Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Raspberry Walnut "Better for You" Muffins

Sorry for the delay....



...I have been out of town. This past weekend my brother graduated from college, so my boyfriend and I flew down to Atlanta to be with my family. I could not be more proud of my brother. We are very close in age which was a curse when I was young and a blessing now that I am older. My brother and I did not get along in the slightest when we were young. He was always teasing me, calling me names, and generally being mean. Then one day I moved to DC and when I went back to visit we were friends. I guess absence really did make the heart grow fonder. My brother truly is an amazing person and an even better brother. Anyway, this is why my post is delayed and why I have not been visiting with your blogs. Don't worry, I am back to updating Baked Perfection and I will be visiting your blogs shortly.

So on to these muffins. I bought a ton of raspberries and knew I wanted to make muffins. My friends and I decided we wanted to eat healthier, so I did all that I could to make this a "healthy muffin" and I think I did a pretty good job. I think each muffin has around 175 calories, but don't hold me to that count because I calculated it quite a while ago. These muffins did not taste one bit "healthy". They were moist, light, fruity, sweet, and had a nutty crunch. Everybody loved them and they were gone in no time.


Raspberry Walnut "Better for You" Muffins
recipe from Baked Perfection

Cooking Spray or Paper Liners
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
dash of cinnamon
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp table salt
1 cup fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt
1/4 cup fat-free skim milk
1 egg
1 tbsp butter, melted
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup fresh raspberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 400ºF. Coat a 12-cup muffin pan with cooking spray or fill pan with paper liners.

Combine flours, oats, 1/4 cup of sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and chopped walnuts in a large bowl. Mix well, make a well in the center and set aside.

Whisk yogurt, milk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract together in a small bowl. Fold mixture into dry ingredients until blended; fold in raspberries. Spoon batter into prepared pan, filling each cup about 2/3 full.

Bake for 20 minutes; sprinkle tops of muffins with remaining tablespoon of sugar. Bake until a wooden toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean, about 5 minutes more. Allow to cool in pan for at least 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies (a.k.a Polka Dot Cookies)

Just like an Andes Mint.


A few weeks ago I discovered the wonders of a great store, World Market. I am sure I am the last one to realize how great it is, but either way I am glad I did. I went there because I heard they sold spices at great prices which was definitely true. My cabinet is now stocked with all kinds of dried herbs and spices and it cost me a fraction of the super market prices. I was wandering around the food section at the store and came across some Guittard Green Mint Chips. They also had Cappuccino Chips, but since I am not a coffee person those did not appeal to me. I had heard great things about Guittard so I thought I would get the mint chips and would figure out something to make with them. Well I did not have to go far to find a recipe. It was last Sunday night and I had just finished making a pot of Gumbo. The mint chips were sitting in a basket I keep on top of my fridge filled with random baking items. I just kept looking at them and decide at 9pm on Sunday night I was going to make something. I grabbed the package and right on the back was a recipe entitled "Polka Dot Cookies". I am calling them Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies purely because it annoys me when you see the name of a dessert and it does not hint to what it is. Anyway, I followed the recipe exactly and they came out perfectly! They almost had the texture of a brownie in a cookie form and the mint chips were smooth and creamy. After we tasted the finished product we thought this cookie base would be amazing with any time of chip. So if you want double chocolate toss in some chocolate chips. I wold love to try some peanut buter chips myself! I definitely want to try more Guittard products in the future.

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies (a.k.a Polka Dot Cookies)
recipe from Guittard

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups Guittard Green Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In top of double boiler over low heat, melt the semi-sweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. In large bowl, beat eggs, sugar, and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate then dry ingredients. Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff. Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft inthe centers but will firm up as they cool. Yeilds approximately 4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Lemon Sandwich Cookies

Cookies for a friend.






















This past weekend one of my closet friends from back home, Lindsay, flew to DC for her cousin's graduation. Lindsay just so happens to be the same friend who designed my logo and business cards. She is quite the talented graphic designer. Lindsay is one of those friends who would do anything for me. When she told me she was coming to town for her cousin's wedding we made arrangements so she could come to town early and spend some time with me. I wanted to bake something special just for her, so I had her send me a list things she liked and disliked in her desserts. This is the list she sent me:

Hate:
1. Coconut
2. Cream cheese icing

Not crazy about:
1. Nuts

Like:
1. Stuff with fruit or jam
2. Buttercream frosting
3. Sprinkles
4. Pumpkin

I pulled inspiration from cookies I had seen on The Crepes of Wrath and My Baking Addiction to make Lemon Sandwich Cookies. I was pretty impressed with myself getting three of her "likes" in one cookie. These cookies tasted great! I was not sure how I would feel about them since I am typically not a fruit dessert person, but I loved them and so did Lindsay and my boyfriend. In addition to being really cute, these cookies were a really nice change from chocolate chip cookies. You can change the cookie and frosting combinations to match your favorite flavors. I am thinking about making these again with a chocolate cookie and peanut butter frosting.

Lemon Sandwich Cookies
Inspired by The Crepes of Wrath and My Baking Addiction

Cookies

1 (18.25) package lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons lemon zest
4 TBS fresh lemon juice
1/4 - 1/2 cup all purpose flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Pour cake mix into a large bowl. Stir in eggs, oils, lemon juice, and lemon zest until blended. If mixture is very wet slowly add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of flour until the dough comes together.

Drop teaspoons of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 7-9 minutes in the preheated oven. The bottoms will be light brown. Move cookies to a cooling rack and using your spatula gently flatten your cookies.

Buttercream Frosting

3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup butter, softened
zest of one lemon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 tablespoons lemon juice

1. Cream sugar, butter, lemon zest, and vanilla. Add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice and beat until fluffy, adding more if needed.

Assembly:

Frost the flat side of the cookie with a good dollop of frosting. Lightly place the flat side of an unfrosted cookie on top. Press down until a bit of the frosting begins to poke out of the sides. If you want to decorate the edges, place your sprinkles/chips/etc. in a small bowl, and dip the sides of the cookie in it, rolling the cookie around to coat all sides.