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

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.

IMG_1152

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

 

A Change of Seasons and Cinnamon Sugar Scones (I’m Back!!)

Wow, it’s been a while. Thank you to everyone who has stayed with me on this venture of mine. This summer I went through a lot of changes that took up nearly all of my energy and my creative flow. Because I was so consumed with my own thoughts and what was going on, I couldn’t produce anything that felt organic–that I felt proud of.

These changes, however, have brought on what I think will be a new stage in my life, and I’m really excited for that. One of those changes was finally moving in to a house instead of an apartment, and we’re completely in love with it. After all of the turmoil, the exhaustion and the tears, I’m really happy with where everything in my life has ended up. I’m ready to finally start moving forward with the things I love again, and hopefully discover new things as well.

Part of my way-too-long hiatus from blogging had to do with feeling like my work, again, wouldn’t be organic. I’ve talked about it before, that I never want to try to create something when it feels forced. I want everything I put out there to be genuine and real. You can feel that it’s coming from my heart, and I can put something out there that I am proud of. I think I’m at that point again, and I can’t wait for all of the new projects I want to work on. I have something that I think is really cool in the works, but it’s just in the wee baby stages, so we won’t talk about that just yet 😉

However, I do want to make some changes to this blog as well. Baking is my absolute favorite thing in the world, so most of my content will probably still center around baking. But I also want this blog to serve as an outlet for all of my creative projects and adventures. Adventures in travel, food, fitness, personal goals, and the like. Anything at all, really. I hope to share more personal stories and experiences with exploring my wanderlust and my dreams of seeing new places. Hopefully, I can transform this blog into a little story book of my world. I hope you will choose to come on this new journey with me.

And of course, the first post back after several months just wouldn’t be complete without a sweet, warm little baked good to bring in the autumn season. (Did I mention fall is my favorite favorite favorite time of year!? <3)

I made these cinnamon sugar scones for Brayden and I for breakfast with my go-to tea, apple cinnamon oolong. With a richly buttery flavor and just slightly sweetened with honey, maple, and a sprinkle of sugar, these scones were such a delightful treat to have on a quiet morning. Inhaling the deep scents of cinnamon and butter fill my heart with happiness. You know me, I adore a warm, doughy breakfast treat.

Cinnamon Sugar Scones

Cinnamon Sugar Scones

They’re also just so versatile. You could alter the recipe to make any flavor you’d like ❤

Cinnamon Sugar Scones

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter, just slightly softened

1 egg, separated

2 1/2 tbs honey

1/2 tbs pure maple syrup (or 3 tbs honey if you don’t have syrup)

1/3 cup buttermilk (or 1/3 cup whole milk + 1/2 tsp white vinegar)

For the cinnamon sugar topping, use whatever ratio of cinnamon and sugar that is desirable to you. Same with the icing–simply powdered sugar, a dash of milk and just a drop of vanilla.

Grease a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400º F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter using a large spatula or wooden spoon, then use your hands to achieve a crumbly texture.

In a separate bowl, add the buttermilk, honey and maple syrup. Separate the egg and set the whites aside for now. Add the yolk to the buttermilk mixture and stir until combined.

Then, add the buttermilk mixture to the other bowl and mix just until everything is uniform.

On a floured surface, roll the dough until it is about 8 inches in diameter and half an inch thick. Cut the dough into eight pieces like they’re pizza slices.

Transfer them to the greased pan and spread a light coat of egg white over each of them. Then, sprinkle a bit of cinnamon sugar over the top. Pop them in the oven for 10-11 minutes.

When they’re looking golden brown and smelling like buttery heaven, set them out to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, drizzle a light coat of glaze over the top of each. Pair them with a nice big mug of tea and grab someone you like to enjoy them with!

Oatmeal Cream Pies (and the Allure of Summer & Childhood)

June felt like such a crazy month, and July is going to be even busier. I can’t believe how quickly the months are flying by. The summer has this sort of allure where anything and everything somehow feels more exciting. More possible. Like life was previous at a standstill and summer was that awakening change. Summer brings about adventure–it’s as if the world is giving you permission to explore it with more curiosity and vigor than ever before (you always had that permission, but for some reason, during the summer, it’s bigger. It’s louder).

Well anyways, I think because of the mysterious aura of summer, it’s easier to lose track of time as well. I had kind of worried in the past that when I was no longer a student, summer would not feel the same. There would be no more “summer vacation.” There would be no more amazing adventures and days spent laughing and playing in the sun. But I have to say, summer feels just as wonderful as it always has.

This past weekend in particular, it really hit me though the importance of making time for the things you love and the things that truly reenergize you. While being out and about seeing people and doing things constantly is exciting and fulfilling, it’s also draining for an introvert like me. Baking, of course, is my respite.

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

This weekend, as I sat in my bed, unrelentingly exhausted, all I could think that I wanted to do was light a few candles, maybe put on a little piano music and bake something delicious. That something delicious that captured my heart ended up being oatmeal cream pies. Aren’t they just pure perfection? Oatmeal cream pies manage to elicit both the nostalgia of childhood and the joy of the present moment as you bite into these soft, chewy cookies, filled with that fluffy, vanilla buttercream center.

As I enjoy one right now, I’m reminded of school field trips and sports team parties. I’m reaching back into my childhood and setting a giant plate right in front of 23-year-old me.

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

Granted, homemade oatmeal cream pies are wayyy better than the “Little Debbie” packaged ones could ever dream of being. Get out of the way processed nonsense–homemade is where it’s at. This recipe comes from mybakingaddiction.com.💛

Oatmeal Cream Pies 

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

3 cups rolled oats

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

3/4 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Vanilla Buttercream

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened (don’t melt)

2 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 tbs milk (optional, depending on how thick you’d like your frosting to be)

Preheat the oven to 350º F and grease a cookie sheet.

In a large mixing bowl, cream the sugars and butter until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and beat just until combined.

In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Little by little, fold the dry mixture into the butter mixture until everything is uniform. Add the oats in one cup at a time and stir until combined.

I found that using about a tbs of dough for each cookie was a good size. Roll them into balls and pat down just slightly. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes or until they start to turn a nice golden brown along the sides.

While the cookies are baking, we can get started on the buttercream frosting. Beat together the butter, powdered sugar and vanilla until you get a fluffy, whipped texture without any clumps. If you’d like the cream to be a little thinner, add 1/2 tbs of milk at a time.

Once the cookies have finished baking, transfer them to a cooling rack and wait about 15 minutes. Then, simply sandwich a big dollop of frosting between two cookies and enjoy! Try not to eat a million at once (I totally did). A classic suggestion, but these go splendidly with a big glass of milk. 💛

Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Kitchen time has been so fun lately. Like more fun than usual. I’ve really been exploring my creativity with baking and I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the outcome.

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

So I had mascarpone whipped cream on top of brioche french toast at my verrrry favorite breakfast joint, Snooze, recently and I’m kind of obsessed with it now. And since strawberries are in season, I figured why not combine the two somehow for a sweet summer treat.

These strawberry muffins taste almost like a strawberry shortcake. They’re like wonderful, decadent dessert muffins and the mascarpone makes for a nice creamy addition. I think they would go well with brunch as a sweet portion, coupled with a savory side or main dish. Or you can simply have dessert for breakfast (yessss).

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Let’s get to it.

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup sugar

A dash of salt

2 tsp baking powder

A dash of cinnamon

1/3 cup vegetable oil

1 egg

1/2 cup milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Organic strawberry preserves (this tastes best, but you can use whatever strawberry jam you’d like)

8 oz strawberries (about half a carton)

For the Mascarpone Whipped Cream:

8 oz heavy cream

4 oz mascarpone cheese

2 tbs + 1 tsp sugar (or sweeten to taste)

Grease a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 400º F.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and sugar. Then in a liquid measuring cup lightly whisk the egg, vegetable oil and milk. Slowly add this to the dry mixture and fold until blended. Add the vanilla. We’re going to leave them as “plain muffins,” as the strawberry portion comes after they’ve baked in the oven.

Bake for 20 min, or about 18 min if using a dark, non-stick pan.

Meanwhile, we can get going on the mascarpone whipped cream. In a medium-sized mixing bowl, add the heavy cream, mascarpone and sugar (if you aren’t sure how sweet you want it to be, start with less sugar. You can always add more as you go). With the beater hooks slightly chilled, beat the mixture on high until it stiffens into a fluffy, whipped texture, about 3 min. Set it aside in the fridge.

Thinly slice your strawberries and set aside.

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Once the muffins are done, allow them to cool on a rack for 10-15 min, then carefully slice each muffin in half horizontal ways so that you have a round little “muffin sandwich.” Spread a generous amount of strawberry preserves and as many strawberry slices as you would like on the bottom half and place the other half over the top. Drop a dollop of whipped cream over the top and garnish with strawberry slices. I added a bit of sliced almonds as well (you know I’m all about that crunch factor).

These are great to share with someone else, and be sure to have a couple of forks on hand! You’ll also want to make sure you store these in the fridge so the whipped cream does not melt. Enjoy enjoy! ❤

Strawberry Muffins w/ Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

These scones are heavenly. I feel like I’m being transported to a delightful little countryside manor every time I take a bite of one.

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

This recipe actually came from a superior at work (like several levels up superior) who began an email conversation with me a few weeks ago after she discovered my blog. We’ve been talking about all things baking, home, lifestyle and DIY since then. Again, it never ceases to amaze me who you can get in touch with when you put yourself out there. So after making my “Glazed Baked French Toast” for a weekend up north, she gave me one of her go-to recipes and it sounded so good I had to make it as soon as I got home. I added just a bit to it (the blueberries, cinnamon and allspice, for instance). You can never go wrong with blueberries and cinnamon when it comes to breakfast.

Boy am I grateful she let me in on this one–these scones have lightly golden toasted outsides with a soft yet crumbly interior, coupled with juicy blueberries. And the buttermilk notes really shine through, bringing it all together for a delightfully not-too-sweet flavor. You may be used to scones that are fried up and have a tougher, slightly crispier texture, but these are more similar to biscuits.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Alright, let’s do it!

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tsp salt

A pinch of allspice

A dash of cinnamon

2 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup butter, room temperature

1 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

1 egg + 1 tbs water for the egg wash

Yields 16 scones

Prepare a baking sheet with a non-stick spray and heat the oven to 400º F.

Mix together the flour, sugar, allspice, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter in and mix with a large fork or with your hands to get a crumbly, dry meal-texture.

Next, slowly add the buttermilk and stir just until everything is combined. Add the blueberries and stir softly. This is mainly if you are using fresh berries, as they will burst easily and it’s not quite the same when all of your scones are dyed blue.

Divide the dough into two parts and on a heavily floured surface, roll the dough into about 1 1/2 in thick rounds. Cut each round into eight pieces so they resemble biscuits or cut them into triangular wedges. Transfer them to your baking sheet and lightly spread each scone with the egg wash. I then added a sprinkle of sugar over the top of each one.

Bake for about 15 minutes or until the tops look lightly browned. I suggest enjoying them with a bit of butter and a hot mocha ❤

Coconut Flour Banana Bread w/ Honey Roasted Pecans (Gluten-free)

This banana bread is super easy to make, and although it’s gluten-free (yay!), it’s still moist and flavorful, very reminiscent of banana bread the way you’ve always remembered it.

Coconut Flour Banana Bread

The only difference here: this classic is made purely with coconut flour so it’s gluten-free, lower in carbs and high in fiber. Sweetened with coconut sugar and locally-sourced honey, it has just the right sweetness factor when paired with over-ripe bananas. I love to add a crunch to a lot of my breakfast foods, so I added crushed pecans drizzled with honey over the top of the bread before putting it in the oven, so the pecans roast and crystallize with the honey as it’s baking. *Mouth waters*

I’ve found that this banana bread is fantastic as a healthy, on-the-go breakfast option. My boyfriend usually skips breakfast, but whenever we have any around I remind him that he has no excuse not to grab a slice on the way out the door.

Coconut Flour Banana Bread

Don’t be surprised if your bread doesn’t rise too much–it will rise slightly, but expect to have a more dense bread. These also work great as muffins; simply reduce the baking time to about 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Coconut Flour Banana Bread w/ Honey Roasted Pecans

3 very ripe bananas, peeled and mashed

3 eggs

3 tbs coconut sugar

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tbs pure vanilla extract

3/4 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup + 2 tbs coconut flour

About 1/3 cup crushed pecans (or however much you’d like)

Prepare a standard 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with oil (I used my trusty coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s) and preheat the oven to 350°.

In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until smooth. Then, add the eggs, coconut sugar, honey, vanilla and cinnamon, mixing until completely combined. Next, add the baking soda, salt and coconut flour into the liquid mixture and blend well. It may be slightly clumpy–continue to whisk until the batter becomes uniform, but don’t use an electric mixer.

Allow the batter to sit for 5 minutes so the coconut flour can react with the liquids. After that, pour the mixture evenly into your loaf pan. If you’d like, sprinkle the pecans over the top and drizzle with honey. Set the pan in the oven for 45-48 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with a nice, hot chai-spice latte or apple cinnamon oolong tea. Enjoy!

Coconut Flour Banana Bread