Saturday, February 23, 2013

Mango Pound Cake

Danielle is my coffee and food loving best friend, who I've known since grade 2 (which was a very VERY long time ago). She has a cute little boy who requested a mango cake. How could I say no? I had to make something that would hold up in a suitcase, because they live in Winnipeg and I live in Toronto. I came across this recipe for Mango Pound Cake was was originally a recipe for Sour Cream Pound Cake by Paula Deen. I love her! After reading both recipes, it seems that the only change that was made from the original recipe was swapping the sour cream for mango puree. I added a pinch of salt too.

I made a pound cake yesterday (and a few small sample cupcakes) to send back to Winnipeg with Danielle. They were a little sweet and there wasn't a lot of mango flavour, but they were delicious! I tried again today with less sugar, and I made cupcakes instead, because they bake a lot faster. I'm writing the recipe with the changes I've made, but if you decide to go with the original and use sour cream, you could probably add the extra 1/2 cup of sugar. Obviously the mango is sweeter than sour cream, therefore, not as much sugar is needed.

One other thing I did was use canned mangoes and pureed them. You can also buy canned mango puree, or use fresh mangoes. I had to make this cake yesterday because Danielle was leaving today, and the mangoes at the store were just too hard. That's why I had to go with the can. If you're using fresh mango, make sure it's sweet and ripe.

Yesterday, I alternated the eggs with the dry ingredients and used an electric mixer. Today I tried mixing the eggs with the sugar mixture and then mixing in the dry ingredients just until combined. Both of these methods produced the same texture.

Mango Pound Cake
Makes 1 loaf or 12 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup mango puree
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease a loaf pan or line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Beat butter and sugar together on low speed for about 2 minutes. Mine didn't get fluffy, it just looked like wet sugar. Beat in the mango puree. Now it will start coming together.

In a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with vanilla.

In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Add the flour mixture and the egg mixture to the sugar mixture on low speed (so you don't make a big mess). Alternate, beginning and ending with flour.

Pour the batter into the loaf pan or divide among the muffin cups. Bake the loaf for about 50 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Cupcakes will take somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes. Cool before serving.

Apparently these taste better the next day, but who can wait that long? I'm definitely trying this with sour cream next time, and putting glaze on them. I'm hoping they taste like sour cream glazed doughnuts!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Chicken Kabobs

Chicken Kabobs are one of my favourite things to make. They're so easy and healthy. Something really great happens to food when you grill it so I usually put these on the barbecue, but you could probably bake them too. Check out my post on U.S. Kids Parents & Teachers to find out how to make these yummy Kabobs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Cups (Secret Recipe Club)

I was so excited when I got the email from April asking if I wanted to join the Secret Recipe Club! And then when I got my first assignment, I immediately went over to browse the blog that was assigned to me. Betcha Can’t Eat Just One is a fabulous blog loaded with sugar, sugar and more sugar! I was dying to pin recipes, but then I didn’t want to give anything away until reveal day.

I’m supposed to be trying to lose weight, but there was no way I was about to mess with these recipes by trying to make them low fat. I made cupcakes the night before, so what was one more night of being bad? I chose to make peanut butter cups. I shared one with my kids and brought the rest to work the next day so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them all myself. No, I’m not the kind of person that can eat just one! The only thing that saves me is getting the goodies out of the house fast. My daughter was disappointed when I told her she couldn’t take one to school for snack. The schools and daycares here are all nut free facilities, but my office isn’t! I cut them in 4 pieces each and everyone enjoyed having a little treat. Hmm, now I’m wondering if these can be made with one of those no nut butters.

Peanut butter cups are one of my favourites, so when I came across this recipe on Katie’s blog, I knew it was the one I was going to make. Katie’s a Canadian mom who obviously loves sweets, just like me! She learns through the internet, cookbooks (and she doesn’t say so, but I bet she probably watches the Food Network), just like me. See, we just met and already have so much in common.

I didn’t have parchment muffin liners, so instead I used a silicone muffin pan. It’s a jumbo size pan, so I made 6 instead of 12 peanut butter cups. I found that there was too much filling though, so next time I would cut the filling part of the recipe in half. I’ve also written the recipe up with the reduced measurements for the filling. If you are looking for some fabulous sweet recipes, feel free to visit Katie and browse her blog.

Spread the chocolate on the bottom of the muffin pan, and up the sides a little.

Does yours look like this? Don't give up! Use your hands instead, it WILL come together!

See, it came together. I told you it would. 

They popped right out of that silicone pan.

Here you see the filling placed on top of the first layer of chocolate.

Peanut Butter Cups
Makes 6 jumbo PB cups

1 ½ cups chopped chocolate (I used milk chocolate chips)
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon graham cracker crumbs
pinch of salt

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the chocolate chips with 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter for about 1 minute. Stir until smooth.

Place about 2 tablespoons of melted chocolate mixture into each of the silicone muffin cups and spread it around the bottom and up the sides a bit. Place this into the freezer while you prepare the filling.

Mix the rest of the peanut butter, sugar, graham crackers crumbs and salt in a bowl. I had to get in there with my hands after awhile and it came together much easier.

Remove the muffin cups from the freezer and divide the filling among them. Press it down to even it out but leave a little space around the edges. Now pour more chocolate over the tops and spread it until it reaches the edges. Place this back in the freezer for just a few minutes until the chocolate hardens. They should pop right out of the pan. That’s it, now you can eat it! Easy right?!

Secret Recipe Club

Friday, February 8, 2013

Apple Cinnamon Cake

I adapted this from an apple brownie recipe on Allrecipes. I decided to call it a cake because I wouldn't really describe the texture as brownie-like. I cut back the apples by 1 and used brown sugar instead of white. It was delicious! It doesn't rise like a cake, and it looks like a brownie, but it's not a brownie in my opinion.

I read some of the reviews on Allrecipes and some people said it took longer than 35 minutes. I guess if you like them extra crispy and charred, go for it. Otherwise, 35 minutes it is.

Apple Cinnamon Cake
16 Servings

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
2 medium apples, peeled, cored and diced
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350F and grease an 8x8 pan.

Whisk melted butter with brown sugar and the egg until fluffy. This won't even take a minute.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir with a rubber spatula until well combined. It'll be a bit thick.

Stir in the apples and walnuts. It looks like a lot of apple right? Imagine adding 3 like the original recipe said? It might be a bit much. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 35 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let the cake cool before cutting into 16 squares.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Oatmeal Cranberry Date Muffins with Flax

Try replacing some of the white flour with whole wheat in some of your recipes. The whole wheat flour and oats in this recipe will keep you feeling fuller a little longer.

Oatmeal Cranberry Date Muffins with Flax
Makes 12 muffins

2/3 cup all purpose flour
2/3 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons flax seed
1 cup fresh cranberries
3/4 cup pitted and chopped dates
1 large egg
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup 2% milk
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 400F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

Mix together both flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt and flax seeds. Mix in the cranberries and dates. 

In a separate bowl, beat together the egg, milk, oil and vanilla.

Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir only until combined. It will be lumpy but don't worry about it.

In another bowl, mix the streusel ingredients with your fingers until it's crumbly.

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and top each one with some streusel topping.

Bake for about 18 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Banana Blueberry Muffins

Sometimes a girl just needs a nice muffin for breakfast or with her evening coffee. Don't you agree? Well, I usually have some brown bananas hanging around so I'm always looking for something to do with them. You can't go wrong with banana muffins.

Banana Blueberry Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375F and line 12 muffin cups with paper liners.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In another bowl, combine  bananas, both sugars, egg, vanilla and butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. 

Gently fold in the berries and nuts. Divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups. 

Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. Cool completely before storing in an airtight container.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Yazdi Cupcakes with Honey Rosewater Syrup

I've made these yazdi cupcakes before, but this time I wanted to do something a little different with them, so I made a nice syrup which made them extra yummy! The flavours of cardamom and rosewater really make these cupcakes special. 

Yazdi Cupcakes with Honey Rosewater Syrup

Adapted from the book New Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij.
Makes 9 cupcakes


2 eggs, separated (room temperature)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1/2 cup plain yogurt, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
a few pinches of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1-2 teaspoons rose water
1 1/8 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tablespoon finely chopped nuts

1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon rosewater
1 tablespoon liquid honey
1/2 cup water

Preheat the oven to 350F and line your muffin tin with paper liners.

Beat egg yolks and sugar for about 2 minutes until creamy. I did this by hand with a whisk. I suppose you could follow the recipe from the book and do it for 5 minutes, but after 2 my arm was about to fall off. Or you could get smart and use an electric mixer. 

Add the butter, yogurt, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cardamom and rosewater. Whisk again until combined, then gradually whisk in the flour.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites (this time I used the electric mixer) for several minutes until they're fluffy and stiff. Use a rubber spatula to fold the whites into the batter. 

Divide the batter among the muffin cups and sprinkle a few nuts on top. Bake for about 16 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Let them cool for 10 minutes.

Start making the syrup while the cupcakes are baking. Heat the sugar, rosewater, honey and water in a small pot over medium high heat and let it bubble for several minutes until it thickens. It should coat the back of a spoon nicely without dripping off. 

Let the syrup cool while your muffins are baking and cooling, then remove the paper liners from the cupcakes and place them in a dish with deep sides (put foil in the dish if you like). Pour the syrup over the cupcakes and let them soak it up before you eat them. Store in an airtight container. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

One Bowl Maple Walnut Brownies

I really don't like washing dishes. Do you? These brownies are easy and I since I'm on vacation from work this week, it was easy to eat too many of them. Usually I bring leftovers to work to get rid of them. My co-workers LOVE treats. Since Valentine's Day is coming up, you could probably use a cookie cutter to make heart brownies for your Valentine, or bake the mixture in a heart shaped muffin pan if you have one. 

You could use different types of chocolate or nuts in these, or replace the maple extract with vanilla or other extracts.

Obviously my healthy lifestyle isn't going well so far this year.

One Bowl Maple Walnut Brownies
16 squares

1/3 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350F and spray/flour an 8x8 inch pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and chocolate chips for about 45 seconds, or until you can stir them together and the chocolate is melted. 

Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well combined, followed by the eggs and maple extract. I used a rubber spatula to mix everything. 

Now, add the cocoa and flour and stir just until combined. Gently stir in the nuts and chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. 

Bake for about 15 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. 

Cool completely before slicing into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container. If you leave them sitting out they will get dry around the edges.