Tag Archives: honey

Brie & Honey: Delicious!


I had some friends over for dinner a couple of weeks ago.  In the midst of planning the menu and cleaning the house, I decided I wanted to go buy some cheese and create an awesome cheese platter!

I bought some chedder striated with carmelized onion, some classic Beemster, as well as a lovely blue cheese and a triple cream brie from Quebec.

The guy at the Cheese Boutique told me to try the brie with honey and I have to pass on that advice!

Omigods, it was delicious! The lovely texture of the brie overlaid with a sweet layer of honeybee goodness! I used local honey…it always seems to taste better 😉

Next time you find yourself in front of a cheese tray containing Brie, ask for some honey! You won’t be sorry!


Healthy Muffins! Blueberry Chocolate Chip (Also: Dealing with bad eggs and crystallized honey!)


I love muffins!  Warmed with butter…they can be SO good!

I recently got my hands on some quinoa flour and wheat bran…two ingredients I haven’t used before…and I searched online for a recipe that called for both items. I was also looking for a recipe that was healthy and that didn’t contain gobs of sugar and other garbage.

Within the first few pages of my Google search, I found this: http://www.livinghealthymom.com/chocolate-chip-blueberry-muffins/ Since I found this website, I have made these muffins a number of times and in many different ways.

Those of you who know me well will notice that the photos in the post were taken both at my old apartment, and my new one.  That is how long this post has been sitting in my Drafts pile!

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Right from the beginning, I found myself altering the recipe.  The first time I made them, I didn’t have eggs, so I substituted more applesauce.  I have used different berries (blueberries, strawberries), different types of chocolate chips (or none at all!) and have added coconut on occasion.

They’re so simple!  Although the dough is usually an odd colour prior to baking due to my use of frozen blueberries!

You start out like any other muffin baking adventure…combining the wet ingredients: eggs, yogurt, raw honey, applesauce, olive oil and vanilla.

Mmmm, yummy! 😉

Mixed up wet ingredients…ready for step two!

As a sidenote to all of this, I have had interesting adventures with both the eggs in my fridge and the honey in my cupboard.

The eggs…well, there are times I lose track of eggs. They are supposedly a perfect shape, a perfect food, easy to prepare, easy to use…and easy to overlook.  At one point, I had eggs, but I had no idea whether they were still good.  I did some online research to find a way to identify the old and stinky from the young and nubile…Yeah yeah, nubile and stinky aren’t really opposites…deal with it.

The old and stinky float!

What I discovered was that old and either stinky or “almost” stinky eggs tend to float!  And so, of my four eggs, two were happy to become muffin guts while the other two, sad to say, joined the compost party in my green bin.

At the same time as this, I discovered that my honey was rock hard.

I have since moved to fresh, local honey but at the time of my initial muffin attempt, my honey was um…less than perfect? Hard and crystallized to be exact.

Heating up my crystallized honey!

So while I prepped the other ingredients, the honey sat in a bowl of boiled water…which sort of worked.

I have to admit, if you have access to fresh local honey…buy it. It makes all the difference!

Next step…putting the dry ingredients together.

The first time I made these muffins was also the first time I used my new flour sifter!!!

It was a little harder than I expected as the flour kept getting stuck between the two blades and I had to keep shaking it to keep the flour sifting.

Buy a cheap sifter and work a little harder.

But eventually, sifting was just neat!

This is my excited Flour Sifting Face!!! 😀

Once you have mixed your dry and wet ingredients together…your muffin mix looks like this:

Once you’ve mixed your dough, add your berries, chocolate chips and coconut if you want.
I tend to use frozen blueberries more often than not. I like to buy bags of frozen berries marked “Wild Canadian Blueberries” on the package.  That way I know I’m getting the little wee berries that I used to pick with my mother as a child…you know the ones I mean…the tiny blueberries whose flavour absolutely explodes in your mouth when you eat them…a perfect mix of tart and sweet….Not these large overgrown blueberries we find imported year-round that have had all their flavour sucked out of them in exchange for large size and longevity.

Anyway…rant over…

The dough gets pretty funky when you add your blueberries!

Whee! Purply dough!

Not so funky if you use strawberries instead….more pretty….

Then, of course, you move on to filling your muffin tin.  I was recently gifted with a non-stick muffin pan…had been using a metal one until then.

GO BUY A NON-STICK MUFFIN TIN!!!

They are a gift from the gods! lol  No more scrubbing…no more broken muffin bits!
*sigh* I love my new muffin tin!

The old muffin tin…grrrrrr!

They bake for a fairly short amount of time…and then you have muffins!  They’re so quick and so easy…perfect for when you have company popping by, even last minute! 🙂

Blueberry with chocolate chip and coconut

Strawberry and Chocolate Chip

 

Blueberry Chocolate Chip Muffin

  • Ingredients:
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    • 3/4 Quinoa flour
    • 1/4 cup wheat bran
    • 2 tablespoons flaxseed (gives the blueberry muffin a slight crunch)
    • 1/4 cup raw honey
    • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
    • 1/4 cup organic non-fat yogurt
    • 2 eggs (OR an extra 1/3 cup applesauce)
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1 teaspoon baking powder
    • 1 cup of fresh blueberries (OR frozen blueberries or strawberries)
    • 1 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
    • OPTIONAL: 1/4 cup coconut

    Directions:

    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
    • Using your mixer combine eggs, yogurt, raw honey, applesauce, olive oil and vanilla.
    • Sift your flours, baking soda and baking powder together into a separate bowl.  Stir in wheat bran.
    • Combine your flour mixture and your wet mixture and mix by hand.
    • Stir in the chocolate chips/carob chips, the flaxseed and the blueberries.
    • Grease muffin pans with a bit of butter.
    • Bake for 18-20 minutes.
    • Serving size is 12 blueberry muffins using a standard size muffin tin, although I was able to make 10.

Recipe from  http://www.livinghealthymom.com/chocolate-chip-blueberry-muffins/

 

 

 


Teasing the Yeast…Oh, and making Honey Whole Wheat Bread!


So I can’t say I haven’t made bread before…or specifically *this* bread before.  This is my second time baking this particular bread but I have never blogged about it so here it is.  Interestingly, I had the same issues both times.  Nothing overly catastrophic but perhaps some of you with bread baking experience can give my some advice and/or your thoughts on the matter.  I have some concerns around the flour I used and how long my dough takes to rise. You’ll find Questions to Readers below in bold and italics.

Click here for the recipe or scroll to the bottom of the post.

Unlike my previous post (Check out the Dribble-y Cookies post), this time I did my best to follow the recipe exactly.

After collecting my ingredients…

I began by teasing the yeast.  I gave them some food (specifically sugar) and some nice warm water; a place to call home, prompting them to get comfy before I massacred them all.

Lively happy little yeast....or yeasts? Little do they know what's coming...

 

While the yeast  celebrated their second chance at life, I set them aside and combined the milk, water, shortening, honey, salt and white flour in another bowl.  Then, I forced the yeast to re-locate.  I added them to the bowl and lightly stirred it all together.  (At this point, I’m sure they thought they were in heaven!)

The recipe said to let the mixture rest for 15 minutes, which I did.  I even timed the 15 minutes to be sure I was doing it *exactly*.  Cue Capricorn anal-retentiveness!

When the time was up, I began adding the white flour.  I only had all-purpose white flour rather than bread flour, but everything I have read suggests that it wouldn’t make much of a difference using either.  Opinions?

I added it a half cup at a time, stirring with a wooden spoon until it became too difficult, at which point I jumped in with both hands.

I found the dough quite sticky but I decided to blame the honey for that. 🙂  It remained sticky, not overly, but not quite tacky either and I went ahead and dumped it onto the counter to begin the kneading process.

Yeah, I know…it didn’t look like much at that point but I kneaded it for a good 10 minutes as required (I almost timed that but then decided to simply watch the clock) and it eventually turned into a lovely ball of dough.  Dough that looked like bread dough!  A very good sign!

I have to say, I really enjoy kneading dough.  I find it exhilarating.  It’s hard work but I know that the end result is going to be awesome.  Bread I made with my own two hands; a very satisfying endeavour indeed!

Here’s where the interesting stuff begins.  The recipe calls for letting the “dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled“.  In my apartment, I have made bread three times.  Twice I have made the bread referred to in this post, as well as plain Whole Wheat.  In all cases, the time my dough has taken to rise has been excruciatingly long…much longer than the recipes call for.

I admit my apartment tends to be dry and cooler than normal…to compensate, I place my raw dough in a 100F oven, along with a small dish of water.  It rises, but requires upwards of double the time. Would this be due to the whole wheat flour, as I have read this flour takes longer to rise and generally won’t double in size?

I allowed the dough to rise almost 1.5 hours instead of the 45 minutes called for.  It was a pain to have to wait so long but I’m sure the partying yeast didn’t mind at all.  The dough wasn’t doubled at that point, but it had risen quite a bit so I removed it from the oven, punched it down and divided it into two loaves.

Okay, sort of loaves…one IS kind of funny looking. 😉

The loaves required another 30 minutes of rising time.  At this point, I was headed downtown to pick up a few things so I figured I could leave them for upwards of an hour since it appears double-time is the rule of thumb in my apartment.  I got caught up and didn’t return home for two hours…at which point the loaves had definitely doubled their size and were ready to be baked.  So, it would seem that perhaps quadruple time is what I should be aiming for!

And besides, the extra time given to the yeast to party it up and do their thing assuaged the guilt I had at knowing I was about to kill off the whole, happy population.

The loaves baked for about 30 minutes, came out a lovely golden brown and left my kitchen smelling absolutely heavenly.  There’s really nothing like the smell of freshly baked bread and dead yeast!

The first time I made this bread, it turned out slightly crumbly.  This time around however, I think I have much improved!


RECIPE

Honey Wheat Bread

Recipe taken from Allrecipes.com

First attempt - Winter 2011

Ingredients

  • 1 (.25 ounce) package rapid rise yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 (12 fluid ounce) can evaporated milk
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup melted shortening
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast and sugar in 1/2 cup warm water.
  2. Combine milk, 1/4 cup water, shortening, honey, salt and wheat flour in food processor or bowl. Mix in yeast mixture, and let rest 15 minutes. Add white flour, and process until dough forms a ball. Knead dough by processing an additional 80 seconds in food processor, or mix and knead by hand 10 minutes. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rise for 45 minutes, or until almost doubled.
  3. Punch down, and divide dough in half. Roll out each half, and pound out the bubbles. Form into loaves, and place in buttered 9×5 inch bread pans. Butter the tops of the dough, and cover loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm area until doubled; second rise should take about 30 minutes.
  4. Place a small pan of water on the bottom shelf of the oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  5. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. Butter crusts while warm. Slice when cool.

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