New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

So before I get into the recipe, let me just say hello! I know I’ve been silent for a while. If the lack of posts didn’t give you a hint, we’ve been BUSY out here. There just never seemed to be enough time to sit down and write a post. Part of that was Big Bit being on fall break for a chunk of the time. She’s gotten used to having a nice, active day, so when she was on break we had to have something to do (preferably outside the house) or she, and thus the rest of us, would have gone crazy. We filled the time with trips to the zoo, the museum, just going for walks, etc. Anything to get her out of the house and burning off all that energy she has.

Anyway, one of her days at home, Big Bit decided to be my baking helper and so she actually assisted with this particular Pinterest recipe (she was a most excellent mixing assistant). Now, full disclosure, this isn’t my first time making these muffins. I made them once before for Hubs to take on a work shift. The original recipe comes from Sally’s Baking Addiction and it turned out well enough, but not quite to my taste. Granted, part of that was due to the fact that from the get go I was making tweaks to the original recipe, so this time around was for me to tweak my tweaks. Anyway, I’m going to give you my version, but by all means, go back to the source and try the original, if you care to. I’ll explain some of the changes I made further after the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed, light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup and 2 Tbsp unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup diced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)

Preheat your oven to 350°F and either spray your muffin tin with non-stick spray or use liners. As you know, I prefer the liner method.

In a bowl, combine your dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and cinnamon). In a separate, and slightly larger bowl, combine the white and brown sugars with the applesauce until there aren’t any lumps. Once the sugar/applesauce mixture is smooth add the egg. Then take the dry ingredients and add them to the wet, mixing until they are just combined. Gently fold in the strawberries and chocolate chips.

Spoon out your batter into your muffin tin (I got an even dozen). Bake for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven. When done the tops should be lightly browned and a tester stick should come out clean. Mine took closer to the 20 minutes than the 15, so unless your oven runs hot, I wouldn’t check them until about 17 minutes in to the bake time, and even then they might need an extra minute or two. Allow them to cool and then enjoy.Strawberry Chocolate Chip Muffins

Tweaks and Overall Review

Ok, so what did I change and why. Well, first off, I increased the amount of cinnamon used. I just like the taste of cinnamon, so this was totally a personal preference. Second, the original recipe calls only for an egg white, but I just went ahead and used a whole egg. Granted, that makes my version less “skinny” than the original, but for only doing a batch of these at a time, unless I happen to have a spare egg white lying around (which I never do), I’ll just use the whole egg and skip separating it and then trying to figure out something to do with the yolk. Using the whole egg rather than just the white does make the muffins a little richer, but since I’m not overly concerned about calorie counts for myself, I don’t mind. If you want to go ahead and just use an egg white like in the original, go ahead. It shouldn’t have to much of an impact on the overall flavor. When it came to strawberries I upped the amount from 2/3 of a cup to a full cup. The first time I made these I stuck with the original measurement and there just didn’t seem to be enough strawberry flavor in combination with the chocolate. Part of that was my use of semi-sweet chips rather than a milk chocolate or even a dark chocolate chip, so the chocolate flavor was pretty strong to begin with. By increasing the amount of strawberry pieces in the batter, I was able to get a better balance between the chocolate and the strawberries.

I’m really happy with how this batch turned out. The original recipe was good, but now I think I’ve got this to where it suits my own tastes perfectly. Once again, they were a huge success when my husband took them to work. I hope you like them, too. I’d be really interested to hear from other people who try this recipe both ways and what their thoughts are or any tweaks they make themselves.

Enjoy your muffins!

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New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Banana Bread

I know, I know. It seems all I do is bake and that I have some terrible obsession with banana breads. I promise I can do more than bake, and that while I do love a good banana bread, there are other foods that I enjoy preparing (and eating) just as much. That being said, when you have perfectly overripe bananas, you use them, and when you have additional summer produce begging to be used (in this case strawberries), well, you make the Strawberry Banana Bread. This recipe comes from Flying on Jess Fuel (written by a fellow military spouse, hooah!). Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 4 very ripe bananas (I only had 3, but they were larger, so it evened out)
  • 1/3 cup melted butter (As per usual, mine is unsalted)
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (I don’t usually have whole wheat flour so I just used all-purpose in place of the whole wheat)
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, diced

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease an 8×4 loaf pan.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then mix in the melted butter. Add vanilla, sugar, and egg. Sprinkle salt and baking soda over the banana mixture and blend in. Add flour and mix until just combined. Gently fold in strawberries.

Pour or spoon batter into loaf pan, bake for approx. 1 hour. When a tester comes out clean, remove from oven and cool on rack. Remove from loaf pan after about 10 min. and allow to finish cooling on the rack.

Strawberry Banana Bread

Tweaks and Overall Review

Other than what is noted above, the only other tweak I made was to grease and flour my loaf pan. I just find it easier to get my pans to release when I do this. I needed slightly more than an hour of bake time, but no more than 1 hour 10 min. Also, I would advise testing in two locations when checking for doneness. The strawberries keep the pockets around them very moist so it may seem like the bread isn’t done if your stick hits one of them, which may cause you to give the bread additional oven time it doesn’t need. Just test in two locations (relatively close together and still in the center) and hopefully you avoid this possible issue.

How did it turn out? Wonderful. The strawberries were a great addition, but did not overpower the banana flavor. In fact, they married together quite well. The bread itself was moist, but still had a lighter texture than I was expecting. I let Hubs take the remainder of the loaf to work with him and it was a big hit. Apparently it was gone in about 5 minutes and there was moaning (the good kind). I’d say that’s a positive review. I also love this recipe for two other reasons. First, it uses melted butter. No waiting for butter to soften at room temperature. It’s not a big deal, but to me it just makes things seem that much easier. Second, you can mix everything in one bowl and cut down on clean-up. Anything that reduces the amount of dishes I have to wash wins in my book.

To sum up, you must try this! I thought it was amazing, my husband’s crew thought it was amazing, and I hope you’ll think it’s amazing.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Fresh Strawberry Muffins

A friend of ours, Andie, had a longish layover on her way to visit some family back home, so instead of having her languish in the airport for hours, the girls and I went and picked her up so she could spend the time with us. We used to be stationed together, and the whole family has missed her now that we are no longer in the same zip code (or time zone for that matter). Frankly, Andie is the kind of friend every mom should have. She’s an awesome girlfriend to hang out with, but also adores the girls and was almost always able and willing to babysit or take Big Bit out for a while. So yeah, to sum up, Andie is awesome.

What does this have to do with Fresh Strawberry Muffins? Well back when we were in the same zip code, Andie was my partner in crime when it came to baking, so when she was here we did exactly what we used to: Stuck in a Disney movie for white noise and kid entertainment (in this case a double feature of Cinderella and The Little Mermaid) and got to baking. We decided to make these muffins that I found from Real Mom Kitchen since they looked delicious but didn’t make too large a batch or take too long to bake (we did have to get Andie back to the airport in time for her next flight).

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of butter, softened (I used unsalted)
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of flour (I used all-purpose)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups of fresh strawberries, chopped (I had closer to 2 cups, but I wanted to finish off the box I had bought. Anyway, who doesn’t mind some extra strawberries?)
  • 3 tsp. sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Heat oven to 400°F.

Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg and mix well.

In a small bowl, sift together your flour, baking powder, and salt. Add flour mixture to wet ingredients, alternating with the milk. Add vanilla. Gently fold in strawberries, trying to get an even distribution in the batter.

Spoon batter into muffin pan(s). (I recommend lining them with wrappers for easier clean up.)

Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over the tops of the muffins.

Bake 20-25 mins.

Makes approx. 12 muffins. Best eaten fresh as they tend to get gooey after a day due to the moisture from the strawberries.

Fresh Strawberry Muffins

Tweaks and Overall Review

These turned out beautifully! Our total bake time was 23 mins., so right in line with the recipe called for. We ended up getting 18 muffins from our batch, but that was probably due to adding the extra half cup of strawberries, which is the only real tweak I made to this recipe. The cinnamon-sugar made for a wonderful crunchy top for the muffins while the insides were moist and delicious. They weren’t overly sweet, but had a nice strawberry flavor and also weren’t as dense as I was originally expecting them to be. Now I can’t personally vouch for the whole “they get gooey after a day,” since none of ours lasted that long (They were that good!), but given how juicy our strawberries were, I think this advice is valid.

Overall a very good recipe, especially if you are hosting an event or have enough people in the house to know that these will get eaten on baking day.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Baked Oatmeal with Strawberries, Banana, and Chocolate

My dad and stepmom stopped for a quick visit as part of a larger road trip and I made breakfast the morning they were here. I needed to find something at least semi-healthy and this seemed like a good compromise between delicious and relatively good for you. The original recipe came from Inspired Taste, but I tweaked it quite a bit so I will be giving you my adaptation based on the original recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar and approx. 3 Tbsp. separate
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1-2 tsp. cinnamon, depending on taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 cups sliced strawberries
  • 1/3 cup dark chocolate mini-chocolate chips
  • 2 cups milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted (I used unsalted)
  • 2-3 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 large ripe banana, peeled and sliced

Preheat your oven to 375°F and spray a 2 qt. baking dish with cooking spray, then place it on a baking sheet.

In a large bowl mix together oats, brown sugar (1/3 cup), baking powder, cinnamon, salt, half of the walnuts, half of the sliced strawberries, and half of the chocolate chips. Put mixture in your baking dish and then top with you remaining strawberries, banana, walnuts, and chocolate chips.

In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk, melted butter, and vanilla extract. Pour this mixture over the oat/fruit mixture in the baking dish. Gently shake the baking dish to make sure the milk mixture makes it throughout the oat/fruit mixture.

Sprinkle the extra brown sugar you set aside over the top and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes. Top should be golden brown and the milk should be set.

IMG_1403

Tweaks and Overall Review:

Like I said above, this was a recipe that I sort of ran with from the beginning. The main changes I made from the original were in the amounts of ingredients used. I used double the amount of strawberries and walnuts and also increased the amount of cinnamon and vanilla (though this was done to my taste, feel free to adjust them to whatever you prefer). I did omit one thing from the original recipe, which was orange zest. I am not particularly fond of oranges (food sensitivity) and so I don’t keep them on hand. It seemed silly to buy an orange just for a little bit of zest.

How did this turn out? In a word: YUM! This was a great way to start the morning. The bananas infused a nice flavor to the oats and, of course, blended very well with the melted chocolate. At the same time, when you got a bite of strawberry, there was a nice burst of flavor on top of the banana and chocolate. The walnuts gave a nice texture and crunch to the finished dish, so it wasn’t all soft and chewy. Also, this reheated very well the next day (though there was only a small portion leftover in the first place) so if you make it for a Sunday breakfast, the leftovers (if there are any) will still make a lovely breakfast on Monday as well.

 

For Memorial Day:

Today is Memorial Day, a day to honor those who didn’t come home. Enjoy your holiday, but please take a moment to remember who this holiday was established for: the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to their country.

New Pinterest Recipe of the Week: Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

We had friends over for dinner and I figured it was the perfect excuse to test out a new dessert recipe. Since we have been getting such lovely strawberries the past month or so, I knew it had to include strawberries in some form or fashion. Off I went to my Pinterest boards to find something to try. I came up with three potential contenders, and ended up settling on Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler. (Don’t worry, the other two contenders will be made in due time, probably as their own “New Pinterest Recipe of the Week” over the next month or so.)

Now, since this is a Pinterest recipe, this obviously isn’t something of my own creation. This particular recipe came from Berks County News Reading Eagle Newspaper. You can find the original article and recipe here.

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick, I used unsalted)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup milk (I used whole milk)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tsps. baking powder (Make sure it hasn’t expired, since this is what makes the crust rise.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 qts. strawberries (For me this equalled about 2.5 lbs., but you may use a little more or a little less. The original recipe called for removing the caps of the strawberries, but otherwise leaving them whole. Since I had some rather large strawberries I ended up quartering or halving them, and I think that worked out fine.)
  • 4 oz. cream cheese (I used 4 oz. as a starting point, and sort of eyeballed it, putting teaspoon size dollops at semi-regular intervals over the strawberries.)

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Melt your butter and pour into a 9×13 baking dish. While the butter is melting, mix your egg, milk, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Pour the batter directly into the baking dish with the melted butter, but do not mix them together.

Add your strawberries, as much as possible keeping them in an even, single layer (but don’t worry about a little overlap). Add chunks/spoonfuls of cream cheese on top of the strawberries.

Place the cobbler in your preheated oven and bake for approx. 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and the edges are bubbling.

Image

Tweaks and Overall Review:

Aside from what I mentioned above regarding the strawberries and the cream cheese, the only other tweak I had to make from the original recipe was an increase in the baking time. Since I am at a high altitude, I had to add about 15 minutes in order to get the golden crust, bringing my total bake time to about an hour.

In the end, though, the extra 15 minutes was well worth it. This was a delicious dessert for late spring/early summer. The crust is more cake-like, but gives a nice base to the cobbler. The flavor of the strawberries is really given a chance to shine, since the crust is not overly sweet and the cream cheese is a nice compliment, but not overpowering. Also, with such easy prep, this is definitely something I would consider making as a contribution to a potluck or similar event.