Posts Tagged 'white whole wheat flour'

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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Flour Face-Off: Muffins

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I’ve been playing scientist over here.  And by scientist, I mean 5th-grade-science-fair-tri-fold-display-board scientist.  Not the legit goggles and lab coat kind.  I may be good, but I’m not that good.

I’m a scientist because I ran my own little baking experiment.  Why yes, I am cool like that. You guys know I like to use different whole grain flours in my baked goods.  A little whole wheat pastry flour in this recipe, a little white whole wheat flour in that recipe.  But really what’s the diff, right?  Can you actually tell when one vs. another is baked up into a goodie?

I made it my mission to find out.

The Experiment:

Bake the exact same recipe using a variety of flours.

The Recipe:

Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins.  This is one of my go-to crowd-pleasing recipes, so I knew it would be a reliable base from which to judge the different flours.

The Contenders:


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From left to right: Whole Wheat Flour, White Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Spelt Flour, Brown Rice Flour.  First time spelt and brown rice flour baker here! Exciting stuff.

The Tasters:

Me, obvi.  And Dan, who was more than willing to eat multiple muffins in one sitting.  For the purpose of science, of course.

The Questions:

How would the final muffins compare to each other in taste, texture, appearance, etc.?  Which flour would come out on top?

The Hypothesis:

Umm…I skipped this part.  I told you – not the legit kind of scientist!

The Results:

Whole Wheat Flour


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Whole wheat flour was the first flour I ever used in my Spiced Pumpkin Honey Muffins.  I always bake them with white whole wheat flour now, so it was fun to go back to my roots!  These muffins were the chewiest and wheatiest of the bunch.  No surprise there.

White Whole Wheat Flour


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Like I said, white whole wheat flour is now my flour of choice for this recipe, so I’m very familiar with the muffins it produces.  But side-by-side with muffins made from other flours, did it stay the one and only?  Well, the WWWF muffins were pretty similar to the WWF muffins in texture, taste and appearance.  They were a teeny bit lighter in color and had a slightly less wheaty taste.  Yummy, of course, but I had yet to try…

Whole Wheat Pastry Flour


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My favorite!  WWPF made the softest muffins of all the flours.  They also got a little more rounded on top – check out the photo! – than any of the other muffins.  I liked that because it was aesthetically pleasing – like any good muffin should be.

Spelt Flour


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Yay for using SF for the first time!  But boo for these muffins being our least favorite.  I knew they’d be tricksters as soon as I started mixing the batter.  It was runnier than the wheat flour batters.  And instead of rising UP in the oven, it spread OUT over the muffin well edges – leaving us with flat muffin tops.  They also took longer to bake.  The final product?  Spongy – can you see from the pic? – and not really as flavorful as the other muffins.  Sort of like the spelt overwhelmed the other ingredients.  But I’m not giving up on SF just yet!  I have a feeling it would be better in cookies than things that need to be soft and fluffy.  Just needs to find its place to shine.

Brown Rice Flour


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The BRF muffins were Dan’s favorite.  At first, they seemed similar to the spelt muffins – runny batter, spread in the oven, flat tops, longer baking time.  But they ended up doing they’re own thing!  They were noticeably lighter in color than the rest of the muffins.  And they had a grainy, but soft, texture to them.  I kind of thought they stuck to the insides of my mouth a little, but Dan said I was making that up.  Also, BRF seems to have a very subtle flavor itself, so the pumpkin and honey tastes really came through.


For a good side-by-side comparison, take a look at the very first photo in this post.  Left to right: WWF, WWWF, WWPF, SF, BRF.

Conclusions:

In terms of muffins, I’m a WWPF fan.  Dan’s on team BRF.  SF doesn’t fly for either of us.  Obviously, there are some variables that could be played around with to influence the success of each flour.  Maybe some flours work better with liquid sweeteners – like the honey in this recipe – than others.  Or perhaps some would do better with more or less baking soda.  Lots of things to consider, but a girl can only do so much!

Anywho, that was fun!  Now I want to run my experiment on other baked goods.  I see a cookie test in my future!

Since I’m new to spelt and brown rice flour, anyone have any tips for baking with them?

Peanut Butter Apple Muffins: Take II

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Ladies and gentlemen…we have a winner!

Remember my Peanut Butter Apple Muffins from last week?  They did not live up to my expectations, so I wasn’t totally pleased.  They needed more peanut butter tastiness.  They needed more sweetness.  But I saw potential in their little muffin crumbs.  I knew they wanted me to be proud of them.  They just needed some help getting there.  And I was determined to provide that help. 

After a baking brainstorm and reading all of your suggestions – thank you! – I formed a plan of attack.  I’d use honey instead of Sucanat.  And I’d swiiiiirl the peanut butter into the batter once it was already in the tins.  To keep the flavor alive! 

Ready, set, GO!

Well, when it came down to it, I made a game-time decision that I believe took these muffins to the right place.  Instead of swirling the PB, I just plopped a glob right into the middle of each muffin.  You gotta go with what you’re feeling, you know?  And I was feeling the glob.  Kristie suggested this and she was right on.

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So here you go peeps.  The new and improved Peanut Butter Apple Muffins:

1/2 cup honey

2 egg whites

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped apples

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside. In a large bowl, mix together honey, egg whites, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix white whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just blended. Stir in chopped apples.  Pour half of the batter into 10 muffin wells from the prepared pan.   Place a glob of peanut butter in the middle of each.  Top with remaining batter.  Bake for 25-30 minutes.  Makes 10 muffins.

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See the creamy line of peanut butter running through the muffin?  THAT’S what I’m talking about!

These muffins are what I was going for the first time around.  Chunky apples, cinnamon spices, subtle sweetness.  And enough PB to make them stick to the roof of your mouth.  I am now pleased.

Have you ever re-worked a recipe to make it better?

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Peanut Butter Apple Muffins

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You know what I realized the other day?  I’ve only made muffins once for this blog.  Jigga what?!  Muffins are one of my favorite things to bake, so that’s just crazy.  They’re super easy.  They’re totally versatile.  And after you’ve made a batch, you get to eat a sweet treat for breakfast until they’re all gone!  Very awesome.

I decided it was time for the return of the muffin.  Obvi.  Then I went looking for muffinlicious inspiration.  I thought back to my Blueberry Coconut Oaties – modeled after my favorite breakfast.  And it hit me – let’s model these muffins after my favorite snack!  You know what I’m talking about.  What better snack is there than an apple with peanut butter?  None, my friends.  None at all.  And that’s how Peanut Butter Apple Muffins were born.

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I started with this recipe and it became this one:

2 cups chopped apples

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/2 cup Sucanat

2 egg whites

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup white whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325*F.  Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and set aside.  Place chopped apples in a bowl, coat with natural peanut butter and set aside.  In a large bowl, mix together Sucanat, egg whites, unsweetened applesauce and vanilla extract until well blended. In a separate bowl, mix white whole wheat flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until just blended. Stir in peanut butter covered apples.  Pour into prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.  Makes 10 muffins.

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Chunky apples!  PB coat!

Ok, I’m not gonna lie.  These weren’t the best muffins I’ve ever baked.  They were good, but they weren’t the muffins dreams are made of!   I needed more peanut butter flavor.  And maybe a little more sweetness.  But I’m excited about the idea and I’m not giving up.  I think next time I’ll use honey as the sweetener.  And maybe swirl the peanut butter into the batter once it’s already in the tins.  I tried to keep it separate til the very end instead of stirring it right into the mixture, but I think it got lost anyway.  And peanut butter is not a taste that should ever be lost.  Am I right?

What do you guys think?  Any suggestions to help these muffins be all that they can be?

UPDATE: I reattempted these muffins and the results were great!  Check out the new and improved recipe!

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Thumbprints

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I heart chocolate.

I heart peanut butter.

I know, I know, we all know this by now.

Lucky for me, my favorite holiday treat combines these two loves – Peanut Butter Blossoms.  You know the ones.  The crumbly, peanut buttery cookie with the sweet sugar coating and slightly melted chocolate kiss pressed right into the top.  YUM.  They’re on my Grandma’s cookie platter every holiday season and are always the ones I grab the second I walk in her door Christmas day. After giving her a big hug of course!

Fun fact – Peanut Butter Blossoms were the Pillsbury Bake-Off winner in 1957.  Hoo hoo!

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Here’s my adapted recipe:

1/4 cup non-hydrogenated shortening

1/2 cup natural peanut butter

1/3 cup turbinado sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon skim milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup grain sweetened chocolate chips

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter

Preheat the oven to 375*F.  In a large bowl, beat together shortening and 1/2 cup peanut butter until well blended.  Add turbinado sugar and beat until fluffy.  Beat in egg, milk and vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl, mix together white whole wheat flour, baking soda and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients and blend until combined. Roll dough into 1-inch balls and place on cookie sheet.  Using your thumb, make an indentation in the center of each dough ball.  Bake for about 8 minutes.  Note: You may need to press the indent in again when the cookies come out of the oven.  Mine stubbornly popped up a bit in there!  While the cookies are cooling, melt together chocolate chips and 2 tablespoons peanut butter.  Fill cookie indents with melty goodness.  Makes 20 cookies.

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They’re so cute!  Like little buttons.

These cookies are so soft!  And the chocolate-peanut butter filling is sort of truffly in texture once it cools.  It wasn’t all that peanut buttery though.  I think next time I’ll up the peanut butter to chip ratio or just melt the chocolate chips themselves to make the filling.

Do you have a favorite memory of Peanut Butter Blossom cookies?  

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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 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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