Posts Tagged 'maple syrup'

Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins

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Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii.

I’m back!  You’ll have to forgive me for the past couple months.  They were arguably the busiest of my entire life.  But I am baking once again!  Before we get into the details of my latest delicious creation, here’s a brief recap of recent events to give some context for my absence and perhaps entice understanding from my wonderfully patient readers:

  • Moved into my new apartment
  • Unpacked – umm…amidst the busyness, this took several weeks
  • Waited for cable / internet to be installed…twice – thanks for not showing up the first time Time Warner!
  • Travled to Rhode Island for a weekend to attend a wedding
  • Planned and conducted a major brainstorming workshop for clients at work
  • Cheered for the Cardinals at a Mets game – they’re in the playoffs now!
  • Celebrated a good friend’s birthday
  • Drove to CT and back for work meetings – times two
  • Vacationed in Europe with Dan for 10 days – an absolute DREAM!  If this were a travel blog, I could do a billion posts about that trip!
  • Worked 75+ hour weeks for a month straight, including through Labor Day weekend…
  • …while I was in Chicago visiting my sister – and having lunch with Jenn!
  • Traveled across the country for a week to watch market research focus groups
  • Played host to my parents while they were in NYC for a weekend
  • Researched and bought a new bike – wheeee!
  • Brunched with old friends from high school
  • Went to several doctor appointments
  • Plus a whole bunch of other very important stuff that I need to keep secret for now…shhh…

Whew!  A lot of work (sad…) but a lot of fun (happy!) in there too.  With all of the above going on, I haven’t had much time – or kitchen access! – to make my own meals, let alone do any awesome baking.  However, the dust seems to be settling – knock on wood – so I am keeping my fingers crossed that we can now return to our regularly scheduled programming.

To kick it off, let’s play a little game of Train of Thought, shall we?  I’ll show you how I decided to make what I’m sharing with you right now!

Today = October.  October = fall.  Fall =  pumpkin.  Pumpkin = great oatmeal mix-in.  Great oatmeal = pumpkin + mashed banana + flax + …  Ooh – I got it!

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These Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins both welcome the new season and celebrate my re-found ability to make breakfast in the morning.  Pumpkin, banana, flax and maple syrup are the ingredients that make up my favorite bowl of oatmeal – and they’re now brought to you in muffin form!  Top these off with some peanut butter and you’re good to go.  Yum!

Here’s my recipe for Pumpkin Banana Oat Muffins, adapted from this recipe:

1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs

3/4 cup flax seed meal

2/3 cup maple syrup

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup oats

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375*F.  Spray muffin tins with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, mashed bananas, vanilla, eggs, flax seed meal and maple syrup until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix whole wheat pastry flour, oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients until just blended.  Pour into prepared muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes.  Makes 18 muffins.

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I was quite pleased with these muffins!  Seems like the ole baking skills haven’t gotten too rusty from lack of use.  Dan liked them too – though his enthusiasm might have been more reflective of the fact that I was baking anything at all!  Moist, chewy and filled with healthy ingredients – they’re a perfect way to start the day.

Do you eat oatmeal?  What would your fall + oatmeal muffins look like?

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Banana Coconut Bars

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Well, bloggie friends, I’m moved into my new place!  And couldn’t be happier.  I can’t wait to explore the hood!  I’ve already spotted a health food store, mentally noted at least a dozen restaurants to try and bought a loaf of fresh bread from a nearby bakery.  Life is sweet.  Now if only the rest of my boxes would unpack themselves…

Oh, and did I mention that my fridge now has a freezer?!  Take that old apartment!  I’m sure it will soon be filled with yummy baked goodies.  And on that note, can someone tell me how to freeze things?  I’ve had nary an opportunity to do such a thing so am clueless re: avoiding freezer burn.  Help!

The recipe I’m sharing with you today was actually not made in my new apartment, but in my old apartment…um…two weeks ago.  I know, bad blogger.  Life got hectic!  But the photos I took ages ago have been staring at me from my desktop for too long.  I could wait no more to bring you Banana Coconut Bars.

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B-t-dubs, if you think my pictures are prettier than usual, it’s because THEY ARE!  That’s courtesy of my awesome new camera, which is courtesy of my more awesome, #1, best-in-the-world boyfriend who proudly encourages my pursuit of the arts.  Yes, I am now the grateful owner of an SLR.  And my new apartment has natural light.  Things are looking up!

Back to the food…

These bars were born of a combined need to use up a bunch of uber ripe bananas and my recent interest in coconut.  Riddle me this:  I was never a fan of coconut.  I then made Super-Charge Me! cookies, which contain said ingredient.  Ever since, I’m drawn to all things coconut!  What?! I really do think those cookies are crack.

Here’s my recipe for Banana Coconut Bars:

3 ripe bananas, mashed

2 tablespoons molasses

1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup agave nectar

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 cups white whole wheat flour

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Spray an 8×8-inch pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together mashed bananas, molasses, applesauce, agave and maple syrup until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix white whole wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into banana mixture until just blended. Stir in coconut.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes.

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Coconut flakes!  Banana chunks!

These were go-od.  So good, in fact, that Dan ate nearly half the pan in one evening.  So good that I’m sort of regretting giving him so many…  They were super moist and banana-ey.  Like delicious banana bread in little square form.  And low in fat to boot!

What’s your favorite banana recipe?

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Walnut Chocolate Chip Spelt Cookies

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I finally did it.

I jumped on the Dreena Burton bandwagon! And let me just say how happy I am to be here. The woman is a genius I tell you.

It’s not like I was avoiding Dreena and her recipes. She’s ALL over the blog world, and I’ve done my fair share of oohing and ahhing over her creations. But I’m careful with my pennies and always felt I should make more use of the cookbooks I have before purchasing new ones. I guess that belief slipped my mind when I saw eat, drink + be vegan at the bookstore the other day. I knew I had to have it. So into my collection it went!

The first ed+bv recipe I set my sights on was for the infamous Super-Charge Me! Cookies. OMG – they were like little balls of nutritious crack. I would have loved to share them with you all, but since Dreena hadn’t posted the recipe on her site, no dice! So to celebrate my newfound Dreena love, I found another one of her cookie recipes that was on the internet to modify and write about.

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Oh, and wouldn’t you know, Dreena posted the Super-Charge Me! Cookie recipe this week? Go figure!  Or go make them.  You won’t regret it.

Anyway…

Here’s the recipe I followed to make Walnut Chocolate Chip Spelt Cookies:

1 cup spelt flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 cup Sucanat

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon molasses

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a large bowl, mix together spelt flour, baking powder, baking soda, Sucanat and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together maple syrup, molasses, vanilla extract and canola oil until well combined. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts. Place spoonfuls of batter on cookie sheets and bake for 10-11 minutes. Makes 12 cookies.

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These cookies were YUM! After tasting my Maple Almond Butter Cookies and these, I am convinced that maple syrup = cookie perfection. It really adds a depth of flavor and keeps cookies wonderfully moist and gooey. Seriously, that stuff’s not just for pancakes.

The only thing I’d change about this recipe next time around is leaving the molasses out. I’m not buying that 1/4 teaspoon is making a huge difference when spread throughout 12 cookies. I mean, really, that’s 1/48 teaspoon in 1 cookie. You know? Other than that, A+.

What’s your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe?

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Maple Almond Butter Cookies

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Raise your hand if you like almond butter!

I’m going to assume a unanimous arm lift just occurred out there in the blogosphere.  Because almond butter is sa-weeeet!  Peanut butter often takes the leading role in my life – can’t deny unending love.  But almond butter is truly one-of-a-kind.  It really has its own roasty, nutty thing going on.  And because it’s not an everyday eat for me, I do feel a little more special each time a spoonful meets my lips.

To celebrate the opening of a new AB jar – and my subsequently boosted self-image – I decided to make Maple Almond Butter Cookies!  Almond butter cookies were actually the brainchild of my sister – also known as Ashley’s Part-Time Muse, The Egg Separator or Amanda The Panda, if I’m feeling silly.  She’s a nut butta luva just like me.  I have taught her oh so well.

So Miss Muse e-mailed me last week with her genius idea.  A few days later, I stumbled upon the perfect recipe to adapt.  I knew it was meant to be.

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Here’s my recipe:

1/2 cup natural almond butter

1/2 cup maple syrup

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preheat the oven to 350*F. In a large bowl, combine natural almond butter, maple syrup, oil and vanilla extract until well blended.  In a separate bowl, mix together whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, along with chopped almonds, and stir until just combined.  Let sit for five minutes.  Roll heaping tablespoons of dough into balls, flatten to about 1/3 of an inch and place onto cookie sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes.  Makes 18 cookies.

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These were goooood. Dan ate five a couple last night.  After his first bite, a long silence and many questions on use of ingredients, he declared them “Hands down the best thing you’ve ever baked.”  Now I personally wouldn’t go that far.  But I, too, am a fan.

The cookies are softly chewy with a perfect almond crunch.  And I love that maple syrup is the sweetener.  I’ve been meaning to use a liquid sweetener cookie recipe for awhile and this one fabulously fit the bill.  The only change I’d make for next time is using almond extract instead of vanilla – to add some extra almond-y oomph!

What’s your favorite nut butter treat?

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Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread

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Fall is the BEST time for baking.  I seriously believe the season was made just to give us inspiration.  Think of all the flavors and spices – pumpkin, apple, cinnamon, nutmeg.  Ahh…I can smell an oven seeping with autumn aromas as I type.

I already made Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins to express my love for what I deem to be the epitome of fall – Thanksgiving.  But my love overfloweth, and I couldn’t let the holiday come and go without baking up another festive recipe.  So without further ado, I’d like to introduce Maple Sweet Potato Cornbread.

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My Maple Banana Cornbread was such a hit around here that I thought it would be fun to up the fall aspect and transform it into a loaf bursting with seasonal tastes.  Since sweet potato is a favorite Thanksgiving – or anytime! – food of mine, the way to make this happen was obvious.  I substituted sweet potato for banana and the rest, my friends, is history.

Here’s my recipe:

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup mashed sweet potatoes

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 egg white

1/2 cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together sweet potatoes, maple syrup, egg white and skim milk.  In a separate bowl, mix cornmeal, white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  Stir the dry ingredients into the sweet potato mixture until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes.

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Maple!  Sweet potato!  Cornbread!  A trifecta of fall flavors!

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This bread is quite tasty!  Very moist and the essence of sweet potato really comes through.  Compared to my Maple Banana Cornbread, I’d say the sweetness is more subtle – because sweet potato has less natural sugar than banana – and the nutty cornmeal flavor is a bit more subdued.  But it was still very well-received and Dan an official taste tester had a hard time picking which loaf he liked best. 

This would be a great treat to bring along to a holiday dinner.  Will you be baking anything for Thanksgiving this year?  

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Maple Syrup

749196_22440404I used to think maple syrup was just for pancakes.  How silly of me to have such a limited imagination!  Well, I have recently seen the light and discovered that it can also be great as a sweetener in baking.  And considering I just bought a huge quart of it, expect to see some more maple-infused baked goods in the near future. 

Maple syrup is a natural, unrefined sweetener that comes from the sap of maple trees.  The Native Americans were the first to discover its deliciousness and often drank it as a sweet drink or used it in cooking.  Nowadays, maple syrup is widely enjoyed and its production is centered in northeastern America.  Vermont may be the most famous producer in the U.S. – its state tree is the sugar maple! – but Quebec actually makes more than 80% of the world’s maple syrup.  Mmmmm…think of how many pancakes could be slathered with that sticky sweetness.

Maple syrup production farms are called “sugar bushes” or “sugarwoods.”  Isn’t that cute?  To collect the sap – aka future maple syrup – holes are drilled into maple trees and tubes are inserted into the holes.  February and March are usually the best months to do this because the change in temperature from freezing nights to warm days creates pressure in the tree to draw the sap out.  The sap then flows into buckets or goes straight through the tubes to the “sugar shack” or “sugar house” – again, awesome name – where the magic really happens.  When the sap comes out of the tree, it’s clear and basically tasteless.  But in the sugar shack, it’s boiled, the water evaporates, it becomes sweeter and darker and maple syrup is born!  It takes about 40 liters of sap – about how much is produced by one tree in 4 to 6 weeks – to make 1 liter of maple syrup. 

In the U.S., maple syrup is labeled either Grade A or Grade B.  Grade As are the light, medium or dark amber colored maple syrups.  These are produced early in the season and have a mild, delicate flavor.  Grade Bs are the dark maple syrups.  They’re the late bloomers and have a more robust flavor.  Nutrition fact of the day!  Both kinds are great sources of manganese and zinc.

To substitute maple syrup for sugar, I replace every 1 cup sugar with 3/4 cup maple syrup.  I also use a bit less liquid than the recipe calls for since maple syrup adds some of that to the mix.  If I’m substituting maple syrup for another liquid sweetener, I go one for one.

And I’ll leave you with this: Every single time I went to type “maple syrup” for this post, I typed “maply syrup.”  So it has hereby been renamed in my book.

What’s your favorite recipe that uses maply syrup?

Maple Banana Cornbread

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If you haven’t caught on yet, I like to bake traditional treats with a bit of a twist…brownies with cinnamon, pumpkin muffins with honey, chocolate chip cookies with coffee.  My goal is to create recipes that are approachable, but interesting, because those are the kind I like best.  Everybody loves banana bread or chocolate cupcakes, but what can I do to make that first bite a tad surprising?  

In light of this baking ideology, and the approaching holiday, I set out to spice up a seasonal favorite – cornbread.  I’ve had some stone-ground cornmeal hanging out in my apartment for a while now – remnants of a one-off chili and cornbread night – and it’s been begging to be used.  I think it felt left out because every time I reached into the cabinet to pull out my baking ingredients, I passed it over in favor of WWWF or whole wheat pastry flour.   I figured it deserved its moment in the spotlight too, but what to do with it?

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Maple Banana Cornbread sounds good to me!  This is a really fun recipe that has no added fat and is very low in sugar – but you can’t even tell!  I think that’s awesome.  Just make sure you use a cornmeal that’s 100% whole grain to keep it 100% whole foods.

Recipe:

1 cup stone ground cornmeal

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2  teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 medium bananas, mashed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1 egg white

1/2 cup skim milk

Preheat the oven to 350*F. Spray an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix cornmeal, white whole wheat flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.  In a separate bowl, mix together bananas, maple syrup, egg white and skim milk.  Stir the banana mixture into the dry ingredients until just blended. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes.

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I’m really excited about my Maple Banana Cornbread because it came out exactly the way I was hoping it would.  It has the nutty flavor and slightly crumbly texture of cornbread with added sweetness and moistness from the maple syrup and bananas.  This one’s a keeper!

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I like the tops of sweet breads best because they’re the softest!

Do you have a spruced up cornbread recipe?  

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Contact

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