I’ve come to realize that my love of baking is very reflective of my personality. The process of baking is steady, quiet and requires quite a bit of patience. There is nothing more comforting than knowing that the addition of flour and baking soda will make bread rise, and the right amount of sugar will make it sweet. I think it is that steady dependability that has always made me consider myself more of a baker than a cook. Because much like the process of baking, I too am about as careful and calculated as one can get. Cooking, on the other hand, is much more spontaneous, loud and full of adventure. When cooking, you can throw a bunch of ingredients together on a whim and it often results in a perfectly harmonious dish. Yet with baking, the measuring of ingredients is key, and one must be precise and careful. And though I love the spontaneity of cooking, time spent baking is when I feel most at home in the kitchen. So when the weather starts to cool down, I jump at any chance to turn on the oven and spend the night whipping up some magic in the kitchen. And while many people my age spend every Friday nights out at the bars, I’m perfectly happy spending Friday evening in front of the oven. And that is just what I did last weekend. And starting off the weekend with a delicious batch of pumpkin muffins is about as good as it gets. I found this recipe over on SkinnyTaste.com and love how decadent these muffins taste despite its healthy ingredient list. They make for a perfect snack any time of day.
Ingredients: Makes 12 muffins, Adapted slightly from SkinnyTaste
1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients (flour though salt)
In a large bowl, place pumpkin, vegetable oil, egg whites and vanilla; Beat with and electric mixer until just combined
Slowly add dry ingredients into wet ingredients, beating until just combined
Scoop batter into a muffin pan, lined with muffin liners
It’s been quite some time since I’ve had the chance to post a recipe here on Miss Petite Sweets. In my job as a hotel sales manager, I work with all the entertainment groups, bands and Broadway shows that travel into Detroit, so early June is usually the time we have a ton groups staying with us from the summer music festivals and we are in the midst of booking the fall season of Broadway shows. Needless to say, my busy time at work has kept me out of the kitchen. But a few days ago I had a rare quiet night at home and decided to spend it baking. I had a few super ripe bananas on hand and decided to throw together a new variation on whole wheat banana bread. And as I have stated many, many times before nothing makes a recipe better than the addition of chocolate. I chopped up a few Dark Chocolate Dove candies and absolutely loved the result. This bread is probably one of my favorite quick bread recipes to date. It is soft and moist and full of flavor. I ate mine warm with a touch of peanut butter. The melty peanut butter chocolate mixture made for a fantastic (and healthy) dessert. And it was incredibly easy to make. Ya gotta love that. Enjoy!
Ingredients: Makes 1 loaf
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
6 oz plain yogurt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup roughly chopped Dove Dark Chocolate (about 6-7 individually wrapped chocolates)
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (flours through cinnamon)
In a separate bowl, mash bananas and mix in remaining wet ingredients ( yogurt through canola oil) and stir until well combined
Add wet ingredients to dry and mix until just combined
Stir in chocolate
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 45-55 minutes
Christmas is officially one week away and my mind is abuzz with all the wonderful things that the holiday brings. Back when I was little, the week before Christmas brought thoughts of Santa Claus and the gifts I might find under our tree Christmas morning. My cousins, brother and I would go back and forth all week discussing the gifts we hoped Santa would bring us on December 25th. And finally, after weeks of anticipation, Christmas morning would arrive and my brother, Sean and I would rush down the stairs consumed with excitement. Nowadays, the excitement revolving around Christmas has nothing to do with gifts. Night after night of family parties and extended time with the people I love is what makes me look forward to this time of year so much. Just like every year before, the next few days will be filled with laughter, family, and of course, food.
As I mentioned before, the Christmas season often means a few days of baking dozens of cookies to give to family and friends. And each year I like to try a few new flavors and varieties. Sometimes I’m drawn to more unique flavor combinations or crazy ingredients. But this year, I decided to try a few classic Christmas cookie flavors. And nothing is more classic than a soft gingersnap cookie subtly spiced and sprinkled with granulated sugar. I found this recipe over at Two Peas and their Pod and was delighted with the result. The recipe yields three dozen soft gingersnap cookies, perfect for the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and spices in a medium bowl.
2. In a large bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar and beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy.
3. Add in the egg and vanilla extra. Mix until well combined.
4. Add in the molasses. Mix until the molasses is combined with the other ingredients.
5. With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour mixture.
6. Form the dough into Tablespoon sized balls. Roll the dough in white sugar.
7. Place each dough ball on a greased cookie sheet and flatten slightly
9. Bake for 8 minutes at 375
This weekend was filled with butter, sugar and buttercream frosting. Because this was the weekend that my mom and I made dozens and dozens of Christmas cookies to share with our family and friends. Every December we spend an entire Saturday dusting the kitchen with flour and sugar while watching White Christmas. And though I have quite a few new Christmas cookie recipes to share, I thought I would share one last healthy recipe before the December sugar coma ensues. This recipe for Classic Banana Bread comes from Cooking Light. It is low in calories and fat and is a perfect use for those few browned bananas you have lying around. I did jazz the original recipe up a bit by adding a brown sugar topping. The topping forms a sweet crust to the soft bread and adds an extra little punch of sweetness. This bread is great with a smear of peanut butter but is perfectly sweet just on its own.
Now let the holidays begin!
Ingredients: Makes 1 loaf, adapted slightly from Cooking Light
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the topping:
2 tablespoons cold butter
1 tablespoon flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar
In a medium bowl, sift dry ingredients until just combined (flour through cinnamon)
In a large bowl, beat sugar & butter together until creamy
Beat in eggs, one at a time
Add bananas, yogurt & vanilla to butter mixture and beat until well blended
Add flour mixture slowly and mix until just combined
Pour banana bread batter into a greased loaf pan
For the topping, mix butter, flour & sugar together until crumbled and sprinkle over banana bread batter
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Lately I’ve been digging the taste and texture of baking with whole wheat flour. It’s nutty, and slightly sweet and it reminds me of my first business venture. That’s right. I once owned a small business. Impressed? You shouldn’t be. I was 9 and after reading an inspiring issue of American Girl magazine I decided it was about time I started making my own money. To buy important things like Lisa Frank stickers. And candy. Lots of candy. And seeing as my Train sisters were also very pro-candy…I enlisted them in the start up of my brilliant business idea. And what was my incredibly innovative and well thought out small business? Selling homemade dog treats. We made tiny whole wheat dog snacks and named ourselves “The Barkery.” Cute name, right? Yeah well…I stole it from a tv show. And I also stole the recipes from that American Girl magazine. So maybe innovation and creativity were not yet the name of my game. The Train sisters and I went door to door toting our bags of homemade dog treats offering them to our dog loving neighbors, and then set up Lemonade stand style on the corner of our street. We made a grand total of $0 on our first day of business. The next day we gave up and went back to playing dress-up and religiously reading Little House on the Prairie. But even though my first bout with entrepreneurship wasn’t exactly a success, I still love baking with whole wheat flour. And this recipe is far superior to any of those pathetic little dog treats. These muffins are lightly spiced and incredibly moist and tender. I used some healthy baking substitutes like mashed banana and egg whites to cut back on fat, so these muffins would be a great healthy breakfast to start the day. And the juicy pieces of fresh nectarine lend an unexpected sweetness to the batter. I wonder if we would yield some better business results if I grabbed the girls and went door to door with these muffins. On second thought….I think I’ll just enjoy them myself.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 very ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon light agave nectar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup canola oil
1 egg white
1 nectarine, chopped into bite sized pieces
In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger & brown sugar together
In a separate bowl, mash banana, and stir in agave nectar, vanilla, oil & egg white
Add wet ingredients into dry and mix until just combined
Stir in chopped nectarine
Divide batter into 8 muffin cups and bake at 350 for 15 minutes
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