Eat, drink and be rosemary

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THIS CAKE.

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OMG.

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Okay okay I know the rule is you’re not supposed to say your own cooking is amazing, but… I’m going to break it. For this cake.

Because, it is OUTSTANDING.

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Probably my favorite cake I’ve ever made, to date. And I’m not the only one – it got rave reviews from the lucky duck who got to eat most of it. So, I consider that a win.

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I am loving rosemary and more ‘savory’ herbs in desserts lately – apologies in advance if there’s suddenly a bumper crop of rosemary or herby desserts on here. It’s just SO good! This cake teeters on the edge between sweet and savory – it’s really not all that sweet, but it’s perfectly satisfying for dessert with some ice cream and strawberries, and perfect for breakfast alongside some eggs and kale (and coffee. obvs).

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I will absolutely be making this again (I think other parties would be amenable to this as well… no, I KNOW they would, they said so!) – it really is my new favorite, go-to cake. It’s also really quick to throw together – the most time consuming part is likely mincing rosemary. But it’s worth it, when your hands and kitchen smell deliciously like rosemary and chocolate and lemon zest.

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In other news, I did some *colorful* art the other day! A short break from my black ink and paper usual beat. It was lovely to paint again – I miss having paint on my hands! I’ll have to rectify that, and soon.

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Do yourself a favor and bake. It’s not so hot right now; the weather is perfect for baking and sharing. Make cake. Feed the ones you love!

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Rosemary, Meyer Lemon Yogurt Cake with Dark Chocolate

This cake is a breeze to throw together; and it’s absolutely beyond delicious for either dessert with ice cream & sliced berries, or for breakfast. Lightly sweet and very aromatic, the rosemary is perfectly complemented by the chocolate and hint of lemon. Coconut oil makes for a slightly denser cake with a moist (hydrated?!) crumb. Easily could be gluten free and dairy free – substitute any gluten free all purpose blend for the whole wheat and non-dairy greek-style yogurt for the whole milk greek I used here. Refined sugar free and whole wheat. Yield: 1 8″ cake, serves…. 2! Jk. More like 8 (but save some for breakfast!)

  • 1 c plain Greek yogurt (I use whole milk greek)
  • 2/3 c coconut oil, melted, plus more for coating the pan
  • 1/3 + 1/6 c maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated meyer lemon zest
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 c dark chocolate chunks (mine were 70%)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease an 8″ or 9″ round cake pan with coconut oil (I used 8″ and it was perfect with no spillage; you’ll have a slightly shorter cake if you use a 9″).

In a large bowl, whisk together greek yogurt, melted coconut oil, maple syrup, rosemary, lemon zest, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in the eggs, one at at time. In a smaller bowl, whisk together whole wheat flour, almond flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Add dry into wet, stirring until just combined. Roughly chop the dark chocolate chunks (I like how that yields a variety of chunk size) & add them to the batter. Scrape the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 40-45 minutes. The top should be golden brown & a tester should come out clean – I took mine out at 40, but realistically it probably could have used another 2-3 minutes to get the center full done (there was a small spot that was less done than I would prefer).

Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edge, flip the cake onto a plate and then back onto a cooling rack to cool completely. Serve with ice cream (why not?); sliced strawberries are also excellent.

Store any leftovers covered in the fridge overnight – the cake will solidify a bit & be extra delicious for breakfast the next morning.

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Pinky up, I made you scones!

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Scones!!

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Because… three day weekends seem like they’re made for making leisurely breakfast things. And because I love ALL of the breakfasty items (odd, given that my breakfast of choice closely resembles pond scum… oh wait. Spirulina IS pond scum!! Silly me) but for some reason never make them (weird, I know, I’m attempting to remedy that. Someone host a garden party brunch and have me bake!!), I decided that Labor Day = scones. Besides that, I paradoxically labored a lot on Labor day and needed sustenance of some sort.

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Also I hadn’t made scones in I couldn’t tell you the last time, so I was way overdue.

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Life would have been beyond perfect if only I’d had some lemon curd for these, but whatcha gonna do. I mean, it would have been even more perfect to eat them in some English manor house with tea and lace and delicate china, but I do suppose you can’t have everything. Pinky up!

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I read somewhere that someone described the scent of cardamom as haunting— a statement I totally agree with. There is something about its fragrance that seems to stir memories you didn’t know you had, almost like they’re from lives and times before this one that we’re currently in. Or maybe that’s just me. Do you have scents that do that for you? Tea tree oil is evocative for me as well, thought that one reminds me of childhood. Olfactory memory is pretty fascinating— to think that a cascade of memories and associations can be triggered by a simple smell. They kind of sneak up on you when you’re least expecting it, or so it seems to me.

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But anyway, enough about haunting spices and such. Besides smelling divine, these are perfect for a lazy weekend brunch. And now that I actually have weekends free (no more working weekends!!), I fully intend to revive this lovely tradition and force myself to eat something besides my beloved pond scum for at least one day of the week (good luck with that one. Pond scum is addicting).

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Blueberry Cardamon Scones

Egg-free, whole grain, and sweetened only lightly by coconut sugar. Yield: 8. Recipe adapted slightly from Mama Mouse Says, here! I definitely wanted to try these with lavender, but we grow our own and we’re out of season at the moment, so I opted for the slightly more fall-ish scent of cardamom with the last of summer’s blueberries. They’re excellent with a bit of salted butter, and would be absolutely perfect with lemon curd, if you’re lucky enough to have some on hand.

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  • 2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 2.5 tbsp coconut sugar
  • 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into little chunks
  • 1/2 c light coconut milk
  • 1/2 c plain, lowfat yogurt
  • 1 scant tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 c fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, coconut sugar, salt, and cardamom. Cut in the butter using your fingers or a pastry cutter—the butter should be in small, pea sized chunks. Carefully stir in blueberries, until they’re completely coated in flour. In a separate bowl (or a glass liquid measure like I did), whisk together coconut milk, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Stir wet into dry until mostly incorporated, then turn the dough out onto a floured surface. Pat it down or roll it out (I just used my hands, no need with this dough to dirty a rolling pin) to about 1/2″ thick round. Cut the dough into 8 triangles, and place them on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for just about 15 minutes, until lightly browned. They’ll feel a little soft to the touch but shouldn’t be squishy… and they’ll firm up as they cool. These are best if consumed the day you make them, but store in an airtight container and warm slightly before serving if there are leftovers!

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Your daily dose of (nice) inbox snark

I know it’s slightly blurred, but I love this one!

I do apologize for the large gaps between posts (I know, I know, it’s my wittiness that you miss)…

I’ve been busy busy of late and have been eating lots of tasty, albeit fast and non-photogenic, food of late. Like tempeh, for instance. I recently discovered that I do, in fact, enjoy this fermented “textured protein”, in spite of a childhood derision for said food object. Like, refusing to ever eat it EVER again. I suppose I’m eating my words on this one… (but that being said, I seriously WILL NEVER EAT tofurky sausage. Like, EVER. Ranks up there with one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever brought near my face… so unless they radically change the formula, there will be no more  of that). So. Tempeh. Tasty, especially in peanut sauce… but definitely NOT conducive to appealing looking photos… at all. You can thank me later for sparing you the pictures.

cooookies!

SO.

Instead, you get COOKIES! Surprised? Yeah, I thought not. But whatever, these are good and a nice change up from my pb-chia-oat-coconut routine. Except that these do have pb and oats, but there is this crazy addition of this thing called COCOA POWDER! Woah. Really going out on a limb here, aren’t we? Besides, I really obviously have a thing for pb cookies… and I had a jar of that amazing coconut-pb spread begging to go into cookies… and it was less hot… and chocolate and pb are a match made in heaven… so there you go. Chocolate cookies. With pb. And oats. Good(ish) for your health, wonderful for your soul. Be happy. Indulge.

bowl ‘o cookies

These cookies are on the soft side (although they are supposed to be chewy… huh. I’m thinking the reduction in sugar is causing the lack of chewiness, so if you prefer a sweeter cookie, go with the amount in the original recipe), so if you like crunchy cookies (Miss Kira, I’m looking at you), leave these in quite a bit longer so they can harden into rusk-like hockey pucks (just kidding!!). They’re lightly sweet but nicely chocolatey. I used a chunky peanut butter which is kind of funny considering I HATE nuts in my baked goods… I kind of didn’t put two and two together that chunky nut butter = nuts in cookies… but for some reason these are acceptable and pass my nut test. Go figure…?

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Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookies

I made a full recipe and got 19 cookies… the original says you can get 36, but I question what kind of weirdo wants cookie that small… pshhh. Ever so slightly adapted from Eating Well. I didn’t have pb chips—if so, I would have used them.

Lezzzz DO IT! Scrounge and procure:

  • 1 c chunky peanut butter (or coconut peanut butter if you’re cool like me)
  • 1/4 c canola oil (I may try half applesauce at some point for kicks)
  • 1/3 c brown sugar
  • 1/3 c granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp plain yogurt (mine was nonfat)
  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 c unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 c rolled oats (or quick oats)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4ish cup of chocolate chippies
failed attempts at cookie henge…

Heat the oven to 350, and line two-ish baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, oats, baking soda, and salt. In a larger bowl, use an electric mixer to beat together peanut butter, oil, and sugars until blended. Beat in eggs, vanilla, and yogurt until just combined. Stir in dry ingredients (the dough is on the sticky side) and chocolate chips. Drop by respectable spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets, flattening slightly with your hand or the bottom of a glass (turbinado sugar on the flattened tops is nice, but I was out). Bake for 8-10 minutes, being careful not to over bake. Mine went for about 10, but I was testing the convection settings on my oven, and mine probably could have gone a bit less. Let cool on the sheet for 5 minutes, then remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

for some reason I really like this one… It makes the bowl look luminous!

I am NOT a hoarder (except where black bananas are concerned…)

are you jealous yet?

I’ve been hoarding black bananas again.

And despite it being another one of those mega awful hot days, I was waaay jonesing for some banana bread. I blame Great Harvest entirely, since mom and I got a slice there the other day (their banana bread is BOMB), and ever since my black bananas have been singing their siren song from the fridge. I had to relegate them there anyway, since they were ridiculously ripe. Aka perfect for banana bread, mmm. At least the fog rolled in this evening, so that by six turning on the oven was actually feasible… I didn’t exactly think that baking banana bread in my car was going to be a terribly successful operation. I mean, maybe if I left it in there long enough… but no. I needed banana bread. NOW.

My only issue with banana bread is that I’m still on the hunt for the best ever. I’ve lost track of how many recipes I’ve tried, but more often then not they end up in banana bread pudding, and I wind up disgruntled and still jonesing. Either the flavor isn’t right… they’re healthy but too ‘hydrated’ (a nice substitute for the word moist, don’t you think? Ewww. Moist. What an unappealing word), or delicious but nutrient-free. Ugh. Nothing more annoying than a dissatisfying banana bread.

soooo symmetrical. 

Luckily, this time I found a winner! This ranks high up on my favorites list: it IS really tasty. The next test will be how it tastes tomorrow… And it’s not insanely bad for you, at least. I was pleased with it for another reason as well—-the center didn’t sink! Finallyyyy, a banana bread that didn’t end up with a sinkhole for a center. Bleh. SOME people might like the goopy undercooked center… but I am sooo not one of them. My favorite part is crust, hands down. This banana bread is just sweet enough without being overpowering, and is (I think) the perfect consistency (not too hydrated…). I like the addition of vinegar—it brings out the banana flavor wonderfully. This bread’s also decently okay for you (Not wonderful, but hey. Indulge a little!), with whole grains and a bit less fat than usual, as well as slightly less sugar. And duh, it’s got buhhhnahhhnuhhs! Potassium, heyheyhey! Who doesn’t like a good hit of potassium hidden away inside a baked good? Especially when you make an ice cream sandwich out of your bread. Oooooo. Brilliant.

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Perfectly Hydrated Banana Bread

Delicious plain…but really, are you going to pass up ice cream after I showed you the pictures?! No, I thought not.

Very slightly adapted from The Galley Gourmet.

  • 1 1/3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • just over 1/2 c sugar (or 1/3 + 1/4ish)
  • 5 tbsp butter or Earth Balance (I happened to use EB for this one), soft-ish
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c mega ripe mashed banana (I used 2.5 largeish ones)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp plain yogurt (I used nonfat)
  • turbinado sugar for sprinkling, if you have it
my ice cream is rocking its asymmetry 

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease a standard loaf pan, or mini loaves if you’re feeling fancy.

In a medium-ish bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda and powder, and cinnamon. Set aside. In another bowl, use an electric mixer to cream together sugar and butter until fluffy and combined. Add in flour mixture in two batches, beating to combine. Once incorporated, beat in eggs until combined (avoid overbeating! No one likes tough banana bread… and besides, overworking the dough can negatively affect the rise).

In the recently vacated bowl that previously held flour, mash bananas. Add in vanilla extract, vinegar, and yogurt and stir to combine. Toss the contents of this bowl into your larger bowl, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes. Mine was perfectly done at just 50, but check to be sure your oven’s cooperating anyway. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, and then turn out onto a cooling rack. Wait until cool to scarf… or not!

melty and delicious.

Sixty page thesis beast deserves cookies!

Because, you know, I reeeally like to store things in jars.

I apologize for the blogging delinquency! Between thesising and graduation looming in five weeks (how did THAT happen?!) I’ve been just a little busy… But I’ve been very productive in the thesis realm lately (which is good, since my presentation is two weeks from Tuesday—eeeeep! I’m starting to see Neo-Gothic architecture everyyyywhere, including in movies… and think in architectural terms. This has got to stop!), which needed to happen a little bit more than blogging. But now that my SIXTY PAGE beast of a thesis is edited in entirety, I’m down to just the conclusion! Hooooray, now I have time for some blogging catch up!

SO! Now I can share the tasties I’ve made recently with you. I promise I’ve still been eating (relatively) interesting things lately. Ish. Dinner needs work. But when I get off work and then thesis for a few hours, dinner gets last priority… steamed veggies + protein of choice + quinoa/polenta/oats is usually what happens… delicious, to be sure, but really, I’m getting bored. BUT! In two weeks, I will be DONE WITH THESIS! And therefore have much more free time for the important things (you know, like new active wear Pilates, eating, and cooking).

So. Enough of that… moving ON!

Happy Easter, by the way :) I ate the ears off my dark chocolate bunny, mmm. I’m not sure how to tackle the rest of it, as it’s solid, and I feel kind of mean if I try to stab it with any sharp implements…. Is biting more humane?! Yeesh. Chocolate bunny dilemma.

So besides neo-gothic skyscraper architecture and moral dilemmas regarding humane consumption of chocolate bunnies, I’ve been baking! I promised myself I would share other things besides healthy cookies, but oops. Cookies happened again, and they’re good! Besides, I liked the pictures. So you get cookies again, and THEN I promise something different. Promise! These cookies are lightly sweet and cakey, perfect for breakfast or a snack. The ingredient list is very forgiving, so feel free to substitute with whatever you have on hand.

jars make superior storage devices.

Banana-Yogurt Breakfast Cookies

I made these with Christine (workout and baking buddies! what a great combo, cookies + pilates), and I think we got about 20 smallish cookies. They could easily be made bigger if you want more breakfast-sized cookies. We adapted them from The Hot Plate, here!

Acquire:

  • 1/2 c plain lowfat yogurt
  • 3/4 c mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp turbinado sugar (or honey, if you have it)
  • 1.25 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 3/4 c rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • judicious handful of pepitas
  • sprinkling of chocolate chippies (We had minis, yayyy!)
oh no! it's escaping the jar. time to EAT IT.

Preheat the oven to 350, and lightly grease cookie sheet(s). In a medium mixing bowl, combine yogurt, mashed banana, olive oil, egg, vanilla, and sugar. Stir to combine. In another bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, oats, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, salt, and pepitas/chocolate chips. Add wet into dry, and stir to combine. Drop by the heaping spoonful (or two, if you want massive cookies) onto your prepared cookie sheets, and bake for 10 minutes! Easy peasy cookies to appease your snacking gremlins.

mm.

Definitely Leprechauns.

a scone-clover! hehe.

Sláinte! Happy Saint Patrick’s Day :)

So. I had taken a fab set of pictures for today’s post (with natural light, even! Thanks, Oregon, for cooperating) yesterday, and they were all nicely stored on my camera, ready to be uploaded. This morning, when I uploaded them, I swear I put them into my blog photos folder. I know I did. So…

Where are they?! Nowhere to be found, is the answer I’m looking for. Maybe in pot of gold at the end of a rainbow? I suspect leprechaun involvement in this (definitely not user error. DEFINITELY leprechauns). Probably because I didn’t make a leprechaun trap last night… those sneaky little buggers! I better rustle up some green to put on… currently I’m not wearing any (that’s visible, anyway! ha.). I’ve always loved St. Patrick’s day! And yes, I am for-reals Irish (not just 1/365th), which is probably why I’m being targeted by those feisty little green men.

Blurry, but I still like it...

Anyway, after much grumbling, I took another set of photos (sadly not as good as the last ones), so you can vicariously enjoy the soda bread scones Kira and I made to celebrate! They turned out beautifully—the shape almost reminds me of a four leafed clover. Scoring the top of soda bread lets the fairies out (and promotes even baking, but that’s less fun), so I kept to this tradition and scored my scones into triangles… we now have a sprite-free apartment! To me, these scones don’t taste like traditional soda bread, but they are definitely delicious. And not at all bad for you, since they’re made with soda and yogurt rather than eggs and butter. Mmm… and, I have to say, they’re excellent with lemon curd (what isn’t?!)!

yum yum yum

Irish Soda Bread Scones

Very slightly adapted from Eat Drink Love, here! Makes 8 scones.

  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour (We used half pastry, half whole wheat bread flour)
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (optional but sooo good)
  • 1.5 c low-fat plain yogurt (Kira and I usually keep this instead of buttermilk, but buttermilk works here too)
  • 1/3 c chocolate chippies
  • 1 tbsp turbinado sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 425, and line a baking sheet with wax or parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda and cinnamon. Make a well in the center, and add yogurt and chocolate chips (or other add-ins of choice). Stir to combine: the dough will look shaggy when its close to incorporated. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead into a circle (ish). Place onto prepared baking sheet, and slice into 8 scones (a knife works fine for this). Brush the tops with buttermilk (if using), and sprinkle turbinado sugar onto them for crunch factor :) Bake for 20 minutes, until the tops are golden! Eat. Preferably warm, with lemon curd. Mmm. Maybe share with a leprechaun, if one happens by…

Star Destroyer, anyone??

The Return of Muffinhenge

Muffinhenge is making a comeback! Would this be the Muffin Revival? Or Neo-Muffin architecture?

Brace yourselves.

A baked good that is NOT a cookie?!

Weird, I know. But just roll with it… there will be more cookies coming soon, I’m sure, at the rate I’m consuming them! Having cookies around is just SO civilized. But I decided that there had been a depressing lack of muffins around here lately, which translated into a severe lack of portable snacks. And portable snacks are a hot commodity in this apartment, between Kira’s and my work/class schedules. Girls must have easily portable and tasty snacks! Besides, last semester I got really attached to muffins. And thesising requires copious amounts of brain pushups, which translates into LOTS OF CARBS! Gotta keep those brain cells happy and firing, and for that we need carbs. Since glucose is the primary source of energy for brain neurons, whole grain carbs are a necessary part of a healthy diet (just say no to Atkins!). Helloooo, muffins, you adorable source of brain energy!

uh-oh... one got away!

And really, muffins are just another excuse for me to consume more peanut butter. Which, by the way, I am packing away at a truly impressive rate of consumption. One jar. PER WEEK. The bag of glass recycling can prove it: there are two empty jars in there, and I’ve been back for two weeks. I’m also steadily on course with the jar in the fridge… have no fear, I’m sure it will join its companions by the time Sunday rolls around…

In other news, I’m also on a quinoa kick. One of these days, quinoa and peanut butter are going to become happily married. In my stomach! My quinoa dinners the last two nights have been deeeelicious, but I’ve been too hungry/lazy to photograph them, so you’ll just have to wait a bit for that! It’ll come, I promise. For now, content yourselves with these muffins: Full of whole grain goodness (raw wheat germ and whole wheat flour) and apples, with no added sugar!

that little stray crumb is just asking to be eaten...

Apple Wheat Germ Muffins

Adapted from Bright Eyed Baker, here! Original makes 12, but I only made 6, so I’ll post my measurements. Double if desired!

The original recipe calls for wheat bran, but I don’t usually have that around. What I do have (and LOVE) is raw wheat germ. It substitutes perfectly into a muffin for bran, and results in a slightly lighter, less dense muffin. Love love love! Use what you have, though—either is fine!

Rummage around in your pantry for the following:

  • 1/2 c plain yogurt (mine happened to be nonfat, whatever you have is fine!)
  • 3/4 c raw wheat germ (I’m sure toasted is fine as well)
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 a large or 1 smallish whole apple, depending on apple-y density preferences, cut into chunks
  • small handful of choc chippies, for sprinkling (life is better with texture)

Preheat the oven to 375, and lightly grease your muffin tin.

In a small bowl, combine wheat germ and yogurt, and let sit while you do the other stuff. In a larger bowl, mash the banana, then whisk in egg and vanilla. Keep whisking until smoothly combined. Add wheat germ mix to this bowl, and stir to combine. In yet another bowl, sift dry ingredients: flour, baking soda and powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir until just combined (try not to overstir: no one likes tough muffins!). Fold in apple chunks and chocolate chippies.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. Mine were done at closer to 20, if you have a convection oven, I’d check at 15. A tester should come out clean, and they’ll be nicely golden brown. Let cool (or not) on a wire rack.

Enjoy with a large smear of peanut butter, whilst thesising away regarding Neo-Gothic architecture on a grand vertical scale….and be smug in the feeding of your brain, which will allow you to produce a thesis of epic magnitude. Neuron food, for the win!

look at that up-close and personal apple-y goodness!