Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

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This one time I went for brunch with a new guy friend (new in the sense that we were still getting to know each other). What I didn’t realize at the time was that apparently this was a date that I clearly was unaware of until afterwards. I mean he did offer to pay and I let him pay, but I’m kind of thickheaded and did not clue in to the fact that if a new guy friend asks you out to brunch and picks you up in his car and offers to pay for your brunch and then pays for your brunch and drives you home and rushes to open the car door for you, he probably likes you and considers that a successful date.

Anyways, the way that I found out that that brunch was a date was because the next day at my work I found out through my friend that the brunch-date-boy had told his mother who worked with my friend’s mother that he was dating a girl named Lianna who worked at the place where I worked.  PARDON ME?!?!

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I quickly put brunch-date-boy in his place and told him that no, we are not dating and no, I don’t want to date you let’s just be friends. Except deep down I was clearly thinking well now this is too awkward for us to actually be friends. So I never saw him again!

The reason I’m telling you this story is because during our brunch-date (that wasn’t really a date), I ordered these amazing waffles with the best blueberry maple syrup topping and I had to go home and try to make a slightly healthier version to enjoy whenever I wanted to. Well, I’m glad to say I succeeded! Buckwheat flour is a healthier alternative to white flour and is higher in fiber and protein. Blueberries may not be in season right now which is just fine, because frozen and thawed blueberries are just as lovely! The blueberry maple syrup is perfection and I highly recommend the extra bit of effort it takes to make the syrup because it ties everything together nicely and really enhances the blueberry explosion effect in your mouth with each bite. Yum!

Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes with Blueberry Maple Syrup

Ingredients:

For the Pancakes:
1 and 1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
2 and 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen & thawed blueberries

Cooking spray

For the maple-blueberry syrup:  (this makes enough for about 3-4 tablespoons per serving.  If you want more syrup, increase the amounts accordingly.)
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup maple syrup

Directions:

For the pancakes:
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Add the egg mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to thoroughly combine. Gently fold in the blueberries, mixing until incorporated.

Meanwhile, heat a non-stick frying pan over medium heat and lightly spray with cooking spray. Pour the batter in 1/3-cup portions onto the prepared frying pan, letting the pancake cook until it forms large bubbles on its surface (about 2-3 minutes or so).  Gently flip the pancake and cook for another minute or so, or until cooked through.  ***Here’s a good time for you to get the maple-blueberry syrup ready.  See below.

Transfer the pancake to a plate (cover it to keep the pancakes warm), and repeat for each pancake (re-spraying with cooking spray as necessary), until you have used all of the batter.

For the maple-blueberry syrup:
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine the blueberries and the maple syrup.  Cook over low heat until the blueberries have popped, about 10 minutes or so.  Serve the syrup over the pancakes.

—SOURCE—
The Curvy Carrot,  adapted from Williams-Sonoma.

Raw Cashew Dreamcake (vegan & gluten-free)

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It’s been a while since my last post but hopefully I will be getting back on track to posting more regularly! In my last post I kind of explained that my lack of blogging has been due to a sudden lack of interest in food and baking and being in the kitchen caused by a busy marathon-training schedule, but I’m happy to say that I’ve recently started getting back into the kitchen so please bare with me while I start catching up with all of the food blog posts I’ve been missing out on these past couple of months!  I’m so excited to share this Raw Cashew Dreamcake with you, but first I’ll fill you in on what I’ve been up to since my last post!

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I’ve finally finished university and am currently on a job hunt in the real world that started off very enthusiastically and hopeful and has now after a few weeks become a tiny bit less enthusiastic and a bit more depressing. My fingers are still crossed that I will hear from somewhere soon! I feel like securing a real job is the first step in becoming a real adult in the real working world and I can’t wait!

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I’ve also gotten really into yoga! It’s funny what a huge difference a great instructor can make, in any aspect of life whether it be yoga, school, a senior co-worker who is training you, a friend teaching you how to bake a cake, etc.  I recently found an amazing yoga teacher, the kind who makes you want to actually put the effort in and improve, and after weeks of practicing…wait for it…I CAN DO A HEADSTAND!!!  It’s still a bit shaky and probably a little lopsided, but who cares, I’m balancing on my head (and hands or forearms) and it makes me feel rad as heck and as proud as a peacock.

I also completed my second marathon ever!! I ran it 15 minutes faster than my first marathon back in May, and even though I’m still a back-of-the-pack kind of runner, I’m ecstatic about my time and am crazy enough to want to do it again. I think I’m more addicted to beating my time than actually running 42.2km/26 miles. I’m debating adding a “Running” page to this blog to document my running adventures and provide tips I’ve learned along the way because I do love reading other running blogs so we will see if that happens.

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When I first starting seriously running, I was over the moon with the number of calories I would burn on a long run and felt like it totally justified the chips, french fries, ice cream and other junk that I loved consuming. Something changed when I started the 18-week training for my second marathon though. Even though I was burning a lot of calories, I still felt so gross after a poutine or a burger. I started to think more in terms of whether or not the poutine was worth the 27km run I did earlier in the week and the answer was always no!  I started to change my diet to incorporate foods like mass amounts of fresh vegetables that made me feel great inside and starting looking towards vegetarian and vegan recipes for inspiration on eating clean.

Cheesecake has always been a weakness for me, the more decadent the better (like this chocolate peanut butter torte or this caramel apple cheesecake pie). Unfortunately for me and most likely for you, cheesecake isn’t the most waist-friendly dessert to indulge in so when I saw this recipe for a Raw Cashew Dreamcake on My New Roots a while back, I immediately bookmarked it.  Guys, now that I’ve finally made it I can honestly say it is the best thing ever!!  This cake is essentially a raw AND gluten-free AND vegan AND healthy cheesecake alternative to the real thing. It’s ridiculously easy to make seeing as you only need a really good food processor or blender and you don’t need an oven! This version is a raspberry&vanilla flavour combo, but you can easily customize and flavour the layers to your liking.  Now I have to admit, nothing that isn’t cheesecake will actually taste like real cheesecake, but the cashews in this dreamcake are like magic and work to create a smooth and rich filling that is just so good anyways. Plus you won’t feel so guilty after a slice or two! 😉

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Raw Cashew Dreamcake

Ingredients:

For the Crust:
1/2 cup raw almonds (pecan or walnuts will also work)
1/2 cup soft Medjool dates
¼ tsp. sea salt

For the Filling:
1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 5 hours, overnight is best
juice of 1-2 lemons
the seeds of 1 whole vanilla bean (or 1 tsp. alcohol-free vanilla extract)
1/3 cup raw coconut oil, melted
1/3 cup raw honey or agave nectar
1 cup raspberries (thaw completely if using frozen)

Directions:
Place nuts and dates in a food processor with sea salt and pulse to chop until they are to your desired fineness (process a finer crust longer than a chunky one). Test the crust by spooning out a small amount of mixture and rolling it in your hands. If the ingredients hold together, your crust is perfect. If they do not hold together, add more dates (one at a time) and process.

Scoop out the crust mixture into a 7” spring-form pan (if you don’t have a spring-form pan, use a pie plate or cake pan lined with saran wrap), and press firmly, making sure that the edges are well packed and that the base is relatively even throughout.  If using saran wrap, try to smooth it out as much as possible to avoid a lot of creases in the final cake.

Rinse food processor well.

Warm coconut oil and honey in a small saucepan on low heat until liquid and whisk to combine or place in a small bowl and microwave in 10-20 second increments, whisking in between until liquid.

In the most powerful food processor / blender you own (you decide which one has the most torque) place all filling ingredients* (except raspberries) and blend on high until very smooth (this make take a couple minutes so be patient). If you have a Vita-Mix, absolutely use it.  *start with the juice of 1 lemon, and add more juice to taste if you like. I only used 1 lemon.

Pour about 2/3 (just eyeball it, you can’t make a mistake!) of the mixture out onto the crust and smooth with a spatula. Add the raspberries to the remaining filling and blend on high until smooth. Pour onto the first layer of filling and again smooth with a spatula. Place in freezer until solid.

To serve, remove from freezer 30 minutes prior to eating. Run a smooth, sharp knife under hot water and cut into slices. Serve on its own, or with fresh fruit. Store leftovers in the freezer (what leftovers?).

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from My New Roots

Peach and Blueberry Pie

IMG_5392Hi! Remember me?

Yea, I know I’ve been away for a while…truth is I almost feel like a stranger to my own blog. It’s crazy how fast time flies. The reason I haven’t posted in so long is because in the midst of training for my first marathon and balancing school work and a social life at the same time, I lost my passion for baking. I stopped following all of my favourite food blogs, I stopped daydreaming about butter and flour and I pretty much lost interest in all things food-related. Scary, right?! My camera and stand mixer sat there untouched for a few months collecting dust while I found myself replacing my love for baking with a new-found love for running and working out. Those long runs gave me such an endorphin rush that I no longer needed baking to make me feel happy.

IMG_5400A lot has happened in the past couple of months. I ran my first half-marathon, I ran my first full marathon shortly after which I promised myself I would never run again, I went to Hawaii with my sister where I allowed myself to be briefly romanced by another surfer boy with a motorcycle (nothing quite like the Costa Rica romance, but I don’t think anything can really compare to that), I decided I missed running enough to incorporate short 5k runs into my exercise schedule, I lost my mind and signed up for another marathon (currently on week 7 of training), I baked this peach and blueberry pie and pronounced it the pie of the summer, I proceeded to eat the entire pie all by myself in under a week, and I decided this pie was too good to not share with you, thus bringing this blog out of hibernation. Life has been good.

IMG_5396I first saw this recipe 2 summers ago on Joy the Baker and immediately bookmarked it. The only problem was that summer (and the following summer) I was working at an overnight camp where I had no kitchen access at all. So this recipe stayed hidden away until finally this summer I saw the most beautiful, sweet-smelling peaches ever and instantly knew what I had to do with them. It might seem weird to bake a pie in the summer when it’s so hot out but really this is the perfect pie to celebrate the fresh flavours of summer. I wasn’t kidding when I said I ate the whole thing on my own and while I don’t recommend that so much during bikini season, I have absolutely no regrets. The pie dough comes together easily and makes for the richest, butteriest crust while the filling is just bursting with flavour and colour. So make the most of peach season and make this pie asap!

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Peach and Blueberry Pie

Yields: one 9-inch pie

Ingredients:
For the Crust:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes
5 tbsp plus 2 tsp ice cold water
1 tsp apple cider vinegar

For the Filling:
About 3 pounds ripe peaches (I used about 6 peaches)
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 to 2/3 cups granulated sugar (depending on the sweetness of your peaches)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
scant 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground ginger
3 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp cornstarch
2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
2 tablespoons sugar and 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for topping crust before baking

Directions:
To make the crust, in a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt.  Add cold, cubed butter and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture.  Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Stir together the ice cold water and vinegar.   Create a well in the butter and flour mixture and pour in the water and vinegar mixture.  Use a fork to bring to dough together.  Try to moisten all of the flour bits.  On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture.  It will be moist and shaggy.  That’s perfect.  Divide the dough in two and gently knead into two disks.  Wrap each disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the filling, wash and slice peaches.  In a medium bowl, combine peach slices and blueberries.  In a small bowl, whisk together sugar, spices, flour, and cornstarch.  Pour the sugar mixture over the fruit, and gently toss together with a wooden spoon.  Stir in the lemon juice.  Place bowl of fruit in the fridge to rest while you roll the crust out.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Place a rack in the center of the oven, and place a baking sheet on the lower rack, just below where you’re going to place the pie.  This will catch any pie drippings without making a mess of your oven.

Remove one of the pie dough disks from the fridge.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough out into about a 13-inch round.  Roll the dough a few strokes, then use your fingers to move the emerging circle around the floured surface.  This ensures that the dough isn’t sticking to the work surface.  The circle won’t be perfect, that’s ok.  Try not to get any tears in the rolled out dough, but if you do, they can be patched together with extra dough.    When you roll the dough and you can see it start springing back, that means that the butter is warming and the crust shouldn’t be rolled out anymore.  Gently lift the 13-inch round from the floured surface and center in the 9-inch baking dish.  Place in the fridge while you roll out the top crust.

Roll out the top crust just as you did the bottom crust, moving the dough across the floured surface every once in a while, and creating a roughly 13-inch circle.  Remove the bottom crust and fruit filling from the fridge.  Gently pour the fruit filling into the pie dish.  Carefully remove the top crust from the work surface and drape over the fruit in the pie dish.  With a small knife, trim the crust, leaving about 3/4-inch overhang.  With your fingers press the top and bottom crusts together and fold under.  Use a fork or your fingers to crimp the edges of the dough.  Cut five small slits in the top of the crust so the juices and steam can vent.  Brush lightly with beaten egg and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture.

Place pie in the oven and bake at 400 degrees F for 15 minutes.  Reduce the oven heat to 375 and bake for 45 to 55 more minutes.  Remove from the oven when crust is browned and golden, and the juices are bubbling.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 2 hours before serving.  Place covered in the fridge to store.  Pie lasts up to 3 or 4 days.

—SOURCE—
Joy the Baker

Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish Braid

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I feel that with something as good as this blueberry cream cheese danish braid, I should keep the talking to a minimum so you can hurry up and get to the recipe asap. I’m still going to talk about how seriously amazing this danish braid is but I won’t be offended at all if you skip right to the end of this post 😛

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It all started when I had a craving for pastry. I’ve made croissants and chocolate croissants before so just thinking about those made me really want something perfectly flaky and buttery crisp. I wanted to play around with different flavours and fillings though, so it wasn’t long before I thought of this spiced apple cream cheese danish braid and decided that I wanted to make a blueberry version.

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Making pastry dough can be a little daunting if you have never tried it before, but it really isn’t hard at all! The only thing to keep in mind is there is a lot of waiting time in between when your dough is chilling in the fridge. I planned this danish braid ahead of time so that I could make the dough and the fillings the night before, and so all I had to do the next morning was roll out the dough, assemble and bake!

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Knowing that I had this beauty of a treat to look forward to was the only thing that kept me running home after a long 27km run…but let’s not go there, my hip hasn’t quite recovered from that just yet!  My longer runs usually leave me pretty drained once I’ve gotten back home, but I definitely had enough energy to put this braid together and pop it in the oven. And ohmygoodness. Fresh from the oven, each slice is made up of delicate layers upon layers of buttery goodness that envelopes a sweet blueberry pie-like filling perfectly complemented by a cream cheese filling with a lemon tang. All of that coated in a light and sweet sugar glaze.

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The best part is that even if you have leftovers, this still tastes so good the next day and the day after. I kept mine chilled in the fridge and even enjoyed it chilled, but it also tastes just as good after a quick zap in the microwave or if you have more time, after a few minutes in the oven.

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This would be the perfect treat to serve for a breakfast where you really want to impress! So go out there and knock some socks off! Actually, if it’s breakfast at home, then your household might not be wearing socks. Unless they are one of those weird people that wears socks when they sleep. I’m shuddering thinking about it.

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Also, the braiding of this danish might make it a little tricky to cut perfectly straight pieces. But that’s totally okay, because if you’re quick enough you can just snag a bigger piece. 😉

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Blueberry Cream Cheese Danish Braid

Ingredients:

For the Danish dough:
1½ cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1½ tsp. instant yeast*
¼ cup sugar
¾ tsp. salt
1/3 cup whole milk
1 large egg, lightly beaten

For the butter square:
12 tbsp. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1 tablespoon pieces
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour

For the cream cheese filling:
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
¼ tsp. finely grated lemon zest
2 tbsp. sugar

For the blueberry filling:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp. cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

For the glaze:
1½ cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
5 tsp. milk, plus more as needed

For the drizzle (optional):
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tbsp. milk, plus more as needed

*Instant yeast = rapid rise yeast = bread machine yeast

Directions:
To make the dough, combine 1¼ cups of the flour in a bowl with the yeast, sugar, and salt.  Place the milk and egg in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture and knead until a smooth ball of dough forms, about 7-8 minutes.  (The dough should be sticky but if more dough sticks to the bowl than the dough hook, add the remaining ¼ cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time as needed.)  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.

To make the butter square, toss together the butter pieces and flour on a clean work surface.  Smear the butter back and forth using a bench scraper against the work surface until they have combined into a smooth homogenous mixture.  Wrap the butter mixture in plastic wrap and use the edges of the plastic to form it into a 5-inch square.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour.  Lay the chilled dough on the work surface and roll into a 9-inch square.  Place the butter square diagonally on top the dough and remove the plastic wrap.  Fold the corners of dough over the butter so that they meet in the middle of the butter square.  Pinch the ends of the dough together to seal.  Using a rolling pin , tap the dough from the center outward until the butter begins to soften and become malleable.  Gently roll the dough into an 11-inch square, re-flouring the work surface as necessary to prevent sticking.  Fold the outside edges of the dough in toward the center in thirds, one overlapping the other, like a business letter.  Repeat this process folding the other direction to make a square.  (This completes two turns.)  Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Roll the dough into an 11-inch square once more and repeat the two turns as before (business letter, then square).  Wrap in plastic wrap again and chill once more for at least 4 hours.  (At this point the dough can be refrigerated overnight).

To make the cream cheese filling, combine the cream cheese, lemon zest and sugar in a small bowl.  Mix well until smooth and blended.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

To make the blueberry filling, combine the blueberries and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Mash about half of the blueberries as the mixture gets heated, and bring it a boil. Once the mixture is bubbling, lower the heat to medium and add the cornstarch mixture, stirring until it thickens. Remove from heat and let it cool before using.

When you are ready to shape and bake the danish, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  On a large, very well floured sheet of parchment paper roll the chilled dough into a 14-inch square.  Spread the cream cheese filling evenly down the middle third of the dough.  Lay the blueberry filling over the top of the cream cheese mixture (you may not end up using all of the filling*).  Using a pizza cutter or a paring knife, cut the outer thirds of dough into ¾-inch strips so that the cuts are diagonal to the filling.  Alternating sides, fold the strips of dough over the filling, crisscrossing the strips over the center, until the entire Danish is braided.  Transfer the braid, still on the parchment, to a baking sheet.  Cover loosely with plastic wrap and rise at room temperature until slightly puffy (it will not double), about 30 minutes.

Bake until the braid is golden brown, 22-26 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.  To make the glaze, combine all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to thin the glaze.  Transfer to a cooking rack and brush with the glaze while still hot.  Cool to room temperature.  To make the drizzle, combine the confectioners’ sugar and milk in a small bowl and whisk until smooth.  Add more milk 1 teaspoon at a time as needed to make it a drizzle-able consistency.  Drizzle over the finished braid.  Slice crosswise and serve.

*leftover blueberry filling is excellent served over yoghurt, pancakes or waffles, ice cream, in smoothies, the options are endless!

—SOURCE—
based off of this Spiced Apple Cream Cheese Danish Braid recipe

Blueberry Zucchini Muffins


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Yea. I just made healthy muffins. Wait what?
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These muffins are loaded with good things like shredded zucchini, fresh blueberries and whole wheat flour. Greek yogurt is a healthier alternative to butter/oil to keep these muffins moist. Cinnamon adds flavour and according to google, it’s pretty good for you too!
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If you’ve never tried baking with zucchini, you’re probably feeling a little skeptical. I know I was at first, until I baked this double chocolate zucchini bread. It immediately became one of my favourite indulgent breads to bake, and my manly man housemate totally approved and managed to eat a slice every day for a week! You totally can’t taste any sort of zucchini/vegetable flavour in that bread or these muffins.
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These muffins are bursting with fresh blueberries and I love how pretty the green and blueish-purple looks. These are the perfect springtime muffin after a long winter season, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
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Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
Yields: 12 muffins 

Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
zest of 1 lemon
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1 1/2 cups zucchini, shredded
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.In a small bowl, stir together the flours, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and lemon zest.  In a large bowl, beat together the sugar, eggs, vanilla and greek yogurt.  Slowly stir in the flour mixture until just incorporated.  Fold in the zucchini and blueberries.Scoop 1/4 cup batter each into the wells of your lined muffin tin.  Bake  for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool slightly in the pan, then remove to a wire rack to cool.Store in an airtight container – can be frozen, well wrapped, for up to two months.
—SOURCE—
adapted from Cooking Ala Mel

 

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

IMG_4728Sorry for my absence this past week! I caught a nasty bug earlier this week that had me throwing up all night and left me bed-ridden for 3 days after. Today is the first day I’m feeling somewhat normal and have managed to have more than a small piece of toast in my system. The thought of any kind of food other than tiny pieces of toast and chicken noodle soup had made me really nauseous but this morning I woke up bright and early craving eggs, bacon and blueberry muffins. My fingers are crossed that my appetite is back for good and here to stay!
IMG_4723It probably took about half an hour from start to finish to have these oatmeal blueberry applesauce muffins freshly baked and ready to eat in front of me. Whole wheat flour and oats along with applesauce and fresh blueberries make these a somewhat healthier breakfast option and I’m happy to say that I’m already craving another one 🙂 I hope you have a fabulous weekend!

Oatmeal Blueberry Applesauce Muffins

Yields: 12 muffins

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/4 cups oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3/4 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375˚ F.

Line a 12 cup muffin tin with paper liners or spray with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl combine flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In a medium bowl combine applesauce, buttermilk, sugar, oil and egg. Make a well in dry ingredients and add applesauce mixture. Stir until just moist. Fold in blueberries. Divide the batter evenly between the 12 muffin cups, filling to about 2/3 full.

Bake for 16-18 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin from the middle of the tray comes out clean.

—SOURCE—
slightly adapted from Joy the Baker

Cranberry Orange and Pecan Coffee Cake

IMG_4339 Merry Christmas! I hope that everyone has really been enjoying their holidays so far and that you are spending lots of time with your loved ones! We woke up to a light dusting of snow truly making it a white Christmas, hooray!  I wasn’t planning on posting anything today but I was flipping through all of my current drafts and realized with horror that I hadn’t shared this cranberry orange and pecan coffee cake with you yet. I feel a bit guilty not sharing this with you sooner, because this coffee cake is a real game-changer. Every slice screams out happy holidays, for real. Oranges and cranberries brighten up things up and pack a lot of flavour, pecans keeps things nutty and down-to-earth, and the sweet sugary glaze wraps it all together. This is my Christmas gift to you! Enjoy, and then go watch Les Miserables – an incredible take on the musical/novel that will leave you covered in goosebumps for the entire movie.  Happy holidays!IMG_4335

Cranberry Orange and Pecan Coffee Cake

Yields: two 9×5-inch loaves

Ingredients:
For the Cake:
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into medium chunks
2 eggs, beaten
1 1/2 cups fresh squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoon orange zest
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cranberries
1 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans

For the Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tbsp. milk

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9×5-inch loaf pan.  Line loaf pan with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on each side.  Grease the parchment paper and dust with flour on all sides.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add chunks of butter and work the butter into the flour with your fingers.  Try to blend the butter into each bit of the dry ingredients.  The mixture will resemble a coarse meal.

In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  Stir together to incorporate.  Add the cranberries and pecans and fold into the batter.

To make the topping combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and rub together with your fingertips until crumbly.

Divide the batter between the two loaf pans.  Sprinkle each loaf with topping.  Place in the oven and allow to bake until the cake is golden brown and the center is cooked through.  Insert a skewer into the center of the cake to ensure that it’s cooked through, about 50 to 60 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pans for 15 minutes. Use the parchment paper to life the loaves from the pan and allow to cool further on a wire rack.

For the glaze whisk together 1 cup of powdered sugar and just over a tablespoon of milk, then drizzle over the cooled coffee cake.

Cake can be stored, well wrapped at room temperature, for up to 5 days.

—SOURCE—
Joy the Baker

Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

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Happy Halloween! I’m so disappointed that I was unable to share any Halloween themed goodies with you this year. I had it all planned out to bake Halloween appropriate sugar cookies for you this past weekend, but then I got really sick and spent most of the weekend passed out in bed. Instead, I’ll just have to tell you about this blueberry banana baked oatmeal with a promise of spookier treats next year!

I love this blueberry banana baked oatmeal because it’s so easy to put together, and makes for such a fast and filling breakfast in the mornings – just a quick zap in the microwave and you’ll have oatmeal that tastes and smells like you just took it out of the oven! A bonus is that you can use frozen blueberries, making it perfect for those cooler mornings when you’re missing summer.

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Blueberry Banana Baked Oatmeal

Ingredients:
1.5 cups (3 medium) mashed bananas
2 large eggs
1/4 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
2 cups milk
2.5 cups old fashioned oats
8 oz. frozen blueberries

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Mash the bananas in a measuring cup, starting with two or three and adding more until you have 1.5 cups of banana mash.

Combine the banana mash in the large bowl with the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and baking powder. Whisk to combine. Add the milk and whisk again until smooth.

Stir in the dry old-fashioned oats. Lastly, stir in the frozen blueberries (keeping them frozen and stirring them in last helps prevent Bake in the preheated 375 degree oven and bake for about 45 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the center is no longer wet to the touch.

Serve warm or refrigerate until ready to eat. These oats can be quickly reheated in the microwave each morning for a quick, filling breakfast.

—SOURCE—
Budget Bytes

 

Brown Butter Strawberry Banana Bread

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Some of Lianna’s very favourite smells to smell, in no particular order:
1. the intoxicating scent of a wild rose
2. grass when it gets heated on a hot summers day and you’re lying down with your eyes closed surrounded by it..
3. poutine
4. that dog smell…is that weird? sometimes I think dogs smell like doughnuts.
5. rich, nutty, browned butter – one of the reasons why I love baking this bread

IMG_3705 I thought strawberry season was long gone, but when I went grocery shopping a few days ago there were containers of beautiful, deep red strawberries still on sale! I couldn’t bare to wait until the weather gets warm again to share this recipe with you because that would have just been selfish if you still do have access to fresh strawberries.

IMG_3710 I’ve baked this brown butter strawberry banana bread twice already which is really saying something since I rarely try the same recipe twice (only because there are about at least a hundred other recipes that I want to try). Each slice is deliciously rich and moist with small chunks of strawberries in every bite. Strawberries will remind you of summer and browned butter and cinnamon will ease you into fall. I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!

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Brown Butter Strawberry Banana Bread 

Ingredients:
6 ounces unsalted butter, melted and browned to just over 1/2 cup of butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup plain yogurt (any fat content) or buttermilk
1 1/4 cup mashed banana (from about 3 medium bananas)
1/2 cup diced strawberries plus 1 strawberry very thinly sliced, for topping

Directions:
Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.  Grease and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan and set aside.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat.  Butter will begin to foam and crackle as it melts.  When the crackling subsides, the butter will begin to brown.  Swirl the pan as the butter cooks.  When the butter browns and begins to smell nutty, remove the pan from the flame and transfer the butter to a small bowl.  Taking the butter out of the hot saucepan will stop the butter from overcooking and burning.  Set aside to cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.

In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla extract, and yogurt or buttermilk.  Whisk in the mashed bananas.  When butter has cooled, whisk in the browned butter.

Add the wet ingredients, all at once to the dry ingredients.  Fold together, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl to reveal any hidden pockets of flour.  Fold in the diced strawberries.  Fold together ingredients, but try not to over stir.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and top with thinly sliced strawberries.   Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.  Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the pan for 15 minutes, before inverting onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Bread will last 4 days, well wrapped at room temperature.  This loaf also freezes well.

—SOURCE—
Joy the Baker

Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes

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Fall is pretty much here, but I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer just yet. Even though the temperatures are dropping and the breeze drifting through my open window is much cooler than it was last week, I’m still desperately holding on to denim shorts, cropped tops, sunkissed skin, open waters and the summer memories of a blissfully careless kind of freedom.

img_2019I made these cupcakes back in May as a treat to celebrate one of my closest friends, Paige’s birthday. I knew I wanted to make her something really special in honour of the occasion so as soon as I stumbled upon these cupcakes I knew that these were just right. I fell in love with the idea of combining 2 different desserts into one: fresh strawberry ice cream and brownies. You can of course use store-bought ice cream, but I had fresh strawberries on hand so I figured why not make it from scratch.

img_2031I was worried that after freezing these cupcakes overnight, the brownie base would either become really dry and/or tough to bite into, but as long as you leave out the cupcakes to thaw for about 5-10 minutes before serving, the brownie base will still be chewy and absolutely delicious when combined with a the strawberry ice cream!

img_2024Paige is like me and loves all things cute and pretty, so I thought these chocolate butterflies would be the perfect topping! Check back in a few days for a tutorial on how to make these chocolate butterflies :)

Strawberry Ice Cream Brownie Cupcakes 

Ingredients:

For the brownies:
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 large eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1 1/8 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the ice cream:
1 batch strawberry ice cream, slightly softened

For the ganache:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 tbsp. butter, at room temperature

To garnish:
Fresh strawberry slices

 Directions:
To make the brownie bottoms, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line two cupcake pans with foil liners.   Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl; stir together and set aside.  In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water combine the butter and chocolate.  Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  In a large mixing bowl combine the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla extract.  Whisk to blend.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture, and then the dry ingredients, mixing just until incorporated.
Scoop 1 tablespoon of batter into cupcake liner.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 6-8 minutes.  Leaving the brownies in the cupcake pans, cool on a wire rack to room temperature.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.  Top with strawberry ice cream until the cupcake liner is full.  (If the ice cream is freshly made, it is just the right consistency for filling the cupcake liners.)  Return the cupcake pans to the freezer for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
To make the ganache, place the chocolate chips in a small bowl.  Bring the cream to a simmer in a small saucepan.  Pour the cream evenly over the chocolate, let stand for 1 minute.  Stir until smooth with a rubber spatula.  If the ganache is too thin, allow it to stand at room temperature to cool and become more easily spreadable.  Once the ganache is at the correct temperature, scoop it by the teaspoonful on top of the ice cream cupcakes and spread over the tops.  Garnish with fresh strawberry slices, if desired.
Remove cupcakes from the freezer 5-10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!
—SOURCE—
Annie’s Eats, adapted from Joy the Baker