Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lemon Poppy Seed Muffins with Dried Blueberries

A couple of weeks ago, the fine people at Oh! Nuts contacted me to see if I was interested in trying some of their products gratis if I would discuss my experience on this blog. To which I responded: but of course! I was initially tempted to request hordes of walnuts and pistachios – I keep them in my desk drawer and munch on them whenever I’m snackish at work – but that seemed disingenuous. I bake with them from time to time, but that’s not really why I would have wanted them.

Anyway, one thing I’ve always wanted to try is dried blueberries. They sell small packages of them at Trader Joes, but they’re pretty expensive for a Trader Joe’s product. I’ve hesitated before the dried blueberry bin a number of times but have never been able to persuade myself to spend the $6 or thereabouts for a tiny pouch.

Poppy seeds are likewise overpriced, at least where I’ve tend to do my grocery shopping.   But not at Oh! Nuts!  You can probably guess where I’m going with this.

Anyway, I asked if they wouldn’t mind sending me some delectable dried blueberries and poppy seeds. And they did! Very speedily, too – I got my order the day after they sent it. It probably helped that I’m in an adjacent state.

My intentions were wholly good. I hadn’t made muffins in a very long time – probably not since my last batch of blueberry muffins – and am not sure what explains my neglect of this sub-genre of the baking world.

Lemon poppyseed muffins have always been a favorite of mine, but they are rather unexciting. I like them, but they’re sort of the sugar cookie of the muffin world: one misses the embellishments.

Adding regular blueberries would just seem perverse, however. Blueberry muffins and lemon poppy seed muffins are separate genres. It would be wrong to amalgamate the two.

Unless, of course, one were using dried blueberries. The fact that the berries are dried makes all the difference. And no, I can’t defend that on any sort of logical basis.

In short: these are really tasty! You should try making them, with or without the dried blueberries. If you decide to go with the blueberries and/or are dissatisfied with your local store’s poppy seeds, Oh! Nuts has good prices and fast shipping. I bet their walnuts and pistachios are equally good.

But do be careful if your workplace happens to drug test. Mine doesn’t, so I can eat these muffins with abandon.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cheddar Yoghurt Biscuits

So these are the easiest thing ever.  I always thought biscuits were pretty painless – cutting fat into flour has never struck me as an especially onerous chore – but this recipe eliminates even that minor step.  There is no butter.  Repeat: no butter.  Nor is there any lard, shortening, margarine, or other solid fat ingredient.  With this recipe, you just whisk together the dry ingredients, dump in yoghurt or cream and cheese, and stir.  Well: there is some light kneading at the end, but it’s very de minimis.  I actually kneaded the dough in the mixing bowl instead of turning it out because I’m lazy that way. 

Despite their lack of solid fat, they really taste like biscuits.  They are, perhaps, slightly less flakey than a traditional biscuit.  However, they’re still far superior to anything that comes out of a cardboard cylinder.  If you’re put off of biscuits because they seem too fussy but are loathe to expose your family to whatever it is that goes into those refrigerated “biscuit” packages, then this might just be the recipe for you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Rice Krispies Treats

So I live in Connecticut which, if you haven’t been paying attention, is ground zero for this season’s snowpocalypse. It wouldn’t be so bad if we had a garage, but since we live in a city, we have street parking only – which means we have to dig the car out after every storm.

My mother, who lives in Florida, has been demanding pictures.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Double Chocolate Cherry Cookies with Almonds

I know I’ve been gone a while, but this recipe should prove adequate peace offering. These tasty treat depicted here not be photogenic, but don’t let that dissuade you. I make a lot of cookies, and I flatter myself that most of them are quite tasty. These, however, are in another category of tasty altogether. I think they might be my favorite drop cookie ever. Yes, ever. This is not a claim I would make lightly.

The name here is plenty descriptive. These cookies have cocoa powder and chocolate chips, ergo double chocolate. They also have dried sour cherries and toasted almonds because cherries and almonds are like chocolate and peanut butter: they always work together. The recipe also calls for half a cup of red wine, which is a new one to me in a drop cookie.

The first time I tried to make this, I added an extra egg because I was sure – sure! – that the wine in the batter would evaporate and leave me with a crumbly, dry mess. There’s only a stick of butter and one egg, yet the amount of cocoa powder and flour is equal to that of your average (two stick, two egg) chocolate chip cookie recipe. I was wrong. The cookies were great, but they were only great because I tipped in extra flour and cocoa powder once it became clear that the extra egg had given me an extremely soupy batter rather than a semi-stiff dough. There’s a moral here: trust everything you read on the internet. Everything.

Saturday, January 8, 2011


I've been quite busy lately -- this year's holidays were of the "go forth and travel" rather than "stay home and bake" variety.  In lieu of recipes or poetry, I give you ... holiday pictures.  The first few were taken by Richard, my Aunt Wanda's significant other, and show my family in Avon Park, Florida.  After spending a few days with them, husband and I went down to Key West, up to the Everglades, and over to Tampa/St. Petersburg for a bit before returning to the frigid wasteland that is Connecticut in winter.

These will be primarily of interest to family, but I suspect that 90% of my current readers fall in that category given my absences!  I'll try to bake something next weekend.

In any case, the holiday pictures are here.

Happy New Year to all!