Cran-Raspberry Muffins

Ok, I think this can be the last muffin post for a little while. Maybe. Perhaps I’ll sneak in just one more though. These cran-raspberry muffins were so moist and fruity; the perfect combination of sweet cakey muffin and tart fruit chunks. They came with us to a lovely cemetary screening of The Muppet Movie and were unfortunately a little smooshed on the way (but still tasted just as lovely). These muffins have a dominant raspberry flavor but the cranberries add a bit of tartness and give the muffin a little more complex flavor. Mostly, they’re just sweet, chunky and delicious.

Cran-Raspberry Muffins

¼ cup dried cranberries
½ cup sugar
2/3 cup cran-raspberry juice
2 cups flour
1 ¼ tsp baking soda
1 ½ tsp baking powder
½ scant tsp salt
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup frozen raspberries

In a medium bowl, mix sugar, dried cranberries and cran-raspberry juice together. Set aside to let the cranberries soften for about 15 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400° and grease muffin tin.

In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt together.

Add the oil and vanilla extract to the cranberry mixture and whisk together. Gently pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and stir until a few lumps remain. Add in the the raspberries into the batter fold in so they are fairly evenly dispersed. If you use frozen raspberries, there is no need to thaw them, just make sure there aren’t chunks of ice in the mix as they’ll creat gooey spots in your muffins.

Spoon into muffin tin and fill cups to the top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the tops are slightly springy when touched. Let sit in muffin pans for about 5 minutes and remove to cool on a baking rack. Devour warm or cooled.

More muffins!

Yep, more muffins, coming right your way. I now go to the market and fantasize about what I can create in these little baked bites of joy. Today I went with an uncomplicated recipe…orange muffins. These muffins are deliciously fragrant and perfect for any time of day. The brown sugar glaze gives just a hint of sweetness but these would also be great with some Earth Balance and marmalade.

Orange muffins

2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¾ cup orange juice
1/3 cup apple sauce
½ cup sugar
zest of one orange

Brown Sugar Glaze

½ cup brown sugar
½ tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp water

Preheat oven to 375° and grease muffin tin or fill with muffin liners.

Mix flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine orange juice, apple sauce, sugar and orange zest fully. Pour the wet into the flour and stir gently. Mix until barely combined allowing for a few lumps.

Scoop into the prepared muffin pan filling each cup about 3/4 full. Cook for about 20 minutes. The tops should spring back when touched.

While the muffins are cooking, mix the brown sugar, vanilla and water in a small sauce pan over medium heat, stirring until sugar is fully dissolved.

Allow muffins to cool slightly and remove from pan. Dip the tops of the muffins in the glaze and allow to soak for a second. Let dry for a second and enjoy warm.

Now wasn’t that easy? Are you starting to enjoy muffins as much as I am? No? Ok, well I could go for some suggestions. I’ve got a few more up my sleeve, but what’s your favorite muffin? Think about it and get back to me…I’ll be here makin’ muffins in the kitchen.

Jelly Donut Muffins

I think I mentioned that I’m now obsessed with muffins and it’s true. So here are some early morning muffins for you all.

Jelly Donut Muffins

makes about 6

1/2 cup soy milk

1 tsp vinegar

2 Tbsp water

1/3 cup canola oil

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/3 cup flour

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup sugar

6 tsp jelly of your choice

1/3 cup melted Earth Balance for dipping

1/3 cup sugar for dipping

Mix vinegar and soy milk together and set aside to curdle.

Preheat oven to 375° and grease muffin pan.

Whisk the soy milk mixture, oil, vanilla and water together. In a seperate bowl, mix flour, salt, baking soda and sugar together. Pour the liquid into the flour mixure and stir together just enough to combine.

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full with batter using a spoon or ice cream scoop. Drop about a tablespoon of jelly in the center top of each muffin. Use the remaining batter to cover the jelly and fill the cups fully.

Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean (don’t mind the jelly though).

Melt the Earth Balance and put in a small dish for dipping. Also, put remaining sugar in a small bowl.  Remove the muffins from the tins and let cool enough to hold.

Dip tops of muffins in Earth Balance and let any excess drip off. Next dip into sugar and roll around so all surfaces are covered.

You could definitely cover the whole thing in sugar if you like. The muffins themselves aren’t too sweet so it really depends on what you’re in the mood for. Enjoy them when still warm. The muffins have a very simple flavor, perfect for breakfast. I recommend experimenting with different jellies. Huckleberry jam for instance is amazing.

More muffins to come!

Barefoot in the kitchen

I’m back! Reporting from the kitchen just in time to catch the sweltering Los Angeles summer heat. It’s the time of year where turning on the oven is literally painful, but I just can’t stay away. I’ve missed creating desserts and recipes for the past month. Despite the fact that I did bake two cakes, a dozen cupcakes  and a full Thanksgiving dinner to go into our film, it just wasn’t the same. Rushing to complete things, instead of lingering in creative process didn’t satisfy my kitchen addiction. So just having barely recovered from complete exhaustion, I already have a few projects cooking (quite literally).

In an attempt to stay away from the oven, I was thinking of some alternative summer desserts. Ice cream? Slushies? Fresh fruit salad? How about Jello? I finally had the chance to try the raspberry jel dessert from Natrual Desserts. I have a tendency to snack on chocolate chips when I have a craving for something sweet (or when watching a movie, or whenever I look in the fridge) but they’re just not working out in the heat. Melted chocolate hands just aren’t attractive. I haven’t made Jello since I was probably 10 years old, and had been planning to use the package in conjunction with something else, but thought the cool fruit treat would be a perfect summer sweet.

I won’t lie, having a big blob of giggly jello was super exciting. I’ve tasted some other vegan jel desserts and they’ve been a lot more like jelly which is extremely disappointing. On top of that, the raspberry was delicately sweet with a real raspberry flavor, not an artificial blast of sugar. Of course, the best part is that there’s no gelatin, which is something that I can’t believe people consume willingly, vegan or not.

This past month Shawn’s brother, Kyle, has been staying with us, working on Brainwashed Love for the summer. He turned 18 the day after we finished filming so I promised him any cake he wanted, which happened to be coconut. Here is the part where I confess I’ve never made a coconut cake before. I knew that I could, if asked, but I can’t stand eating coconut so it never happened just for fun. Kyle and Shawn devoured the entire cake themselves in less than 24 hours (Shawn even claimed it was the best coconut cake he’d ever had) so I suppose it was a success. There are a few common baking ingredients that I don’t like personally, so I’m very lucky to have a very reliable tester to try all the things I can’t bear to eat myself. There was something very exciting about making this cake as it has so many different coconut ingredients, it was very different than my usual cakes. I can only imagine it was decadently rich. I did learn some very important lessons about decorating coconut cakes though…

1. Do not try to write on top of shredded coconut. It will look like a drunken baker wrote it even if your hand is steady.

2. Make sure any coconut you put on top is firmly pressed into the frosting, especially for birthday cakes with candles. Otherwise you will end up with coconut shreds everywhere.

That’s it for today, I’ll have many more posts on the way as I have a bit more free time on my hands. Ah to be lost in the kitchen all summer long…

Missing in Action

You may have noticed that it’s been quite awhile since I’ve posted here, and thought that I’d gone and disappeared without reason. Well here’s my big fat excuse, which I think is a pretty decent one. I’m making a movie. To be a little more specific, I am producing a feature film that Shawn is directing (that we wrote together.) It’s the most work I’ve ever done in my life, and I barely sleep or eat, let alone cook or make fancy things for this blog. But since we had the holiday weekend off, and I didn’t want to keep you all in the dark forever, thinking maybe I’d abandoned blogging entirely, I felt you loyal readers deserved some explanation.


Anyway, enough with the prologue, if I’m gonna blog, it better be about something worthwhile, so here was my one creation I managed to sneak in this weekend. Espresso, chocolate chip, marshmallow ice cream. I had some mini-chocolate chips and thought they would be better in ice cream than anything else, and best in espresso ice cream. I’ve been fantasizing about making this for weeks now. To make things easy, I just used the recipe from Vegan Ice Cream Paradise.

So as the ice cream was freezing up, I decided it was absolutely necessary to throw just a few Dandies in the mix. Unfortunately, this is the point when I discovered that my marshmallows had melted into one mass of sticky marshmallow goo. I had been planning to make some surprise chocolate cookies with chocolate frosting, but that was obviously not happening. I chopped up the mondo-marshmallow into some chunks and threw it in the ice cream mix.

Well, I have to say, I wasn’t thrilled with my results. You’d think that by mixing some of the most amazing flavors possible, there’s no way you could go wrong, but it’s just not true. I think there are two flaws in my concoction. First, it needed WAY more espresso flavor. I put 1/3 cup  espresso(about 2 shots) which is more than the recipe called for, but it was still very creamy and not the intense coffee flavor I desired. Second, I would have preferred the chocolate chips chopped even more, into those tiny little chocolate bits. I will say, the marshmallow was the most genius addition. I just wanted more and more marshmallow goodness. At least now I know for next time…

So on that note, I’m off again, back to the filmmaking extravaganza. I’ll be back to the blogging world in a few weeks.  If you want to know more about the film, you can check it out at brainwashedlove.com or become a fan on facebook. Till then!