Monday, November 28, 2011

Honey Cinnamon Milk

From Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2011), page 47.

My husband and I tried this out one night when we wanted something slightly sweet before bed . . . just not hot chocolate.  It was exactly what we were looking for!  A little sweet with a bit of cinnamon.  Comforting.  Relaxing.  Yummy.  FYI: It's better at night than it is in the morning.  I don't know why.
Prep./Total Time: 10 min.
Yield: 1 serving

1 cup fat-free milk
1 cinnamon stick (3 inches)
Dash ground nutmeg
Dash ground allspice
1 1/2 tsp. honey

In a small saucepan, combine milk, cinnamon stick, nutmeg, and allspice.  Cook and stir over medium heat until heated through; whisk in honey.  Serve warm; garnish with cinnamon stick.

- The first time we made this, we didn't have cinnamon sticks, so I think we used 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon per serving.

Nutrition Facts:
1 cup = 117 calories, trace fat (trace saturated fat), 5 mg cholesterol, 103 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, trace fiber, 8 g protein

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours (Dorie Greenspan) via Perry's Plate.

I was craving something pumpkiny after Halloween ended and made my husband pick up a can of pumpkin puree at the store one day, even though he's not so fond of the stuff.  These muffins are so delicious!  Not too sweet, with just the right amount of pumpkin and spices.  Even my husband admitted that they were good, for a pumpkin muffin (he based his opinion on texture).  Our toddler was really excited about them and has eaten the equivalent of maybe one muffin; when it comes down to it, he's a cereal boy like his daddy.  So that leaves me.  I made these probably four days ago . . . and we have one muffin left. *sigh*  Good thing there's more pumpkin in the fridge.
Yield: 12 muffins

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt (omit if using salted butter)
3/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/8 tsp. freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of ground allspice
1 stick (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts, optional
About 1/3 cup slivered almonds, for topping

Preheat oven to 400F.  Prepare muffin pan by lining with paper cups or greasing 12 molds.

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and spices.

In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer), beat the butter at medium speed until soft.  Add both sugars and continue to beat until light and smooth.  Add eggs, mixing after each addition, then beating for one minute after the eggs are incorporated.  Beat in vanilla.  On low speed, mix in the pumpkin and buttermilk, then add the dry ingredients in a steady stream, mixing only until they disappear.  Stir in nuts.

Divide the batter evenly among a dozen muffin cups and sprinkle a few slivered almonds over the top of each.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffins comes out clean.  Cool for 5 minutes, then transfer muffins to a cooling rack.

- The recipe originally called for 1/2 cup golden raisins and 1/2 cup nuts, but I don't do raisins.  It also called for 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds for the top, but I didn't have those and used the almonds instead.
- Don't be tempted to under-fill the muffin cups or divide the batter between more than 12 cups.  They will be very (and I mean it) full--to the point that the batter will likely be higher than the sides of your muffin pan.  But since it's pretty thick, you won't end up with a big runny mess.  Just trust me.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Multi-Grain Twisted Cinnamon Ring

From Healthy Cooking (Oct./Nov. 2011), page 40.

I decided to try making this ring after one of my sisters raved about the rolls.  I typically don't have luck with yeast breads, so I was surprised that this actually turned out for me.  And it was yummy!  This recipe can also be used for rolls or a pull-apart loaf (just follow whichever directions you want at the end of the recipe).
Prep: 30 min + rising / Bake: 15 min.
Yield: 1 ring / 1 loaf / 1 dozen rolls

1 pkg. (1/4 oz) active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (110 to 115 degrees)
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. butter, melted
1 egg
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 to 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

3 Tbs. butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1 cup confectioners' sugar
6 1/2 tsp. half-and-half cream
4 1/2 tsp. butter, softened

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the oats, whole wheat flour, brown sugar, butter, egg, salt, and 1 cup flour.  Beat on medium speed until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (dough will be sticky).

Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down.  Roll into an 18x12-inch rectangle; spread with butter.  Combine sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over dough to within 1/2 inch of edges.

For Icing: In a small bowl, beat the confectioners' sugar, cream, and butter until smooth.

Now choose one of the following three methods of finishing the recipe:

For Twisted Cinnamon Ring:
Roll up jell-roll style, starting with a long side.  Cut roll in half lengthwise.  Place dough side by side on a greased baking sheet.  Twist together, cut side up; shape into a ring.  Pinch ends together.  Cover and let rise until doubled about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from pan to a wire rack.  Drizzle glaze over warm bread.

For Cinnamon Rolls:
Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a short side; pinch seams to seal.  Cut into 12 slices.  Place cut sides down in a greased 9x13-inch baking pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.  Drizzle glaze over warm rolls.

For Cinnamon Pull-Apart Loaf:
Cut into thirty-six 3x2-inch rectangles.  Make two stacks of 18 rectangles.  Place, cut sides up, in a greased 9x5-inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.  Bake at 375F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan.  Drizzle glaze over warm bread.

- Confession: I don't hand-knead for very long if I can help it.  I just switch from the paddle to the dough hook attachment on my Kitchen-Aid mixer and call it good. :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Pork Chops with Apricot Glaze

Adapted from Healthy Cooking (Aug./Sept. 2011), page 52.

Prep: 5 min. / Cook: 15 min.
Serves 6.

6 boneless pork chops (6 oz each)
1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 cup apricot preserves or jam
2 Tbs. hoisin sauce
1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes (or less if you like things milder)
3 Tbs. chopped peanuts
Thinly sliced green onions

Combine ginger, salt, garlic powder, and pepper; rub over pork chops.

Heat apricot preserves, hoisin sauce, and red pepper flakes until preserves melt; set aside 1/2 cup.

Grill pork over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until 160 degrees, basing with sauce.  Brush with reserved sauce; sprinkle with peanuts and onions.

- The original recipe says to grill the pork covered, but it came out great without covering it.
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