Friday, September 30, 2011

Blueberry Muffins

Well I cannot believe a year has gone by since I started this blog.
It seems as though I have come full circle!
My first entry was blueberry muffins…
A year later.. I decided to give these another try.
I used a different recipe however..which listed butter as an ingredient this time around. ; )  (sorry mom)
Whether it was the butter or my cooking skills…these muffins are fantastic!
They taste just like a fancy $6.00 muffin you would buy from your local bakery; except you have the satisfaction of knowing, YOU made them yourself.
Enjoy, and thanks for reading me for the past year!

Cook's Illustrated Blueberry Muffins
Lemon-Sugar Topping
1/3 cup sugar
2-3 teaspoons finely grated zest from 1 lemon

2 cups (about 10 ounces) fresh blueberries, picked over
1 1/8 cups (8 ounces) plus 1 teaspoon sugar
2 1/2 cups (12½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
¼ cup vegetable oil
1 cup buttermilk * - I used whole milk
1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
*If buttermilk is unavailable, substitute 3/4 cup plain whole-milk or low-fat yogurt thinned with 1/4 cup milk.

1. Bring 1 cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon sugar to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, mashing berries with spoon (I used my potato masher) several times and stirring frequently, until berries have broken down and mixture is thickened and reduced to ¼ cup, about 6 minutes. Transfer to small bowl and cool to room temperature, 10 to 15 minutes.
2. Adjust oven rack to upper-middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Spray standard muffin tin with nonstick cooking spray.
3. For the topping: Stir together sugar and lemon zest in small bowl until combined; set aside.
4. Whisk flour, baking powder, and salt together in large bowl.
5. Whisk remaining 1 1/8 cups sugar and eggs together in medium bowl until combined, about 45 seconds. Slowly whisk in butter and oil until combined. Whisk in buttermilk and vanilla until combined. Using rubber spatula, fold egg mixture and remaining cup blueberries into flour mixture until just moistened. (Batter will be very lumpy with few spots of dry flour; do not over mix.)
6. Use ice cream scoop or large spoon to divide batter equally among prepared muffin cups (batter should completely fill cups and mound slightly).
7. EXTRA STEP ALERT: Spoon teaspoon of cooked berry mixture into center of each mound of batter. Using small spoon, gently swirl berry filling into batter. Sprinkle lemon sugar evenly over muffins. 

8. Bake until muffin tops are golden and just firm, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating muffin tin from front to back halfway through baking time. Cool muffins in muffin tin for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire rack and cool 5 minutes before serving. Makes 12 muffins

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Strawberry Froyo

Before missing out on all the great ripe fruit of the summer, I thought my next flavor should be strawberry frozen yogurt..aka froyo!
There are tons of farmers market’s out here and they appear to specialize in strawberries. 

There seems to be at least 5 separate strawberry vendors each week at the market.
My mother actually mentioned that she wanted to send me this  ice cream maker in time, so that I could take advantage of the delicious juicy strawberries we have out here in CA.
I didn’t have one crisis while making this delightfully refreshing treat!
I found two recipes I liked for strawberry froyo, and decided to take a bit from each recipe.
One recipe listed vodka as an ingredient..
I was a bit perplexed but I thought what the heck! I actually have a bottle of vodka in the freezer..therefore it is this froyo’s lucky day!

16 ounces strawberries, rinsed, stemmed, and chopped
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vodka (optional)- I use tablespoons - : )  ..also optional! ; )
3/4 cup whole milk- I only had my fat free milk so I used that instead
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 cups low-fat vanilla yogurt
2 teaspoon pure vanilla

1. Slice strawberries into small pieces. Toss in a bowl with sugar and vodka (if using) until the sugar begins to dissolve. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature for 2 hrs, stirring occasionally.
2. In mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to combine the milk and  1/3 c. granulated sugar until the sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes on low speed.
3. Stir in the yogurt, berry purée (I didn’t mash or puree because I don’t have a puree I just put the entire bowl of  strawberry mixture in) and vanilla extract.
4. Turn the machine on; pour the mixture into freezer bowl, and let mix until thickened, about 20 to 25 minutes. The frozen yogurt will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the frozen yogurt to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.