Tag Archives: all purpose flour

Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins

I know it seems too soon to post another muffin recipe, but the Tropical Muffins are gone, because my husband was eating them two and three at a time. Well, these are not so sweet, with only half the sugar, and they contain the one secret ingredient that will curb his appetite—cinnamon. I can’t understand who wouldn’t like cinnamon, but there it is, and I use it to my own benefit sometimes.

In addition to sour cream and carrots, there are chopped walnuts and flaked unsweetened coconut, so there are plenty of flavors and textures in these muffins—they’re just not sweet ones. None of the additions—carrots, coconut, nuts, sour cream—are sweet, except for the brown sugar. I think the muffins would be great with some cream cheese and a nice big cup of coffee in the morning. You could certainly sweeten them up with different additions or with a sweet spread. I just wanted something hearty for breakfast.

Sour Cream Carrot Breakfast Muffins

  • Servings: 12 muffins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 375°; prepare a muffin pan with paper liners or butter.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 cups shredded carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut

Preparation

  1. Beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add sour cream and egg and continue beating until well combined.
  2. Stir in dry ingredients—flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon—just until lightly combined.
  3. Add carrots, nuts, and coconut and mix until well combined. The batter will be thick.
  4. Scoop the better into the muffin cups—it should mound high in the cups, but it will not spread out or run over.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. 25 minutes worked for me.

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Raisin Filled Biscuit Bars

I love a raisin filled cookie, but am not crazy about the process of rolling out and cutting the dough in circles and carefully filling them. I didn’t see why I couldn’t make them as a filled bar, kind of like a date nut bar, but without oatmeal. Instead I wanted a biscuit that was thin, not quite like the soft cookie of a Fig Newton, but thinner and crispier. So, I adapted two recipes:

My instructions, below, vary from the ones in the original recipes.

Raisin Filled Biscuit Bars

  • Servings: 15-18 bars
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

Preheat oven to 350°; place parchment paper on the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ baking pan or a cookie sheet.

Filling
  • 1 2/3 cups raisins
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Optional: 1/3 cup walnuts (next time I would add these)
  • 1/2 cup water
  1. Add raisins, sugar, flour, cinnamon, and walnuts if using to bowl of food processor. Pulse until the raisins are chopped finely, but not into a paste.
  2. Pour all into a saucepan and stir in water. Simmer over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until thick. Cool in refrigerator while making cookie dough
Biscuit (Cookie) Dough
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 4 tablespoons ice water
  1. In bowl of food processor pulse all ingredients, except water, with the dough blade until the mixture is crumbly, but you can still see small chunks of butter.
  2. With the processor running, pour in enough water to bring the dough together. I used all 4 tablespoons of water. You want a soft, pliable, but not sticky dough.
  3. Divide the dough into two halves. Roll each half into a thin sheet 9″ x 13″.
  4. Place one sheet of dough on parchment lined pan.
  5. Spread cooled filling over dough. You don’t need a lot of filling, just a thin layer.
  6. Cover filling with second sheet of dough.
  7. Score top layer of dough lightly to indicate where to cut cookies. Sprinkle dough with decorator’s sugar.
  8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned and crisp. While in pan, use a sharp-edged spatula to cut straight down from scoring marks to cut into bars. Remove bars to cooling rack.

I didn’t add nuts this time, but I think I would next time for a more complex flavor, and I don’t see why you couldn’t use white sugar or some other sweetener in the filling. You could also put an egg wash over the top layer of dough before sprinkling on sugar if you’re looking for more glamour.

What I Don’t Know About Brownies. . . .

What I don’t know or understand about brownies could fill a cookbook. I have no interest in eating one, and I have never received high marks for the ones I’ve made. Looking at a brief comparison of four recipes shows one reason I might be excused for my incompetence:

Brownies

People can’t even agree on the ratio of butter to flour, even when two of the recipes come from the same chef. And moving between those baked in 8″ square or 9″ x 13″ pans, you still can’t figure out how or why the ratios change.

Probably, you just found your favorite recipe once and stuck to it. Me? I have just avoided making brownies. I do have one post on this site that reviews a packaged brownie mix that turned out very well, but I haven’t made any from scratch since then. So, I can’t answer why I’m putting myself through the torture of making brownies from scratch, again, but here I am. The good news is that my husband will eat them even if he thinks they aren’t premium.

To save myself the further headache of trying to create a new recipe from these 4, I’m just going to take the first recipe in the list and double it for a 9″ x 13″ pan, with a few changes:

  • I bought semi-sweet instead of unsweetened chocolate, mostly because I don’t think straight when I buy chocolate
  • I’m leaving out the baking powder—I don’t like it in banana bread, so why would I use it here?
  • Most of the recipes use pecans, but I’m using walnuts
  • And, of course, I added salt

Surprisingly, these brownies were dubbed “Quite a brownie—chewy, fudgy, and with frosting.” Maybe I should save this recipe.

Fudgy Frosted Brownies

  • Servings: 24 2-inch brownies
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • The brownies are adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook (1995) “Iced Brownies.”
  • The frosting is from Betty Crocker’s New Picture Cook Book (1961) “Creamy Cocoa Icing.”

Preheat oven to 350°; butter a 9″ x 13″ baking pan. I used a dark pan and the edges were pretty dark, but not burned. Stewart suggests a glass dish.

Brownies

2 sticks butter

4 oz semi-sweet baking chocolate

2 cups sugar

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups walnuts, barely chopped

  1. Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler, then set aside.
  2. In large bowl, mix together dry ingredients.
  3. Pour in butter and chocolate and mix until combined. I used a hand mixer.
  4. Continue mixing, adding eggs and vanilla, until well combined. It makes a glossy batter.
  5. Stir in nuts.
  6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. Test with a toothpick in the center.
  7. Cool in pan, then frost and cut in 24 or more squares.

Creamy Cocoa Icing

2 2/3 cups confectioners sugar (I did not sift mine and it turned out fine)

1/3 cup cocoa

1/3 cup soft butter

4-5 tablespoons milk

Mix all the ingredients until smooth and creamy. I used a large spoon, but I’m sure a mixer would be quicker.

Links to the compared recipes from the web:

Best Ever Chocolate Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Fudge-Topped Brownies

Martha Stewart’s “Iced Brownies” (not available online, see image below)

IMG_5656

 

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread

I’m taking my go-to banana bread recipe and making a few changes—tasty changes, I hope:

  • Instead of 2 cups of all purpose flour, I’m using 1 cup of that with 1/2 cup of whole wheat flour and 1/2 cup of oatmeal—more fiber
  • For the shortening, that I always interpreted as butter, I’m using extra virgin coconut oil—good flavor, but the jury is still out on heart health
  • The 1 cup of sugar is always a problem. I’ve never been happy with the blends that use less sugar in baking, but I’m still on that search. In this batch, I’m substituting brown sugar, which I hope will keep this batch, with all it’s whole grains, moist. To avoid eating too much sugar, I’ll do what I always do, freeze the bread in servings to assure I only eat one a day. I do this successfully with muffins, one of which makes a nice lunch.
  • I’m adding a full cup of chopped walnuts, roughly chopped for large pieces.

Well, that was yesterday. I wrapped the cool loaf to sit overnight and develop its flavors—this really happens. I cut the large loaf into 8 thick slices and wrapped them individually for the freezer, leaving one out for breakfast. This might be my new go-to banana bread. The banana taste was prominent, the bread moist and chunky with walnuts. The oats added a chewiness, and while I couldn’t pick out the whole wheat flour, it must have added its own characteristics to the bread. Finally, I think the brown sugar played a large part in the overall flavor.

And I still assert that the best banana bread recipes do not use baking powder, which adds a bitterness with banana.

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Banana Bread

  • Servings: 1 large or 2 small loaves
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Preheat oven to 350°; butter and flour 1 9″ x 5″ or 2 8″ x 4″ loaf pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin coconut oil
  • 1 cup brown sugar

Beat in

  • 2 eggs

Add

  • 2 large or 3 small ripe bananas, mashed or broken into chunks

Stir in the dry ingredients and nuts

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts

Pour batter into the prepared pans. Bake the large loaf for about 55 minutes, the smaller loaves for 45-50 minutes. Test the center with a toothpick for doneness.