Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Baking, Chocolate, Desserts, Food, Gifts, holidays, lunch box

Mini Brownie Bites

20131215-060022.jpg
It’s that time of year…holiday parties, friendly gift giving, festive decorations and enjoying time with family. One of our favorite ways to spend time together seems to revolve around preparing and sharing cherished family recipes.
We have a few favorite cookie and quick bread recipes that we always bake when the holidays roll around…some are time consuming recipes while others can be whipped up in a jiffy.
This recipe for Mini Brownie Bites is a quickie. These flavorful gems are a mouthful of rich, chocolatey goodness and they only take minutes to prepare. Be warned that the recipe yields only a dozen or so bites. You can bake them along with your favorite cookie selection to be added to the holiday dessert tray. I often pack them in colorful tins to give as teacher gifts. They travel well and seem to get more moist and delicious a day or two after baking. Be sure to store them in an air-tight container until just before serving.

Mini Brownie Bites

1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup chopped walnuts, optional

In a microwave, melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips and butter; stir until smooth.
Cool slightly. In a small bowl, beat egg and sugar. Stir in vanilla and chocolate mixture. Gradually add flour; fold in remaining chocolate chips and optional walnuts.
Use a small ice cream scoop to fill mini paper or silicone-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes (depending on how dry or moist you prefer the brownie center) or until tops begin to crack. Cool completely before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Advertisements
Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Baking, breakfast, Brunch, Food, lunch box

Granola Topped Apple Morning Muffins

20131103-060250.jpg
Recently, I combined three of my favorite recipes to make these delicious muffins. It seems I have been making granola and applesauce quite regularly these past few months. Often, I have a little bit of each left after making lunches for the week. About a month ago, I decided to put the scraps to use by incorporating them into a muffin recipe. I folded the chunky homemade applesauce into a basic muffin recipe and sprinkled granola over the top of each muffin. My granola recipe has a bit of maple syrup in it so it adds another layer of flavor to the crunchy topped muffins. (Substitute your own favorites, if you would like.)
These muffins look and smell delicious as they come out of the oven. It’s hard to resist brewing a hot cup of coffee and sitting down with one of these gems in the early morning hours, as a new day begins.

Granola Topped Apple Morning Muffins

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups applesauce
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup chopped pecans, optional
Granola for topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream butter and sugars together. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Stir in applesauce. Combine the flour, baking soda and spices; stir into creamed mixture. Fold in nuts.
Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full. Sprinkle granola over individual muffins. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. This makes about 2 dozen regular-sized muffins.

Here is the link for the chunky applesauce and granola topping

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, Bread, Food, Kids in the Kitchen, lunch box

Creamy Corn Bread

20131002-201127.jpg
Lately, M has been taking a thermos of soup in her lunchbox. Every Sunday evening, we make a big pot of soup that will last through the long school week. Recent recipe choices have included cream of broccoli, minestrone, vegetable beef, and other favorites. I’ve also been baking cornbread muffins to accompany the meal. I bake them in silicone muffin liners for easy cleanup.
This Creamy Corn Bread recipe gets its sweetness and creaminess from the corn and yogurt in the mix. No need to add sugar, this bread is sweet, moist, and satisfying!

Creamy Corn Bread

1 egg
1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained
1 (8 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8 1/2-ounce) package corn muffin mix
1 (8-ounce) carton plain fat-free yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine ingredients in a medium bowl; stir well. Pour into a 9×5″ loaf pan coated with cooking spray or spoon into lined muffin pans. Bake at 350° for 40- 45 minutes for loaf pan or 17-20 minutes for muffins.

20131002-201610.jpg

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Apple and Spice Muffins

20130825-153950.jpg
It’s Sunday and time to bake for the coming school week. Muffins seem to pack perfectly into lunch boxes along with fresh fruit, carrots, yogurt, a sandwich and some trail mix. It really saves time in the morning when things are prepared ahead and packable lunch items are set out on the counter so the kids can choose their favorites. The swim season will begin next week and more food will be needed to fuel their young bodies through a day of school and endless yards of swimming.
This muffin recipe is a new one. I looked through a few of the local community cookbooks yesterday and this recipe looked easy enough to combine and pop in the oven. I added some apples to add depth and flavor. I will slather icing on a few of the muffins for an after dinner dessert and pile the remaining (un-iced) muffins into a Tupperware container for lunches.
An afternoon of baking has produced, 18 muffins, a tray of chewy granola bars, and 24 vanilla cupcakes. I have one more tray of cupcakes in the oven as M’s friend is celebrating a birthday tomorrow and she wanted to bring a birthday treat to school to share with friends at the lunch table. I have made a batch of cream cheese frosting and will finish icing the birthday cupcakes after dinner. A will sprinkle some colorful rainbow nonpareils over the frosting to make them look festive.
On the dinner menu…Teriyaki Chicken and Sweet Potato Fries…Another productive Sunday!

Apple and Spice Muffins

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup margarine, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 apples – peeled, cored and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, spices, and salt. Set aside. Cream together margarine and sugar. Mix in eggs and vanilla. Stir together soda and 1 tablespoon warm water, and mix into the sugar mixture. Stir into flour mixture. Add apples and mix until well blended. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake 17-25 minutes. Cool completely before frosting or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
( I use cream cheese frosting, homemade or store bought, depending on time)

Posted in appetizers/snacks, Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Desserts, Food, lunch box

Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

20130823-110826.jpg
Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

Well, I have the last of this week’s school lunches packed and heading out the door with my children. It’s Friday and as we head into the weekend, I will have to plan my selection of items that I will bake for next week’s menu.
This is one of my favorite lunchbox recipes to send to school. These little gems are filled with whole grains,apples, nuts, pineapple and raisins. Plenty of goodies to keep a hungry tummy satisfied. I bake a large batch and store them in an air-tight container in the fridge for a week’s worth of lunches.

Rise and Shine Morning Muffins

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all- purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup canola oil
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups grated carrots
1/2 cup peeled and finely chopped apple
1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup pecans, chopped
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees; line muffin pan cups with paper liners. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt; set aside. In another mixing bowl, stir together butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Mix in carrot, apple, coconut, pecans, pineapple and raisins. Add flour mixture and stir just until blended.
Spoon batter into prepared cups. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Let muffins cool in pan for 5 minutes. Transfer muffins to cooling racks to cool completely. Store muffins in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.

Posted in Baked goods, breakfast, Brunch, Food, Homemade Mixes, lunch box

Best Basic Muffin Mix

20130611-073614.jpg
This morning, I whipped up several batches of muffins for my family. The girls love basic blueberry muffins, while the boys crave muffins with chocolate chips. In order to save time, I double my basic muffin mix recipe, split the batter in half, and mix in additional ingredients to personalize the muffins. So, for the girls, I used the basic muffin mix recipe and added almond extract and fresh blueberries. For the boys, I added chocolate chips and vanilla extract. What a time-saver! More importantly, everyone is happy! This is my “go-to” basic muffin recipe mix.

Best Basic Muffin Mix

2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk or buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare muffin pans by adding paper or silicone liners. In a large bowl, combine together dry ingredients; mix well. In a separate bowl, mix egg, milk, and oil; just until moistened. Do not over mix. Pour batter into individual muffin cups. (I use an ice cream scoop to distribute evenly.)

From here, you can fold in additional desired ingredients.

1 cup blueberries and 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 cup chocolate chips and 1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped apples and 1 tsp cinnamon