Monday, May 30, 2011

Coconut Chocolate Chip Nutella Zucchini Muffins

I love taking great healthy ingredients and assimilating them into tasty delicious baked goods. Every time I successfully incorporate a vegetable into a dessert it makes me that much prouder of what I have made. I'm not sure why... maybe it is the melding of ingredients that aren't traditionally used together, maybe it is the surprise on people's faces when I tell them the ingredients... Case in point, Coconut Chocolate Chip Nutella Zucchini Muffins! The muffins are super moist and on the heavier more decadent side. I spread half with a layer of chocolate frosting to kick them up a bit. They are the perfect (if a bit unbalanced) mix of healthy and indulgent.

Coconut Chocolate Chip Nutella Zucchini Muffins
Adapted from
1 egg
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 cup grated zucchini
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup flaked coconut
3 tablespoons Nutella
3/4 tablespoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour or line muffin tins.
In mixing bowl beat egg, oil, and sugar. Warm nutella a bit in the microwave to make is a softer consistency.
Stir in zucchini, nutella and vanilla.
In another bowl, measure flour, baking powder, soda, salt, cinnamon, and coconut. Stir to combine thoroughly. Pour all at once over batter in mixing bowl. Stir to moisten.
Spoon into muffin tins. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 20 - 25 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Turn out on rack.
Allow to cool a bit, and enjoy!
You could also make this in a loaf pan for a chocolaty twist on zucchini bread!
Hope you have a wonderful memorial day with family and those you love!

Thursday, May 19, 2011


I used to think that a cup of tea, a good book, and Lola (my chihuahua) curled up on my lap were all the ingredients I needed to weather a rainy spring afternoon. Little did I know that I was missing something, that something being a cookie to go with my tea. And not just any cookie, a "cubretaza" cookie. Cubretaza literally means 'cup cover' in Spanish, and that is exactly what these buttery shortbread cookies do. You set them over your tea cup and the steam from the tea warms them up to the perfect cookie temperature. Dipping the edges in a bit of chocolate and coconut or sprinkles provides the perfect finishing touch. They would be adorable for a tea party, or do what I did and enjoy them with your afternoon tea.

1 1/4 cups flour
3/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 tablespoons cold butter
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons milk
Pinch of salt

To Decorate:
Chocolate for melting
Sprinkles or shredded coconut

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and vanilla.
Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture. Work the mix with your hands until well mixed with lumps no bigger than the size of a pea.
Add the egg yolks and milk.
Mix until you have a smooth dough. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. When dough is chilled, remove from refrigerator and place between two pieces of wax paper. Get out your rolling pin, roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
Using a circle cutter slightly bigger than the size of the mug you like to use, cut dough into circles.
Use the leftover scraps of dough to make little rolls to use as the cookie "handle", stick the handle to the circle of dough using a bit of water. To keep the them from collapsing while cooking, place a little roll of parchment paper or aluminum under each handle for support. Be sure not to roll the paper tight, or the pressure will unravel it and your handles will fly off! Bake for 10 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from oven and allow to cool. Dip edges in melted chocolate and cover with sprinkles or coconut.
Coconut or sprinkles?
Decisions, decisions.....
Hope you're having a fabulous week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Raspberry Filled Buttermilk Scones

This recipe is just perfect for brunch. The scone is familiar and comforting and the fruity filling makes for a lovely little surprise in the middle. You can use almost any jam or filling you have on hand, and the recipe can be doubled for larger crowds. The recipe originally calls for a food processor, which I don't have, so I included food-processor free directions as well. Just be sure not to over mix the scone dough as the texture can quickly go from light and tender to tough and dry when mixed with too much vigor. But if you keep your mixing and kneading to a minimum, in very little time you will have a steaming batch of buttery, flaky, fruit filled scones. Impressive and delicious!

Jam Filled Scones
Adapted from Country Living
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
16 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon lemon zest
1/2 cup jam (raspberry was my choice)
3 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Place the flours, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse until combined. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the buttermilk and zest and pulse until the dough is just combined.****
For people who don't have a food processor, place flours, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Using two knifes or a pastry blender, cut butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles coarse meal (no bigger than pea size clumps of butter). Add buttermilk and zest and mix until just combined (use a wooden spoon or your hands).
Shape the scones: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Place an 18-inch sheet of parchment paper on a work surface and sprinkle it lightly with flour. Transfer the dough to the paper and, with floured hands, gently press the dough into a 12- by 12-inch square; the dough should be about 3/4 inch thick.
Cut out two 6-inch circles, reshape the remaining dough into a 3/4-inch-thick square, and cut out one more 6-inch circle. Gather the remaining scraps and form into one final 6-inch circle. (basically you will end up with four equally sized circles).
Place 1/4 cup of jam on two of the circles. Top each with the remaining dough rounds and pinch the sides shut.
Using a knife, score the top of each scone with a large cross marking 4 quadrants. Sprinkle the tops with sugar. Transfer scones to the prepared pan and bake until golden -- 30 to 35 minutes.
Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
Split or cut on the scores. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Have a lovely weekend! Linking up

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Chocolate Quick Bread/Cake

oh my goodness! It has been too long since I blogged, life's pace is definitely picking up! Despite the craziness of life, I have still found time to bake, I made this cake yesterday after a particularly hectic day at work, and it turned out lovely. Decadent and chocolaty, all those work stresses went right out the window! It's topped with fluffy frosting and mounds of marshmallows and I finished it off by grating dark chocolate over the marshmallows. I actually poured half the batter into the pan, sprinkled on a layer of marshmallows, and topped it with the rest of the batter. I don't recommend this, it really didn't make any difference in the cake, the marshmallows just melted and got sticky. Cake was still good (really good) but a bit sticky around the edges. If you make it, just leave them out, as I did in the recipe below. Next time I make it I'm going to throw a few handfuls of chocolate chips in for an even more intense chocolate flavor. For the frosting use canned or homemade whichever you prefer. I used homemade buttercream leftover from some cupcakes I made for valentines day. I had saved the extra in February by freezing it, all I had to do was thaw it and rewhip it, no problem!

Chocolate Quick Bread
Recipe from
2 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup cocoa
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 1/4 cups sour milk*
Chocolate shavings

*Sour milk: add 1 tbsp. vinegar to 1 cup milk at room temp. Allow to sit 5 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray and set aside.
Sift together first five ingredients. Add remaining ingredients.
Combine until just blended. Pour into sprayed 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake at for about one hour or until a pick inserted in the middle comes out with just a few crumbs attached. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely. When cooled, remove from pan.
Frost with buttercream or other frosting and top with plenty of marshmallows and a sprinkle of chocolate shavings.

Have a great weekend!