Browsing Category:

Baking

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

Every now and then a recipe comes along and you say to yourself: “This is it. I’ve found it.”

And that’s what these muffins are! I’ve made many a muffin in my time and there’s a difficult balance to find between taste, health, moistness, and flavour. Some muffins are just too healthy. Some are a cupcake by another name. To me, a good muffin is one that sits pleasantly in the middle of the scale, with great flavour to boot.

The next time you have blueberries in your fridge/freezer just begging to be baked into something, pull up this recipe and enjoy.

Blueberry Banana Oat Muffins

Makes: 12-18 muffins
Cooking time: 20 min hands on

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup each plain flour and whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup almond meal (or wheat germ)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups mashed bananas (about 2 large)
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened (use vegan butter if desired)
  • 1 egg or your favourite egg replacer
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen (many other berries would work great in this too, do not defrost berries before using)

Preheat oven to 375 F / 190 C. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or grease it well.

Combine all dry ingredients (including sugar) in one large bowl and toss until combined. In separate bowl, soften butter and mix well with mashed bananas (they can still be a little bit chunky), egg, and vanilla extract. Pour over dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Add berries and stir again just until they are dispersed through the batter.

Divide among muffin cups — these don’t rise a huge amount so you could do 12 muffins, but I opted to be on the safe side and reserved enough batter to make six more. Up to you! Bake for 20 minutes or until slightly golden on top. Cool on wire racks.

Enjoy! These keep well for several days in a sealed container, freeze if you want them to last longer (although you’ll probably want to eat them straight away!).

Mom’s Cornbread

Mmm, there’s just nothing like fresh homemade cornbread, is there? I love how it combines the sweet with the savoury, and the cornmeal (polenta to you Aussies) adds such wonderful texture to a fluffy body. Once I left for uni and chili became a dietary staple, I tried several different cornbread recipes to accompany it—unfortunately, no cornbread recipe I’ve tried has ever really compared to this one. Either it’s just that this is what my mom always made and it is therefore what I know and love, or it really is as amazing as I thought it was.

One thing’s for sure—the rate at which it disappeared the last time I made it sure said something as to its deliciousness. I recommend slicing it into twelve squares instead of nine, else you’ll find yourself lacking cornbread all too quickly!

Mom’s Cornbread

Makes: 9-12 servings
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on, 45 minutes baking plus cooling

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cups plain flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • optional: 1 tin (about 12-14 oz, 300-400 ml) corn kernels or creamed corn
  • optional: small jar of pickled jalapeno, coarsely chopped or laid out on top

Cream together sugar, butter, eggs, and salt until smooth and light in colour. Sift together dry ingredients, then add to the butter and sugar alternately with the milk. Stir until no lumps can be seen. If using, add the corn kernels or jalapenos.

Bake in a greased 9×13″ or 10×10″ ovenproof dish, for 35-45 minutes at 375 F / 190 C until the top of the bread is going golden-brown and a knife or toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. (My oven usually takes about 45 minutes.) The golden-brown might make it look overcooked, but I promise it will still be moist on the inside.

Gingersnap Cookies

Ahh… here in “sunny” Australia, things aren’t as balmy as they usually are. Winter is upon us, and while the days are starting to get longer, it’s still pretty chilly. Since Christmas falls during the middle of summer in Australia, I had basically no motivation to want to cook the rich, delicious foods associated with the holidays. Now that it’s cooled off, though, I’m craving hot tea and cookies and pie and a good roast turkey. The solution? Christmas in July! Not only are we having a dinner party this weekend to celebrate, but I’ve noticed a small uprising of fellow Christmas in July supporters… ‘Winterland’ markets and ice skating at our local venue (guess what I’m doing on the weekend too!), and festively decorated store windows. It’s subtle, but it’s there, and it feels surprisingly awesome to get into the Christmas spirit in July.

These ginger snap gems are a family recipe. So simple and sweet! There’ll be a few different Christmas-themed recipes up over the next few days, but why not start with these cookies to bring a little bit of holiday cheer to your tummy.

Ginger Snap Cookies

Makes: 2 dozen
Cooking time: 15 minutes hands-on

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (best at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (and a bit extra for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 cup black molasses (you could substitute golden syrup or treacle syrup, which I had to do—but molasses is the best!)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • optional: 1/4 cup chopped candied ginger

Blend slightly softened butter and sugar together until no lumps remain. Add in molasses, egg, and vanilla. Measure in the flour, and form a well at the top to add the spices, soda, and salt—blend lightly with the flour, then with the rest of the batter. (This step saves you from having to get a whole extra bowl to blend the dry ingredients, which I find highly annoying and generally unnecessary for cookies.) Combine just until the flour disappears.

Forming the cookies works best if you refrigerate the dough for 1-2 hours, but can be done straight away if you’re in a hurry. Using a tablespoon, form the dough into balls and place 2 inches apart on a lightly greased baking sheet. Sprinkle generously with white sugar.

Bake at 350 F / 180 C for 12-15 minutes, until the tops of the cookies begin to crack. 12 minutes will give you a slightly soft cookie, and 15 minutes will give you a nice crisp one.

Pour yourself a nice big glass of milk and enjoy!