Sour Cream and Buttermilk Banana Muffins with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

You know when you set out to do something super healthy in the kitchen and then it goes completely sideways? My mission: Greek Yogurt Banana Bread. The final outcome: Sour Cream and Buttermilk Banana Muffins (with chocolate chips) and Vanilla Buttercream Frosting.

Oops.

Also, this brings up a very important question:
At what point does a muffin become a cupcake?
I would like an answer to this or I may not sleep tonight.

I can promise you though, every muffin/cupcake calorie accrued in these incredibly tasty healthy-turned-not-so-much treats earned me glowing smiles, shining eyes, and beaming praise from my people. So I’m going to say it was a successful mission. And hey, there are many different kinds of healthy. My heart was very healthy yesterday. Lots of hugs, sticky kisses, and frosting-bedecked cheeks to smooch. So it’s all good.

Enjoy!

SOUR CREAM AND BUTTERMILK BANANA MUFFINS WITH VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

1 cup butter (2 sticks) softened
2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup buttermilk (make your own!)
2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips (white chocolate chips would be amazing too!)

In a large mixing bowl or using a stand mixer combine butter, vanilla, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, sour cream, and buttermilk. Blend until smooth and all of the ingredients are incorporated. Add flour and chocolate chips and blend again. Scoop batter into greased (but un-lined) muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees until golden brown around the edges and across the tops. Roughly 15 minutes, but adjust time accordingly as every oven is a little different.

Remove muffins from baking tin and allow to cool. While they are cooling, you can mix up the frosting.

VANILLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

3/4 cup frosting
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (or so) powdered/confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Soften butter and whip with vanilla. Add powered sugar using hand or stand mixer and adjust consistency of the frosting, alternating with cream and sugar, until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated and the frosting is to your liking.

Frost muffins/cupcakes generously and sprinkle with raw sugar crystals.

chocolate-chip almond cookies

Happy Monday friends!

I wanted to write a post that would bring you off the Easter sugar high nice and easy. And I think this recipe will help. Because cookies are magic like that. Like literal magic.
Say, (in theory of course) you have a screaming toddler who refuses to nap. Then, my friend, then you 1) Brew yourself another pot of coffee, and 2) Pose this question:
“Do you want to make cookies with me?”
Watch. Magic. Happen.
Theoretical child will transform in into something else—at least until she can consume several cookies, fresh from the oven.
You know . . . in theory.

The cookies themselves are magic-tasting. No theories involved.
I love almond because it reminds me of Christmas, which in turn reminds me of childhood, which in turn reminds me that magic truly does exist in the world because mine was full of it.

If you need a dose of magic today, either for yourself or a theoretical child, these cookies may just be the answer you’re looking for.

Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE-CHIP ALMOND COOKIES

3/4 c sugar
3/4 c brown sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter, softened
1/2 c butter-flavored crisco
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 teaspoons almond flavoring
1/2 c cake flour
2 c flour

I have a giant stand mixer that makes mixing up anything a snap, but you can use a bowl and a hand mixer, or a bowl and some elbow grease just as easily.

In a large mixing bowl, begin by whipping the butter and crisco with the brown and white sugar until well combined. (I think crisco is nasty and I never use it SAVE in this recipe. It helps the baked cookie consistency stay soft and chewy). Sprinkle the baking soda and salt over the batter and mix until completely combined. Then add the eggs and almond flavoring and whip again. The batter should be almost frothy. Sprinkle in the cake flour (softest flour on earth and makes for a very smooth, soft cookie crumb) and gently mix, adding the rest of the flour one cup at a time, and the chocolate morsels with the final cup of flour.

The batter will be quite thick and heavy, which is exactly what you want for thick chewy cookies. Spoon and clump the dough into tablespoon-sized balls and place evenly on a greased cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350-degree preheated oven. I like my cookies lightly gold around the edges and almost (but not quite) soft in the middle. You can bake them a little longer if you prefer your cookies crunchy.

Serve warm with a tall glass of milk!

 

 

perfect pie crust

HAPPY PI DAY!

EatWriteRepeat

1438702091889

I always dreamed of entering a pie in the county fair and winning blue.
Silly, but it seems like one of those homemaker kinds of things my grandmother would have done and, no lie, I dream of being like her. She was an amazing woman. But her pies, though most likely blue-ribbon, were difficult. My grandma was a cold-lard-cut-into-her-flour pastry kind of woman, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that. Also, gross. Tiny bit.
I do things a little differently, but cross my heart, this pastry recipe is FAIL PROOF. Even for the most reticent of pie-crust makers. Trust me on this, okay? It’s simple. No lard or ‘cutting in” involved. And I think, despite my divergence from tradition, grandma would approve.

1438702152428

The apple filling recipe is pretty basic: 5-6 apples, peeled, sliced and chopped into bite size pieces. Mix them in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4…

View original post 543 more words

Paleo Pumpkin Bars (whole30 friendly!)

No matter which way you spin it, fall isn’t fall unless you throw in a WHOLE LOT of pumpkin spice. It’s basically an American movement that finds a home in the hearts of blanket-scarf-clad, tall-boot-wearing, coffee-sipping women everywhere.
No judgement, I’m at the front of that pack, proudly waving my slouchy, jewel-toned beanie. So, you can add these pumpkin bars to that mix, and it’s a pretty complete fall package for your average women anytime in October. Or guy, really.
I love them. These folks. They are my people.
Bonus: these particular bars are FREE of all the things. (Gluten, sugar, dairy). But they do contain eggs and nuts. Cashews actually. Salted.
Mmmm. Salted cashews.
*ahem* You’ve been warned.
Enjoy!

PALEO PUMPKIN BARS

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Crust:
1.5 cups salted and roasted organic cashews
1/2 teaspoon aditional salt
1 egg
3/4 c. almond flour
1/2 c clarified butter

Filling:
1/2 cup hot water
1 cup dates
29-oz can Pumpkin
1 cup vegan coconut creamer (1 cup prunes, 2 cans whole-fat coconut milk)
4 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

Whipped Topping:
2 cans whole-fat coconut milk, cream only.

This recipe takes a little bit of initial prep work and the inclusion of a creamer which you’ll have to make in advance, but I promise, it’s worth it. I mean, really. actually pumpkin bars with ALL THE FREES?! (Gluten free, sugar free, dairy free, chemical free).

So begin by mixing up a batch of coconut milk creamer.
(1 cup prunes and 1 cup boiling water in a blender, whirled until smooth. Add two cans of whole-fat coconut milk. Whirl again and there ya go!) Set aside.

For the crust, begin by whirling cashews and salt in a food processor until smooth but not so long that it begins to liquify into an actual nut butter. Catch it before that stage. In a large mixing bowl, combine ground cashews, egg, clarified butter, and almond flour until a soft dough forms. It won’t exactly form a ball the way a typical dough would, but it will by nice and sticky. Spread with a spatula and press with your fingers into the bottom of a butter 9×14 pan. Bake at 400 degrees until it sets. About 8 minutes or a bit less. Remove from oven and allow to cool.

While the crust is cooling, go ahead and mix up the filling, starting with processing the dates, which will serve as the sweetening element—in liue of sugar or maple syrup. Once the paste/syrup forms, scrape into the bottom of a large mixing bowl. Add the spices, eggs, pumpkin and the creamer you mixed up earlier. Using a mixer blend the filling until the ingredients are well-combined. Pour over the crust and using a spatula, smooth until level in the pan.
Bake in a 350 degree oven until a knife inserted comes out clean. About 30-35 minutes. Adjust time accordingly.

Once the bars have cooled you can top with ‘whipped cream’ before serving. Simply skim the coconut cream from the top of the cans of coconut milk (this is easier if you’ve refrigerated the cans for several hours beforehand). Using a mixer, beat until peaks form, just as you would with standard dairy whipping cream.

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Why, yes. This is another zucchini recipe. I’m trusting you’ll forgive the repetition as, hopefully, you have these gorgeous squash coming out of your ears as well. I have a basket on my kitchen counter full of them. I keep looking at them and making promises. “You shall not go to waste! Nor you! I shall make something beautiful out of you!” And so. And so: Another zucchini recipe. This recipe calls for four cups of zucchini, so it’s a fantastic way to use up some of the excess.

CHOCOLATE ZUCCHINI CAKE

14390399905391/2 cup butter —softened
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1  3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup greek yogurt
2  3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
4 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

FROSTING
1 cup butter
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cocoa powder
4-6 cups powdered sugar (as needed for desired thickness and weight)

In a large bowl, mix butter, vegetable oil and sugar. Add vanilla, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and eggs and continue mixing until well-combined. You can use a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or a good-old fashioned whisk, as you prefer. Spoon in the yogurt, cocoa powder, zucchini, and chocolate chips until smooth. Add the flour and combine well. (I always save the addition of flour for last so I can adjust the amount if necessary).
You can use a 9″x13″ pan for this cake, but I prefer loaf pans as the cake is easier to freeze and save for later. And I’m all about having cake on hand for later. So, whatever your pan preference, spray it well with a cooking spray or grease with butter so the cake will not stick to the sides of the pan. This recipe will make a deep cake in a 9″x13″ pan, or three loaf pans. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 325 degrees for 40-50 minutes or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Once the cake is baked, set aside and allow to cool.

FROSTING
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt butter, milk, and cocoa power together, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar until there are no lumps. If you want to pour or drizzle your frosting, do not add as much powder sugar, but if you’d rather smooth or spread the frosting (this is my preference), then feel free to add all, or even more than six cups of powdered sugar.

perfect pie crust

1438702091889

I always dreamed of entering a pie in the county fair and winning blue.
Silly, but it seems like one of those homemaker kinds of things my grandmother would have done and, no lie, I dream of being like her. She was an amazing woman. But her pies, though most likely blue-ribbon, were difficult. My grandma was a cold-lard-cut-into-her-flour pastry kind of woman, and I’m sorry, but I don’t have time for that. Also, gross. Tiny bit.
I do things a little differently, but cross my heart, this pastry recipe is FAIL PROOF. Even for the most reticent of pie-crust makers. Trust me on this, okay? It’s simple. No lard or ‘cutting in” involved. And I think, despite my divergence from tradition, grandma would approve.

1438702152428

The apple filling recipe is pretty basic: 5-6 apples, peeled, sliced and chopped into bite size pieces. Mix them in a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg.
Set them aside.

PIE CRUST
1  3/4 Cup flour + 2 tablespoons (or as needed should the dough be too moist).
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil

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Mix all four ingreedients together until a ball of dough forms. It will be perfect when it pulls cleanly away from the sides of the bowl. Divide it in half—one half will be used for the top crust and the other for the bottom.

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Take the first ball of dough and lay it between two sheets of wax paper. Using a rolling pin, roll it out until it is roughly 5-6 inches wider than the pie plate you intend to use, all the way around.

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Gently peel back the top layer of wax paper

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Lift the dough, still attached to the bottom layer of wax paper and in a single fluid motion, flip it over and onto the pie plate, dough side down. Then gently peel back the bottom layer of wax paper, which is now on the top of the dough in the same way you would remove a sticker from it’s backing.

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The dough will be elastic enough to handle without too much fear of tearing. Settle it into the pie plate and smooth out any wrinkles until it lays evenly. Make sure there is enough excess dough hanging off the edges of the plate to crimp with the top crust.

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Now the pie-in-process is ready for the filling. Take the apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, and sugar mixture and dump it into the prepared crust, tucking it down and evening it out with a spatula. You’ll want to be careful not to damage the bottom crust as the filling could leak out while it bakes.

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And now for the top crust! Using the same technique as with the bottom crust, roll your second ball of dough between two pieces of wax paper. You can reuse the same paper you used before. It’s perfectly good for several pies, if you so choose. Once the top crust is draped over the plate, use the palms of your hands to press firmly against either side of the pie plate while turning it gently. In this way the excess dough will be trimmed from the edges.

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Remove the trimmed edges and set aside. You can either toss the excess dough or you can save it and make pie-crust cookies*.

Once the excess dough has been removed, you will need to crimp the edges of your top and bottom crusts together. This keeps the filling from leaking out of the pie while it bakes. There are lots of ways to crimp the edges of a pie, but my old standby is the simple pinch method. Using your thumb and first finger, push the edges of the dough together with the first finger on your other hand creating a sort of ripple effect.

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Ignore my scary alien hands. Ahem.

Once the edges are crimped around the whole pie, you can cut a hole in the top for steam to escape while the pie bakes. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Place in a 350 degree pre-heated oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until the crust is browned and the filling is nice and bubbly.

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