Peanut Butter & Blueberry Chia Muffins

These tasty little treats were the result of me trying to perk myself up and get myself organized for the week ahead. The last couple (challenging) weeks have been a write-off resulting in me spending more than I’d like to on food that I would normally prepare myself (along with spending more than I should be on a fun distracting app).

So instead of spending another $13.99 to buy more gems on my build-a-Disney-park app, I used that time to bake which was: A) a great distraction, B) I got to use the blueberries that had been sitting at the back of my freezer forever, and C) I got delicious muffins out of it. I also used the time to prep salads for the week, but that’s SO BLEH compared to these muffins.

I used ingredients that I already had in the house, which is how I ended up mixing peanut butter and blueberries, but it turns out to be a great combo! I won’t lie, the chia seeds were an afterthought, but I have a ton of them in my cupboards….BUT they’re healthy for you and they add the tiniest bit of crunch, so I think it was a good choice.

Honestly though, you can’t go wrong with peanut butter, it’s a personal favourites. If it can make celery delicious then obviously it will make your everyday blueberry muffins that much better. While I generally don’t eat breakfast most days, I was pretty happy when I hit the 11:00 a.m. snack craving and was able to pull one of these out of my bag.

I know that muffins are generally not good for you – but peanut butter, blueberries and chia seeds are, and that’s the only important thing to take away from this. All three are filled with protein and nutrients so you can’t really go wrong here….right? We can call it balance! They’re tender, flaky, hearty and the blueberries add such a nice little twist of blue! Like the cranberry muffins, remember to not over mix or you’ll end up with completely coloured muffins instead of nice little pockets of blue.

These tempting bites of joy will keep for about 5 days in an airtight container…if they make it that long of course. They’re also quick to put together – making them perfect for when you’re busy with other things, which if you’re like me, is basically always. When you need to enjoy a quick, sweet, sort-of-healthyish treat, then look no further! (They also go great with Baileys for a late-evening snack…shh…)

Peanut Butter & Blueberry Chia Muffins

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I use cashew)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare your muffin tin with muffin liners or grease it (12 muffin tray)

In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and chia seeds.

In another, whisk together the melted butter, brown sugar, peanut butter, eggs, milk, and vanilla until smooth. Pour wet ingredient mixture into dry ingredient mixture. Stir until just combined. GENTLY fold in blueberries. Remember do not overmix!

Fill each muffin cup to the top. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely (if you have that kind of will power). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Will last in an airtight container for 5 days. These can also be frozen!

Butterscotch Croissant Pudding

Carbs are awesome. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, you do not need that kind of negativity in your life. Bread is definitely one my personal favourite carbs. My favourite dinner? Bread, cheese, and wine. That will woo me over any day.

Honestly though bread is SO versatile you can do basically anything you want with it. Even bad bread is good. Stale Panetonne? Toast that baby up and smother it with butter. Dried out french bread? Croutons. Few day old sandwich bread? French toast. Any bread? Bread pudding! Even better…croissant pudding!

My brother for some reason made a lot of bread pudding when we were younger, and I always hated it (sorry D’arcy!) but maybe because it was him making it and it was a sibling thing? Whatever, I think it’s delicious now, and you can flavour it any way you want, and use any leftover bread you might have sitting around. Cinnamon buns, donuts, Italian bread..heck you could probably even make a savoury bread pudding with leftover focaccia! But croissants are my personal favourite!

Don’t reward adorable begging. Maybe just one nibble of croissant.

I’ve been crashing at my parents the last few days toughing out the snow “storm” (an excuse to see the dog more) and Tuesday was a snow day in. Extra sleep, lots of puppy snuggles, and some good ol’ comfort food. I didn’t actually have croissants just sitting around my parents house, but I did manage to get my hands on some and was able to whip up some croissant bread pudding. I cut them and let them dry out a bit before I put the custard on, though!

I think the croissants are perfect for bread pudding. They’re light, flaky and really soak up the custard and you get all those nice crunchy bits on top. I really love butterscotch and caramel, so the last few times I’ve made bread pudding I’ve used that and have never been disappointed, but definitely get creative with the add ins! Chocolate, dried fruit, berries, skor, citrus…it’s all delicious!

I served mine with some frozen berries that my mom had picked from our bushes over the summer and lightly warmed them up till they popped and got all juicy, and they were a nice topping. But when I have more time a caramel or whip cream is another go-to! My dad, who “wasn’t hungry“, ate two pretty decent sized bowls of this, so I know it was good. To quote “This is the best bread pudding I’ve had…what’s in it?” I used croissants, dad…the secret is out!

Flaky, buttery, creamy, butterscotchy-y, bread-y, warm and comforting…bread pudding just got upgraded!

P.S. – Why can’t you trust croissants to get things done?
They’re too flaky!

Butterscotch Croissant Pudding

  • 8 cups cubed croissants
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp butterscotch pudding mix
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon, to taste

Preheat oven to 375 fht. Butter a 1.5 quart baking dish, I used Corning Ware, but a Pyrex baking dish or another casserole dish will do just perfect as well!

Cube croissants and put in large mixing bowl. If your croissants are fresh, let the cubes sit out uncovered for a bit to slightly dry out.

In another bowl, combine butterscotch chips, milk, sugar, eggs, pudding mix, vanilla and cinnamon.

Pour milk mixture over croisssants and mix well. Be gentle so you don’t break all the croissants apart!

Put in prepared baking dish and bake at 375 for 35-40 minutes, until the top is brown (and a bit crispy) and the custard is set.

Serve warm with berries, whip cream or caramel!

Irish Guinness Soda Bread with Cheddar

So I’ve come to understand that the backbone of a lot of traditional Irish dishes basically begins and ends with potatoes, which I’m 100% on board with, I think it’s fantastic. I also happen to love Whisky. I mean, I know they eat a lot of beef and mutton, which really isn’t up my alley, so I guess my idea of a great Irish dining experience would be a lot of potatoes and Whisky…oh and lots of bread.

Irish Soda Bread uses baking soda instead of yeast to help the bread rise, which is great if you’re intimidated by the idea of making yeast breads or maybe just don’t have the time for all that resting and kneading and wondering if your yeast even survived. Or maybe you just want something a little different. Traditionally it’s made with buttermilk, dried fruit and nuts, but I made it PG19+ and used Guinness and added double smoked cheddar cheese…because beer and cheese sounds so much better than trail mix. And using Guinness makes it double Irish, right?

This bread is quite dense and thick, the crumble and texture makes me think of a hybrid somewhere between bread and biscuit, which is pretty neat. It has a slightly Guinness-y flavour to it, and a bit of a smoky flavour from the cheddar. I’m sure this bread would still be great without cheese if you don’t have any on hand, but you can’t really go wrong with putting cheese on anything, so just put it in, I know you want to. Not to mention the little crispy bits of cheese around the edge are delish. It’s a little chewy, a little crunchy, and very hearty. We ate slices of it with more cheese on the top, because that’s how we roll, but it’d be equally as delicious toasted or dipped into soup or stew! And I kind of really like the colour of it – it just looks really deep and hearty, you know what I’m saying or am I just crazy?

The dough will be a little wetter than a normal bread dough, but that’s okay because you’ll be kneading a bit of flour into it anyways, and it doesn’t have to be a perfect shape, all bread is beautiful. I tried to do a rectangularish shape, and even though the dough was wet, it still held it’s shape really well and baked into a pretty cool lookin’ loaf! Anyways, this bread is quick and easy, tastes delicious, and is topped with ooey gooey cheese so there’s no wrong time to have this. Oh and hey BONUS – the amount of beer used is less than a full can of Guinness, so you have a little treat while you finish making this!

Irish Guinness Soda Bread with Cheddar

Makes 1 really decent – too much for two people for one sitting – sized loaf.

  • 4 cups AP flour, plus a bit extra for kneading (maybe up to a 1/2 cup or so and a sprinkle for the top)
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 3/4 cup Guinness stout
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup grated smoked cheddar (or whatever cheddar you like!) plus a bit more for sprinkling

Preheat the oven to 375 fht.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil or a silicone baking mat.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add in the cubes of butter and cut into flour mixture until you have a fine crumble.

Butter should be well combined into flour mixture to make a crumble

In a separate bowl, mix the Guinness and egg.  Slowly pour the beer and egg mixture into the flour and combine until just mixed. No “knead” to overmix here because you’ll be kneading in a second.

Pour the dough onto a well-floured surface and knead it a few times, adding up to an additional half cup of flour to get the dough firm enough to mold. Make a well in the centre of the dough and knead in cheese (pictured in main text)  Place the loaf on the pan and lightly cut an X or two slits lightly into the top of the bread. Top with a sprinkle of flour and a sprinkle of cheese (no measurement for the cheese, just enough until you think “oh yea, that’s gonna be good”)

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean and the top is golden brown.  Tapping the bottom of the loaf should make a hollow sound.

Cool bread…or don’t (warm bread is AMAZING)…slice and enjoy!

Saluti!

Lavender Cookies (London Fog Glaze)

Soap, detergent, pot pourri, perfume, healing remedy and now…cookies? Oh yeah, the cookie monster would be stoked on this one. Give those chocolate chip cookies a break and swtich it up with these lavender cookies! These are chewy, soft and have a gentle hint of lavender with beautiful purple flakes throughout that will leave any cookie monsters in your life happy!

Okay, so the dirty truth about these is not EVERYONE likes them. Lavender really isn’t a traditional baking flavour. I think a lot of people can’t get past the fact that they’re eating lavender in a cookie and if you use too much of it, your cookies will in fact, taste like soap…I’m speaking from experience. But when you get the perfect amount of lavender, it’s such a delightful unexpected flavour! Not to mention, how gorgeous does the lavender look in these cookies?

See this lavender? It’s dried lavender..obviously. Have you ever seen it in the store? I haven’t, but if you do please let me know! My mom and I both grow lavender (hers is always more full, she must have a secret) so we pick it and dry it ourselves to use, but if you don’t grow and dry your own, then Epicure spices makes a dried lavender! I’ve ordered from them before when we’ve been short on lavender. Although if you haven’t tried growing it you should consider it. It smells great, it’s easy to grow, and you can dry it and make cookies with it…that should pretty much sell you right there (you can make other stuff with it too, but cookies is obviously the most important).

Anyways, these are really gorgeous spring cookies. I’ve made them for baby showers and bridal showers, and have coloured the glaze purple to go with the spring/lavender thing. Honestly, I think the natural colour of the Earl Gray tea in the glaze is beautiful though. My aunt needed a couple dozen cookies for Monday night, and these keep well if they’re sealed in a tin. I had a beautiful, relaxing Saturday morning then I went to my parents to finish packing, and here I am now baking away before I leave for my snowboarding trip! I’d be lying if I said I didn’t taste one…or two. FINE, I ate two….and gave one to my dad. OKAY OKAY I licked the batter off the spoon…get off my back, it’s Saturday night!

So the glaze is definitely optional. It’s my personal preference because I think that london fog and lavender is SUCH a nice, gentle and feminine pairing, but lemon would be really good too in the spring! Drizzle the cookies or dip half of the cookie in the glaze and it’ll add an extra special touch to an extra special cookie! If you’re low on time though, these cookies are delicious without it.

I hope you’re ready to expand your cookie horizons and shake things up, because these cookies are ready to blow your mind away! “Me love cookies…OMNOMNOM”

Lavender Cookies (London Fog Glaze)

1/2 cup cold butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp dried lavender, finely chopped
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder

  • Preheat oven to 375° Fht.
  • Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and vanilla extract.
  • Stir in lavender, flour and baking powder. Roll half teaspoon-sized amounts onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat and bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Allow to cool slightly on pan before moving to a cooling rack.
  • Glaze cookies, if desired.

Makes between 2-3 dozen cookies depending how big you make them!

London Fog Glaze

2 earl gray tea bags
1/2 cup milk
1 cup icing sugar

  • Warm milk in microwave or stove. Steep 2 earl gray teabags while cookies are cooling
  • Put icing sugar in large bowl and add milk 1 tbsp at a time until you’ve reached desired consitancy. I like it a little thinner, but if you want it thicker, add less milk. You will most likely not need to use all the milk!!! Remember, add slowly so you don’t add too much! If you did, and it becomes too thin, just add more icing sugar.
  • Drizzle over cookies or dip half of each cookie in glaze.

Saluti!

Pita Bread

Pita bread is in my opinion one of the best vehicles for dips. Nothing against regular bread – because this girl loves all bread, I’m in no way “bread”judice (ba dum ch)- but pita can not only dip into your dip, but you can scoop easier with pita, and get a ton of goodness on it. Personally, my favourite dips are hummus and tzatziki, which yes, is traditional for pita bread, but honestly even without pita they are still my favourite dips. I dip everything in them and often use them as spreads in wraps and as marinades and sometimes will eat hummus with a spoon. I don’t need pita for those dips but the pita is definitely a perk. And really how great is it when you get Greek food, and you get a basket of warm pita bread. Can you even imagine eating Mediterranean without it? I CAN’T.

And really what can’t pita do? Stuff that baby with veggies and sauce and meat, dip and scoop up olives and hummus, roll that thing up into a gyro, use it as utensil to pick up food (as is traditional), or even put pizza toppings on top and bake it – umm hello weekday cheat! It’s honestly no wonder that it’s been a staple of the Middle East for 4,000 years. They were definitely onto something back then, they knew they had somethin’ good goin’ on.

I won’t lie – when I’m in a pinch, and that is a lot as I’m often out and about and busy, I will buy pita bread from the store. I still think the store bought stuff is good if you can find a decent brand. This pita bread though is super duper easy to make and requires pretty minimal effort, the only thing is that it takes a couple hours because there is a bit of a waiting game for the dough to rise. But when I’m making Greek or Mediterranean food for my loved ones, and I have a bit of time to spare, the fresh pita is definitely a must. Nothing adds a pinch of extra love like homemade pita does! Making your own pita bread is definitely a way to impress your loved ones, they’ll be amazed and you can soak up all the “wow, you made pita bread? That’s amazing, you’re so talented and hardworking!”(true story).

They don’t have to know how easy this is, I won’t tell if you don’t!

Pita Bread

  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour (divided)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus a pinch to oil the bowl)

Makes about 10 pitas – depending how big or small you make them!

Pour yeast into 1/4 cup of the warm water; add the sugar and let stand for 10 minutes until it foams.

Combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt into a bowl. Form a well in the center and pour in yeast mixture and remaining 1 cup warm water and 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Begin to mix with your hand, wooden spoon, or dough hook (I use a wooden spoon personally), adding remaining flour as needed. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 to 15 minutes (or use the machine and dough hook), until the dough is smooth and soft but not sticky.

Oil a large bowl and place dough in the bowl and turn to coat the entire surface of the dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and put the dough in a warm, draft-free place for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until its doubled in size. (here’s the waiting game!)

Preheat oven to 475 fht. Place a heavy baking sheet or baking stone on the lowest rack of the oven.

Roll the dough out, then fold and roll again. Do this a few times to get the air bubbles out of the dough. Divide into balls about 2 1/2 ounces each (approximately 5 tablespoons of dough) and cover with a damp towel.

Roll each ball into a circle on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin into a thin, full circle. The circles should be about 1/4-inch thick and about 7 inches across – you can make them bigger or smaller to your preference! (p.s. – if they don’t come out as a perfect circle…those are the ones that I call “rustic”)

Let each rolled pita rest while you roll the remaining dough balls.

Sprinkle the hot baking sheet or baking stone lightly with flour. Place a few of the circles on the stone or baking sheet (or as many as will fit comfortably, leave them some room). Bake for about 5 minutes, or until they just begin to show some color, flipping them half-way through.

Remove from the oven and cover with a clean kitchen towel until cooled and ready to chow down! These can also be frozen in ziploc bags!

Saluti!

Cinnamon Bun Pull Apart

Cinnamon Rolls are AMAZING. The best cinnamon roll place is called “Cinnamon Roll Fair” on South Kihei Road in Maui….not Vancouver, sadly. Which is kind of a plus because I would eat there. Every.Single.Day.  Our condo happens to be conveniently located RIGHT NEXT DOOR (coincidence? I think not) to the heavenly gates that lead into Cinnamon Roll Fair, the brief walk into the bakery is guided by the sweet smell of warm, fresh, massive, ooey gooey cinnamon buns and fresh toppings. Forget about the smell of the ocean and Maui breeze, this place is where it’s at. 

Every trip to Maui, our first morning is always spent the same. We get up early, walk across the street to the beach and get some sand in our sandals, then we quickly run next door to Cinnamon Roll Fair to get breakfast before the morning crowd rolls in. These things are massive, this is not an understatement, they are literally the size of a dinner plate. Or at least they feel like they are. We get them topped with fresh pineapple or macadamia nuts (classic Maui!) and we head back to the condo – a warm box of cinnamon buns in hand, the smell oozing out the lid. We open the box and pop a bottle of sparkly and juice – and there you have it – a Shoults tradition – Cinnamon Roll Fair and Mimosa’s on the lanai. A trip to Maui wouldn’t be complete without it. I look forward to them every trip – and we still talk about these cinnamon buns when we’re home. Heck, we even brought them up the other day? “you know what would be good right now? A bun from Cinnamon Roll Fair” (Dad, I know you’re reading this and thinking about them now too). Since this place opens at like 4:00 a.m., my dad and I have been known to sometimes indulge in these before we go scuba diving….because we can burn it off while we dive, right? That’s how it works, okay! 

The point of the story is: I cannot find a cinnamon bun that tastes like that anywhere else. Maybe part of it is the fact that I’m in a tropical paradise – but none the less, every other cinnamon bun seems disappointing. And I can’t make cinnamon rolls to save my life (also not an understatement). Honestly though, I can’t see to figure them out? they’re always dry or thin, I don’t know….maybe my expectations are too high. I mean once you’ve had the best, what’s the point of making anything less, am I right? But I still have cinnamon roll cravings! AHH what do I do! Darn you Cinnamon Roll Fair, whyyy are you so far away!?

*woosh* in fly’s this baby! Helloooo cinnamon roll pull apart! Also known as “land of nod” from Best of Bridge. These overnight life savers are FANTASTIC. They’re easy, quick, smell AMAZING, they’re ooey-gooey and different enough from an actual cinnamon roll that I’m not left disappointed. And did I mention MAKE-AHEAD. Oh yea, prep these the night before by putting everything in your bundt pan, cover them with a towel, leave for overnight, throw this baby in the oven in the morning, turn the coffee or tea on, head back to bed, and wake up to your house smelling like cinnamon and everything that hopes and dreams are made of. 

Ooey Goeey Cinnamon Bun Pull Apart 

To make these extra indulgent, cover them with cream cheese icing or nuts! If there’s leftovers (hah, yeah right) then heat yourself up a slice or a pull in the microwave to re-live the experience. You will not regret these. Oh, and the other best part – it’s made with frozen dough (yay for cheats!) so you know the dough is going to turn out, and it really can’t be any easier. These are PERFECT FOR SHARING. If you’re into that sort of thing. 

Alright, well I’ve blabbed on enough about cinnamon rolls and such, so I’ll stop talking…and hopefully you’ll get to making these! Breakfast, brunch, dinner (yes you read that right) or dessert – there is no wrong time to eat this! 

Cinnamon Bun Pull Apart

  • 20 unbaked frozen dinner rolls (I find these in the frozen section with the pie crust and pastry)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup instant butterscotch or caramel pudding mix (or vanilla, to keep it classic if you like)
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup raisins (optional)
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • Sprinkle of walnuts (optional)

Lightly grease a 10 inch Bundt cake pan. Place frozen rolls into pan and sprinkle with brown sugar, pudding mix, ground cinnamon and raisins. Pour melted butter over rolls. Cover with a clean, damp cloth and leave overnight at room temperature.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350 fht. Bake rolls for 25 minutes, until golden brown, while you make your tea or coffee, and go back to bed and relax. When buns are ready, flip rolls out onto a plate and serve warm. heat leftovers in the microwave to experience the same amazement.  See, easy peasy!  

Saluti! 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

Cake is awesome. The house always smells so good, and cake always makes people happy. 

When was the last time you made upside down cake? Never? Is it because people always associate it with pineapple upside down cake and that cake is tired out? Probably. Are we still in the mid 1930’s? Heck no, it’s 20 friggen 18 my friends. Time for you to retire pineapple, there’s a new topsy turvy fruit in the oven. A touch of old fashion comfort with a twist of “Wow, I didn’t know upside down cake was still a thing and could be this delicious and modern, is there an emoji for this?”

Apples are everywhere right now, and it’s a nice change from apple crisp. The apples should be slice pretty thin, and you can arrange them however you think looks best. I arranged mine in a fan because that’s what I thought looked nice and made room for lots of apples. 

Does anyone else get SUPER overwhelmed when shopping for apples? I think it might just be me, but there’s so many different types of apples with weird names, transparent, galas, pink lady…like c’mon what was wrong with “green” “red” “rosé apple”.  As I’m not an apple expert, I have no idea if I bought the right apple. I bought red delicious because I love how pretty and shiny and red they are. They look like that traditional teacher’s desk apple. Use whatever apple you like. I would not suggest any of those green sour ones though…granny smith I think they’re called? Yea, I think you wanna stick with a bit of a sweeter, more tender apple.

This cake is easy. It starts off by making a simple caramel, pouring it into the cake pan, arranging the apples on top and pouring the cake batter over the whole thing. You can shake it up and do salted caramel by adding a sprinkle of sea salt to the top of the cake once you’ve flipped it out. 

Aloha goodbye pineapple, time to get cozy with our favourite fall and winter fruit! 

Caramel Apple Upside Down Cake

For the caramel apples: 

  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp. Butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of cinnamon (to taste)
  • Pinch of kosher salt
  • 1-2 apples, sliced thin

For the cake:

  • 1 3/4 cup flour 
  • 3/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon (or more, to taste)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup softened butter 
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 fht and grease an 9” round cake pan with cooking spray. In a small pot over medium heat, melt brown sugar, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Cook until slightly thickened, 2 minutes.

Pour caramel sauce into prepared pan and layer slices of apples on top. 

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. 

In another large bowl, beat together butter and sugars until softened. Add eggs one at a time, then add vanilla. Add half the dry ingredients to wet ingredients, beating until just combined. Pour in milk and mix until fully. Add remaining dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 

Pour batter over apples and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, around 1 hour. Let cool in pan for about 15 minutes then invert onto a plate and let finish cooling before slicing.

Saluti!

Cranberry White Chocolate Muffins

I use a LOT of white chocolate in baking. I think  it’s delicious. If someone gives me a choice between dark, milk or white it’s going to be white. I love other chocolate too, obviously, if someone gives me any kind of chocolate I won’t turn it down –  but I have a special spot in my heart for white chocolate. And don’t give me that whole “But it’s not real chocolate, Danica, you’re stupid” speech because, yes…I know it’s not real chocolate. And no, I don’t care. Because it’s sweet, creamy, delicious and it looks pretty. If you’re really so against the deceitfulness of white chocolate, then by all means, use whatever kind of chocolate floats your boat. But my boat is currently floating on a sea of white chocolate and cranberries, which in my mind, is a perfect pairing.

I love mixing cranberries into muffins. I love the bite of the tartness and the pretty pink swirl that it makes in the batter and how it cuts the sweetness of the chocolate. Remember to not overmix the batter, especially when you add the cranberries in because you’ll bust the cranberries and then instead of a pretty pink swirl you’ll just end up with full pink batter with mashed up cranberries in them. Still tasty, but just not quite what we’re going for here. Remember: do not overmix and be gentle!!

I didn’t have muffin liners on hand when I made these, but normally I would line the muffin tin…(my bad)..mostly because it makes for easier cleanup, which means you can get to eating these muffins sooner. A bit of lemon zest or a sprinkle of almonds on the top would also be delicious if you wanted to shake things up a bit! You can omit the melted chocolate on top, but c’mon that would be silly. Not only does it make them look a bit more special and adds a little somethin’ somethin’, but after you’re done drizzling the chocolate, you get to lick the bowl (go ahead, I won’t tell 😉 ) so there’s really no downside to that extra step! I drizzle mine with a lot, but you can drizzle as much or as little as you want!

Makes 12 muffins

CRANBERRY WHITE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS
  • 4 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg + 1 egg white
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 1/4 cups all purpose-flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips (or dark or milk)
  • 1/2 cup melted white chocolate (for drizzling)

Preheat oven to 400 fht. and line a muffin tin (12 count) with cupcake liners (or grease the tin if you don’t have liners!)

In large bowl, combine melted butter, oil, and sugar. Combine.

Add egg, egg white, vanilla and almond extracts and stir well.

Add in milk and combine.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Gradually add flour mixture to wet ingredients until JUST combined and then carefully stir in cranberries and white chocolate (even if some flour mixture is still visible, that’s okay – just do NOT overmix, you’ll have tough muffins and you’ll break the cranberries and have very very pink muffins!)

Bake at 400 fht. for 20 – 25 min. or until a toothpick comes out clean with few crumbs.

While muffins are cooling, melt white chocolate in microwave for 30 seconds at a time, stirring between nukes until completely melted. Or you can do this over a double broiler on the stovetop, stirring constantly.

Take muffins out of tin onto a cooling rack, and drizzle with white chocolate. (I put a lot of drizzle on mine, but put as much or as little as you like on – these are your muffins after all!)

Saluti!




Rhubarb Pie

I doubt my parents neighbour is reading this…but Brenda if you are…thank you for all the beautiful rhubarb from your garden. I have no idea how she does it, but she always has the most beautiful fruit and vegetable garden, and she’s always incredibly generous with sharing the wealth!

Anyways, my mom always does really fun things with rhubarb, she’s very creative.  To be honest, I find rhubarb intimidating for some reason? Maybe it’s those massive poisonous leaves?

Last time I made this pie I brought it to the island to share with friends, which mostly consisted of men in their mid twenties so as you can imagine the pie didn’t last very long at all, which is always a good sign! And this pie is ridiculously easy ~

I don’t have my recipe for pie crust posted yet…but when I do I’ll make sure that I remember to link this recipe to it for convenience, but none the less, use whatever pie crust you like! If you have extra pie dough left over (even just from trimming the edges) it’s always fun to decorate the top or you can always re-roll it and maybe you’ll have enough to make a couple tarts. I apparently like putting hearts on my pies; it was pointed out to me by my darling love of my life the other day, but c’mon they’re so cute…and when you make something with love you may as well show it off. I’m thinking maybe it could become my signature pie mark?

I don’t make a lot of pies, but I do always keep a pound of butter in the freezer. It makes it a lot easier to blend into flour for pastry (I grate my butter or use a food processor) and it results in a much flakier crust. But if you’re in a real pinch for time or you just don’t feel like making pastry, store bought dough works well too. For me, it’s all about the filling anyways. I’m going to sip my chai tea now and eat my overnight oats and pretend that it’s a slice of this delicious pie…

Rhubarb Pie

  • 1 recipe of your favourite pie crust (enough for top and bottom)
  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb
  • 1 1/3 cups white sugar
  • 6 tbsp. flour
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • Sprinkle of cinnamon or nutmeg

Preheat oven to 450 fht.

Combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/4 of the mixture over pastry in pie plate.

Heap Rhubarb over the mixture into pie dough (it will look incredibly overflowing at this point)

Sprinkle with remaining sugar/flour/cinnamon mixture. Dot with small pieces of butter and cover with top crust. Trim edges of excess crust and seal edges  (can be done by crimping edges with fork, crimping between thumb and index finger, rolling the dough into itself or however you like the look of your crust!)

Skor the top of the crust to let steam vent during baking. Decorate top with extra pie crust, if desired.

Place pie on lowest rack in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 fht. and continue baking for 40 to 45 minutes. Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or ice cream!

*If you find the edges of your crust are getting to dark, you can wrap the edge of your pie with tin foil during baking to prevent overbrowning.

Saluti!

WHITE CHOCOLATE ORANGE COOKIES

Is there anything more delicious to look forward to than a cup of tea and fresh out of the oven cookies? I think the heck not!

When I make cookies, I want the recipe to be quick and easy so I can get those cookies in my stomach as fast as possible! *Queue cookie monster*

I’m honestly drooling thinking about making and eating these cookies. These cookies are just SO amazing! The orange and the white chocolate is perfect…the orange is subtle enough but compliments the creamy white chocolate so perfectly. They are by far my absolute favourite cookie. This is straight up my go to cookie! wc orange cookies.jpg

This is so bad, but sometimes I eat probably the equivalent of 2 cookies worth of batter…I just can’t help it okay!

Now listen, I love soft, chewy cookies. I’m not into the tooth busting crunchy cookies (unless it’s biscotti…!)….okay fine I love all cookies…but I do have a strong preference for the soft, chewy ones. And I am a firm believer that the trick to making them that way is by using a combination of white sugar AND brown sugar, making sure the dough is chilled (also prevents too much spreading!) and of course, I slightly under bake my cookies.

As far as actually baking…I can wholeheartedly say that I miss my parents convection oven…ahhh mom and dad please let me steal your oven! But none the less, not opening the oven is always best for cookies! Also remember to use parchment paper so the bottom of your cookies down get too brown…although I do prefer my silicone baking mat (both of these also make the dreaded cleanup easy!) You can get them cheap at Walmart! https://www.walmart.ca/en/ip/starfrit-silicone-baking-mat/6000196139570

Fine fine, that’s enough of me blabbing on about these cookies, time to get baking and more importantly, eating!

White Chocolate Orange Cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 packed brown sugar
1 egg
Juice and Zest from 1 orange
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups white chocolate

  • Preheat oven to 350 fht.
  • In a large bowl, cream butter and both sugars
  • Mix in egg, juice and zezt
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt
  • Mix dry ingredients into wet ingredients until almost completely mixed (we don’t want to overwork the gluten!)
  • Stir in white chocolate
  • Chill for at least 1 hour (optional, but recommended)
  • Drop by spoonfuls onto greased pan, parchment, or your new silicone mat
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes or until just slightly browned
  • Let cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes before moving to cooling rack (or moving into your stomach!)

Saluti!