sorry, garden!), but when I finally got out there the other day, I discovered this HUGE zucchini which was hiding behind some foliage. Oops.

But that is ok, because it gave me the prompt I needed to bust out this amazing zucchini bread. The timing was perfect, seeing as macho M was returning home the following day, and would most likely consume the bread. In its entirety (well, the half that our new roommate K and I didn’t finish). The zucchini and applesauce means it is über moist, the whole wheat flour gives it a hearty edge, and the chocolate chips means it is just plain delicious! Awesome A was quoted as saying “this is seriously the best thing I have ever eaten.” While she was probably just being nice because I was having an awfully rough night, it was some pretty seriously good eats. So try out this twist on zucchini bread for your final zucchini harvests!

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread
Adapted from Eating Clean Recipes
Materials:
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 oil
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 cup finely shredded zucchini, squeezed and drained of extra liquid
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Methods:
  1. Grease 8×4 inch loaf pan and preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, stir together almond milk and vinegar and let set for about 2 minutes, until thickened.
  4. To the milk mixture, add the sugar, oil, applesauce, zucchini, and vanilla and stir just until moist.
  5. Fold in chocolate chips.
  6. Spread batter evenly into loaf pan.
  7. Place in oven and bake for 1 hour.
  8. Remove and let cool.
  9. Enjoy!

Man food

Warm weather has been filling the spring air lately, and BBQs are filling my calendar. I was searching for something to bring to a department BBQ, when I stumbled across jalapeño beer cornbread. Could there be anything more perfect for a BeerBBQ?

I’m going to be upfront with you, I cheated a little bit. Trader Joe’s was conveniently on my errand route Sunday morning, so I stopped in there hoping to get the ingredients for the cornbread.  I should have known that TJ’s wouldn’t have cornmeal, though. I grabbed the jalapeños, I grabbed some honey… and then I wandered aimlessly, whilst mustering the energy to add another stop on my way home to get cornmeal and thinking, “well this is inconvenient.”

Then I passed the boxed mixes section. I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to at least look at the box of cornbread mix, right? Ok, so the ingredients listed are basically flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and sugar… so it isn’t so much a box mix as someone just already mixed my dry ingredients together for me. How nice of them?!

So there you have it. I doctored up a Trader Joe’s cornbread mix to make this cornbread.

MOVING ON. What makes this cornbread truly amazing is the doctoring up… the beer and the jalapeños, to be more specific. Seriously, this manly hunk of bread basically left the toilet seat up and then sat on my couch farting. The beer adds a super interesting flavor, while the jalapeños give it a really nice kick that sort of lingers on your lips. Another huge perk? Check out that ingredient list: just about 5 ingredients (most of which I know you have or can easily have), uses a store-bought mix, and has jalapeños in it… you can totally handle that!

Not convinced yet? When I slathered a piece with honey and handed it to rejoicing R, he seriously just stood there smiling at me for a good 5 minutes, sort of dumbfounded by the epiphany that was occurring in his mouth at that moment. He then spent literally the rest of the day talking about this cornbread. Well, at least when he wasn’t suggesting we sneak cinnabons into a movie we were going to see that night… and telling me how he used to pack peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to bring to parties in college.

Anyways, bring this to your next social gathering, and I promise everyone will love you for it!

But aren’t I your honey?!
Jalapeño Beer Cornbread
Inspired by Cosmo Cookie 

Materials:
  • 1 box cornbread mix (Trader Joe’s, preferably)
  • 1 flax egg
  • 1/2 cup beer (I used Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye, my current favorite)
  • 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 jalapeños, seeded and finely diced
  • honey (optional, but recommended)
Methods:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8×8 square pan.
  2. Mix together the egg, beer, soy milk, oil, and jalapeños.
  3. Add the cornbread mix and stir just until moistened.
  4. Pour into pan and place in the oven for about 40 minutes.
  5. Drizzle with honey and enjoy!

Warm New England Love

I’m not going to lie, the California weather definitely factored into my decision to move out here. I didn’t miss the snow this past winter one bit (although Boston temperatures this past winter rivaled the Bay Area). That being said, I am, and always will be, a New England girl at heart. And you know what? Nothing beats a warm New England spring day.

Rockport, MA: Weather? Warm and sunny. Transportation? Motorcycle. Company? The best :-).

I have been a bit quiet on here this past week (my apologies), and it is because I was off enjoying some of that warm (dare I say hot) New England weather! I took a long weekend and made the trip home for my niece’s 6th birthday and Mother’s day. I had the absolute loveliest of weekends! It was 80 and sunny all weekend, I spent one of the days with my niece, got to celebrate Mother’s day with my wonderful mama and family, played scrabble with my dad, and went for a glorious motorcycle ride with the boy. I ate plenty of delicious food, from cupcakes to my mom’s famous grilled vegetables to tofu dogs in Rockport, and got plenty of loving from my kitties.

Here is my trip home in pictures:

My kitties 🙂
My niece (and a little bit of mama) 🙂
My nephew (and a little bit of dad and brother) 🙂

OK! Onto the food!

My parents miss having their personal chef at home, so I like to cook for them when i’m home. For dinner on Monday, I made mushroom bourguinon, a spring salad, and then I made the following lemon-strawberry muffins (because my dad loves lemon desserts).

This was all a super long intro for what is ultimately a post about muffins. Sorry.

A little disclaimer: while these muffins were gorgeous, fun to make, and pretty tasty… there was something a little bit off about them. I may have slightly under baked them (the tops were starting to brown, but then the inside was still a little mushy). But I can’t tell if they were, in fact, under baked, or if it was the fresh strawberries and lemon curd inside that made it seem that way. Either way, the flavor was absolutely delicious, but it was a bit doughy and kind of stuck to your teeth. And I don’t like when things stick to my teeth. Also, there is avocado in the recipe, which I was intrigued by, and it worked… but it turned the muffins green. Anyways, I would be interested in trying these muffins again with some changes… because the idea and flavor is definitely a winner (of the chicken dinner variety).

First of all, check out these ingredients:

My lovely mama acted as my hand model 🙂
How could they not be delicious?

Lemon-Filled Strawberry Muffins

Materials:
For the lemon curd

  • 3/8 cup non-dairy milk of choice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 3/4 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

For the muffins

  • 1 scant cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 avocado, pitted
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cup all-purpous flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
Methods:
To prepare the lemon curd

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the lemon zest in a small pot over medium heat.
  2. Stir constantly until the the mixture begins to thicken, maybe 3-5 minutes. 
    • Be careful not to burn!
  3. Remove from heat and stir in lemon zest.
  4. Allow to cool to room temperature for about 5 minutes, and then cover and refrigerate while you prepare the muffins.

To prepare the muffins

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Line muffin pan with paper liners or spray with cooking spray.
  3. Puree the avocado, milk, and water together and then stir in the vanilla.
  4. Mix together the flour, sugar, and baking powder.
  5. Gently mix the wet ingredients into the dry.
  6. Fold in the strawberries and lemon zest.
  7. To assemble the muffins, fill the muffins tins as follows:
    • 1 scoop of muffin batter
    • 1 dollop of lemon curd
    • 1 scoop of muffin batter
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

I usually love to fancy stuff up, cram as much health into my meals as possible, and put together new flavors. Not today though. Today we are doing straight up banana bread. None of this rum or chocolate business. I’m not sneaking vegetables into it (why must you put vegetables on EVERYTHING?!). Just super moist, delicious, bananaey banana bread.

By the looks of those bananas, we may have another loaf of banana bread in a few days.

While I am modern in many ways (I mean, I did move across the country to peruse a PhD in science),  I really am a traditionalist at heart. I believe in soul mates and happily ever after. I believe in family coming first. I believe in gender roles, like being in the kitchen while the boy tends the fire in the wood stove. I believe in having my nails done and wearing pearls while cleaning. And I believe in this banana bread. This is another one of my mom’s recipes. It is simple and never fails. This banana bread is everything banana bread should be, uber moist and just chock full of banana goodness. I don’t recommend tampering with this recipe at all, for it is perfect as is.

I should also note that this loaf of banana bread lasted maybe a couple of hours in my house. I don’t think anyone was capable of just having one slice. In fact, I think macho M had about 7 slices. He is a beast like that. I should also note that this recipe has been rat approved. Gus Gus and Bianca went crazy licking out the bowl when I was done (gross. yuck).

Banana Bread
Materials:
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed bananas
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon ground flax + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
Methods:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease loaf pan.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the bananas, sugar, oil, and egg.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir just until moist.
  5. Gently fold in the walnuts.
  6. Pour into load pan.
  7. Bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour (depending on your oven), or until a tooth pick inserted into the center comes out clean.