Raisin Bran Muffins

Yup, I whipped up some muffins made from raisin bran cereal, of which we had much, and of the mostly stale variety!  I love finding a new use for things I’d otherwise have to throw away, and as often as we found ourselves with a partial box of stale raisin bran sitting around (shall have to investigate that), I just never got around to making these before.

Raisin Bran Muffins - ©Kristen N. Fox, www.foodfollies.com

I took the basic recipe from the web and then tweaked it a little to add a bit more flavor and pizzazz – raisin bran muffins just SCREAM pizzazz, don’t they. 😉  Here’s the recipe …

Raisin Bran Muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 cups raisin bran cereal
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
1/3 cup vegetable oil

(also need some crumbled bran flakes and sugar for topping)

Mix the first five (dry) ingredients together in a medium sized bowl and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, mix cereal with milk, and let set for a few minutes to soften the cereal. Add the egg and vegetable oil and stir until blended.

Add the flour mixture to the cereal mixture, stirring only until ingredients are blended well.

Either use cooking spray in a muffin tin or line the muffin tin with paper muffin liners. Then divide the batter between all twelve muffin spots – they will be pretty full.

Before putting the muffins in the oven, sprinkle a little bit of crumbled bran flakes and then sprinkle a little sugar over each muffin, for a crunchy topping.

Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Cool on wire rack.  (recipe from foodfollies.com)

Chocolate Ice Cream with Mint Chocolate Cookies

Our first homemade ice cream of the season – seriously chocolate ice cream with crumbled up chocolate-covered mint cookies! (You know, the kind sold by that national group of girls every spring? Yeah, them.) This is just our usual chocolate ice cream recipe with the cookies added, so I’m not including a how-to – just a how-delicious!

Kiwi Sorbet

It’s 85 degrees with 100 percent humidity. You happen to have a nice bunch of fresh kiwi fruits in the refrigerator. Do you just cut them up and eat them?

Well, you could. And it would be delicious. But even better because of the high temperature, make kiwi sorbet! Here’s the recipe we used, pieced together from various versions found online to make our own:

Kiwi Sorbet Recipe

4 or 5 kiwis
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 cups ice cold water
ice cream maker of some sort

Cut your kiwi up into small pieces into a medium sized bowl. Sprinkle the lemon juice over it. Then sprinkle the sugar over it and mix it up a bit. Cover it and put it in the refrigerator for an hour.

Take the kiwi out of the fridge, and put it in a blender or food processor and blend/mix until it’s puree. Some chunks are okay. Add the corn syrup and the cold water and mix until blended – won’t take long – a few bursts is all. Final concoction may seem a little liquidy, but that’s just right.  (If you don’t want the little seeds in your sorbet, this would be the best point to put the liquid through a strainer – if you still had chunks in your puree though you’ll have to manually make sure those get into the final mix of course.)

Pour it into your ice cream maker and follow manufacturer directions. Put in freezer!

And *poof* – hot day deliciousness…

Crumb Top Apple Pie

This Crumb Top Apple Pie recipe is just the thing if you don’t have enough apples to make a regular apple pie; the recipe originally called for three cups of sliced apples instead of the usual six cups. Of course, this recipe requires a lot more butter for the topping than the basic apple pie recipe too, but we actually HAD butter we needed to use up (long story involving a malfunctioning refrigerator) so it worked out for us.

I started with the recipe from the The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook and made a few changes – you can see our modified version below.

And here’s the glorious outcome!

Crumb Top Apple Pie by FoodFollies.com

The topping was nicely crisp, and since the apple filling layer is thinner, it’s not QUITE as much sticky-sweetness as a normal apple pie. I’d recommend eating it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to round out all the flavors nicely.

Crumb Top Apple Pie

This pie is two equal depth layers – apples on the bottom and crumb topping on the top.

Crust Ingredients
(or use one part of a prepared crust)
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cups butter, slightly softened
3 tablespoons ice water

Filling Ingredients
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
3 cups tart apple slices (we recommend Granny Smiths)

Crumb Topping
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups lightly brown sugar, NOT packed
1 cup of unsalted butter, softened, cut into small chunks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Crust: Measure the flour into a large bowl. Use a pastry blender
(or two knives) to cut the butter into the flour until you get very
small chunks. Add the ice water, by tablespoon – not all at once,
into the mixture, tossing with a fork until integrated into the dough,
and the dough is moist all around. Using your hands, form the dough
into a ball, and roll it out on a lightly floured surface, large
enough to fit the bottom of a 9-inch glass pie dish. Fold and crimp
the edges to finish.

Filling: In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add the apple slices and mix gently until all of the apples are coated.
Scoop the apple mixture into the pie crust.

Topping: In a medium or large bowl, mix the flour and brown sugar together.
Using a pastry blender (or two knives), cut in the butter until the mixture
LOOKS like a coarse crumb topping. Sprinkle the mixture over the filling
in the pie pan – make sure it’s well covered.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 375 and
bake for 25-35 minutes longer, or until golden brown on top. Serve with
vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Chocolate Cream Pie

The other day I had just the right amount of the right ingredients to toss together a homemade chocolate cream pie – graham crackers and butter for the crust, instant pudding and milk for the filling, a cup of heavy cream for the whipped cream (with a bit of sugar), and a nice chunk of organic chocolate to shave on top. I love impulsive cookery when it works out!

I had a photo of the entire pie, but the up-close shot of the shaved chocolate was much more interesting that the ragged edges of the homemade graham cracker crust. 🙂

Organic Marshmallow Farmer

This design began with a really weird conversational tangent, became an Out of Context Quote, and then ended up on a t-shirt!

I think most kids would choose “Organic Marshmallow Farmer” as their desired career path if they were aware of their existence – they are a small, but growing community! *grin* Besides, marshmallows grown and harvested the all-natural way simply taste better. (Click the t-shirt to see all the apparel and other items available to advertise this environmentally humorous choice of vocation.)

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Banana… Er… Blueberry Bread

Four+ days of hot, humid weather did not shine kindly upon the three bananas we had in the kitchen, but I didn’t realize that until I was half done making the batter for banana bread. The peels had only the usual amount of black and spots for ‘just’ overripe bananas, but the insides were unusable – bleh. After a quickly passing state of panic where I considered hightailing it to Canada and leaving the recipe remnants for the next person passing through the kitchen (probably the dog), I, instead, thought of what else I could make this bread into. I almost decided on applesauce bread since I spotted two apples in the fridge, but then, glowing like a beacon, with heavenly trumpets sounding, I saw them…. blueberries! Yes!

Instead of the bananas, I added a little milk for the necessary moisture, then mixed in a cup and a half of blueberries, spread it in a pan with a sprinkling of sugar on top for crust, put it in the oven, and crossed my fingers. (Yes, I know it wasn’t THAT much of a stretch to switch the recipe from banana to blueberry, but allow me my drama, dangit!)

Here’s what it looked like when it came out of the oven, just a little while ago:

Looks like it has a light crusty top, so that’s a good thing. And as soon as it’s cooled and I can take it out of the pan, the taste testing will begin! And continue on until it’s been tested into oblivion.

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Malted Milk Ball Ice Cream

Contrary to some beliefs, ice cream DOES taste just as good in winter as it does in summer – you just have to put on a sweater when you’re eating it. 😉 That’s the justification for the impulse I had to make some malted milk ball ice cream – it’s thin, but whatever works.

I made a custard base with cocoa and chocolate malt powder – the malt gives it a smooth consistency and the unique malt flavor, and the cocoa gives it a little more chocolatey solidity. After churning, I tossed in the cut up malt balls (whoppers) and froze it.

It was really smooth and delicious. The malt powder prevented it from getting as hard/solid as regular chocolate can, which worked out nicely.
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Cranberry Apple Torte

I had a bunch of cranberries sitting in the fridge, and didn’t want to make just another cranberry-orange bread, as delicious as those are.  Luckily, we got the  baking book from the Magnolia Bakery as a thoughtful holiday gift, so I looked up ‘cranberries’ in the index and found this torte recipe!

The recipe called for pear slices and cranberries, but we had apples so I substituted apple for the pear. It came out terrific – unsurprisingly, just like a coffee cake with fruit, topped with a crunchy but subtle sugar topping that gave it that little extra oomph.

Cranberry Apple Torte

I know, in this picture it looks like a  pizza, since I baked it in a round springform pan and not one of those ‘torte’ pans with the fancy wavy edge, but trust me, it’s definitely NOT a pizza – LOL!

Looking forward to trying more recipes from this book.

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Blueberry Swirl Ice Cream

Upstate New York is having a great blueberry season, and having picked up a lovely pint of local blueberries, I decided to make some blueberry swirl ice cream!

First, I washed all the blueberries and tossed them into the blender. I added about a 1/2 cup of sugar and a few tablespoons of lemon juice, and hit puree. Then I poured the puree into a saucepan and cooked it down for a while to make a concentrated reduction sauce. After that, I poured it into a bowl with a lid and cooled it down in the fridge.

The ice cream itself was just a basic vanilla I made in my ice cream maker. When I’d churned and frozen it until it was soft serve consistency, I poured half of it in the bottom of the storage container, then poured half the blueberry puree over it, then more ice cream, and then puree to finish it off. I ran a knife through the mixture to swirl the blueberry into the ice cream, enough to create a good swirl mix, but not enough so it blended in too much. Then, froze it all overnight so it would solidify.

Next day, we had this:

And let me tell you, it was fan-tastic! The blueberries were SO sweet and flavorful, and even in the colder temperatures of the ice cream they were delicious and well, vibrant seems to be a good word for it.

Oh, I also took a photo of the blueberries before they were pureed….

There’s always seems to be at least ONE blueberry that wants to be purple instead of blue, isn’t there. I’m reminded of the Far Side cartoon with a ton of penguins and one is jumping up in the middle and shouting, “I gotta be me!” *grin*

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