Gingerbread Muffins & Sweet Lemon Glaze

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I really hate cupcakes. I know it’s weird but they are always just way too sweet and I have never been a huge fan of frosting. I remember as a kid going to birthday parties and being totally bummed when they had anything other than an ice-cream cake. I guess I really just don’t like frosting but cupcakes become guilty by association.  On the other hand, cupcakes have a super delicious cousin named muffin and I love muffins.  Muffins are the kind of thing you can eat for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or as dessert.  They are definitley multi-purpose and come in SO many different varieties.

After I made the molasses cookies the other day I had a lot of extra molasses and pretty much nothing to do with it.  I Googled molasses recipes and came across a ton of different ones until I found a combo two different recipes that I decided I would combine.  The first recipe was for Gingerbread Muffins from How Sweet Eats and the second was for a Lemon Glaze from Sally’s Baking Addiction.  Molasses is not the main focus of the muffins but it is used in them and it gives the muffins a chewy texture that is seriously addicting.   The lemon glaze on these muffins is totally optional but highly recommended.  It offers a great balance between the gingery-molassesness of the muffin and the sweet citrusy taste of the glaze (those are all totally technical terms).

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Even BB ate them 🙂

Ingredients:

For the muffins:

Makes 12-16 muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2/3 cup loosely packed brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup molasses
1/3 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
2/3 cup milk

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

juice from 1 lemon

1-2 Tablespoons milk

Mix all ingredients in a bowl until fully combined and smooth.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with cooking spray.
  2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, ginger, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and cloves. You can the nutmeg, ginger and clive for 2 tsp of allspice.
  3. In a larger bowl, whisk together the brown sugar and egg until combinded. Then whisk in the molasses, maple syrup and vanilla extract.
  4. Whisk in the melted butter until fully combined.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined – do not overmix!
  6. Stir in the milk before the dry ingredients are fully combined.
  7. Fill muffin culs 3/4 of the way full with batter.
  8. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until fully set and no jiggly.
  9. Move to cooling rack to cool completly before glazing.
  10. Once cool, spoon the glaze over each muffin.  It can get messy!

 

Easiest Chewy Molasses Cookies Ever!

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I LOVE COOKIES!  Almost nothing beats a chewy, crispy, warm cookie especially after a long day.  One of my favorite parts of baking cookies is the smell that it leaves in the house.  That intoxicating smell of vanilla, chocolate, sugar and spice filling your home for you to enjoy even before the cookies are done.  I mean they even make candles after that smell, it’s obviously amazing.  Now I love pretty much every kind of cookie, even oatmeal raisin, but my favorite kind of cookies are the spiced kind.  The ones that warm my soul and fill my belly.  The ones that remind me of Christmas and Thanksgiving, being with family and friends.

Being in Montreal I am away from all of my family and sometimes I get a little homesick so yesterday I decided to make a cookie that would make me feel like I was with my family.  It is so incredible how a certain food can make you feel closer to your family when you are so far away.

This recipe is so super easy, fast and incredibly delicious.  I literally whipped them together in between cooking dinner and helping David get the baby to bed.  Something really amazing doesn’t always have to be complicated.  I found this recipe on Dessert For Two blog and what I loved about it was it was simple, quick and can easily be doubled.  I was really happy how the cookies came out and if you are looking for something that is seriously delicious with no-fuss these are the cookies your looking for.

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Ingredients

Makes 12 cookies

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground all spice
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3 tablespoons molasses (not blackstrap)
  • ¼ cup coasse sugar (I used brown sugar and it worked find)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the melted butter and brown sugar until fully incorporated.  It might take a minute so be patient.
  3. Add the egg yolk and molasses, and stir until combined.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until fully combined
  5. Cover and chill the dough for about 15 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375F.
  7. Pour the brown course sugar in a bowl
  8. Scoop out 12 balls of dough, and roll each ball in the sanding sugar generously.
  9. Space 2″ apart on a baking sheet, and bake for 8-9 minutes, until puffy and starting to crack.
  10. Transfer to a wire wrack to cool.

Once the cookies have cooled ENJOY!

Pizza and beer. Has there ever been a more perfect match?

FullSizeRenderPizza. Oh glorious pizza. It encompasses the 3 Cs in the most perfect way. Crispy, Chewy and Cheesy. Making pizza crust is absolutley worth every ounce of effort it takes, and honestly it is not that hard. I found the recipe for this pizza crust on an awesome blog I just discovered called Displaced Housewive. Her blog is funny and her recipes are dope.

This pizza crust in particular is great because it is made with beer. I mean…how much more do you want? Pizza + Beer = Perfection. The crust comes out cripsy and is able to withstand a fair amount of toppings.

I recommend not going too heavy handed on the sauce and toppings though because it will over power this great vessle for which the toppings are upon.

For my pizza we used our favorite pizza sauce, pepperoni, peppers, onion and mushrooms but feel free to use whatever toppings you want but like I said respect the dough. The dough can be made into two big pizzas or 4 small ones and can be made vegan by using maple sypup instead of honey.

Best way to enjoy this pizza is with a beer and a buddy!

Without further ado…here you dough!

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Beer Pizza Crust

Ingredients

1 12-ounce bottle of warm beer. I know, warm beer sounds like a sin but it needs to be warm to activate the yeast. Place it in a bowl of warm water for about 30 minutes to get it to the right temp.

2 packages dry yeast

2 TBS honey or maple syrup

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the bowl.

4 cups of all purpose white flour

3 TSP of salt

Cornmeal for dusting underneath the dough, pre-oven or BBQ

Whatever toppings and sauce you want! Get crazy!

Instructions

Place the beer, yeast, honey or maple syrup and olive oil in a bowl. Mix and let the yeast activate for about 10 minutes until it is nice and frothy like a delicious cold beer.

Once foamy add 3 cups of your flour and salt and begin to knead the dough. Now, this takes a little work and you might break a sweat but hey, if you are eating pizza you might as well sweat a little right. Knead the dough for about 8 minutes until the dough is no longer sticky. You might need to add more flour as you need. Add about 1/4 cup at a time and do not add more than 1 cup of additonal flour.

Once the dough has come together into a small, stretchy little ball add a splash of olive oil to a seperate bowl and place dough in said bowl for rising. Cover the bowl with a towel, grab a beer (you deserve it) and let the dough rise and rest for an hour. If you live in a cold place you can put the bowl in the oven (not on) to let it get warmer. The dough should about double in size.

Now grab a baking sheet, cover with parchment paper, sprinkle it with flour. Seperate your dough into either 2 or 4 equal sized balls and place them on the baking sheet. I said it before, baking take patience, and these babies have to rest again for another hour. I promise the wait is worth it! Cover them back up with the same towel it let them rest.

When the hour is up, all of your hard work is ready to be made into pizza. Preheat your oven to 500F and get ready to assemble, like the Transformers.

Grab one dough ball and hand stretch it to the desired size. You do not want to pull it too thin or it will not hold your toppings. Place your dough ball on a baking sheet dusted with corn meal, no parchement paper, to keep from sticking. It also gives a another element of crunch.

Add your toppings and remember less is more when it comes to sauce. Place the pizzas in the oven for 12-15 minutes. Make sure to check your oven at the 12 minute mark since it is set so hot. You don’t want to burn this crust.

Let the pizza cool for a couple of minutes so you don’t burn your mouth and then enjoy, with a beer, obviously.

Kylo Ren Approved Peanut Butter Stuffed Browned Butter Sugar Cookies

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A long time ago in a galaxy far far away…

Well actually, today in this galaxy but whatever, I made these cookies inspired by Ambitious Kitchen’s recipe for Browned Butter Nutella Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. Before reading her blog I had no idea what browned butter was or how amazing it is. I mean, it is kind of life changing when used the right way. You can take a simple chocolate chip cookie and turn it into this rich, nutty, chewy over the top cookie. Does it take a little bit more work? Yes, obviously, but it is totally worth it!

The great things about these cookies is that you can change and adapt them pretty easily. If you know the basic cookie recipe you can stuff them with peanut butter (like I did), nutella, almond butter etc. depending on what you like. You can add chocolate chips or peanut butter chips to the cookie batter too, I just didn’t have any at home. The options are endless and if you have any questions about substitutions or anything else feel free to comment!

P.S. If Kylo Ren approves they are obviously good cookies.

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Peanut Butter Stuffed Brown Butter Sugar Cookies a.k.a. Heaven

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
15 teaspoons of any nut butter or Nutella chilled

Instructions

1. First, you have to brown the butter. If you have never done this just make sure to give your whole attention to the process. Add butter to a saucepan over medium heat. As the butter melts it will foam and make cracking noises. Be sure to continuously whisk to prevent burning. After a few minutes the butter will begin to turn brown and give off a nutty smell. Once this happens remove from the heat and transfer to a bowl to cool about 5 minutes (DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP).

2. Once cool mix butter and sugars until combined and then add in egg and vanilla until fully combined.

3. In a seperate bowl (I usually do this while my butter is cooling) mix together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Slowly start to add your flour mixture to the butter, sugar and egg until combined. At this point fold in chocolate chips if using.

4. Now time to be patient. Cover dough with plastic wrap and let chill 20 minutes in the freezer or 45 minutes in the fridge.

5. After dough is chilled preheat oven to 350F and measure about 1 tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Using your thumb press a hole in the center of the ball for the nut butter or nutella.

6. Place about 1 teaspoon of nut butter or nutella in the cookie hole and fold and roll dough to cover it completely. Be sure the center is fully covered and if not add a bit more dough. Roll the dough into a ball again and then flatten slightly with palms.

7. Continue for the rest of the dough and place on a baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 12-13 mintues or until golden brown.

8. Allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet about 5 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling and then ENJOY.

My batch made 13 cookies but you can probably squeeze about 15 out of the dough.

Advice From a Small Kitchen

614873_super-chef-kitchen_xlarge*Not our actual kitchen

Our kitchen is small. Max capacity is like two people and sometimes I will still get hit with an elbow. With all our appliances i.e. microwave, coffee machine, toaster oven etc our counter top space is limited so being organized and having a plan is key. Here are a few tips for staying sane while baking and cooking in a spacially challenged kitchen.

1. Read your recipe first and know exactly what you will need and when you will need it. If you are making bread or something that needs to rise or rest for awhile there is no need to have your baking pan out yet. I know it might seem minuscule but every inch counts..that’s what she said 😉

2. Fail to plan, plan to fail. Except it’s not that serious because it’s baking. But be prepared. Don’t have anything you don’t need out. You can even premeasure your ingredients, keep them in the fridge or pantry and grab them as you need them. Once you are done with that ingredient throw the bowl in the sink and move along #starwarsreference

Unknown3. Have a designated space for garbage. Egg shells here, chocolate chip bag there and without even realizing it unecessary crap is taking up half your space. The best tip I can offer is to hang a plastic bag from a low cabinet and toss it all in there. Saves space and less clean up in end.

4. This is something I learned from my mom. She is super OCD and firmly believes in the old quote “A place for everything and everything in its place”. Once you are done using something put it in the sink or the cabinet or the trash. Get rid of what you don’t need (also a good life lesson). While the dough is rising, do the dishes, get the unfun part over with.

5. Find your groove. Now, this is something that probably won’t come right away but the more you are in the kitchen the more you will learn what works for you. Sometimes I am mixing on my stove top and that’s fine with me. It works.

Baking and cooking is theraputic for me. It’s the space I go when I am upset or bored or angry or happy or inspired and the last thing I want to do is make that space chaotic. I have found what works for me in my small kitchen and I definitely get shit done.

Take these tips for what they are and apply them as needed in your kitchen. If you have a great big kitchen with tons of counter space, good for you. Totally kidding! #lifegoals

Easy Cinnamon Rolls & Finding Balance

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Cinnamon Rolls!!! Ooey and gooey, cinnamony and sugary all rolled up into a little package delivered from the baking Gods. Their sole purpose being to fill my stomach and heart (and maybe my jeans) with happiness. Just thinking about those warm little rolls make my mouth water and my stomach grumble. David is off on Wednesdays so we will usually make a special breakfast drink coffee, watch some Netflix and enjoy our morning together. Lazy days with the one you love the most can’t be beat.

Now, I spent a lot of years of my life not allowing myself to enjoy the small things like eating a cinnamon roll with the one I love. I was obsessed with restrictive dieting and exercise and even though I had the body I had always wanted I was not happy and really not very healthy. My life revolved around saying “No, I can’t have that” and avoiding going out with friends because I did not want to get put in a situation where I would be tempted by foods I could not have. After several years of restricting foods, binging on cheat days and being so unhappy I decided to stop the vicious cycle I had got my self into. I started eating whatever I wanted and not exercising as much, if at all. I was happy for a little while until I realized that I had gained weight, like a lot of weight. I was unhappy AGAIN! I remember sitting in my room and just crying because I felt like I was in a hole I could not dig myself out of.

As I sat there I contimplated my next move. What diet was I going to do to lose this weight that I gained? How many hours a day was I going to have to exercise? I dreaded the thought of having to be super restrictive again but I hated how I looked. Then I had a WTF moment. I asked myself “WTF are you doing?” I was sitting there being sad about food. Something that I love so much, not only eating but making. I was miserable but I was making myself miserable. I could not believe how ungrateful I was being. I am healthy, have a great family and friends and a job. I have things that people WISH for and I am being sad about food. That day I decided I would not do this anymore. I would not obsess over food and my weight and I would live my life in moderation. I started to eat intuitively and guess what….I started to lose weight. I began to exercise again not because I felt like I had to but because I wanted to. If I want a cinnamon roll, I am going to have a cinnamon roll.

Now, do I still struggle with loving myself everyday and feeling good about my body? Yes. Do I look like I did when I had the body I wanted? No. Am I happy and is that all that really matters to me? Yes. I know it sounds cheesy but life is too short and if I died tomorrow and never allowed myself to eat nachos or cookies once in a while I think my ghost self would be pretty pissed.

Finding balance and eating in moderation is hard. There is a certain guilt that we put on ourselves when we eat something that is “bad” but I challenge you to stop thinking at foods as “good” and “bad” or as a “cheat meal” and start enjoying the foods you love in moderation. You will begin to feel a sense of freedom. My hope is that my story can help and inspire even one person to live a life that makes them happy.

You know where a good starting point of happiness is…these cinnamon rolls!!

Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.

Delicious & Easy Cinnamon Rolls

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Makes about 10 cinnamon rolls

Ingredients
  • 1 packet instant yeast
  • 1 cup almond milk (you can use any kind of milk really)
  • 1/2 cup butter, divided
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 cups all purpose fluor (I mixed white and whole wheat AP flour)
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup + 1 Tbsp sugar, divided
Instructions
  1. In a large sauce pan heat the milk and 3 Tbsp of butter until warm and melted, never reaching boiling. Remove from heat and let cool until warm to the touch.  If it is too hot it will kill the yeast.
  2. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the yeast. Let activate for 10 minutes
  3. Stir in 1 Tbs of sugar and salt to the bowl.
  4. Slowly add in flour 1/2 cup at a time, stirring as you go with a spoon. When the dough becomes too thick to sitr, about 3 cups total,  transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for a minute or so until it forms a loose ball.
  5. Place dough in a lightly greased bowl (I use coconut oil) over with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and roll out the dough into a thin rectangle. Brush with 3 Tbsp melted butter and top with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 – 1Tbsp cinnamon.
  7. Starting at the longer side of the dough tightly roll it up and situate seam side down. With a serrated knife cut the dough into 1.5 – 2 inch sections and position in a well-buttered 8×8 square or comparable sized round pan.
  8. Brush with remaining 2 Tbsp melted butter and cover with plastic wrap again. Set on top of the oven to rise while your oven preheats to 350F.
  9. Once preheated, bake rolls for 25-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let cool for a few minutes and then serve immediately.

Now, I did not use any frosting on mine but there is a great frosting recipe that is super easy here.  The great thing is that one of these rolls without frosting is only about 250 calories!

Honey Whole Wheat Bread #FTW

Baking bread was one of those things that I never wanted to do for a few reasons. First, I can buy it in the store which is easy and easy is good. Second, baking bread is intimidating. Mixing, kneading, rising, more rising it’s a lot of work! After I finally decided to take the leap into the world of bread making instead of bread buying I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it is totally doable. I tried a couple recipes, some better than others, and finally came across this one from Budget Bytes that is easy, delicious and does not require a ton of work (I love less work). It is a light, healthy bread that you can use for pretty much anything. I recommend peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, it’s a never fail meal.

Recipe adapted from: Budget Bytes

Honey Whole Wheat Bread

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INGREDIENTS

  • 1¼ cups warm water
  • 2 Tbsp honey (second time I made this I used brown sugar, worked great)
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • ½ Tbsp salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Combine the yeast and honey along with warm water in a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve and allow to sit until the yeast becomes foamy on top.
  2. Once the yeast mixture is foamy, stir in the olive oil and salt.
  3. Stir in the 1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour. Once mixed add the all purpose flour, ½ cup at a time, until you can no longer stir it with a spoon.
  4. Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a floured surface. Keep adding all purpose flour and kneading until you have a soft, elastic but not sticky ball. Knead for about 3 minutes.
  5. Loosely cover the ball of dough and allow it to rise until double in size about an hour.
  6. Coat your bread pan with non stick spray or coconut oil.  Form your dough into a log the size of your bread pan and place dough in greased pan.
  7. Allow your dough to rise another hour until it has doubled in size and the top of the bread is higher than the edges of the pan.
  8. While bread is rising preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
  9. Cut a long slit in the top of the dough to allow for expansion during cooking (it also looks super fancy).
  10. Bake the bread for 30 minutes until deep golden on top. Remove the bread from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack before slicing.

**Make sure to let your bread cool.  If you don’t it can make your bread fall, be gummy and overall not so beuno.  Baking teaches patience and trust me it is worth the wait!