Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Morning Maple Muffins - and a long story

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, I did! :D I even got two pie plates from my mom and I’ve already decided what pie I’m going to make, so stay tuned for that in the weeks to come.

So I got the notion in my head that I would make everyone a Christmas breakfast for when we were done opening presents and the decision came down to two things: Maple Oat Muffins and Cinnamon Rolls, and as you can see from the title of this blog I chose the muffins, but here’s why. I took a poll in my family on who wanted what; I wanted the muffins, my dad wanted both and my mom and sister wanted the cinnamon rolls so I decided to make the cinnamon rolls for breakfast, BUT I would make the maple oat muffins for the Christmas lunch because I love to get things my way sometimes. :) Well I got up at 6am and got all of the ingredients together and read the directions carefully and adaptations because I didn’t have a bread maker I had to improvise off of other’s comments. By around 6:30 I got started, making sure not to wake anyone. Right off the bat I knew something was wrong because the yeast wasn’t dissolving, but I continued on anyways. After 45 minutes of waiting the dough never rose and I got impatient and my dad was up and it was only a matter of time before my mom and sister, Emily would be too. I got out the ingredients for the maple oat muffins and got to work. Needless to say they were ready by the time our presents were opened and we were all ready for breakfast. These were the most amazing things ever. I wish I could taste a little more of the maple flavor but in the end I loved them! I had two for breakfast and I think Emily had about 5, haha. I will definitely be making these again soon!

These muffins went so quickly! I was amazed since nothing
 goes that quickly.

 Mom gave me the idea to put a bow in them, as if they were
Christmas presents. :)

 These were the Cinnamon Rolls i tried to make. It took 2 hours for the
dough to get 1/4 bigger and then another hour after they
were cut to hardly rise at all...

They werent even that good, maybe about a C. Maybe I'll try the
recipe again...but not anytime soon.

Mape Oat Muffins
slightly adapted from
makes 12 muffins

1 cup quick-cooking or regular rolled oats
1/2 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour (used unbleached)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup chopped pecans (omtied)

  1. Grease twelve 2-1/2-inch muffin cups or line with paper bake cups; set aside. In a medium bowl, combine oats and milk; let stand for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Make a well in center of flour mixture; set aside.
  2. Stir maple syrup, melted butter and egg into oats mixture. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold half of the pecans into the batter.
  3. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each two-thirds full. Sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake in a 400 degree F oven for 15 to 18 minutes or until tops are golden and a wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from muffin cups; serve warm. Makes 12 muffins.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 muffin
with/without pecans: Calories 154.4 120.2 Total Fat 4.7 g 1.1 g Saturated Fat 0.6 g 0.3 g Polyunsaturated Fat 1.3 g 0.2 g Monounsaturated Fat 2.4 g 0.4 g Cholesterol 18.5 mg 18.5 mg Sodium 140.4 mg 140.4 mg Potassium 39.1 mg 18.8 mg Total Carbohydrate 26.5 g 25.9 mg Dietary Fiber 1.5 g 1.0 g Sugars 14.4 g 14.2 g Protein 9.1 g 8.7 g

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Peppermint Biscotti

A few weeks ago I ate a gingerbread biscotti from Starbucks and it was absolutely fantastic. I don’t know why I loved it, I just did. Well that got me to thinking that I want to make gingerbread biscotti for my Christmas baking list. And for the past few weeks I’ve had it in the back of my mind but never really doing anything about it. Well Yesterday I saw a rerun of Gilmore Girls (my favorite show!) and Lorelai and Rory got back from their Europe trip and they were eating biscotti throughout the episode and that sealed the deal for me. So I goggled up gingerbread biscotti recipes and I came across a website with holiday biscotti recipes and as I scrolled down I saw the gingerbread one and then at the very bottom of the page I saw it; the chocolate-peppermint biscotti and my idea for gingerbread biscotti flew out the window and all I could think about was chocolate-peppermint biscotti. And that is the story of how these babies came to be.

It looked so much like chocolate chip cookie dough,
which I didn't expect, but then again it is a cookie in a way...
 Before putting then back into the oven for the second time
 I found it easier to spread the chocolate on one side instead of just
dunking it in. Also i wish i had smashed the peppermints a
little smaller.

Chocolate-Peppermint Biscotti
from Mangia Bene Pasta
makes 3 dozen

1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon peppermint extract
3 eggs
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, divided
1/2 cup coarsely chopped peppermint candy

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together sugar, butter, extract, and eggs. Stir in flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 1 cup chocolate chips.
  3. Divide dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each into a 10-inch by 2-inch log on the baking sheet, about 3 inches apart and bake 30 minutes or until golden brown. Do Not Shut Off Oven!
  4. Remove from oven and place baking sheet in a wire rack to cool 15 minutes and reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees.
  5. Transfer each log to a cutting board. Using a serrated knife, cut diagonally into 1/2-inch slices. Place the slices cut side down on the baking sheets.
  6. Bake 12-15 minutes, turning biscotti over once during time. Cool on wire rack.
  7. Melt remaining chocolate chips. Dip half of each biscotti into the chocolate and sprinkle with peppermint candy. Allow to cool on waxed paper.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 biscotti
Calories 124.4 Total Fat 4.9 g Saturated Fat 1.8 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g Cholesterol 18.7 mg Sodium 53.6 mg Potassium 14.1 mg Total Carbohydrate 19.6 g Dietary Fiber 0.9 g Sugars 13.3 g Protein 1.8 g

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Baking: Sugar Cookies

People like different kinds of cookies. There are the soft and chewy people then there are the thin and crisp cookie people and then there are the inbetweeners. Well, I like my cookies to be soft, not crunchy (most of the time). You may be thinking, “Did Becca mistype the title? Is this a chocolate chip cookie post?” The answer is no, it is not. I’m talking about sugar cookies. I don’t like crisp sugar cookies at all! In fact, I’ve seen so many thin and crispy sugar cookies I lost all hope that no one but these guys made soft sugar cookies. Then I came across The Girl Who Ate Everything. She was doing a 12 days of cookies and day 7 happened to be a soft sugar cookie recipe. Well the sky opened up for me because if these cookies were good, that meant that I would never have to deal with another crisp sugar cookie ever again. And let me tell you these sugar cookies are delicious. They are soft and cake-like which I love. I think the sugar could have been increased just a little but other than that I think they were great!

This dough was also really nice to work with after it had
chilled in the fridge for about 20 minutes.
Christmas shapes! :)
These cookies turned out so nice and fluffy. Loved them!
Soft Sugar Cookies
I made abut 44 cookies from this
slightly adapted from 12 Days of Cookies
on The Girl Who Ate Everything

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon milk
2 – 2 1/2 cups flour (I needed 3 cups)

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fand line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy, then add each egg in one at a time, making sure they are incorporated thouroughly
  3. Mix in the salt, baking powder, vanilla and milk. Once incorporated add in the flour 1/2 cups at a time until the dough is soft, but not sticky.
  4. I needed to chill the dough for about 20-30 minutes
  5. On a floured surface roll the dough out and cut into shapes.
  6. Bake for 6-8 minutes for a soft sugar cookie.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 cookie
Calories 65.6 Total Fat 2.2 g Saturated Fat 0.1 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g Cholesterol 15.1 mg Sodium 53.1 mg Potassium 13.7 mg Total Carbohydrate 10.5 g Dietary Fiber 0.3 g Sugars 4.7 g Protein 1.1 g

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Holiday Baking: Gingerbread Men

Nothing says Christmas like gingerbread cookies, right? Well this year I decided to try something new, gingerbread cookies. Now there is a little story here because every year my local grocery store sells the Little Debbie gingerbread men and I look forward to them every year. But this year they didn’t sell then which made me really, really sad because these are amazing. Last year I even hid a box so I could have it all to myself, hehehe. Well needless to say I couldn’t find them anywhere and I was gingerbread manless. So I looked for a recipe for gingerbread cookies and found this. I think they taste pretty dark good. A tad bit strong on the molasses so maybe next year, if I use the same recipe, I’ll only use 1/2 a cup instead of a little less than 3/4.

The dough was really nice and easy to roll out,
which I'm greatful for.
Fresh from the oven :) 
 I don't have the best decorating skills but I think they are still
gosh darn adorable.

Gingerbread Men
from the Taste of Home
makes 5 dozen (I got about 52 cookies)

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup molasses (probably only need 1/2 cup)
4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt


  1. In a large bowl, cream butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and molasses. Combine the flour, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves and salt; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight or until easy to handle.
  2. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/8-in. thickness. Cut with floured 2-1/2-in. cookie cutters. Place 1 in. apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350° for 8-10 minutes or until edges are firm. Remove to wire racks to cool.
Royal Icing
attempted with Wilton's Recipe

3 tablespoons Meringue Powder
4 cups (about 1 lb.) confectioners' sugar
6 tablespoons warm water


  1. Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).

NOTE: Keep all utensils completely grease-free for proper icing consistency.

* For stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.
**When using large countertop mixer or for stiffer icing, use 1 tablespoon less water.

Thinned Royal Icing: To thin for pouring, add 1 teaspoon water per cup of royal icing. Use grease-free spoon or spatula to stir slowly. Add 1/2 teaspoon water at a time until you reach proper consistency.

Nutrition Facts
serving size:
1 cookie (without frosting)
Calories 59.8 Total Fat 2.7 g Saturated Fat 0.0 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.0 g Cholesterol 11.0 mg Sodium 52.2 mg Potassium 65.6 mg Total Carbohydrate 8.8 g Dietary Fiber 0.1 g Sugars 6.1 g Protein 0.4 g

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Baking: Peppermint Meringue

First, I would like to say that I have never made meringue before, but something in my wanted to try it out; to see if I could do it. The answer? Kind of, sort of. Maybe I didn’t wait for the egg whites to get as stiff as they could be (I thought they were pretty stiff when I started) or maybe it was because I added the vanilla and peppermint extracts while I was folding in the sugar mixture that made the egg whites deflate a little (probably the later). Or maybe, the eggs whites are supposed to be a little runny when you put them into the piping bag or maybe it was the kind of bag that I used. Either way, the eggs white deflated a little, but I don’t care because they taste pretty darn good to me and I congratulate myself on trying something new! :)

By the way I first saw these on  Shauna's Piece of Cake blog, if you want to see what they are supposed to turn out like, go see her blog :).

This is probably where I messed up
 Looks so shiny, I sent so unbelieveable slow, but maybe I
was just too agressive.
 I do wish I could taste the peppermint flavoring more,
 Chocolate dipped!

Chocolate-Dipped Peppermint Meringues
I have no clue how many it made. I was just making
random dots until the batter turned to goop

4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Red gel food coloring
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet because that's all I had)

  1. Position the oven rack to the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat it to 250 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  2. Sift together 2 tablespoons of the superfine sugar, the confectioners' sugar, and the flour into a medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitter with the whip attachment, combine the egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Whip first on medium speed, gradually increasing the speed to high, until the egg whites reach soft peaks. Gradually rain in the remaining superfine sugar. Continue to whip until the meringue is glossy and holds a very stiff peak. Beat in the vanilla and peppermint extracts.
  4. Remove the bowl from the mixer. With a large spatula, gently and carefully fold in the remaining sugar mixture by hand in three additions, taking care not to deflate the egg whites.
  5. On the inside of a piping bag fitted with a large star tip, use a long, thin paint brush to paint four or five long stripes of food coloring up the sides of the bag. Carefully transfer the meringue to the piping bag, aiming for the center of the bag as much as possible to avoid smudging the stripes. Pipe out the meringue into cookies about 1 1/2 inches in diameter onto the prepared baking sheets.
  6. Place both sheets into the oven at once, and immediately turn the oven temperature down to 200 degrees. Bake until the cookies are completely firm and dry, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the cookies to cool completely.
  7. Melt the chocolate chips on a double boiler or in the microwave on high power in 30 second intervals until smooth, stirring after each interval. Dip the bottoms of the cookies in the melted chocolate and place them on parchment-lined baking sheets. when the chocolate has cooled and set (the refrigerator can speed up this process considerably), remove the cookies from the sheets and store in airtight containers at cool room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Monday, December 6, 2010

'Tis the Season for Holiday Baking: Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Cookies

I absolutely love the holidays, but Christmas is my favorite! Call me insane, but I love the crowds and buying the perfect thing for everyone and I definitely look forever for my families gifts. Plus there's the holiday baking that is always amazing and the house always smells so delicious for days on end. Well this season I'm going to be baking up a storm, I just know it :)

About a week ago I saw these on Culinary Concoctions by Peabody and I knew I just had to make them. They looks so delicious and peppermint is the flavor of Christmas (along with other things), right? I had to make a few modifications because of things that I had and didn’t have. They turned out kind of crunchy (not the peppermint part, but the actual cookie itself) and I’m not really a crunchy kind of girl when it comes some kinds of cookies. I think they would be a lot better if they were chewier or softer, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like these cookies. They are great for the holiday season and they taste really good with milk, but what cookie doesn’t?
The lovely dough...mmm
they were suppost to be disks cut from a log but I
 was too lazy and rolled them into balls
A little too crisp for my taste, but overall they were yummy!
cookies and milk :)

Peppermint-Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz
I made 31 cookies from half the batch

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (1 1/4 cups)
3/4 tsp. baking soda (about 1/2 tsp)
1/8 tsp. salt (small pinch)
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature (1/2 cup {1 stick})
1 cup packed light brown sugar (1/2 cup)
3/4 cup granulated sugar (about 1/2 cup)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (1/2 tsp)
2 large eggs, at room temperature (1 egg)
7 ounces milk chocolate chips (3 1/2 oz semi sweet mini chocolate chips)
7 ounces Andes Peppermint Crunch Chips (2 1/4 oz of a big peppermint candy)


  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. Using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a bowl by hand), beat together the butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla on medium speed just until smooth, about 2 minutes
  2. Beat in the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated, then stir in the flour mixture followed by the chocolate and peppermint chips.
  3. On a lightly floured work surface, divide the dough into quarters or halves if you are halving the recipe. Shape each quarter into a log about 9 inches long. Wrap the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, preferably for 24 hours (do this part for real please) For the first batch, I froze it for 10 minutes and refrigerated it for about 30 and the second batch I refrigerated it for 24 hours, I didn't see a difference.
  4. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat the oven to 350°F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  5. Slice the logs into disks ¾ inch thick and place the disks 3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and set about 2.5-3 inches apart, if you flatten the balls then it will give you a much larger cookie. If the chips crumble out (and they will), simply push them back in, they reshape nicely.
  6. Bake, rotating the baking sheets midway through baking, until the cookies are very lightly browned in the centers, about 10 minutes (took me about 12 minutes).
  7. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheets until firm enough to handle, then use a spatula to transfer them to a wire rack.
Nutrition Facts
serving size: 1 cookie
Calories 99.9 Total Fat 4.4 g Saturated Fat 0.9 g Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0.1 g Cholesterol 14.6 mg Sodium 27.7 mg Potassium 2.0 mg Total Carbohydrate 14.6 g Dietary Fiber 0.1 g Sugars 10.3 g Protein 0.7 g
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