Posted in Quick Breads, Recipes

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here!!! It has been for several weeks but this past week, the fall baking cravings hit me hard! These muffins are amazing! I made them a few times last year but never with the greatest results. I have a tough time with muffins; they can seem so simple to make but are very easy to under or over mix or bake if you’re making them from scratch. These muffins have been described like mini pumpkin pies and they have been universally loved by my taste-testers! The original recipe calls for walnuts and raisins to be added but I don’t love either of those two in muffins so I made a few changes. Also, with this recipe, I was finally able to use the Halloween themed muffin liners that my boyfriend got me and they make me absurdly happy.

The original recipe is from The Village Baker’s Wife, a cookbook by Gayle Ortiz that came out in the seventies! My neighbor was the first to introduce me to it and it’s been my favorite cookbook to bake out of for all-American favorites. The recipes are near fool proof and are versatile for scaling up and scaling down. The book says that this recipe makes about 18 muffins and it really makes me wonder about the size of the bakery’s muffin tins! This recipe easily makes 30 muffins made in the standard 3 by 4 tins that most people have at home. Being slightly limited by my college dorm, I made a mini loaf with the extra batter because I only have two muffin tins. The muffins don’t take long to bake, 15-20 minutes and are worth waiting for them to cool completely before eating! Like with cookies, the chips become molten in the baking process and will burn your mouth if not cooled! The recipe also doesn’t use a full 15 oz can of pumpkin. It uses most of it but there’s just a little bit left over at the end. I wouldn’t put that extra bit in the recipe because it’ll make it a little too wet and it won’t bake properly. It’s too little to make anything substantial but let me know if you come up with a good use for it because I love not wasting food! Enjoy baking and I hope you’re having a lovely fall!

Pumpkin Pecan Chocolate Chip Muffin Recipe

  • 3 large eggs
  • 446 grams (2 1/4 cup) granulated sugar
  • 170 grams (6 oz or 3/4 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled (should still be a liquid)
  • 380 grams (1 2/3 cup) pumpkin puree, canned is fine
  • 400 grams (3 1/3 cup) All Purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all spice
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line two or three standard muffin tins.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar, butter, and pumpkin.
  3. In a smaller bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, salt, spices, nuts, and chocolate chips.
  4. Gently add the dry ingredients to the wet (flour mix to egg mix). Mix until there are just a few dry spots. Those spots will be absorbed in baking and by leaving a few, it prevents over mixing.
  5. Scoop batter into lined muffin cups with an ice cream scoop.
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes. The muffins are done when a knife inserted in their center comes out clean or when the tops spring back to the touch.
  7. Cool in the tins until cool enough to handle. Cool on a wire rack and eat!
Posted in Quick Breads, Recipes

Buttermilk Granola Muffins

I made these lovely muffins a few weeks ago during a particularly fruitful burst of baking. I always have leftover buttermilk from soda bread or other recipes that just sits in my fridge for weeks. With this recipe, I was finally able to use the leftover buttermilk but never fear, this recipe can be totally vegan if you choose or if you just lack buttermilk. The buttermilk in the recipe can be substituted for any type of fruit juice but I would suggest one that corresponds to the granola that you choose to use for this recipe. This recipe was an win for me because I’ve struggled with muffins in recent years. I can make them just fine from a mix but I haven’t found a good “from scratch” muffin recipe in a while. I’m so glad that I came across this recipe, it produced a ton of muffins which I’ve been enjoying for breakfast.

One note for the recipe concerning the type of granola used. Being a student on a budget, I could have made my own granola (time consuming but perhaps cheaper) or buy the cheapest option from the local grocery store. I choose the store route and have some regrets about the granola that I got which which was basically honey and vanilla flavored oats….So, I would recommend choosing your granola a little more carefully than I did. Go with something with larger clusters or with lots of dried fruit. I wish you luck and happy granola hunting if you decide to make these delectable muffins!

Buttermilk Granola Muffin Recipe

  • 227 grams whole wheat flour (2 cups)
  • 213 grams brown sugar, packed (1 cup)
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 99 grams prepared granola (1 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 67 grams vegetable oil (1/3 cup)
  • 340 grams low-fat or full-fat buttermilk (1 1/2 cups)
  1. Preheat the oven to 400F and grease a muffin tin. If using cups, making sure to grease those as well, the batter will stick.
  2. Whisk together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vanilla extract, vegetable oil, and buttermilk.
  3. Pour liquid ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined
  4. Spoon batter into cups until 2/3 full.
  5. Sprinkle with additional granola and bake for 16-18 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Remove muffins from the oven but not the tins. After five minutes or when cool enough to handle, transfer the muffins to a rack to a cool. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Posted in Pastry, Quick Breads

Savory Zucchini Scones

So I’m not sure how appropriate it is to call these scones but they sure are delicious! I ended up finding this recipe after discovering that my boyfriend had a container of buttermilk that was going to need to be used within the next two weeks. While I do love my Irish Soda Bread, I wanted to try and find something different that would use the buttermilk. They use the same elements as a traditional scone but they don’t have the same flakiness, I believe this is due to the zucchini. I made these over the past weekend and loved how much it tasted like pizza. I’ve only ever made one other savory scone and wasn’t quite sure how these would turn out. They were more of a hearty scone, probably due to the massive size of most of them and would make a good breakfast or lunch. They are slightly complicated so only attempt if you’ve had a little bit of experience with pastry or biscuits.

These are absolutely packed with flavor, from the zucchini to the sun dried tomatoes to the massive amount of grated Asiago!!! There are several technical pitfalls in this recipe and I was unable to avoid some of them but they still came out delicious! One issue is with the zucchini. While it makes a hearty addition to the scones and adds moisture, zucchinis add wayyyyy too much moisture most of the time. I squeezed out a great deal of moisture with a french press but I could have squeezed out even more. I found that the french press worked well but that I should have put the shredded zucchini inside the press in much smaller batches. You simply cannot get all the moisture out if you have too much in there. The other issue I had was underestimating how much dough this recipe makes. When I originally read about this recipe in the Skinnytaste blog, I thought it would make 12 mini scones. Oh boy, I was wrong on that! It makes 12 full size (generously portioned) scones and I really should have used a bigger mixing bowl. A food processor also really helps in this situation. I used to to both shred the zucchini and cut the butter into the dry ingredients. If you don’t have one, this can be done by hand so don’t get discourage but it will take a bit longer.

Savory Zucchini Scone Recipe

  • 3/4 cup cold buttermilk (I use low-fat but I’m not sure how much it matters here)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1 cup Whole Wheat flour (You could use only All Purpose but I like the whole wheat)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup or 4 tablespoons butter, cold and cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed of moisture
  • 2 ounces Asiago cheese, shredded (Could substitute Pecorino Romano or Parmesan)
  • 2.75 ounces sun dried tomatoes, minced (about 2/3 cup)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary, chopped
  • Extra buttermilk to coat
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray baking sheet with non-stick or line a baking sheet.
  2. Combine the buttermilk and egg in a bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  3. Combine flours with baking powder and salt, stirring with a whisk.
  4. In a separate bowl, combine zucchini, sun dried tomatoes, cheese, rosemary and set aside.
  5. Cut in chilled butter into the dry ingredients, by hand or using a food processor until it looks like coarse meal.
  6. Gently fold in the ingredients from step four. Make a well in the middle of the dough and add the buttermilk mixture.
  7. Fold the mixture together until it starts to come together then turn out onto a floured surface. Knead lightly then form into a 10″ circle.
  8. Cut into 12 wedges and brush lightly with buttermilk on the top of each wedge. Place on the lined sheet and bake 25-30 (up to 35) minutes.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool. Eat warm and enjoy!
Posted in Quick Breads

Grandma’s Date Nut Bread

This is one of the more personal recipes that I could possibly share. This recipe, as the title says, comes from my grandmother. For years, I heard my mother longingly speak of her mother’s date nut bread, which would be made as Christmas presents for loved ones. During our extended sheltering at home during the pandemic, my mom and I found a big family recipe book as we cleaned out the garage, which just so happened to contain a recipe for my grandmother’s famous date nut bread. I feel really lucky that we were able to find the recipe book in the first place and reading through it helped to connect me to my mother’s side of the family. My grandmother passed away shortly after my birth and I’ve always wished that we could have had just a little bit more time. While making this recipe, I felt just a little bit closer to my grandma.

This recipe is definitely a little interesting to make but is not hard at all! One of the first parts of this recipe calls for boiling water mixed with baking soda and dates. While I couldn’t find any real reasoning for this in the rest of the recipe, after a little bit of internet sleuthing, I surmised that the water is meant to help the baking soda dissolve and not get stuck on the dates. I also think that this recipe may be meant for two small loaf pans rather than the medium sized loaf pan that I used. In the recipe notes, it said that it made two loaves, but I found it barely filled my tin. I almost made it in my individual scone pan from King Arthur which may have helped it to bake quicker and more evenly. Due to the size of the pan I baked it in, I had to add an extra 20 minutes to the baking time during which the edges started to get a little crispy. I really enjoyed this recipe and it made me smile to see my mother very enthusiastically devouring the date bread! I hope you enjoy baking but be warned, it takes longer to bake than it does to assemble the ingredients!

Grandma’s Date Nut Bread Recipe

  • 1 cup dates, chopped and de-pitted
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon shortening/butter (original recipe called for shortening but I used butter this time)
  • 1 cup nut meat (I chopped pecans but any sweeter raw nut would work, candied nuts may be too sweet to eat in the bread)
  • 1 1/2 cup All Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat the oven to 325F.
  2. Combine the dates, boiling water, and baking soda and let stand while doing step 3
  3. Cream together sugar, eggs, and shortening/butter. Ensure it is thoroughly mixed and almost fluffy.
  4. Combine dates and sugar mix. To the combined mix, add the nut meat, flour, and vanilla extract.
  5. Pour into loaf pan and bake 1 hour, 20 minutes if using a large loaf pan or 1 hour for smaller loaves. Check for doneness by sticking a knife in the middle of the loaf, if it comes out clean then it’s ready to come out of the oven.
  6. Let loaf cool and enjoy warm or at room temperature with a bit of butter slathered on top or just plain if you like!
Posted in Quick Breads

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Irish Soda Bread is one of those recipes that I’ve heard about all my life but have yet to actually have it in a culinary setting. I’ve made versions of this bread before throughout my life as it’s a quick and easy baking project that produces a super satisfying quick bread. This version is adapted from the Skinnytaste version and came to be featured on my blog by the happy accident of my dad accidentally buying buttermilk and my boyfriend looking for a quick bake without yeast. During the current crisis, yeast amongst other items has been particularly difficult to get and my boyfriend wanted to bake something yummy!

Unfortunately for the very brave boyfriend, Jason, he baked his Irish Soda Bread in a loaf tin and most of it came out raw. I decided to make it the morning after telling him to do so and baked mine flat on a cookie sheet which made all the difference. I have made soda bread in a tin before, which is how I avoided his mistake. When I tried to use a tin, I wasn’t able to cut as deep as needed and had to bake it for twice as long and still got a slightly raw bread… Irish soda bread is an extremely dense quick bread, needing full exposure to the heat of the oven in order to cook. The rustic shape that you get from baking it like this is part of the experience. Also essential to a good bake is the cross cut made just before putting the bread into the oven. This cross cut needs to be deep which helps to let even more heat in so that the bread will bake. This bread is an easy one to make and goes really well with both breakfast and dinner! My family enjoyed this slightly lighter take on the traditional Irish soda bread, skipping some calories in the recipe and also cutting the slices much smaller, cutting the loaf into 16 slices rather than 8. Without further ado, here is my new and improved soda bread recipe for you to try in the comfort of your own home!

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

  • 1 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cup Whole Wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup 1% milk fat buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup candied lemon peel (I make my own based off Mary Berry’s Lemon Madeira Cake recipe, https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/lemon_madeira_cake_with_15109)
  1. Preheat oven to 375F
  2. Mix dry ingredients. Making a well in the center, pour in the buttermilk.
  3. Mix to combine ingredients until a dough forms. You may need slightly more flour than the recipe calls for to help the dough come together here.
  4. Once dough forms, turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently for about a minute.
  5. Add in lemon peel and raisins and knead to combine into the dough. For the best mixing, chop the raisins and lemon peel into smaller bits.
  6. Shape into a ball and place in the middle of a lined sheet pan.
  7. Use a sharp knife to cut the bread in half then cut those two halves into quarters. You should make a cut in the shape of a cross.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. The bread can be checked for doneness by inserting a toothpick and if it comes out clean, it’s done.
  9. Let sit for 5-10 minutes and serve warm. Also keeps at room temperature for several days but may start to go stale after the third day.