Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Jumbo blueberry muffins, um yes please!

My goal for this blog is that in order for me to post to my blog, I have to try out a new recipe in order to give a "sneak preview" of it in the current post....the hope is that it will incentivize me to not fall of the blog posting wagon.  So, next blog post will be about Iced Oatmeal Cookies .  Let me just say, this lady has some mad icing and photo styling skills, because the cookies on the website look drastically better than what came out of my kitchen!  They were tasty indeed (Andy said I should definitely never make them again!) but not nearly as gorgeous and perfect looking.


Original Jumbo Blueberry Muffins recipe
So again, the photos made these muffins look pretty damn desirable...I by no means crave blueberry muffins, let alone muffins in general (I think the Costco muffins have turned me off to seeking out decent muffins?) But something about the pictures and the idea of making something I'm not familiar with just sounded appealing.  At the bakery I worked at years n years ago, we never made muffins...I guess muffins just ain't cool enough.  Then again, it was a French themed pastry shop, so muffins wouldn't be on the menu.  Although, mini-scones definitely were...that might be something I make again, they're so yummy and luxurious, and fairly easy to make.  Than again, they definitely have to be given away, and Andy's got less than 3 weeks to go in school.  Decisions, decisions...

Alas, I had everything I needed on hand for the muffins (I find myself keeping real buttermilk on hand now, which makes it easier...I do not recommend going the shortcut route and making homemade buttermilk with milk/vinegar or milk/lemon juice combos.  Just ain't the same!)  So I want to stress, pre-heated ovens are key.  My own opinion, but I do not trust it takes a whopping 6-8 minutes for any oven to properly preheat.  Give it 15-20mins easy.  Get an oven thermometer; ~$3 at Tuesday Morning and you'll have happy baked products to show for it.

I like the idea of doing a print screen of the recipe with my edits...I hope y'all do too?  If it works better, I could just copy/paste and re-post as text on here what I did.  If anyone cares or has opinions, let me know :) here's the recipe with edits; for a clean version, go to the print recipe version (however, the link has been temperamental for me!)

So, as you can see from my edits, I did not stray much from the original recipe...all the ingredients stayed true, the only modifications made were in the steps and bake times.  I didn't want to use muffin liners; the picture made it look so cute and fresh out the tin!  I wish I had coarse sugar on hand (you don't need that fancy stuff from the store; grab a few packets of Sugar in the Raw from a cafĂ©, it would've been perfect!) but instead I used granulated and it was definitely a nice touch.  If/when I make again, I am going to go the extra step with the sanding sugar.

Anyway, the recipe is straight forward and hard to mess up.  I was worried I would overmix, overfold, etc. the ingredients, but from what I can tell, I didn't.  I have a yellow-handed 2oz. ice cream scoop that I used for the batter and it was the perfect amount of batter per muffin.  I was nervous they'd turn out gi-normous since I got 12 vs. 15-16 muffins, but it worked out thankfully.  I was a little confused on the bake times, but I checked it after they'd been in 5min @ 425F + 13min @ 375F and it looked like they needed about 5 more minutes.  The tops were just a little wet and jiggly, with no real color yet.  When I checked 5min later, they had some color, and looked set, so out they came to cool.  I waited patiently to try...I didn't want to wait the recommended 10 minutes in the pan before enjoying.  I think I made it to minute 5?  Eh.  I split one with Andy and it was really good...ample blueberries in every bite.  Very happy muffin maker :)

Well I made these on Tuesday eve last week and as I mentioned in last week's blog, the other 11 went to our respective workplaces Wednesday AM.  Andy took 6, me 5; he had a cute story to share.  He had left one on a friend's desk prior to school starting, and when the co-worker friend arrived to work, he saw the muffin and said he'd been saved.  Turns out the co-worker is on a shake-for-breakfast kinda diet I suppose (I know I'm getting the story wrong) and so of course he was still hungry when he'd arrived to work.  Thankfully the muffin was perfectly timed and he now had a complete breakfast.  As for my work, the muffins slowly left the plate throughout the doesn't help that we have like maybe 20 people in my office.  Regardless, I ended up eating like at least a full one since I didn't want them to go to waste.

So, if you're interested in blueberry muffins, I think these ones are pretty good and I would definitely make again.  I don't know how they size up to some of the other recipes out there since I'm not a muffin maker nor connoisseur!  Seems like muffins are passĂ© so I don't blame folks if you're not wowed, but it was nice to try something new.

Happy Hump Day!  Halfway to Friday, yahoo!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Fudgy brownies, while unassuming, should not be trusted.

Well, here goes nothing...trying to be better about posting to my blog.  I really am out of excuses to not commit to it really; no wedding to plan (or attend this year funny enough!), no trips/vacations (South Lake Tahoe countdown is on though; 31 days woo whoo, 1 year wedding anniversary!), no more pet adoptions, and thankfully, no more moving!!  It's only fitting I am finally getting around to posting here about 10 months after my last post...oh well, onward!!

Lately I've noticed some really good food styling when I am looking at recipes via Pinterest.  It makes it irresistible not to hit *Print* on the recipe and recreate what looks like a wonderfully tasty, begging me to be made, yummy baked good.  I should probably quit Pinterest and save myself time & money on baking things I shouldn't even be trying in the first place.  Le sigh.  Alas, Pinterest fuels my fire and I love it all, so I suppose my co-workers, friends/family, and Andy's teacher-mates will suffer instead because I leave the remains of the baked goods in the break room or bring to gatherings, and ship the other half (or entire lot) off with Andy in the AM.  Heaven forbid I make something on a Friday, like I did last week...that was a HUGE mistake, ack.

So I decided to try out this Dark Chocolate Brownie Recipe while I telecommuted Friday.  I like the idea of minimal prep/simple recipes and big results.  I hadn't yet found a solid, yet easy/minimal fudgy brownies recipe.  I was beginning to think it didn't exist.  Alas, I have found a recipe I am content with...of course with my own additions.  Here is the recipe with my edits:

So I threw together this easy recipe (I foiled a 9x9 pan vs. parchment and used cooking spray so I could pull out the brownies when they were done cooling) and decided I wanted to add in a few things I knew I liked in brownie recipes (salt, espresso powder, and vanilla...) It was a delicious batter btw; it was difficult to resist snacking on.  I was already feeling good based on the batter alone as it seemed promising.  In the oven they went; I checked them at 22min and just wasn't sure they had set enough, so I left them in a couple more minutes and viola!  

What ensued over the next 48 hours was a little terrifying.  Those brownies came out of the oven and i let them cool slightly before trying a hot, fresh brownie. (I got 16 smaller brownies out of my pan, so I suppose i shouldn't feel as guilty?)  I regret tasting it...because then I had to have a glass of cold non-fat milk to help it down.  Fudgy brownie + cold milk is like a pb&j classic combo IMO.  It was a most satisfying brownie!  Now there were 15 brownies, sitting there smelling up the house with all sorts of yummy, and I'm left trying to resist.  Thank goodness I committed myself to going to the gym at 12, otherwise it may have been a really bad afternoon.  I didn't get back home til later on since we had family sushi dinner, so it was 8:30pm by the time we got home.

They're they were.  Andy tried a brownie, so of course I had to have one.  So good, even 8+ hours later... I am a firm believer brownies are bogus after about a day, TOPS, just my feeling.  Some folks agree.  So I knew I had to get rid of these brownies STAT.  I packaged them up the next morning and planned to give them to our friend after we helped her move.  I totally forgot to give them to her after the move since they were sitting in the backseat...grrr!!  We noshed on a couple more over at Andy's moms house.  Then his dad+stepmom came over that afternoon, I put those out and again, had to have one.  I think I consumed like 3 on Saturday alone!!  AAAGGHHH!  So. Bad.

Sunday rolls around and thankfully with all of our visits there were almost no signs that brownies had been made.  I think we split one Sunday and one Monday and then they were gone.  I probably should not make these again unless I can for sure give them away!!  I encourage you to try it out if you need a quick, on the fly, homemade something because all these ingredients I believe folks have readily at home (maybe not cocoa powder...who ARE you?!)

Next blog post I'll talk about last night's recipe, Jumbo Blueberry Muffins.  They were pretty least those are sitting in the breakroom now :)