Category: oats

Dark chocolate hazelnut granola -with chocolate chips, ’cause it’s healthy. Right?

What have I become!?

I made GRANOLA. Not just granola, but granola with AGAVE NECTAR not sugar. WHAT? I know. I can’t believe it either. But it was delicious.

I had never used agave before this, but I had heard a lot of good things. I tasted it and because it was sweet but not sickeningly so, I thought it’d be a good syrup to use in granola. Healthier than sugar, but without the “honey” taste that honey provides. Sometimes you just don’t want to have that flavor profile. So I got my amber agave and went to work!

Dark chocolate chocolate chip granola with hazelnuts. Extremely easy, made with Agave nectar!

So Chrismas is over, and we’ve all indulged a lot since Thanksgiving. Not only that, but NYE is coming, and there’s certainly more indulgence & debauchery to come. Annnnnd with that said, I figured a little lighter fare was in order. Less sugar, more agave.

Continue reading

Haulin’ oats.

Use steel-cut oats to make an easy 'overnight oats' recipe flavored with maple pumpkin butter.

Bad pun. Sorry. For those of you born after the early 90′s, I was making a pun referring to Hall & Oates, a 1970′s/1980′s duo who’s songs “Maneater”, “Kiss On My List” & “Private Eyes” are insanely well-known. But yeah. It was a bad pun.

On the plus side? This is a great idea.

I first saw it on This Homemade Life & I thought it was genius. Problem is, I don’t like oatmeal. I like oatmeal cookies… but not oatmeal. But I still wanted to try it anyway. Jay loves oatmeal, my parents love oatmeal, the whole world loves oatmeal. I was starting to feel like a leper. Truth be told, I’m not a breakfast person. If I’m away on vacation, I can maybe get in the mood for a breakfast or two. Especially on the road at an awesome Mom & Pop style diner. Otherwise, nope. I mean, I love breakfast foods. I’ve been known to have a bowl of cereal or two, & I do enjoy a good breakfast-for-dinner now & then. But I don’t want oatmeal when I’m having it- I want a big ol’ stack of buttermilk pancakes or waffles with butter & maple syrup. And don’t forget: lots of crispy bacon.

So to avoid the stigma of being the only person alive who doesn’t like oatmeal, I thought I’d do my own, more seasonal spin on the “overnight oats” in a jar: maple pumpkin oats.

An easy way to make maple pumpkin overnight oats using maple pumpkin butter.

Continue reading

Jammin’ little 5-minute muffins.

Tis the season for  warm, yummy breakfasts before heading out to school. Even though it isn’t really cold at all yet (not here in New York at least) and even though in the morning most kids aren’t drinking this, at least not here in the states.

;

But I’m no kid. I love my coffee, and I love that mug. I also love snacking on something sweet while having my first cup (or second, or third) of the day. So of course, when there’s nothing around to snack on, I have to make something to snack on. And that’s how this post came to be. Jammy little muffins that are hearty & delicious, yet super quick to make.

And another thing? I’m not even writing up a recipe for these.

Nope.

;

It’s not that I’m philosophically opposed to it all of a sudden. It’s just that you don’t need one.

All you need to start is the basic muffin recipe that I love & adore so much. It really is the BEST muffin base ever. Add chocolate chips, fresh berries, trail mix, top it off with some cinnamon-sugar, streusel or just some oats. You could even add a slice of plum or peach on top… whatever- and it always works. You can use cake flour, all-purpose flour, even whole wheat pastry flour. You can even substitute all granulated sugar or all light brown sugar instead of doing half/half, and I bet you could use honey or agave too (but I never tried). It’s the easiest and most customizable recipe in the history of muffin-making. For these, I used half dark brown sugar and half granulated.

So you start off with that recipe and a jar of your favorite jam. Or a few jars of jam. Same exact idea as with the Nutella muffins. You mix up the batter, pop it in some pretty liners

;

Then you just swirl a little jam into the top of each muffin before baking, or spoon it into the middle of the muffin before baking. I sprinkled the tops of mine with some sugar & steel cut oats, too. Add another dollop of jam of you want. If you want to make peanut butter & jelly/jam cupcakes, then just take out half the butter and replace it with an equal amount peanut butter. You might also need to use a mixer if you do that- peanut butter is thick.

Psst: If you’re using a homemade jam with fruit/berry chunks in it, you can push the chunks down inside of the muffin, leaving the looser part on top. That way it’s like an added surprise!

;

Bake it, take it out, let it cool a little… and eat it.

;

The end.

;

Would you like some scones & tea? Some jelly? Some tea-jelly?

Now that Halloween is over, it seems like its a landslide right through the holidays. Although before the mad rush of December starts, & before the long cold winter sets in (blah), it’s nice to take advantage of the down time, lazy weekends & of course, the beautiful fall weather. It finally got here! We had to battle 80° degree days, tons of rain & even snow right before Halloween, then 35° degree nights for a while there… but finally we got a bit of fall-ish weather. Cooler, but actually more on the cold side. Drier. Gorgeous changing leaves finally. Nice weather for a heavy sweater & apple cider or tea around the fire pit at night. It’s no secret I like my tea. All kinds, from regular old Lipton, to fancier ones like Stash’s Earl Grey Black or Licorice Spice, to classic ones like Twining’s Irish Breakfast, to healthy ones like Yogi Egyptian Licorice to even fancier ones like, oh, say anything from Teavana. Ahh, Teavana.

Teavana teas are the best. I am in love with them. My personal favorites (for drinking) are Cacao Mint Black, Samurai Chai Mate/White Ayurvedic Chai blend and JavaVana Mate. However I haven’t found one yet that I’m not into. My mother has a ton of them that her friend Mara (hi, Mara!) sent her in a ‘Tea Lovers’ gift set, so that’s where I go when I want to try a new flavor. Or when I want to experiment. Like, for example, what I wanted to do when I got this particular book.

A few months ago, I ordered a book that I had been sorta lusting over for a while. It’s called Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry by Liana Krissoff/photographs by Rinne Allen. It arrived on a warm (okay- muggy, hot & slightly stifling), beautiful August day during which I had been out gardening, so I only briefly flipped through it at first. After cleaning up, coming inside & showering, I settled in with a can of ice cold Coke Zero & pored over every page. What a freakin’ gorgeous book! Filled with amazing recipes (not just canning but baking too!) and glorious photos. If you don’t have it, buy it. You won’t regret it.

One of the recipes in this book was a recipe for tea jelly. Just jelly made with tea. Well, tea, sugar, pectin and lemon juice. Sort of like an iced tea jelly, or a sweet tea jelly. I knew I had to make it. So I did. And the tea I used was Teavana’s Frutto Bianco Pearls white tea, which is described as:

Tropical fruits effortlessly complement hand-rolled, delicate white tea pearls. A blend of kiwi, coconut and candied tropical fruit bits tempt you to pull up a hammock and sip your cares away! Ingredients: white tea, apples, rose hips, lemongrass, citrus pieces, kiwi bits, coconut chips, lemon myrtle, candied pineapple & papaya.

-From Teavana.com

I know, it sounds to die for. It is. And I thought it’d make a fantastic jelly.

The tea in the canister.

It did indeed make a beautiful looking jelly…

I have to say, I love all the recipes for tea-infused jellies & jams (as if you couldn’t tell?). It’s such an easy way to really make an average every day item stand out. It turns an ordinary preserve into something different, something that people can’t quite put their finger on. My family has a big history with tea; being Irish, my Nana Agnes’ side of the family drank tea like it was going out of style..I was raised on it, although coffee was a big part of life too, tea seemed to be the main component. It was always around.. black teas, green teas, herbal teas, sweetened with milk & sugar or just honey. When I was sick as a kid, my mom or nana would make me a big mug of tea with milk & sugar, and even now whenever I’m not feeling my best, I find that it’s a great cure. Tea is a huge part of my childhood memories. Now that I’m older, & my tastes have matured slightly, I like fancier stuff; but I always have a soft spot for a hot cup of black tea or English breakfast tea with milk & sugar.

So I made the jelly, labeled it, and put it aside. I sent a jar to Lyns (upon her request & also as payment for all the chutney’s she sent!) and promptly shoved my jars to the back of the line. Then recently, one Sunday morning, I was looking for another jam and found it! And I thought, “I need to make something special to serve this with.” So I took out a jar and I made some scones from the book, Regan’s Oat Scones, just specifically to have with this delicious jelly, for a brunch/lunch kinda thing.

Speaking of, you can use any tea you like, even herbal tea if you can’t tolerate caffeine, to make this jelly. Liana says she’s had excellent results with Oolong & Earl Grey, but I don’t see why you couldn’t use pretty much any kind of tea there is. Even pre-measured tea bags (although you’d typically need about 3 teabags to each tablespoon loose tea required). Trader Joe’s makes a white pomegranate tea that’d probably give lovely results, & my mother drinks a spicy vanilla chai by Bigelow that would also make a great jelly. Peppermint teas, citrus teas, musky teas. EXPERIMENT! Use a wintery blend for winter, a spring-y one for warmer weather… it’d be such a fun way to try new teas in a different way.

TEA JELLY (adapted from Liana Krisstoff’s book, Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Makes 3 half-pint jars

Ingredients:

  • 6 tablespoons loose tea leaves
  • 2 ¼ cups boiling water
  • ¼ cup strained fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ¼ cups sugar
  • 3 cups of Green Apple Pectin stock (see recipe below) or what I did- 1 package Certo liquid pectin

Directions:

  1. Prepare for water bath canning: Sterilize the jars and keep them hot (in water) in the canning pot, put a small plate in the freezer, and put the flat lids in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Put the tea leaves in a heatproof bowl and pour in the boiling water. Let steep for 5 minutes*, then pour through a sieve into a 6-to 8-quart saucepan.
  3. Stir the pectin/pectin stock, lemon juice and sugar into the tea. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture registers about 220° F on a candy thermometer or a small dab of it passes the freezer test (place some on the frozen plate and put back in the freezer for one minute, then remove; if the mixture wrinkles when you nudge it, it’s ready), about 25-30 minutes.
  4. Ladle boiling water from the canning pot into the bowl with the lids. Using a jar lifter, remove the jars from the canning pot, carefully pouring the water from each one back into the pot, and place them upright on a clean, folded dish towel. Drain the water off the jar lids.
  5. Ladle the hot jelly into the jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace at the top. Use a damp paper towel to wipe the rims of the jars, then put a flat lid & band on each jar, adjusting the band so it’s fingertip tight.
  6. Return the jars to the canning pot in a canning rack, making sure the water covers the jars by at least 1 inch. Bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes to process. Remove the jars to the folded towel and do not disturb for 12 hours, except to check the seal after one hour by pressing down on the center of each lid; if it can be pushed down it hasn’t sealed, and must be refrigerated immediately. After 12 hours, label sealed jars & store.

Instead of printing labels, I just tied some of the labels that come with the book (YES! Labels come with the book! SO CUTE!) on with some twine.

How cute are they? Very. How awful is my handwriting? Very.

The deliciously special item I chose to make to eat it with was a scone. Not just any scone- but one made with oats, yogurt and honey (or maple syrup, but I used honey). Add the tea-infused jelly as a topping and it’s a free train ride to dreamy-town. I love scones anyway, but these are totally different than any other scones I’ve made. And with the jelly; seriously just forget it. No words. I halved this recipe because 5 eggs was a bit ridiculous at the time, although I wish I hadn’t! You can never have too many scones… especially these beautiful scones right here.

REGAN’S OAT SCONES (from Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Ingredients:

  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup quick-cooking (not instant) oats, plus extra for sprinkling (if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 2 cups (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • ½ cup yogurt
  • ½ cup honey or maple syrup
  • 5 large eggs
  • turbinado sugar (optional, for sprinkling)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400° F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the flours, oats, baking powder, sugar and salt. Using your fingertips, two knives held together, or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until the largest pieces are the size of peas.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yogurt, honey or maple syrup, and 4 of the eggs. Pour the mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just incorporated; do not overmix.. The dough will be somewhat sticky.
  4. Turn out the dough onto a well-floured surface. Flour your hands, then pat the dough out to ¾” to 1″ inch thick. Cut into 2 ½” inch rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Gather up leftover dough, handling it as little as possible, and pat it out to cut more rounds. If the kitchen is warm, put the baking sheets in the fridge for 30 minutes or so to firm up, so they don’t spread too much in the oven.
  5. In a small bowl whisk the remaining egg together with 2 teaspoons cold water and brush the tops of the scones with it. Sprinkle with oats or turbinado sugar. Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating and switching the pans halfway through, until deep golden brown. Remove to wire racks.
  6. Serve warm or at room temperature, preferably split & spread with jam or jelly.

I got about 19 scones using the above recipe halved & using my 3-inch biscuit cutter to make them. You may think that’s plenty, but not when there are a ton of grabby hands around asking for baked goods all the time! I also used oats & gold crystal sugar (instead of turbinado) on top. They were so amazing, I could barely stop eating them. Thankfully, they’re (slightly) healthier than most scones. Sweet, but not too sweet. They’d work beautifully alongside a savory jelly too, I bet. Like a pepper jelly that’s on the sweeter side?

As I mentioned above in the tea jelly recipe, the author Liana prefers to use a homemade pectin stock for her jellies & jams. I am not so particular, but I’ll include the directions for doing so here just in case you’re far more ambitious than I. I’m lazy, remember? But now is a great time to do this because of the crazy amount of apples available. It’s apple season, after all. Make some & stock up on it if you’re not a lazy bitch. Like me.

GREEN APPLE PECTIN STOCK (also from Canning For a New Generation: Bold, Fresh Flavors for the Modern Pantry)

Makes 3 cups

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds Granny Smith apples

Directions:

  1. Cut the apples into eighths, removing the stems, and put the apples- peels, cores, seeds & all- in a 6-to 8-quart saucepan. Add 6 cups water, cover, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil, stirring occasionally, until the apples are completely broken down and the peels have separated from the pulp, 30-40 minutes.
  2. Set a very large, very fine mesh sieve (or jelly bag) over a deep bowl or pot. Pour the apples and their juice into the sieve and let drain for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally but not pressing down too hard on the solids; discard the solids. You should have about 5 ½ cups juice.
  3. Rinse the saucepan and pour in the apple juice. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook until the juice is reduced to about 3 cups (pour into a large heatproof measuring cup to check it), about 20 minutes.
  4. Transfer to a clean container and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or in the freezer for several months.

Lyns had tried the jar I sent her long before I remembered mine, and she said it was amazing- I have to agree. This tea made a spectacular jelly! It also just goes to show you that you don’t have to make the pectin stock to get a delicious jelly. Of course, I’m sure it feels slightly more rewarding if you do. But lazy bitches unite- we don’t need no stinking apple stock. We have modern convenience at our fingertips.

..

And the scones, they are phenomenal. Together, they’d be a great pair on Thanksgiving morning for breakfast. They have a sweet/not sweet borderline flavor that makes them more biscuit-y & perfect for accompanying a hearty bacon & eggs breakfast too. Also would be excellent on a cold winter’s night, right before bed. I had mine warm, and I definitely think they’re best eaten that way. Warm yours up if you’re eating them the next day, etc, or even toast them.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, it’s almost that time! With each post, as I did for Halloween, I’m going to post a vintage or retro postcard, just because I like ‘em.

Follow the trail.

With school being in full swing, I thought everyone could use something a bit easier to make, and what could possibly be easier than muffins? Muffins pretty much make themselves. Actually not really, because it’s hard for batter to mix itself… not to mention somewhat magical & Harry Potter-ish. But you know what I mean.

Back when my grandma passed away unexpectedly in July, we were inundated with beautiful cards & amazing e-mails & gorgeous flowers, etc. It was so wonderful to have people reach out that way. One of the things we received was a HUGE Harry & David gift basket sent by some high school friends of mine. I think my mother & I might have lived off of that basket for the first few days we had it. For dinner we’d have Moose Munch & butter toffee chocolates or strawberry licorice rope & yogurt pretzels. It was a heatwave, we were in a daze and we had absolutely no desire to eat let alone cook. But snack? Sure. A handful of popcorn & candy here & there got us through the days without crashing from low blood sugar.

Of course, there are always a few things left at the bottom of the basket. One of them was trail mix. Don’t get me wrong- there’s nothing wrong with trail mix. Especially not gourmet Honeybell Pecan Trail Mix. But let’s face it, when there are piles of delicious candy on top of it, what are you going to choose to eat first? Probably not the trail mix. Needless to say, in any gift basket, those are the things that are eaten first, but especially with us. We’re candy people. Chocolates always trump dried fruits around here.

So it was one really chilly night recently while I was watching History Detectives, when I saw the unopened baggie of trail mix & thought, “I bet that’d make a damn good muffin.”

,,,

It contains: Honey Bell pecans (pecans coated in a mixture of butter, sugar and oil of Tangelo [Honey Bell] flavoring), dried cranberries, raisins, almonds, pumpkin seeds and roasted cashews. A great fall breakfast muffin, right?

Not only that but it would use up that trail mix that was sitting there all lonely. All I did was I altered my favorite chocolate chip muffin recipe to include trail mix & some oats. Of course, I added considerably more trail mix than I did chocolate chips, then sprinkling the tops of the unbaked muffins with oats.

HONEYBELL PECAN TRAIL MIX MUFFINS

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ⅓ cup light-brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter — melted and cooled
  • 2 eggs – beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 12 ounces trail mix (or less, depending on taste)
  • few tablespoons steel cut oats

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400° F. and grease up twelve muffin cups or put liners in them (I prefer liners because it’s less messy that way).
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir just to combine. Stir in trail mix. DON’T OVERMIX THE BATTER.
  3. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling them almost to the top; top each muffin with oats. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean.
  4. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling.

Now that school’s open again & everyone is busy, they’re fantastic to pack in a kid’s school lunch or to send them off with in the morning for a quick breakfast when you’re (or they’re) running late. Even as an after-school snack. You could add some peanut butter chips or white chocolate chips, maybe some yogurt covered raisins, or even regular chocolate chips to it, if the mixture doesn’t include them. Some shredded coconut or coconut flakes. Maybe substitute buttermilk for the regular milk? And of course, you can use any trail mix at all. Or even just a mix of whatever dried fruits/nuts you like. If you want to make them healthier, use whole wheat flour, substitute applesauce or coconut oil for the butter and use honey or agave nectar instead of sugar. Add some oat-bran, make a streusel topping- the possibilities are endless!

Eat one toasted with some fresh cream butter, homemade jam or marmalade, or just have it room temperature as a snack. I’m told they’re best warm out of the oven, though. However, since that little cold snap is over, & right now it’s about 100° degrees & humid as all get out in NY, I can’t imagine having the oven on to make more of these. This weekend, though, the baking is ON again. Get psyched.

A new spin on pumpkin muffins.

A bunch of stuff has been going on lately, and I’m kind of all over the place (not to mention still fighting off this disgusting cold that just won’t die… it’s like a bad zombie movie: Night of the Living Mucus). I wanted to thank everyone who purchased from Yoyo‘s webstore on November 1st. Thanks to you all she was able to raise a whopping $351 dollars for Delaney’s Dream! Amazing. That’s her highest amount yet. Everyone should be so lucky to know someone as generous and spectacular as Miss Yoyo. She doesn’t have to do this, but she has such a big heart. Who else do you know takes time out of their life to sew all these awesome handmade creations, then uses 100% of the profits of one entire day (every month) of sales and contributes it to a different charity? Probably not many people. Most people are flaming douchebags. Yeah, I said it. Anywho… then a night or two ago, some crazy shit went down with the Cupcake Rehab MySQL database and all my posts and pages magically disappeared. Yeah, three years worth of blog posts GONE. Poof. Just like that. So after a brief freak out and after talking to the folks at GoDaddy (who were very nice, and ran all sorts of checks, but weren’t very helpful in terms of fixing it), I just did a Google on it, found some directions on repairing the problem and just fixed it myself. Lesson here: back up your databases if you’re running PHP-based websites, especially blogs, on a regular basis, and always know what you’re doing when you own/run a site so you don’t need to rely on the people at Tech Support to save your ass. Seriously. Buy some books for dummies and get on that shit. Right now. Otherwise you may find yourself in a sticky situation. If I had no idea what I was doing and didn’t know what the shit a MySQL database was or how to find it, I might have just scrapped everything, or maybe if I did know what it was but didn’t know how to get in there and fix it, I might have created a new database and reinstalled a new WordPress because I didn’t know any better; or maybe just cried and deleted the entire site, or paid some other asshole an arm & a leg to fix something that took me literally 2 minutes to do. So that’s basically whats been going on over here. Let’s talk about pumpkin muffinage, shall we?

So every fall, Starbucks & Dunkin’ Donuts have their pumpkin-flavored coffees & lattes, and some fall treats too. D+D (what Dunkin’ Donuts is referred to around here, for all you West-coasters or international visitors) has pumpkin muffins as well as pumpkin donuts. Now I myself have never had one of either item, but I see the muffins all the time & I think “I could make those.” They’re a pumpkin muffin topped with a streusel-y topping and then drizzled with a cream cheese icing. Are you drooling yet? No? Then look at this:

,…

Yes, I managed to tear myself away from Boardwalk Empire and thinking about how delicious Jimmy Darmody is for 5 minutes to make some pumpkin muffins in the style of those infamous ones from that popular donut chain. What can I tell you? I guess I’ve got a thing for guys with guns. And a thing for muffins.

I’ve made pumpkin muffins before, but not with an icing. I did make ones with rum recently, though. These, however were completely different. Rich, comforting, with great spices and the streusel with rolled oats was amazing. Talk about the perfect Thanksgiving morning breakfast treat. If you make these along with some cream cheese cinnamon rolls on Thanksgiving morning, your family will love you forever. Because they don’t really have to love you forever now, you know. You’ve gotta earn that. It’s true, I swear. Even I, who isn’t such a huge pumpkin fan, enjoyed these immensely.

(No clever name for these. What you see is what you get, here. Besides, I’ve seen a few blogs lately where the bloggers clearly desperately try to be funny with the titles, and my feeling is, if it’s overly cheesy or obvious you’re trying too hard, then it’s not funny. Not that I’m saying that I’ve never used a cheesy title- but there’s a thin line between outright cheesy and funny cheesy. Are you taking notes? Anyway speaking of cheese… let’s get on with the show…)

PUMPKIN STREUSEL MUFFINS WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING (adapted from Taste Of Home)

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup butter, softened
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup packed brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons molasses
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg (I use whole and grate it myself)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
Streusel:
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cold butter
  • 2 tablespoons rolled oats (optional)
Cream cheese icing:
  • 2 ounces cream cheese
  • about 1 – 1 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ¼ – ½ cup heavy cream

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. Cream together butter and sugars until creamy. Beat in pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, and molasses. Combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl and mix into the batter. Stir just until combined. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin tins 2/3 full of batter.
  2. For topping: combine the flour and brown sugar and oats (if using)  in a small bowl. Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly. Spoon streusel topping over the muffins and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from pans very gently using a large spoon & butter knife, being careful not to burn yourself. Place on wire rack.
  3. For icing: beat cream cheese and heavy cream together until smooth. Add confectioner’s sugar a little at a time until desired consistency is reached. Add extra heavy cream if needed (consistency should be similar to a frosting, somewhat thick but not too thick). Drizzle over still-hot, right out of the oven cupcakes. It will melt and drip accordingly.

So are you drooling now? You should be. Again, while I haven’t had the Dunkin’ Donuts muffins, I can pretty much bet that these are just as awesome, if not better, than they are. I have it on good authority from people who have indeed had those D+D muffins that these are way better. And that icing is like melty cheesecake. I was feeling lazy and used a sandwich bag with the corner cut off to drizzle the icing, but a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip or a disposable pastry bag with the tip cut off would work just as well.

These are best when eaten fairly warm, but just as good room temperature. I’m sure you could pop ‘em in the microwave for a few seconds to heat them up though, if that’s how you prefer them. Just be careful- you don’t want the icing to get too melty in there… So make these, shove ‘em in your face while watching your local Thanksgiving parade or as fuel before you start your Christmas shopping. I know there are some of you crazy people out there who already have gifts hidden in your house. You animals. Save some for the rest of us who shop on December 21st!

Happy Birthday to Indy!

Thanks to everyone who bought something from TOPSTITCH today. I appreciate it! The money is going to a great cause. Keep buying! You have until midnight West Coast time.

Indy turns two years old today. Time flies when you’ve got a four-legged child. It seems just like yesterday he was 35 lbs, chewing on people’s shoelaces & peeing in the dining room. Now he’s a 100 lbs of lean, not-so-mean pupcake-eating machinery, who enjoys sleeping on “his couch”, running around with his girlfriend Miley, Bully Sticks, Greenies and of course… hanging out on the deck (or romping in the snow).

Indy & Miley!

Since we’re not really sure when he was born exactly, we decided September 2nd would be his birthday. I’ve made Indy many, many homemade treats before. He adores them. Inhales them, in fact. I like doing it, besides knowing exactly what goes in them, it beats paying $4.50 a piece for a mass-produced, hard as a rock “pupcake” from a pet shop. Same reason why I make my own baked goods & food, and why I grew my own vegetables & herbs. Just makes more sense to me, you know? I like knowing exactly what’s going into my food, and my body. And my family’s body… and my pets’ too! Even if it is cream cheese, honey, and peanut butter-based *wink*

..

Luigi (left) & Mario!Luigi (left) & Mario!

Indy was kind enough to share these with his friends Mario & Luigi (above) who also had birthdays recently. Okay, actually, Indy’s mom & dad shared them, Indy would’ve eaten them all if given the chance. What can I say, he’s an only child. Oh! And Mario & Luigi’s mom & dad got married a week ago- congrats to them!

PUPCAKES WITH PEANUT BUTTER, CARROTS & OATS

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • ½ cup organic peanut butter
  • ½ cup greek yogurt
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ½ cup shredded carrots
  • ¾ cup LOW FAT milk
  • 16 ounces low fat cream cheese (or Neufchâtel)
  • another ¼ cup honey

Directions:

  1. Mix dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix the egg, honey, peanut butter, yogurt and oil. Mix the milk in with the dry ingredients, blending well. At this point mix your carrots into the honey mixture, then mix the honey mixture into the flour/milk batter.
  2. Put in muffin tins and bake for 15 – 20 minutes. These pupcakes freeze well. Frost if you like using a mix of the cream cheese and ¼ cup honey. Beat those two ingredients until well combined, then cover the tops of the pupcakes with it.

I used ground cinnamon to make little paw prints on the frosting using my thumb and pinky. Cinnamon is excellent for dogs (& humans!). It improves memory, prevents infections (anti-fungal/anti-bacterial), it’s an anti-inflammatory and it also regulates blood sugar, so if you were concerned when reading that I used it- don’t be! You could also just frost them with peanut butter. But you don’t even have to frost these, if you don’t want to. You could just leave ‘em plain and make ‘em doggie muffins. You could even substitute shredded zucchini for the carrots, or use mashed potatoes, pumpkin, applesauce or diced apples in them instead. Or maybe throw in some blueberries!

I’d store them in the fridge because of the cream cheese frosting & the yogurt, but they probably won’t last very long. They never do around here. Indy eats ‘em in two bites, if he isn’t licking off all the frosting first, that is. As always; if your dog is under 6 mos. old, elderly, sick, on medication or pregnant… please ask a vet before feeding it anything new/homemade/you’re unsure about. And do your research- if you can’t call a vet, Google is your best friend sometimes at 12 a.m. when you’re baking something & not sure of what to do.

*Insert long sigh here* They grow up so fast. Happy birthday, Indy, and many more. You’re a good boy, and we love you.