Monday, May 23, 2011

Minnesota Rhubarb Pie

My good friend Deb gave this recipe to me several years ago.  Deb is a Minnesota girl, born and bred, and she's a terrific cook.  I don't know where Deb got this recipe but this is my favorite recipe for Rhubarb Pie.  It's so easy to put together and it's creamy and smooth - it's light, too, so perfect for an after dinner dessert.

One real plus is that it doesn't take a lot of rhubarb...just 9 or 10 small to medium stalks.  And there are just three other ingredients.  Perfect.

INGREDIENTS

3 cups rhubarb, cleaned and chopped into bite size pieces.
1-1/4 to 1-1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons flour
2 eggs, beaten

Pastry for a 10-inch two-crust pie.  Either make from scratch or, like I did today, use a Pillsbury All Ready Pie Crust from the refrigerated section of the grocery store.  They're excellent and great to have on hand for a last minute recipe

I've got a good recipe for homemade pie crust from Julee Rosso (Great Good Food) HERE in my Rhubarb Pie page on Squidoo.


NOTE: If you're using early/young rhubarb which is not as tart, go with a little less sugar. I usually go with a little less sugar, anyway.


Simple, simple, simple - toss everything together and pile into a pie pan lined with one crust.

Here's a Martha Stewart tip for a crispier crust. She says, "The secret to keeping a fruit pie crust from getting soggy is egg white..." which bonds the proteins together to form a barrier so the juice from the filling doesn't seep into the crust.

*"Lightly beat an egg white; then brush it over the inside of the uncooked shell before adding the fruit mixture. The coating will set as the pie bakes and keep your dessert crisp."


Top with the second crust and bake. If you like, you can cut the second crust into strips and weave across the top of the filling.


I like to brush the top crust with the leftover beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.


Bake at 375 degrees F. for 45 - 60 minutes until juices bubble through the crust and it's golden brown.



Cool on a wire rack.  This is delicious either slightly warm or at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


That's a Minnesota Rhubarb Pie.   Good Stuff!


*NOTE:  Today when I made this, I decided to include the extra egg yolk since I had separated the egg for the egg white glaze.  It worked just fine and I didn't waste that extra yolk.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Golden Morning Muffins - Your Way

Golden Morning Muffins (no topping)
My Golden Morning Muffins are moist and delicious.  I just made a batch this morning.  There were eighteen of them.  Now there are two.   Granted, we had three friends over for coffee but that's still a LOT of muffins. 

That's how good they are.

They're a take-off on a muffin I had several years ago called Morning Glory Muffins.  There are probably a dozen different recipes for Morning Glory muffins but they all involve fruit and/or nuts and/or carrots, etc.

Golden Morning Muffins is the name I chose for them after checking to see if there are any other muffins out there in cyberspace with the same name.  They're aren't.

The beauty of this recipe is that it's totally "customizable" just by changing out the fruit and nut combination. 

As usual, I advise reading through the entire recipe before starting.  It's also a good idea to measure all ingredients before putting them together.

GOLDEN MORNING MUFFINS
Makes 18 - 24 muffins depending on size

What you'll need:

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I use unbleached flour)
1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon oat bran
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup organic vanilla yogurt (or plain yogurt or sour cream)
2 medium bananas, mashed
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 egg

1 cup chopped dried apricots*
1 cup golden raisins*
3/4 cup chopped walnuts*
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut*

Topping - A Tablespoon or two of each:
Ground flax seed
Wheat germ
Sugar - preferably raw sugar

NOTE: You can also include finely chopped nuts and/or coconut in the topping.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Either line your muffin tins with paper muffin liners or spray them with non-stick spray.

NOTE: If you use paper muffin liners the muffins, cool the muffins before removing the paper as they will stick a bit if they're too warm.

Combine the yogurt, mashed bananas, applesauce, vanilla, and egg in a small bowl.  Combine the seven dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl then make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients, mixing until just combined.  Fold in the fruit and nuts.

Fill each muffin cup 1/2 to 2/3 full.  Sprinkle each with the topping mixture and bake for about 20 minutes or until they bounce back when touched lightly or when a toothpick inserted in a muffin comes clean.

Let cool about five minutes before removing to a cooling rack.

Enjoy...

*NOTE:  As long as you keep the fruit/nut mixture to about three cups total, you can use whatever you like or have on hand.  I've made this recipe using:
Dates
Dried Cherries
Dried Cranberries (or Craisins, as they're often called)
Dried Apricots
Dark raisins
Pecans, chopped almonds or other nuts
Chopped, fresh apples
Grated carrots

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Melt-in-your-mouth Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies
I first baked these cookies at my daughter's house in Kansas after she told me about the flourless peanut butter cookies that she and her husband had at a restaurant.  They loved them.

Naturally, I had to hunt up a recipe.  There are lots of recipes online but this one from Joy the Baker caught my eye.

Here's my version:  It makes about two dozen light and buttery-flavored 2-inch cookies.

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

1 cup of all-natural peanut butter (creamy or chunky, your choice)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 large egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment or lightly grease with butter.

Combine the sugars and baking soda.  Add the peanut butter and mix 1-1/2 to 2 minutes until well combined.

The cookie dough
Add the egg and mix thoroughly, about another minute or two.  The dough will be quite thick.

Roll the dough into balls the size of a walnut in the shell...mine were about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.

The dough is slightly oily as you roll it into the balls but they hold together well.

(NOTE July 15, 2011:  Today when I made these I added the peanut butter and the egg all at once.  It was easier to blend and the dough was a little softer.  They baked up just fine.  Just thought I'd  pass that on.)

Unbaked Cookies
Press with a fork to flatten slightly.  You can do a crisscross pattern with the fork if you like but I just pressed the cookie ball once.



All baked and ready to gobble up!
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until they are lightly browned.  Cool the cookies on the pan for a couple of minutes and then transfer to a cooling rack.

I just made this batch, today and I'm quite sure they won't last very long.  Two dozen isn't a lot when your husband is a "cookie monster"!

Note:  If you check your ingredients carefully, these could definitely be a gluten-free cookie.  I used Smucker's Natural Chunky Peanut Butter which is gluten-free.

The baking soda should be gluten-free, but check with the manufacturer to be certain.

Enjoy!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Blueberry Muffins with Banana

These muffins are moist, flavorful, and delicious in spite of an error that I made while creating them!  More on that, later.


BLUEBERRY MUFFINS WITH BANANA

1/2 cup soft butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mashed banana (about 1 medium-size banana)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup vanilla almond milk
1 tablespoon toasted wheat germ
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups blueberries (fresh blueberries or frozen berries that have been thawed and rinsed)

For topping:  Combine toasted wheat germ and sugar...about a  tablespoon of each

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Spray a 12 muffin pan with cooking spray or line with paper baking cups.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then add the vanilla, baking powder and salt.
  3. Mix in the mashed banana, nutmeg and toasted wheat germ,
  4. Alternate adding the flour and the almond milk, folding gently with each addition.
  5. Fold in the blueberries.
  6. Scoop the batter into the muffin cups and sprinkle each generously with the toasted wheat germ and sugar.
Bake for 25 minutes until the tops are golden.  Remove the muffins to a cooling rack and allow them to cool for about 15 minutes.   If you've used paper baking cups, they'll be easier to remove if the muffins are cool.


So...what was my error?

Well, the nutmeg, toasted wheat germ and a tablespoon of sugar were supposed to be the topping.

A few seconds after I slid them into the oven,  I realized that I had not added the last of the vanilla almond milk.  Argghhhh!!  No wonder the batter was stiff!

So, I scraped the batter back into the bowl, added the rest of the almond milk, washed the muffin pans, re-scooped the batter into the paper baking cups, sprinkled them with more toasted wheat germ and sugar (omitting additional nutmeg) and slid them into the oven.

I fully expected the batter to sink in the center of each muffin.  That happens sometimes when you've mixed the batter too much.  At the very least, I expected them to be heavy.

I was wrong...they were light and fluffy and quite delicious!  The nutmeg and toasted wheat germ were barely noticeable but I'm convinced that they added to the richness of the muffins.

This recipe is a keeper.

Inspired by:  A recipe called "The Best Blueberry Muffins" from the book Muffins a great little cookbook by Elizabeth Alston.