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Resolution Recipe 3: Plum Poppy Seed Muffins



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Plum Poppy Seed Muffins

Okay, we’re back in business! Happy to be blogging once again. Thanks for your patience loyal readers. I hope this is worth it!

I actually just made these muffins yesterday because even though this recipe was next in the book (back in January),  it wasn’t plum season. I figured I would postpone this recipe and come back to it in the summer…well…summer is here. What a coincidence! Small advantages for not having time to blog!

These muffins were pretty easy and delicious. They yield about 12 muffins according to the recipe, but in honor of making things more Weight Watchers friendly, I decided to make mini muffins instead. Using a Tablespoon I was able to make 37 muffins.

 

TIPS: 20140613_1902241. CHOOSING PLUMS: I would make sure to use plums that are not tart or sour. She says you can use any kind of plum ( I guess I didn’t realize there were other kinds then the reddish ones I see in the store, but there are….even Italian plums! Wanna see some pictures?? Click here) I mistakenly used the first ones I bought at Wal-mart and didn’t really make sure to buy those which were sweeter and riper. How does one do that you ask…well let me tell you. According to the helpful blog entitled “Just Plums” you do not look for plums with your eyes, but with your nose. They indicate that plums that are ripe and un-ripe are the same color. They say that a ripe plum will smell sweet and fruity where an unripened plum is not going to have a smell to it at all. Other sites mention that the plum will have a give to it if you press on it and the opposite is true for an unripened plum. If you have unripened plums that you want to use for this recipe, refer to the post from WikiHow about “How to Ripen a Plum.” I found this very helpful….AFTER doing this recipe. Yes, I’m proving very much to be the novice I claim to be when I do stuff like research the ingredients after I work with them.

2. MINI MUFFINS: Yes, mini muffins are just mini versions of muffins. 20140613_195557It’s not magic at all. However, if you are wanting to watch your waistline or you’re a WW point counter, then mini muffins are the way to go. This recipe went from 5 points a muffin to about 2 points a muffin if you yield 37 muffins when you only use a tablespoon of batter. I highly recommend this as an alternative because as WW people know, 2 point snacks are the best things to have on hand. You can still use the same recipe and enjoy, but in moderation that works for you.20140613_193049

3. MAKING BROWN BUTTER: I love that Deb Perelman simplifies what sounds like a potentially scary process of browning…not burning…butter. In her cookbook she takes you to a dessert recipe to learn how to make the brown butter. Her suggestions are as follows on page 202 of her cookbook:

  1. Using a pot, heat the pan to medium low heat
  2. Drop in your butter
  3. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden, and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty.
  4. Stir frequently, scrapping up any bits from the bottom as you do.
  5. Don’t take your eyes off the pot. You may be impatient for it to start browning, but the period between the time the butter begins to take on color and the point where it burns is often less than a min.

She has a lot of other tips and tricks but I have to leave something for you to read when you buy her cookbook!

REVIEW: I think you’ll love this recipe any time of the year. I love how it’s summer but with the smell of cinnamon and nutmeg I felt transported to fall with one waft of amazing from the oven. I would love to see how these turn out with other kinds of fruit. I happen to find the most sour/tart plums on the earth that were most definitely under ripe…now that I know what to be looking for…ugh. The great thing about this recipe is that the sweetness of the muffin batter helps balance out the sourness of the plums so be encouraged if you too end up making these with a few bad plums. You might actually like the way they turn out! Hope you give these a try this summer. You won’t be disappointed and they are fun change to the muffins we all know and love.

Happy baking, friends!

 

PLUM POPPY SEED MUFFIN RECIPE

Ingredients

YIELDS 12 MUFFINS (5 WW Points) , 37 MINI MUFFINS ( 2 WW Points)

6 T. unsalted butter, melted and browned and cooled, plus butter for muffins cups

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 c. granulated sugar

1/4 c packed dark or light brown sugar

1/4 c. sour cream or a rich, full-fat plan yogurt (WW: use light/low fat sour cream to keep muffins low points)

1/2 c. whole-wheat flour

1 c. all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp table salt

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

2 T. poppy seeds

2 cups pitted and diced plums from about 3/4 pound of Italian prune plums (though any plum variety will do). (NOTE: If doing mini muffins, consider doing 1 1/2 cups instead).

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Butter muffin tins
  3. Whisk egg and sugars in bowl
  4. Stir in brown butter than sour cream
  5. In separate bowl, mix flours, bp, bs, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and poppy seeds
  6. Stir dry  mixture gradually into wet mixture “until it is just combined and still a bit lumpy.”
  7. Fold in plums
  8. Divide batter into cups.
  9. Bake for 10 -12 min (mini muffins) 15-18 (regular size muffins)
  10. Allow to cool in pan for a few min before removing to cool on rack

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Resolution Recipe 1: Peachy Sour Cream Pancakes!


Final ProductHappy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful time celebrating with family and friends!

It’s time to get started with resolutions and I’m happy to say that I’ve made it into day two and been mostly successful….I’ll take it :o) As you know (since you’re a faithful follower of this blog…), one of my New Year’s resolutions is to do something I’ve always wanted to do and that is cook through a cookbook, cover to cover. Refer to my last post for details of this fun adventure and get excited that you’re reading blog post numero uno, folks! The journey begins now….

I think I haven’t actually cooked anything since August so this post is long in coming! I’m a little rusty in the kitchen but I’m ready to get start working on this NYR, so let’s do this!

Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes PagesRecipe Number 1: Peach and Sour Cream Pancakes (inspired by Deb Perelman’s The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook) Read more from her blog at : http://smittenkitchen.com/

Peaches! Delicious right? Well, leave it to me to pick a cookbook for my resolution that starts with a recipe that has fruit out of season. Well done, Jessica. This novice cook decided to rise to the challenge and give it a whirl. I’m happy to say that my modifications still equaled delicious pancakes! Especially since I’ve never even made pancakes from scratch before.

Being a moderate fan of pancakes myself, I like the challenge of using a recipe that is non-traditional since, to me,  pancakes are a little on the bland side and not the most appealing breakfast food. This recipe had a few unique ingredients (sour cream, cinnamon, and nutmeg), that made me change my thoughts about what a good pancake should taste like. The flavors and smells reminded me more of a yummy peach cobbler then a breakfast dish which was quick to sell me on this recipe!

Okay…here’s the quick run down of the ingredients:Ingredients

1 large egg

1 c. sour cream

1/4 tsp vanilla extract

2 T sugar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

Pinch of ground nutmeg

3/4 c all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 baking soda

Butter for pan (and the top of course)

1 peach, halved, pitted, and very thinly sliced (about 1/8-inch slices)

(modification) 1/2  to 3/4 cup canned peaches sliced thinly (great substitute for real peaches)

(modification) syrup from canned peaches (used to thin out the batter to desired consistency)

HOW I MADE IT:

Whisk together some of the dry ingredients (salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, flour, baking powder & soda) then in a separate bowl combine the remaining ingredients (sugar, egg, sour cream, vanilla). Fold dry ingredients into wet.

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

Funny looking p-cake 1 because of thicker batter

(Recommendation) I didn’t realize until after I started to scoop and pour the batter for my first pancake that the batter was too thick. I decided to add a little of the syrup from the peaches to thin it out. I probably only added 1/4  to a 1/2 a cup, but it helped and the pancake batter did not lose its consistency. I think it actually helped enhance the peach flavor in the cakes. So, if you have to go with canned peaches like I did because you’re making them out of season, might as well use the syrup.

Heat pan to medium low heat and melt a pat of butter.  (Deb recommends a heavy bottomed pan or iron skillet) Use 1/4 cup of the batter to make your pancake. I recommend spraying your measuring cup before scooping to make the batter come out quick and easy.

Place sliced peaches on the top of your pancake and wait for the signs to flip (bubbly center and dry edges). Flip and let it cook through for a few minutes.

Pancake 3Deb recommends heating your oven to 250 degrees so you can keep your pancakes warm until ready to serve.

I was able to make about 7 pancakes with the recipe but she suggests there is enough batter for 8. If you’re anything like me when you’re getting to the end of your batter, the final pancake is enormous. That means I have a huge peach pancake in my fridge for breakfast tomorrow! Which also means, yes, you should be able to get 8 pancakes out of the batter.

WHAT WOULD I DO DIFFERENTLY NEXT TIME?:

Pancake non peach side 31. I would like to have an audience to cook for! It’s so much more fun to cook breakfast for others then just for yourself! My BF David volunteered to be the victim of my next pancake making adventure so I’m sure that will be much more enjoyable as long as I don’t mess it up…which could definitely happen. You’ve been warned ;o) 

2. I would use real peaches! I think the canned peaches were really tasty but cutting them was really hard to do which is why you’ll notice they are all different shapes and sizes in my pictures. Again, no regrets with the canned peaches, but they will look so much prettier with real peaches. The beautiful thing is I have a peach tree in the backyard of the house I’m living in so I’ll know when to try this recipe again!

3. I would try this with other fruits like apples! I love apple cinnamon Pancake done 2anything so it would be fun to play around with the recipes and apples. It might be good to bake the apples to soften them up a bit so maybe that can be done in a pan on the side with butter and cinnamon before they are put in with the pancake batter. I imagine bananas would be good too, but since I refuse to eat bananas (…Lord spare me if there is a recipe in this cookbook with bananas that I have to eat…gah!), I won’t be trying that any time soon.

Final on plate 24. I would drink milk with these p-cakes! They were not as sweet as I was expecting but a tall cold glass of milk would have cut the sweet that was there. I felt jittery for a few hours after but I’m a weakling when it comes to caffeine and sugar. It doesn’t take much and I get the shakes.

5. Though this didn’t make an obvious difference, I would get my measurements correct for the baking powder and baking soda. Almost positive I got them switched around. haha…makes me very happy that I named my blog what I did. I’m not trying to hid behind any fancy title here. Nope! This blog is all about my epic failures and successes in the kitchen so let’s just add this one to the list of failures and learn from my mistakes…haha.

That’s it! I hope you give these pancakes a try. Deb’s recipe won’t disappoint. I don’t think you can mess these up too much but if you do make any changes, let me (the one reader I have :o) know about it so I can give it a try too!

Happy cooking all!

Final with bite

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Cookie Lee Party!


I’m writing with a little sadness in my heart because as much fun as my party was yesterday, I have no pictures to prove just how amazingly lovely my table turned out. All that planning…pshhh…out the window…

No worries…I’ll just have to use some amazing writing to paint a picture for you….

The Menu

  • Fruit Pizza Bar
  • Veggie Pizza
  • Chocolate Fondue
  • Miscellaneous little bites

The Decor

Went for a valentines theme courtesy of the 99 Cents store. Red/White/Pink/Purple/Orange. Had a red table cloth with a few purchased sturdy plastic placemats for the three main dishes…bought a little plastic bucket for the plates, napkins, cups and silverware…had pink and red paper cups…white plastic bowls from the miscellaneous nibblies…it was great.

The Party Purpose

I’m a Cookie Lee consultant and I decided to have a clearance sale for all my Cookie Lee jewelry I’ve had in my trays for awhile. Everything was 50% off which meant a lot of purchases were made! Here’s my personal pitch…if you would like to check out the NEW Cookie Lee catalog that came out, check out my website: http://www.cookielee.biz/esuite/home/jessicaabsher. If you decide to make a purchase and tell me that you found the link here on my blog, I’ll give you 25% off any item in the catalog! You have to look pretty when you cook right?!? Sorry guys…you can purchase something for the beautiful cooks in your life!

The Menu Inspiration

I sort of based my spread off the Fruit Pizza Bar seen below. I found this on Pinterest and thought it had to be one of the most clever and cheap ideas I had seen in awhile. I bit labor intensive if you decide to make your own sugar cookies (which I did) but still very cheap and pretty no matter how you do it.

My bestest friend Jamie came over to help me get things put together and it’s a good thing she did since we had a pink lemonade emergency clean-up process that required all-hands-on-deck. I learned that if you place your pretty glass beverage dispenser with a spigot in the refrigerator with the spigot facing out, your door may actually help you open it up when you go to close it. Which means sticky pink lemonade all over your poor clean refrigerator…and the floor. The sad part of this story is that the incident was a “fool me once” scenario..mean I was the genius that earned and “shame on me” when I put the dispenser back in the fridge, forgetting to turn it so this didn’t happen again. Needless to say Jamie and a friend Brittany kept me from completely unraveling as they helped me mop it up. Our shoes and feet were sticking to the floor with the lovely accompanied noise, but we go everything ready to go on time.

Back to the menu…the fruit pizza was one of the stars but the others were the chocolate fondue and veggie pizza. You’ve all probably had a veggie pizza like this one from Pillsbury.  The crust is a cylinder of crescent roll dough, the spread is cream cheese, sour cream, dill, and garlic powder, and the toppings are your choice of chopped veggies. This recipe is one that my grandmother use to make all the time when we were younger, but we just recently added it to our appetizer archive and it is one we make a lot for get togethers with family.

The last thing I made was a chocolate fondue. When looking for a recipe I was hunting for something simple that didn’t involve a lot of ingredients. I found a recipe that called for 3 ingredients: chocolate, heavy cream, and brandy (Cognac and liqueur are also mentioned as options). I had a pack of chocolate chips that I used and bought a very small thing of heavy cream which gave me a cup of cream. The recipe says to just use 8 oz of chocolate and 3/4 cups of cream, but I decided to just the full 12 oz package of chocolate and 1 cup of cream so I didn’t have to measure and it turned out just fine…wasn’t too thick…. so I recommend doing the same for the ease of it. You finish it off with a tablespoon of brandy and stir it in before transferring it to your bowl or fondue pot. My dippers were pretzels, strawberries, marshmallows, nilla wafers and tangerines. It was a big hit and couldn’t have been an easier dessert.

These were my easy three table items, but then I decided to add a few extra things for a fun touch. I had chocolate covered toffee pieces and yogurt covered raisins that I got from Fresh and Easy that I placed in martini glasses and also made some candied almonds and pecans because I had them on hand and figured why not! I don’t know if you’ve had those warm nuts sold in touristy destinations or bakeries that they serve in a cone that you open up and can’t help but demolish in less then 5 min! I wanted to make those! I found this recipe and thought it would be  a fun addition to the table..which is true…they were! I would encourage you to try this with your favorite nut since it’s easy and would likely work the same not matter which one you did. A TIP:  I had to keep mine in longer because they were to sticky after the time they gave in the recipe. I read a review on the website that they left them in for 45 min until they had the crunch they were looking for. So keep that in mind, but if you’re like me and worried about burning or over cooking them keep an eye on them.

So that was my menu and it kills me that I didn’t take any pictures to share, but these ones are better then any I would shoot with my phone camera. A special thanks to Jamie for bringing some chips and yummy dip to add to the table. It was an awesome addition to cut the sweets!

Hope you give me your thoughts and feedback on these recipes or other like them…what do you do for parties that is easy and quick that you can share with me?!

Updates: I bought a new camera!! It’s on it’s way…stuck in NJ last I saw….but there are hopefully going to be much prettier pictures coming soon. Can’t wait to use it on new recipes.

P.S. I made my first pizza on my stone with smoked mozzarella…yum. Didn’t take pictures but would like to practice the dough a few more times since I botched up my first batch…more to share about that later…but I’ll use my new camera to document that process next time. Also, I’ve asked my older sister, Elizabeth, to be a guest writer on here so hopefully she’ll share some of her fun recipes with you all soon.

Happy cooking all!