Bakery Style Chocolate Chip & Blueberry Muffins

So I’d been wanting to try these muffins ever since I saw those delightfully puffy muffin tops on SomethingSwanky.com. I am a massive muffin maniac—they’re probably one of my all-time favorite breakfast treats. Then again, everything is my favorite (waffles, crepes, pastries. Don’t make me choose!).

Bakery Style Muffins

Anyway, I decided to deviate from my typical muffin recipe and try these out. They were wonderful! They use quite a bit more baking powder than most recipes, which really helped the muffins rise, making them soft and fluffy. If you have a jumbo-sized muffin tin, use that. These morsels are meant to expand.

While the original recipe suggests making chocolate chip muffins, I had fresh blueberries and decided to divide up the batter and make some with chocolate chips and a few with the blueberries. Again, I can’t just choose just one. 😛

Bakery Style Muffins

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vinegar

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup butter, melted

2 eggs

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chocolate chips OR blueberries (or divide the batter in half and make both like I did!)

Preheat the oven to 425ºF and prepare a 12-cup jumbo muffin tin or 18-cup regular sized tin with cooking spray, butter or coconut oil.

Combine the milk and vinegar in a small bowl and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar. Then, add the eggs, butter, vanilla and the milk/vinegar. Mix everything together with a large wooden spoon just until combined. It should be a little lumpy.

Lastly, fold in your chocolate chips and/or blueberries.

Fill the muffin cups about 3/4 full.

Bake at 425ºF for 5  minutes (4 minutes if using regular sized tin). Then decrease the heat to 375ºF and bake for another 13 minutes (11-12 minutes for regular sized tin).

Brayden and I enjoyed our muffins with a hot mocha! Delightful ❤

Bakery Style Muffins

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German Oven Pancake

It’s a quiet Sunday morning. Little beams of golden light stream through the open window, and a gentle breeze drifts in. There’s a sense of calm as the tiny flames of vanilla Bourbon and maple buttermilk candles on the kitchen counter flicker and dance. Outside, the green on the trees and vibrancy of blue in the sky are the opening chapters of a perfect day. A sense of peace, like a giant quilt, feels as though it’s being drawn over the home.

A morning like this calls for something sweet and warm. A German Oven Pancake turned out to be just the thing. This breakfast treat is a more eggy, puffy version of an American pancake. And the best part: you bake it in the oven instead of standing around the stove flipping flapjacks. To top it off, this delightful breakfast takes just minutes to make and calls for simple ingredients you probably already have on hand!

German Oven Pancake

Adorn each individual slice however you’d like. Try some warm maple syrup, jam or fruit. I had mine in the traditional German way with powdered sugar and lemon juice (I added blueberries as well!). My fiancé kept it classic with plain old maple. It’s fantastic either way. I’ve also heard of people baking apples or other fruit into it.

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Here’s the recipe:

German Oven Pancake

1/2 cup flour

3 eggs

1/2 cup milk

3 tbs melted butter, divided

1 tbs sugar

1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 450° F. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, sugar and 2 tbs of the melted butter.

Stir in the flour just until combined. Add the last tbs of melted butter to the bottom of a 9-inch pan, then pour in the batter. Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the edges start to brown. The pancake should rise and get nice and puffy! Also, be prepared for the glorious scent of warm butter that will fill the home. ❤

German Oven Pancake

Homemade French Onion Soup

Last week, I wanted to try my hand at making French onion soup from scratch. The warm, deeply flavorful broth, the infusion of sweet caramelized onions, the lightly toasted mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses and the buttery crunch of French bread seemed like the perfect meal for a winter day.

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Luckily, my mom had just given me the perfect items with which to broil my soup in the traditional way: two beautiful, Italian-made ramekins, which I popped right into the oven to get that classic, toasted bread and cheese topping.

I was quite happy with how they turned out, and the ramekins made the whole thing look so cute. Just a super cozy meal all around.

While it takes a while for the onions to caramelize and the broth to simmer and soak up the flavor, actually making the soup itself is very simple. But go ahead and let people think you slaved over this meal. *wink*

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Let’s get to the recipe!

French Onion Soup

About 4 large yellow onions

3 tbs butter

4 cloves minced garlic

3 tbs flour

5 cups beef broth

1 cup water

1 tsp Worcestershire sauce

Salt, pepper and garlic powder

A French baguette

Grated cheese (a mix of mozzarella, Parmesan or Asiago)

In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat.  Slice the onions into about one-inch squares (they’ll end up shrinking a lot), and sauté for a half hour or so. Stir occasionally and let the onions caramelize into a nice brown color, but be careful not to let them burn. Add the garlic and sauté for another minute.  Sprinkle in the flour gradually, and stir until it’s dispersed evenly throughout the pot.

Add the broth, water and Worcestershire sauce, then bring the soup to a simmer on medium-low heat, stirring every so often. Add in a bit of cracked black pepper and garlic powder to taste. I try to reduce salt/sodium where I can, so I only added a pinch of salt. Let the soup simmer for ten minutes.

In the mean time, cut a few thick slices of French bread and lightly butter them on one side. Sprinkle with cracked pepper and place in the toaster on the low setting. We just want a slightly golden brown crunch.

Once the soup is ready, set the oven to the broil setting on high. Grab your ramekins or oven-safe bowls and ladle in the soup, leaving about one and a half inches for the bread and cheese. Place the toasted bread over the top, then sprinkle generously with cheese.

Pop them into the oven on the center rack for approximately six minutes, or until the cheese has reached a level of toasty, bubbliness that looks delicious to you.

Once ready, take them out and enjoy! Be sure to handle the bowls with oven mitts until they cool down.

 

 

 

Launching a New Website (Psst! I want your submissions)

I’ve recently embarked on a new endeavor with the creation of a website called The Millénaire. The project relies entirely upon the stories of individuals in their late teens, 20s and early 30s (i.e. young adults).

I would love to have your contribution. The more diverse the range of voices and experiences, the better. All submissions can be sent to themillenaire@gmail.com. You are free to submit anonymously, but for all of you fellow bloggers, this is also a great way to get your name and your own website out there. If you so choose, I will provide links to your blog/website and other social media information at the end of your entry.

To get a better sense of the mission of this project, here is the “About” page:

Meaning “millenial” in French, the Millénaire is a place for camaraderie amongst young adults. We have our own sets of struggles and hardships that are often clouded by this need to portray our lives as perfect through social media, in front of acquaintances and even with our close friends.

In seeing the constant status updates and pictures that feign the seemingly perfect lives of others, we feel worse and worse about our own difficulties when, in truth, those around us may be experiencing similar feelings. We just don’t talk about it.

The Millénaire is an experiment: It’s a place to build empathy between young adults and tell the stories we might not always want to talk about. My hope is that sharing our own experiences will not only help us embrace the ups and downs of our own lives, but help others as well.

Entries should be written primarily in a personal narrative format. E.g. “I felt like this… I experienced that… This or that thing happened to me… ”

Posts can be as short or long as needed to tell your story.

Questions to get your ideas flowing:

  • What is the hardest aspect of being a young adult?
  • What’s the best part?
  • How do you usually occupy your day? (Be honest or silly here if needed; it’s okay to admit you surf the internet for hours or watch SpongeBob everyday).
  • Do you feel pressured to be at a certain point in your life, and you’re not there yet? (e.g. married or long-term relationship, stable career, “dream job,” house).
  • How did you handle a situation you weren’t expecting/ready for? (e.g. failure, job loss, pregnancy, death, illness, loss of friendship, break-up).
  • Do you feel like you still have opportunities on the horizon, or that they have already passed because you are now “grown up”?
  • Have you picked up any hobbies or new talents in your late teens, 20’s, 30’s? Things you had not learned in your childhood, but have always aspired to do.
  • Are you afraid of being “ordinary”?
  • What’s an obstacle you overcame and how did it help you? 

 

Thanks everyone, and happy writing.

 

Alyssa

 

 

Pecan Pie Bars (& Happy New Year!!)

I made these pecan pie bars for my family Christmas Eve party, and although the holidays are over, I thought I’d share the recipe to keep the holiday cheer going.

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These richly sweet morsels taste just like a traditional pecan pie, but with a slightly sweet shortbread crust. There’s something so fun about dessert bars, and it’s easier to control the portions this way. Trust me, these bars pack a sugary punch, so you won’t need much to get your fill.

And of course, who says you can’t make “holiday season-y” treats year round?

Here’s the recipe:

Pecan Pie Bars

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 cup cold butter

4 tbs milk

4 eggs, room temperature

2 cups chopped pecans

3/4 cup brown sugar

4 tbs melted butter

1 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp pure vanilla

Preheat the oven to 350º F and butter a 9×13 inch pan.

In a small mixing bowl, stir together the flour, sugar and salt. Then, using a pastry blender or pastry knife, cut in the cold butter and mix with your fingers or a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbles.

Pour in the milk and evenly distribute the liquid.

Press the dough evenly into the greased pan and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the edges turn a golden brown.

In the mean time, we can get started on the filling. In a large bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, melted butter, vanilla and pecans. Stir with a large wooden spoon just until everything has throughly mixed.

Once the shortbread crust is done baking, pour the pecan topping over it and place the entire pan back into the oven for another 20 minutes. You’ll know the mixture is set when it no longer wiggles back and forth.

Allow the bars to cool for about a half hour, then serve warm or cold with a cup of coffee and extra cream 🙂

I hope everyone has a fantastic New Year! I, for one, LOVE NYE and plan to spend the night in a shower of glitter, music and an equally glittery dress.

xo

 

I’m Thankful for Messing up the Pumpkin Pie

In light of the recent Thanksgiving holiday, I wanted to make a short list of things I am really, deeply grateful for.

(In no particular order)

My mom and grandmother for somehow making me laugh even though I messed up our only Thanksgiving dessert this year. Thank you both for still eating it and for being so sweet.

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(Psst..the crust on the bottom didn’t cook all the way, so it still looks pretty).

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My amazing family. We have our ups and downs, but we all genuinely love each other and put each other’s happiness above anything else. We’re threaded together so intricately nothing could ever pull us apart.

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My fiancé, Brayden. I think about how lucky I am every day. I get to be with someone who loves me unconditionally–who just makes life so much fun. He’s like a bright shining star, filling this world with vibrance and color. Two weeks after we started dating, I knew I wanted to be with him forever. No question about it. That’s the level of his awesomeness.

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Books and podcasts. They refresh my ideas, knowledge and ways of thinking. They encourage me to keep questioning what’s happened in the past, what’s going on right now, and what might occur in the future. They teach me to keep my mind and heart open.

Current favorite books: Shanghai Girls and Dreams of Joy

Current favorite podcasts: Intersection and Reply All

My education: for opening up my world in ways I never imagined possible.

My freedom. I’ve thought about this one quite a lot lately, especially amidst so much oppression within the refugee crises and across the world. We may take for granted the little freedoms we have every day, but if I lost any of them, I feel like I might go crazy. Where I live, I am able to speak my mind, protest what I do not believe in, or change jobs and move to a new place (theoretically). I can choose who to love and who to marry (and when). I can build my own life the way I want to build it, and I do not have to fear for my life the moment I step out the door. So many people around the world lack these liberties, and to be able to sympathize with and understand others, I try my best to be grateful for the freedoms we’re able to enjoy.

This beautiful earth. Let’s do everything we can to protect it.

And of course, every single person who reads and supports this blog. You give meaning and life to something that means a great deal to me.

Thank you.

Creative Blogger Award

It’s another cloudy, cool day in Arizona. It looks like we’ve finally decided to get with the program and adapt to the fall weather. I’ve got my pumpkin pie latte from Dutch Bros., a cinnamon spice candle lit and a plushy crocheted blanket. Everything is in order, and life feels perfectly peaceful.

I know, I know, it’s super basic of me to like pumpkin spice drinks. I don’t care. I genuinely love pumpkin and I will milk this season for all it’s worth.

So, the lovely Alanna over at Alanna Bakes nominated me for the Creative Blogger Award quite a while back (yay, thank you!). What sweet, creative and unique ideas you can find on her blog. Check out her Flowerpot Bread post here.

Creative Blogger Award

The rules of the Creative Blogger Award:

⭐️ Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their page

⭐️ Share five facts about yourself

⭐️ Nominate up to 10 other bloggers and provide links to their pages

The Facts:

1. I love to draw cartoons. I used to get in trouble for not paying attention in class because I was doodling some weird comic strip.

2. I won an award at a film festival in California for a music video I made in high school with my best friend, Sarah. The director of the event had found my video through a student filmmakers’ site and asked if he could enter it into the competition. It was held like two days later, so I had no way to go, but I got the award in the mail!

3. I love all dogs with smushed faces. They make me go EEEEP!!! and generally melt into a giant puddle of love. They are so dang adorable. Here are some mega cute puppies for your enjoyment.

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4. I love anime. I’m mostly interested in dramas with very character-driven stories. Clannad, Kanon, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood and Toradora! are a few of my favorites.

5. Mundane fact: I absolutely cannot go to sleep without a cup of water next to the bed and the sheets pulled over my shoulders. Just a weird thing I can’t get over.

My nominations for the Creative Blogger Award are as follows:

Natascha’s Palace

Smiling Notes

OUT OF THE WOODWORK

Jane’s Patisserie

Ariel’s Cute Blog

You are all amazing in your own ways. ❤