Posts Tagged With: chocolate

flourless chocolate peanut butter oatmeal muffins

It’s been a while since my last muffins for Monday recipe (which included chocolate chunks, pecans, and bacon), not so much because I haven’t been making muffins, but because I haven’t been doing much blogging.

That said, today’s muffin recipe is brand new and so yummy that I just had to share!

breakfast is gonna be really good this week.....

breakfast is gonna be really good this week…..

Despite my love of all things chocolate and peanut butter, I have never combined these two ingredients in a muffin recipe before, probably because I don’t like eating dessert for breakfast.

(If you’ve tried any of my muffin recipes before, you know that they are all very lightly sweetened and a far cry from the cake-disguised-as-breakfast muffins that lots of people make. And I do enjoy eating a sweet ‘n’ fluffy muffin every now and again–just not first thing in the morning!)

This recipe is rich and flavorful, but not overly sweet, which makes it a perfect little muffin to start your day off in a hearty and (mostly) healthy direction.

I should disclose that this recipe was kind of inspired by those no-bake peanut butter chocolate oatmeal cookies that our cafeteria always used to serve for dessert when I was a kid. (Though not quite as good for you as my muffins, those cookies are darn tasty and super easy to make–here’s a recipe!)

I should also disclose that this recipe is flourless not because of any recent developments in our ability to tolerate wheat or gluten….

I just happened to be out of whole wheat flour…

So why not experiment? 🙂

What’s in it:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup fat free Greek yogurt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Step by step:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the oats, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a larger bowl, beat together the peanut butter, yogurt, eggs, and vanilla.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet stuff just until everything’s incorporated.
  • Divide your batter among your 12 muffin cups. Unless you’re scared of raw eggs (I’m not), feel free to lick your spoon clean of all those deliciously chocolate-y, peanut butter-y batter remnants.
  • Bake the muffins for 15-18 minutes or until they’ve risen nicely and are firm enough to spring back a little when you press the tops.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.

I ate one of these babies as soon as it left the pan, and it was pretty special. The cocoa flavor is dark and rich, and the nuttiness of the oats nicely complements the peanut butter flavor.

I was a little worried about how the texture would turn out since I had used all oats and no flour, fearing my muffins might end up a bit fragile and crumbly, but I think the eggs and the stickiness of the peanut butter gave them enough body and structure.

Now that I’ve made tried my hand at flourless muffins, I’m excited to try some more variations, and of course I’ll try to squeeze in a blog post here and there when I do. 🙂

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Categories: recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

bacon, pecan, & chocolate chunk muffins

What do you get when you cross crispy, pan-fried, home-cured bacon with locally harvested pecans and sweet, creamy milk chocolate?

Muffins, of course!

I don’t know if you guys have missed my muffins for Monday posts, but I sure have missed making muffins!

Where have all my muffins been?

Well, here’s the thing. Since I’m a teacher, I have summers off. And during the summer, I don’t usually drag myself out of bed in time for much of a breakfast besides a big, strong cup of (possibly spiked) coffee. And Micah is perfectly happy smearing jam on some homemade whole-wheat sourdough or topping a bowl of creamy Greek yogurt with some sweet summer blueberries.

So, when I’m on vacation, the muffin recipes go on vacation, too.

But school has started back (with a vengeance–I’m crazy busy and kind of exhausted!)–so the muffins are back, too.

I wasn’t sure what yummy mix-ins I wanted to put in this week’s batch, but Micah suggested the perfect ingredient: bacon.

A quick scan of the cupboard revealed a container of pecan halves and a bar of milk chocolate.

Thus, this recipe was born.

And despite being full of bacon and chocolate, these muffins really aren’t that bad for you. Thanks to the whole wheat flour, they’ve got a little bit of fiber. Pecans, bacon, and Greek yogurt add protein. And using fat-free yogurt and no added oil or butter makes these relatively low in both fat and calories.

So I won’t feel guilty at all about devouring one of these tasty pastries for breakfast every morning this week. 🙂

a little bit o’ bacon in every bite

What’s in it:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked, drained, and crumbled
  • 1 1.55 ounce milk chocolate bar, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecan halves, roughly chopped

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 400°F and prepare a 12-cup muffin pan.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In a larger bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the milk and yogurt.
  • Stir the dry ingredients into the wet stuff, then fold in the bacon, chocolate, and nuts just until everything’s incorporated.
  • Divide your batter among your 12 muffin cups. If you’re not scared of raw eggs (I’m not), then feel free to lick your spoon clean of all batter remnants, which will taste just a little sweet and just a little salty (just like these muffins will be very soon).
  • Bake the muffins for 13-15 minutes or until they’re golden brown and spring back a little if you press the tops.
  • Let the muffins cool in the pan for a few minutes, then remove from the pan and cool to room temperature.

These yummy treats are fluffy and full of flavor, with just a hint of salty bacon and a touch of crunch from the chopped pecans, punctuated with little pockets of sweet, creamy chocolate.

I might add a bit more bacon next time, but these are fantastic just the way they are.

In fact, I have to tell y’all that while Micah pretty much always enjoys my muffins, he does usually prefer to slather them with a little bit of butter–but he said that this batch doesn’t need any. 🙂

Categories: recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

supper tonight – 6.25.12 and 6.28.12 – pork (belly) ‘n’ beans – a guest post from Micah – plus 3-ingredient microwave chocolate cakes!

I was much too busy with Red Clay to help Micah cook dinner Monday night, so he whipped up an amazing (and very fancy) meal for us all on his own. I snapped some photos and told him his delicious supper would go up on the blog if he would write up a post about it. So he did, and here it is!

*   *   *   *   *

Hi. I’m Tanya’s main squeeze Micah and her very first official guest blogger.

I’m also the resident cook/curer of all things carnivorous in our household and a dabbler in what Tanya has coined “boozy infusions.” These are simply booze that has been infused with something (preferably non-toxic) that you think it should taste more like. But I’ll go into further detail about those adventures in a future guest post.

The reason I’m writing is to tell you about this here dinner:

beauty and substance – a perfect combination

I’ve recently begun to discover my roots. In other words, I’ve become enamored with Southern cooking.

I’ve long had a taste for the tasty. But whenever I’d think about the great food cultures of the world, I’d think about French, Italian, authentic Mexican, Japanese, etc. Never did Southern cross my mind. Only recently have I discovered what has been right in front of my face (and in my mouth) my whole life.

This has a lot to do with the rise of our local celebrity chef, Hugh Acheson. I know Tanya has mentioned him before. He’s the man who has put Athens, Georgia on the culinary map. His specialty is Southern cuisine with a modern twist.

After we visited his restaurants and read his cookbook, A New Turn in the South, a lightbulb went off in my head. The South does have one of the finest food cultures in the world. In bridging the traditional cuisines of three continents (North America, Africa, and Europe), we Southerners have created something greater than the sum of its parts.

Sure, it’s been hijacked and bastardized by the Paula Deens of the world, but trailblazers like Hugh are taking it back. This makes for an exciting time to be a foodie in the South, and it has made me want to incorporate a little Southern charm into almost everything I cook.

Including the meal I’m telling you about here, which fancifies butter beans and quick pickles with a little bit of pork belly. Voila!

Wait, that’s French. Let’s try again.

Here it is, y’all: my Pork (Belly) ‘n’ Beans.

First, there are two things you’ll want to make ahead: pork belly confit (I followed these directions from Belly Love) and pickled beets (made following thismodernwife’s recipe). These’ll keep in the fridge for a while, so make them when you have time and keep ‘em around for this meal.

(As you can probably tell from the preceding recipes, and Tanya can confirm, I prefer to read things with lots of pictures.)

Ingredients:

  • For the butter bean puree (you’ll have extra left over):
    • 2 cups dried butter beans or baby limas
    • 6 cups stock or broth
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 3/4 cup heavy cream
    • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
    • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • Everything else:
    • two 2- to 3-ounce pieces of pork belly confit
    • 2-4 tablespoons pickled beets, sliced into thin strips
    • 1/4 cup fresh parsley, roughly chopped

What to do:

  • Put beans, stock, onion, and garlic into a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or big pot. Cook until tender (about 30 minutes in a pressure cooker or several hours on the stove/in a slow cooker).
  • Puree with a stick blender or in batches in the regular blender until smooth.
  • Add cream, lemon juice, and paprika, plus salt and pepper to taste.
  • Strain with cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. (Bonus: The solids that are leftover make good bean dip.)
  • Add the liquid back into a saucepan and cook on medium low heat to reduce it until it’s good and thick.
  • The last step is to crisp up the pork belly. Add the pieces to a skillet over medium heat and cook each side until brown.
  • To serve, ladle about ½ cup of butter bean puree onto each plate, add the pork belly, top with slivers of pickled beets, and garnish with parsley.
  • Eat up!

*   *   *   *   *

Tanya here again. I just want to reiterate how good this was! Micah and I usually work together in the kitchen, but this recipe was entirely his creation and entirely, mouthwateringly, perfectly delicious.

The best part? We had enough of all the fixins that, after having this meal Monday night with a tomato cucumber salad, there was still plenty for us to enjoy it again yesterday, this time with the last of my peach tomato gazpacho.

Oh, and for dessert? We made some fantastic 3-ingredient microwave chocolate cakes, thanks to Stephanie at a {modern} christian woman.

topped at the last minute with the remnants of a pint of
cherry vanilla Häagen-Dazs that we found hiding in the freezer

Gluten-free friends, these are made from egg, powdered sugar, and unsweetened cocoa, so you can enjoy them, too! 🙂

Categories: people, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

an impossible quest, and lazy brunch – 6.2.12 – baked chocolate doughnuts

My brother Dave is getting married in July, so I made doughnuts for breakfast last Saturday.

This makes sense, I promise.

Please, follow along.

(Or, please feel free to skip the next 1,000 words or so and scroll on down until you get to the photo of the doughnuts. I’ll admit, this is a long story, longer than it needs to be for you, but as long as I needed it to be to indulge my need for confessional therapy–and it really will make sense if you follow along.)

My brother Dave is getting married in July. His fiancee, Kim, is a wonderful, beautiful woman–clever, creative, and quirky enough to fit in perfectly with the rest of our family. We love her!

don’t they make an adorable couple?

(Dave’s daughter, Lilly, loves Kim, too, and the affection is mutual. Again, perfect.)

I’m a bridesmaid. This will be my third bridesmaid gig in less than a year. When it rains, it pours, they say. Or maybe this is just what happens when your best friend, your husband’s best friend, and your brother get hitched within ten months of each other. 🙂

Of course, one of my bridesmaid duties is working with the other bridesmaids to plan the shower, which is coming up this Saturday. More about that later (because, of course, I’ll be cooking).

My other responsibility is buying a dress.

Kim picked a pretty, peachy petal pink for us to wear.

She’s not picky about the style, preferring instead that we each choose a dress that suits and flatters us. (This, fortunately enough, has been my experience with all three of the beautiful brides who’ve asked me to be in their weddings and buy dresses for the occasion–no bridezillas here.)

She’s not even picky about the precise shade of peachy petal pink, as long as we’re all pretty close.

Finally, Kim really wanted us to be able to buy these dresses without spending a ton of money, so she scoured the web for links to some very pretty–and very economical–options.

Armed with ideas, Kim and I took a shopping trip near the end of April. First we visited H&M, where another bridesmaid had already found her perfect dress in the right color. There, I tried on this lovely number:

pretty, right? as soon as I saw it on the web, I knew it was the one…

What you can’t tell from this photo is how translucent the fabric is. But when I put the dress on, I wasn’t even really comfortable enough to leave the fitting room and show it to Kim. Through this wispy little frock, I could see my bellybutton, the tattoo on my hip, even a few of the freckles on my back. Easy solution: a slip. The only problem is, a July wedding in Georgia isn’t ideal for wearing multiple layers of clothing, especially layers with sleeves. Indecent transparency aside,  the dress didn’t fit me well anyway, as blousy styles like this often don’t.

Goodbye, Dress #1.

Moving on, we visited Forever 21, a store I’d heard of but never been inside. Very cute, trendy, of-the-moment styles in lots of colors. But while the website had advertised plenty of peachy pink dresses, none of them were available in the store for me to try on.

I returned home from this shopping trip empty-handed but convinced nonetheless that I could just order a dress via the internet–or even order several, keep my favorite, and return the others.

That’s exactly what I decided to do. I chose three dresses from the Forever 21 website that appeared to be the right color (or at least close to it). I ordered all three, eagerly anticipated their arrival, tracked the package every day until it arrived, wondered which one would be perfect and which two I would send back.

Dresses #2, #3, & #4 from Forever 21

Dress #2 was the right color, but it looked too much like lingerie to even consider wearing to a wedding. Dress #3 was a little light, a bit boxy on top, and scandalously skimpy on bottom, despite my petite frame. Two returns.

Dress #4? Much less pink and much more beige than I’d hoped, so it won’t work for the wedding. But, I loved it. So I kept it. And I wore it out on a date with Micah the other night, because he liked it, too.

I didn’t panic, because at this point it was only mid-May. Still two months to find a dress.

After a long afternoon of shopping downtown and several hours of online searching over several more days, I discovered Dress #5. It was–it had to be–the one:

pretty, peachy, perfect

I had tried it in a size small at one of the cute little dress boutiques downtown, but it was much too snug. So I ordered the medium with alterations in mind, anxiously awaited its arrival, tracked the package obsessively, squealed when it finally arrived.

Of course the medium was too big, as I had expected, but that’s what tailors are for, right?

Wrong. The very nice woman at the alterations shop informed me that because of the location of the zipper, darts, and pleats, and because of the delicate latticework at the top, there was no way that she could take in and shorten the bodice of this dress.

Dear readers, I wept. Tears of frustration–helpless, hopeless tears–welled in my eyes, then spilled from my lids. Right there in the middle of the alterations shop, while I stood staring at that shapeless, saggy, sad sack of a dress.

At this point, it was now a month and a half before Dave and Kim’s big day. The other three bridesmaids had all purchased their own perfect dresses, while I had four frocks hanging in my closet that wouldn’t work for the wedding (and three that wouldn’t work for anything).

Having visited every store in Athens that peddles dresses–new, secondhand, and vintage; trendy and classic; spendy and thrifty; sundresses, work dresses, formal dresses–I knew I needed to expand my search area.

Which brought me, one drizzly afternoon, to Commerce, Georgia. Originally a mill village, this little town eventually incorporated itself as Harmony Grove during the late 1800s. But in 1904, the city reincorporated, renamed itself, reinvented itself. Harmony Grove, folks said, was too countrified, too old-fashioned. Commerce sounded modern and fresh, would encourage businesses to come here, stay here, grow and flourish here. And that is exactly what business has done. I hear there is still a classic, charming, homespun downtown area of Commerce, which I’ve never visited myself. What has put Commerce on the map, besides its proximity to the interstate, is its impressive collection of chain restaurants and retail locations, including a staggering strip mall mecca of Tanger Outlets.

You can read a fictionalized account of the Harmony-Grove-to-Commerce transformation in one of my very favorite novels:

Cold Sassy Tree
by Olive Ann Burns

Surely, in the vast commercial wasteland that is Commerce, Georgia, I could find one dress. Preferably one that fit, one that was the right shade of peachy pink, one that didn’t resemble a nightie.

I wish I could tell you I bought the perfect dress that afternoon. I wish I could tell you that I squealed with delight and sighed with relief when the zipper slid into place. I wish I could tell you that, after visiting every single store that sold women’s clothing, I located even one single dress that day that was the right color.

I wish I could tell you this, because it would mean that my harrowing quest was finally over.

What did I come home with that day instead of a dress?

A new green rain jacket from the Eddie Bauer outlet.

An old-fashioned hand-crank ice cream churn from the antique shop.

A big bag of toys from the kitchen store:

  • New tongs
  • A bag of corks and bottle stoppers for Micah’s boozy infusions
  • One single-handed pepper-grinder with a little magnet on it so it’ll stick to the fridge
  • Eight long, metal skewers for the grill

And this:

too bad I can’t wear doughnuts to the wedding

Yep.

My brother is getting married in July, so I made doughnuts for breakfast last Saturday.

Really good doughnuts, in fact.

Chocolate doughnuts. Because, why the heck not? I earned them.

glazed and gooey, rich and delicious

Having never made doughnuts before, I looked for a recipe on the web to model mine after. And then, like always, I changed it. 🙂

What’s in it:

  • For the doughnuts:
    • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
    • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
    • 4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1/3 cup brown sugar
    • 1/3 cup milk
    • 2 tablespoons strong brewed coffee
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 egg, lightly beaten
    • 1 teaspoon melted butter
  • For the glaze:
    • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1 tablespoon milk

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 325°F. Grease your doughnut pan if you’d like. (My 6-doughnut vessel was nonstick, so I took a risk and didn’t grease or spray. It worked out just fine!)
  • In one bowl, stir together the flours, cocoa, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and sugar.
  • In another bowl, whisk the milk, coffee, vanilla, and egg.
  • Combine the wet and dry ingredients, then stir in the melted butter.
  • Divide the batter among your six doughnut rings.
  • Bake for 13 minutes.
  • While the doughnuts bake, whisk together the ingredients for the glaze in a wide, shallow bowl.
  • Set up a wire cooling rack over a piece of foil, parchment paper, newspaper, etc., unless you want sticky drops of glaze to drip onto your counter.
  • Let the doughnuts cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then gently remove them from the pan to a wire cooling rack. (I used a flexible silicone spatula to help me with this.)
  • Dip each doughnut in the bowl of glaze, then stick it back on the cooling rack while you dip the others.
  • Take a picture–they’re pretty!
  • Enjoy with coffee. Try not to eat all of them in one sitting–but, if you do, it’s okay.

As Micah ate his doughnut, I asked him for an assessment. Rich, just sweet enough, really good.

Then I revealed my changes to the original recipe–less fat, less sugar, half whole-wheat flour. Apparently, not bad modifications, though Micah did remark that he’d like to try the full-fat version. 🙂

Since our Saturday doughnuts, three more pink dresses have arrived in the mail:

Dress #6: cute on the model….not so cute on me

Dress #7 – too big, not really peachy enough,
and too low-cut in the back for my strapless bra

Dress #8: peachy pink, pretty, a perfect fit

Yes, you read that correctly. After six weeks of shopping and seven dud dresses, I have finally, miraculously, triumphantly found something to wear in Dave and Kim’s wedding.

The best part? My chocolate doughnuts are healthy enough that even if I eat a whole bunch of them before the big day, I’ll still fit into this fetching little frock. 🙂

Categories: musings, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

muffins for Monday – base recipe #1 – chocolate persimmon muffins

image courtesy indiebound.com

The first base recipe I use is adapted from Kim Boyce’s book Good to the Grain: Baking with Whole-Grain Flours, and I discovered it after buying a bunch of persimmons from the farmer’s market and having no idea what to do with them! The recipe is for whole-wheat chocolate persimmon muffins, but I’ll bet you could substitute mashed bananas, applesauce, peaches, pumpkin–almost any sweet fruit/veggie puree–for the persimmon to get a moist, yummy, chocolaty breakfast muffin. 🙂

What’s in it:

  • 2-3/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons room-temperature butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup fat-free Greek yogurt
  • 1 cup pureed ripe persimmon
  • 1 10-ounce bar of dark chocolate, chopped

Step-by-step:

  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • If you’re using metal muffin tins, lightly grease 18 cups or put some paper liners in there. I love my silicone muffin pans because I can usually make the muffins without cooking spray or liners and then pry them out with a silicon spatula (one of my other favorite kitchen tools.)
  • In one bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  • In another bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer. Once this stuff gets light and fluffy, beat in the eggs, then the yogurt, then the pureed persimmon.
  • Add the dry ingredients to the wet stuff without over-mixing, then fold in the chopped up chocolate chunks.
  • Divide into your 18 muffin cups.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes, cool, and enjoy!

These are pretty tasty and not super-sweet, but the chocolate chunks give them a little extra decadence that I really enjoy. (And if you’re filling your muffins with whole wheat and fresh fruits, why not have a little chocolate for breakfast?)

Categories: links, recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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