Category Archives: Uncategorized

How to Make Farmers Swoon

1. Bake cinnamon jam donut muffins.

2. Walk to farmer’s market midway through.

3. Play muffin fairy.

I found this recipe and these pictures about a year ago from Tara’s blog, “Should you eat that?“, but I didn’t get around to making them for a while. The first time I did, I loved them, but I used super-thick raspberry preserves. Not a good plan, folks. It was good, but the the filling sank to the bottom and made the whole thing soggy. Try two, I used homemade (not by me) strawberry rhubarb preserves that were on the thin side– and it worked perfectly! So, word to the wise, if your condiment filling of choice is thick or even standard, do yourself a favor and thin it extra before filling.

I bake a lot for the farmers at the market… and have had a lot of success. But when two months later, people still come up to you and say “those are the best muffins I’ve ever had”… well, you know you have to share the recipe.

Enjoy, folks!

Cinnamon Jam Donut Muffins

  • 2 Cups self raising flour
  • 1/2 Cup brown sugar
  • 60g unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 Cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 Cup raspberry jam (or your favourite flavor)
  • 2 Tbsp caster sugar
  • 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted, extra
  • 1/3 Cups caster sugar, extra
  • 3 tsp ground cinnamon


Directions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tray with oil.
  2. Sift together self raising flour & brown sugar. In another bowl mix together butter, eggs & buttermilk. Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients, mix until just combined (don’t overmix).
  3. Microwave jam along with caster sugar for about 45 seconds, or until jam has melted and sugar is dissolved, mix thoroughly.
  4. Half fill muffin holes with muffin mixture and add a little bit of jam before filling up with more muffin mixture. Cook for 8 minutes in oven, until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Melt extra butter and mix together extra caster sugar & cinnamon in another bowl. One by one, brush each muffin all over with butter and roll in cinnamon sugar mixture.
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Success!

Daring baking– in fact, baking at all– has drawn the short straw in my life recently. Which is a shame, really, as I realized when I devoted *all day* yesterday to baking (and note now? made it by the deadline for posting. by two minutes. Heck yeah!) It was worth it. Every second of angsting over temperature, waiting for dough to chill, and laughing at a danish braid that exploded like a rib cage opening (looks kind of like a worm, doesn’t it?)… was worth it for the lovely smell as the braid baked and the look of awe on the boy’s face as it came out of the oven.

Kelly of Sass & Veracity and Ben of What’s Cookin’? chose this month’s Daring Bakers’ challenge, and a lovely challenge it was. (Recipe here). I filled it with cream cheese (beaten with egg, sugar, and vanilla) and strawberry slices– just a few, as I was afraid that it would be too soggy. Luckily, a side effect of the long post-filling rise is that the strawberry flavor seeped through everything, and I didn’t need anymore.

One problem, though– the braid got too dark on the bottom before it was dark enough on the top. Anyone out there know what caused that?

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Eep!

Shhh! Be Very Very Quiet! Daring Baking in progress… stay tuned!

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TVP vs. Tofu Allergies

Someone found my little home on the internet yesterday by searching for whether or not someone who can’t have tofu can eat TVP (textured vegetable protein.) While it’s too late for them to read this, I thought it was it was a question worth answering.

Soy Plant

Some observant readers may remember that I cannot have tofu or soy milk; something about the way the soybean is processed (or the quantities it’s normally eaten in) makes me ill; I suspect an allergy, but I’m not sure. TVP contains soy protein, and can thus cause problems for people who are allergic to the proteins (rather than the processing) of soy. However, it is not only soy protein, and since any people with soy allergy can tolerate small to moderate amounts of soy protein, you may be able to eat TVP without problems. I recommend that you start in very small doses and then increase serving sizes as desired until you know how much you can tolerate.

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Filed under Other Interests, Uncategorized, vegetarian

Daring Bakers April 2008– Success!

Those who know me well know that I don’t do well with fiddly details. You see, at work, I’m a perfectionist I work with statistics and economics and data analysis, I have to be precise and perfect all the time, and when I come home, I want to make ginormous sticky measures and play around. Plus, I don’t seem to have the coordination to make pretty little fussy things, though I do hope to improve my cake decorating skills this year. So, when I tell you that making these chocolate-dipped cheesecake pops from the aptly named cookbook Sticky, Chewy, Messy, Gooey by Jill O’Connor was dead simple, and that it is nowhere near as difficult as it looks, please believe me. In fact, not only were they gorgeous and individually portioned– perfect for parties– but they were also easy enough that I’d be willing to do it again, and have been requested to do so for a friend’s wedding! Plus, I got to wander around the Dupont Circle farmer’s market this morning giving them out to my unsuspecting food providers as a thank you for hanging out in the wet to make sure that I eat well this week.

And, really, if even I can make them look so pretty, imagine what you can do. I made half of them plain chocolate-dipped (O Organics chocolate bits), and half covered with toasted hazelnut bits. I also did 2 covered in some leftover sprinkles, but didn’t get to take a picture of them. Next time I think I’ll also try colored sugar, and I’ll probably try it with darker chocolate. I also might use a little more shortening than the recipe called for- the chocolate coating was a little thick, but it was probably my fault as– big surprise– I altered the recipe! Well, really adjusted it by 4/5ths.

You see, I order my dairy (for the most part) from a loverly company called South Mountain Creamery. They deliver it to me at work, and I take it home. The creamery is fabulous, and having access to it, I couldn’t imagine using Philly cream cheese, as dependable and thick as it is, for this cake. South Mountain Creamery, however, only delivers the plain flavor of cream cheese in 1-lb containers. The recipe called for 5! 8-oz packages of cream cheese, and I really did not want to buy 3 of them and have half a pound making its’ way to my hips. I suppose I could’ve halved it and had the same problem, but that isn’t like me. I have to do it the hard way. So, I made 4/5ths, made the main cake in a 9″ cake pan, and filled 24 mini cupcake liners, hoping with a very little bit of excess batter. Unfortunately, I must have overwhipped the batter, because the cupcakes and cake sank a lot after rising, making the mini-cupcakes unusable as pops. Luckily, they were tasty on their own; Had they lasted long enough, I would have piped some chocolate into the sunken center and decorated that. However, I had to bring them into work before I could, to get them out of my greedy little hands.

I can’t recommend this recipe enough. Please make it! It’s creamy, the chocolate crackles under your tongue, and you can personalize it so many ways. Plus, even if you can’t find lollipop sticks, it works fine on straws, and then you get pretty bright colors. A giant hit. Thank you so much to Elle, Deborah, and the rest of the Daring Bakers for this recipe.

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Filed under cake, cheese, chocolate, daring bakers, dessert, Food Blogs, holiday, Uncategorized, vegetarian

Birthday Gift

My beau gave me a lovely surprise last night. I got home to six lovely long-stemmed red roses on the table, and a chilled glass of white wine. He then took me to the restaurant we went to my first night in DC, the day we came to look for my first apartment after finding that I got into Georgetown, Old Ebbit Grill. We had a lovely dinner (roast chicken, mashed potato, and green beans– the basics, but the basics done right), followed up with a classic creme brulee, with “Happy Birthday” written on the plate in chocolate ganache, and a candle inside– but no singing, as requested. Perfect! And then, for the surprise…

strawberries

He took me for a drive– to a movie, I thought– but instead, the car pulled into the parking lot of the Ritz Carlton in Pentagon City, where he had a swimsuit and a change of clothes waiting. And, as a final surprise, his brother (who’s a manager at another Ritz) sent me these gorgeous chocolate covered strawberries.

strawberry

They were gorgeous, sweet, fruity, and– best of all– served on sugar pebbles. How beautiful is that presentation? I, of course, had to be geeky and take pictures on my cell phone to mark the occasion. I’m still not entirely clear on how they got the gold plate in, but I sure felt spoiled! And just in the nick of time. I know I’ve been traveling a lot lately, but I really needed a relaxing break… and this was it. I’m much cheerier and more motivated now, ready to enter my 24th year– one sweet treat at a time. And, not to wreck the surprise, but my Daring Bakers challenge will be served at my birthday dinner tonight. Can’t wait to post that!

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Rosemary

I’m suffering from a bit of burnout, but luckily, I have incredibly large amounts of rosemary to help me deal with it. Anyone have suggestions for what to do with mass amounts of rosemary? I suppose I can dry some if I can manage to not grow mold on it in the process.

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