Saturday, March 21, 2009

Banana Bread Muffins

Lately, I've been baking more than I've been cooking. I'm not sure why that is the case, but perhaps it is easier to make the effort to make treats instead of a meal. Either way, it has been wonderful making time to do the things I love. In the next few months we'll be making some changes around the house. A and I will finally be making the effort to do the renovations we've been putting off for so long. Once those renovations start happening, especially in the kitchen, A and I may have to use his little boy scout camping stove in order to make dinner. That will be interesting! We've done it before when the hurricanes knocked out our power. So we can survive!

Until then, we'll see what I can do in the kitchen. These muffins were based off a banana bread recipe I found in one of my cookbooks. I made some alterations, which is reflected in the recipe below. They came out moist and delicious! They are really good with a swipe of whipped cream cheese too.

Banana Bread Muffins with Dark Chocolate Chunks
Adapted from Gifts from the Kitchen , Parragon Books

Makes 12 muffins.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 bananas, mashed
1/4 cup vanilla yogurt mixed with 1/4 cup light sour cream
few shakes of cinnamon
couple handfuls of dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 35o degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Put aside

Cream eggs and sugar together with an electric mixer. Add oil and vanilla, and mix well by hand. Mix in mashed bananas and cinnamon.

Add flour to wet ingredients, but alternate with adding the yogurt mixture. Finally, mix in the chocolate chunks.

Fill baking cups about 2/3 of the way. Bake for approximately 30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Better than Starbucks

When I worked at Starbucks in graduate school, they sold these amazing molasses cookies. They were soft and chewy with a slightly spicy bite. They were such a treat! I've been craving these cookies and discovered that there isn't one Starbucks in our area that sells them. Did that stop the cravings? Of course not! Instead, I put on my baker's hat and decided to make some of my own molasses cookies. To my surprise (since baking is not one of the skills I have perfected yet) they came out delicious! They tasted just like the ones I love at Starbucks, but even better since I made them. These will definitely go in my cookie files!


Molasses Cookies
recipe directly from

2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger root

Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and ground ginger together on a sheet of waxed paper and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together 1/2 cup of the sugar and the butter until light and fluffy. Add molasses, egg and ginger root and beat until light. Gradually add the flour, stirring until well blended. Cover dough and chill for at least one hour or overnight.

Preheat over to 350 degrees F.

Form dough into one inch balls, rolling them between the palms until smooth and round. Spread remaining 1/4 cup sugar on waxed paper and roll each ball of dough in sugar. Place dough balls two inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Bake in the center of hot oven until tops are rounded and crinkled and the cookies are just beginning to color, about 12 to 14 minutes.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks to cool. Store in tightly covered container.