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Double Chocolate Banana Muffins (Dairy Free) June 06 2018, 0 Comments

These are quite possibly the lightest, most tender chocolate muffins ever. At the same time they taste incredibly rich with the help of a double dose of chocolate and sweet, overripe bananas. The addition of finely ground almond meal and a pinch of nutmeg add depth and nuttiness. Honestly, I don't even miss the browned butter I usually use in my chocolate muffins. 

THIS RECIPE MAKES 12 BIG TOP MUFFINS

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (Bob's Red Mill)

1/2 cup finely ground almond meal 

3/4 cup cocoa powder (unsweetened baking cocoa)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (Oaktown Spice Shop)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup caster or granulated sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)

1 cup chocolate chips 

1 cup almond milk 

3 large egg whites 

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (Braggs)

2 large overripe bananas 

1/2 cup canola oil (feel free to use your favorite baking oil)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Oaktown Spice Shop)

METHOD:

Preheat your oven to 350F/180C and grease a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tin.

In a large bowl, sift together your flour, baking soda and powder, nutmeg, salt and cocoa powder, then stir in your almond meal and sugars. 

In a medium bowl, mash your bananas with a fork until smooth, then mix in your egg whites, vanilla and oil. Stir in your almond milk and apple cider vinegar. 

Make a well in your flour mixture and add your banana mixture. Stir until just combined, making sure to scrape the bottom of the bowl with each turn. Gently fold in your chocolate chips. About four folds should do it. Be careful not to over mix or you will lose the lovely airy texture. 

Scoop your batter into your muffin tin, filling them nearly to the top. This will give you that big bakery style muffin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until your cake tester or a tooth pick inserted into the center of your muffin comes out clean. Transfer the tin to a rack and allow to cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before removing. These muffins are incredibly light and tender. Giving them time to cool will keep them from crumbling when you take them out of your tin. 

You can enjoy these muffins for three to five days after baking or freeze them for up to two months. They are perfect with a cup of hot coffee or large glass of milk. 


Gingerbread Apple Cider Cake November 20 2017, 0 Comments

This recipe quickly made it's way to the top of my Thanksgiving and Christmas baking lists. An incredibly moist cake, full of warm spices and fresh apples with a gorgeous crumb, made deliciously complex by the addition of homemade apple cider syrup, fresh and ground ginger and over a pound of apples. It bakes up perfectly in a bundt pan or as a layer cake in two 8 inch cake pans. I used Opal, Jonagold, Granny Smith and Honey Crisp apples. I love the different levels of sweet and tart, crisp and juicy. You can just as easily use one variety. 

APPLE CIDER SYRUP:

Reduce one bottle or can of apple cider on medium heat with two tablespoons of maple syrup for about 15 minutes, until it has reached a thick honey like consistency. I like Golden State Cider, Mighty Dry Hard Cider. It is perfect for drinking and cooking.

GINGERBREAD APPLE CIDER CAKE

WET INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup butter, (8 tablespoons) at room temperature

1/2 cup apple sauce

4 large eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Apple cider syrup (see directions below)

2 cups peeled and shredded apples (about four medium apples)

1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger

DRY INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup granulated sugar

 

METHOD:

Place rack in center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Grease your bundt pan or two 8 inch round cake pans with melted butter or cooking spray. 

Wash and peel your apples, then shred into a large glass measuring cup. You will need 2 cups, about four medium apples. Add your vanilla extract and grated ginger. Stir to combine. Set aside.

Sift your flours, spices, baking powder and soda together in a medium bowl.

In a stand mixer (or large bowl and hand mixer) cream together your butter and sugars until fluffy. Mix in your apple cider syrup, then add your eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. 

Add your flour in two parts, alternating with your shredded apples. With each addition mix only until just combined. Overbeating will cause your cake to be dense and tough. Scrape the sides of your bowl to ensure all of your ingredients are mixed in.

Pour the batter into your pan and smooth out the top. Tap the pan on your countertop to reduce bubbles and place in the oven on the center rack.

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until your cake tester (or a tooth pick) comes out clean.

Let your cake cool in the pan for 20-30 minutes, then place a cooling rack on top and invert your cake for easy removal. 

 

This cake is the perfect way to end a holiday gathering or warm up a cold weather brunch. Serve as dessert with homemade caramel sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream or at breakfast with coffee and good quality butter.