Glorious Morning Glory Muffins

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I haven’t written for a few weeks. It’s not that I’m not cooking, I’m just not creatively cooking. Or I make standard fare that I have already written about, such as chicken pot pie and chocolate cake. We had a fabulous post New Year Thanksgiving dinner with a roast turkey and all the trimmings including sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, gravy, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and apple pie. Sometimes I just throw chicken in the oven to bake with barbecue sauce or pan sear steaks or pork chops. Frozen vegetables, in a multiple of varieties, round out the meal. And I confess, sometimes dinner is sandwiches made with frozen breaded fish fillets!

And then there is the impetus for weight loss and heart healthy cooking. Hubby and I are not getting any younger and the medical folk have been looking at our hearts regarding cholesterol levels and hypertension, and our sedentary lifestyle, a little more closely lately. So how can I bake yummy desserts with these issues in the front of my mind?

I wanted to bake something. I used to bake muffins every week so that Hubby and the Girls would have something to take along for the commute to school. The Girls are now all grown up with boyfriends and fiances and such. But a healthy muffin might take the place of cupcakes, right? I have an entire section of my recipe notebook devoted to muffins. Most of them claim to be low-fat and have whole wheat and/or oatmeal in the list of ingredients. I chose this one because it has apple butter as an ingredient and I found half a jar of good apple butter when I did a recent fridge cleaning and inventory.

Morning Glory Muffins: this is an adaptation of a recipe submitted to All Recipes.com 2005 by a Jack D. I adjusted the eggs and the amount of sugar and the raisins.

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (in future I would use 1 cup all-purpose)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour (in future I would use 1 cup)
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored, and chopped
  • 1 cup Craisins
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons toasted wheatgerm (I did not remember if the wheatgerm I have is toasted already so I dry toasted it in a small skillet over high heat on top of the stove)

Oven to 375 degrees F. Spray 18 muffin cups or line with papers. I was able to make 20 muffins.

Whisk eggs, apple butter, oil, and vanilla together in a medium bowl

Whisk all dry ingredients together in a larger bowl. These are the first 7 ingredients.

Add the goodies, carrots, apple, Craisins, to the dry ingredients. Then stir in the apple butter mixture just until all is moist.

Mix the wheat germ and the walnuts together in a small bowl.

Spoon into the muffin pans, sprinkle each with the wheatgerm mixture, and bake for 20 minutes. The tops will spring back when lightly pressed.

These were fabulous. I don’t remember baking these before even after printing out the recipe back in 2006. They are enjoyable warm right out of the oven, in the middle of the morning as a snack, and also the next day, and evening, and then for morning again…

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Banana Cake with Buttercream Frosting

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I made a cake and layered it and frosted it! This is a slightly adapted recipe from the larger KitchenAid Cookbook, not the one that comes with the mixer. I bought this one for $12.99 quite some time ago. The copyright date is 1992. Sister had just baked the pumpkin bread from this book which made me get my copy out to peruse.

I have a large bag of slowly browning frozen bananas. I have never cooked with frozen bananas. I am never sure as to why they turn brown if I have supposedly frozen them in airtight bags. So I used some of them and now have half a bag of slowly browning frozen bananas.

Cake:

  • 2 1/3 cups flour; I used 1 cup of whole wheat pastry flour in this amount.
  • 1 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 2/3 cup butter, softened or at room temperature
  • 2 1/2 frozen bananas to be about 1 1/4 cups mashed
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk; I only had 1/2 cup so added water to top it off
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2-1 cup chopped walnuts

I used the directions with the speed and timing for the KitchenAid stand mixer. So basically, sift all the dry ingredients into the bowl. Make a well and add the butter, banana, and 1/3 cup buttermilk. Beat to mix (Stir Speed for 30 seconds). Stop, scrape bowl. Turn to Speed 4 (high but not too high) and beat one minute. Add remaining buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Speed 2 for 30 seconds; stop and scrape; Speed 4 for one minute. Add 1/2 cup of the nuts at Stir Speed just until blended.

Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans. I prepared the pans with parchment paper and sprayed that with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 35-40 minutes. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then remove and cool on wire racks.

Thoughts while making this…I often think that I should use my 8-inch cake pans in order to get taller layers. But the recipe said 9-inch. Sister told me she always doubles the nuts in her recipes so I did too. But I decided to put the extra nuts on top. While this was baking I hunted for my stash of cookie cutters thinking I had a maple leaf. I don’t. I was thinking of flavoring the frosting with maple syrup. I did not. I have always just used Speed 2 for mixing cake batters. But now I can go higher. Interesting.

For the frosting I also used the Speed and timing. This is very important for making fluffy frosting. Who knew?

  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat the butter at Speed 6 for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape bowl. Sift powdered sugar into bowl. I got out my sifter and actually did sift the sugar into the bowl. I do not use the sifter very often at all. Add vanilla. Speed 2 for 30 seconds. Stop and scrape. Then Speed 6 for two minutes. Voila, fluffy, spreadable frosting. Frost cake after it cools. I found some prepared icing gel tubes and thought I would be fancy. I dream of decorating fancy cakes. Not the most intricate of designs, nor was it as easy as I thought it would be.

But the test is in the taste. And this was very tasty and moist. I took a large portion of it to work so as not to eat a whole cake this week. Everyone raved about it. This recipe will be marked as a keeper.

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