Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kitchen Sink Oat Muffins (Good Commons Cookbook Cook-Off)

Last week I participated in a cook book cook-off party. It was hosted by Good Commons, a great retreat in Vermont. (Seriously, check them out. They have tons of food events like their Spring Feast in April and their Gluten-free Gourmet Getaway in June.)

Well, Chef Matthew Wexler is working on the Good Commons Cookbook and to spread the word and get feed back, he had a cook-off gathering in NYC. A bunch of us made his recipes, brought them to the party, and got to be tasters of everything. (Along with tasters of the lovely wine provided at the event.)

I chose the Kitchen Sink Oat Muffins which were adapted from Dina Khader, Matthew's very first personal chef client. I had never bought oat bran before and was very excited to give these a try (once I found the oat bran at the grocery store). They are VERY hearty and I think they make the perfect muffins to take along on a hiking trip. Also, if you trade the chocolate chips for vegan chocolate chips, this recipe becomes vegan friendly!

Like to hike? Check out the rest of Good Commons' calendar of events (and you should sign up for their email list too so you can participate in their special events in NYC!)
Kitchen Sink Oat Muffins (From Good Commons Cookbook)
2 1⁄2 cups milk
2 eggs
1⁄2 cup agave nectar or honey (I used agave nectar)
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups rolled oats
4 cups oat bran
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1⁄4 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup dried cranberries or cherries (I used dried cherries and would suggest cutting them in half first)
1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts
1⁄4 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used a half cup since I like chocolate)

Preheat oven to 425°F and prepare muffins tins with paper liners.

Combine milk, eggs, agave, vanilla and olive oil in large bowl.
In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients: rolled oats, oat bran, baking powder, baking soda,
cinnamon and salt. Gently mix wet and dry ingredients. Fold in nuts, dried fruit, and chocolate

Fill muffin cups 2⁄3 full and bake 15-17 minutes, rotating halfway through cooking time. To test
for doneness, toothpick should come out clean.

Yields 24 muffins.
Bake well and prosper!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Seafoam Frosting - Happy Valentine's Day!

Move over buttercream! There's a new frosting in town! Introducing Seafoam Frosting. (Made pink for Valentine's Day.)
Impress your loved ones (or in my case, my friends and coworkers) with this fun frosting. It's very easy to make and even easier to apply to cake.

When I was young(er), every year for my birthday I would request chocolate cake with seafoam frosting.
See? I wasn't lying. This is me on my third birthday blowing out the candle on top of my seafoam frosting. My love for it started at a young age. :) 

Seafoam is great for those who like cupcakes, but don't like how sugary buttercream frosting can get. This is a light topping that adds a bit of sugar and flare to the cake. Since the frosting peaks, you can decorate it many ways.
You can make tons of peaks and swirls or...
One swirl with one peak at the top. (Aren't they cute?!)

Since this is such a special recipe, it must be eaten the same day it's made. Ok, ok. It really needs to be eaten the same day it's made since the frosting will start to seep into the cake and it will lose it's texture and flavor after a day. Best thing is to whip it up, decorate, and eat right away. (I know...so hard to HAVE to eat cake right away.)

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and maybe you'll be requesting it for your next birthday, too!
Seafoam Frosting from my Mom's Best Recipes Cookbook
2 egg whites
3/4 C white table sugar or light brown sugar
a little bit of vanilla (Erika's extras - I used about a 1/4 t since I wanted more of a vanilla flavor)
1/3 C light corn syrup
2 T water
1/4 t cream of tartar
1/4 t salt

Place in the top of a double boiler while water is boiling. Beat with electrical hand beater on top speed or second to top speed until it will stand in peaks (stiff). This will take any where from 5 to 10 minutes. (Add food coloring within the first minute of beating the frosting.)
Erika's Extas: The picture above is what your beater will look like when the frosting is done.
Bake well and prosper!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cinnamon Twisters Banana Bread

I'm inventive. At least I feel that way about this banana bread. Remember these muffins from a couple of weeks ago? The original recipe called for cinnamon chips and I looked for them at 2 different stores but had no luck in finding them. (I know I'll get 3 comments on this post telling me where to find them in NYC...I hope...)

At home I figured I'd use some cinnamon goodies that I already had on hand. I decided to use the Entenmann's "Ultimate Cinnamon Pastry Twisters" that I had bought from the Entenmann's Bakery Outlet that I live by. Yes. I know. I walk by it everyday on my way home and fight off temptation all the time. Well, 95% of the time.
So, I took these nummies and broke them into pieces and pressed them into the top of the batter. The nice crunchiness and cinnamon flavor made this banana bread quite lovely!
Cinnamon Twisters Banana Bread (adapted from Amanda's Cookin')
2+ very ripe bananas
1/2 cup unsalted butter, butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour loaf pan.

Mash the bananas with a fork and place in a mixer bowl with softened butter. Mix on medium speed until well blended. Add in the vanilla, eggs, sugar and buttermilk and beat on medium speed until well blended.

Whisk together baking soda, salt and flour. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually add flour mixture to banana mixture.

Pour batter into loaf pan. Break pieces of Entenman's Cinnamon Twisters and press into top of batter. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing and cooling completely.
Bake well and prosper!