Baking Through the Alphabet: H is for Honey Cranberry Orange Scones

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I’m sick.

Headache, runny/stuff nose, slight cough, burning eyes (a little), fever, and slight nausea.

But after sucking it up at work for 7 hours and finally caving in at 3 to use my sick hours and to just go home, and after some meds and a good nap, I’m feeling much better! I think. Hopefully I’m well enough to go in to work tomorrow. (Edit: I didn’t make it to work. POO.)

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But seriously. Sick hours = :) :) :).

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I’ve been really slow with the alphabet recently because I’ve been baking other things outside of this alphabet project. I’ve made…thin mint cupcakes (which will probably be for T), chocolate covered strawberry cupcakes, baked parmesan eggs, Andes mint chocolate cookies, and other baked goodies just for friends and the apartment. Cream cheese was on sale at Albertsons for a buck again, so I’ll try to find things to make with those. I bought 10 blocks HAHA.

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I made these scones about 3 weeks ago. I knew I wanted to do something with honey for T, but I was having a reaaallly hard time finding something. I wanted to make some baked good that hasn’t been a part of this whole alphabet thing yet. I settled on this honey cinnamon scone recipe until Sam gave me the idea to make honey cranberry scones.

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I really wish the honey flavor stood out more though, but I love the citrusy combination with the fluffy scones and tart cranberries. I used this honey that Sam got from a farmer’s market, but take my advice, use honey instead of sugar. I made it once replacing the honey with 3 tablespoons of sugar, but they just came out so much drier. Also, the flour called for in the original recipe wasn’t enough; my dough was sooo sticky. Just keep adding flour until it’s manageable; I gave an estimate in the recipe below. Don’t add too much because the scones will turn out dry. Oh, I also used milk instead of cream to save some fat and calories. The scones still came out delicious! So yummy that I made them again three times after that. =)

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Honey Cranberry Orange Scones
From Inspired Taste
Makes 8 scones

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour (or 2 1/2 depending on how wet the dough is)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 cup cold milk, plus 1 tablespoon for tops of scones
3 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon orange zest (I used the zest from one orange)
3/4 cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon coarse sugar (like Sugar in the Raw…I used
half of those packets you can get a coffee shops)

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. I used my silicon baking mat and it got stained.

2. For the dough, blend together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a food processor. Add the butter to the flour mixture and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse meal with a few small crumbles of butter the size of peas. Alternatively you can do this by hand in a bowl and cut in the butter with a pastry blender or your fingertips. I just find that a food processor makes it so much easier.

3. In another bowl, combine the milk, honey, and orange zest and stir until the honey is completely incorporated into the cream.

4. Pour the flour/butter mixture into a large bowl. Stir in the cranberries. Pour in the honey-milk mixture and mix until a dough forms. If it’s too wet, add a little flour just until it’s easy to work with, but not too much or else the scones will come out dry.

5. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough 3 to 5 times. Form it into an 8 inch circle and cut into 8 triangles.

6. Place the scones onto the lined baking sheet. Brush with the milk and lightly sprinkle the tops with coarse sugar.

7. Bake scones in the preheated over for 12 to 15 minutes until light golden brown. Scones are best eaten fresh, but they can keep at room temperature for a few days. Perfect for breakfast. Enjoy!

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Perfect with some coffee (sorry, I lied in the picture because I really don’t drink my coffee that black…), a journal, and the word of God. :)

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Happy Thursday!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Baking Through the Alphabet: A is for Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread

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I had an epiphany a few months ago…but I never went through with it. Cheryl and I actually bought ingredients for it, but we never did it.

The epiphany came back a few days ago.

I’M GOING TO BAKE THROUGH THE ALPHABET.

Yaknow, desserts that start with A, then B, then C, and so on. What’s going to happen when I get to Q or X? We’ll see. Maybe I’ll cop out and make a Chinese dessert/baked good. It’ll be a surprise for me, too.

So, first things first: A. A IS FOR APPLE PIE PULL APART BREAD.

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Think…apple pie meets cinnamon roll. It’s SO GOOD. I found this recipe while scrolling through foodgawker (during class, probably), and I thought it was such an interesting combination! My only issue with the apple pie pull apart bread recipes that I found was that they used Pilsbury refrigerated biscuit rolls as the bread, and in my book…that’s a no-no. It’s no fun when you don’t get to play with dough and make it from scratch! Maybe I’ll change my mind when I get married and have kids, haha!

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But I decided to use the bread recipe from Joy the Baker’s cinnamon sugar pull apart bread. I made some adjustments for the filling, crossed my fingers, and hoped that it would come out okay. And it did! The bread and filling was gooey and cinnamon-y, and the baked apple slices between the bread slices tasted just like an apple pie.

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Oh, and the GLAZE that went on top of it was yum-o! I had considered not making the glaze, but my roommate convinced me otherwise, and she was right! Not only did the bread look much better, but it also brought all the flavors together. Delicious fall flavors–all in one loaf! =)

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Apple Pie Pull Apart Bread with Vanilla Glaze
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Joy the Baker and The Comfort of Cooking

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 medium apple, cored and thinly sliced (I used a Fuji apple)

For the Vanilla Glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs and set aside.

In a medium bowl, melt together the milk and butter in the microwave (you could also do this in a small saucepan on the stove). When the butter has just melted, add the water and vanilla extract. Let the mixture cool for a few minutes.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs, and stir until the eggs are incorporated into the dough. The dough will be extremely sticky; try not to add too much flour or else the dough will come out too dry.

Place the dough into a large, greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a clean kitchen towel, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about an hour. Alternatively, you can also let the dough rise until doubled in size, then refrigerate overnight to use in the morning. I did this and it came out just fine =)

While the dough is rising, make the filling. Whisk together the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg and set aside. Coat the apple slices in the cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture and set aside. Keep the leftover sugar mixture and set that aside too.  Line a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan with parchment paper and set aside.

When the dough has risen, deflate it and knead it with a little flour. On a lightly floured work surface, roll the dough into a 12×20-inch rectangle. Spread the melted butter across the dough. Take the leftover cinnamon-sugar-nutmeg mixture and sprinkle it over the dough.

Slice the dough vertically into six equal-sized strips. Stack the strips on top of one another, and then slice the stack into six equal slices again. You should end up with six stacks of six squares. Place the dough squares into the lined loaf pan like a flip book. Take the sliced apple slices and stuff them between the squares. I stuffed 1-2 apple slices between each square. Place a kitchen towel over the loaf pan and let it rise until doubled in size (I skipped this step because I was running late for class, but it came out fine!).

Place a rack in the cetner of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Bake the loaf for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is very golden brown.

While the loaf is baking, make the vanilla glaze by whisking together the powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. When the loaf is done, let it cool for 20 minutes, and then drizzle the glaze over the warm bread, and ENJOY!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Six-Banana Banana Bread

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I am super picky when it comes to bananas. I only eat bananas when they’re still slightly green. If there are brown spots, then nope. Sorry. For some reason, ripe bananas make me want to sneeze. And I hate the smell! My parents like buying bananas, but I think we go through phases. They either go out really quickly, or they just sit there and rot. So oftentimes we always have a whole bunch of bananas that are starting to brown that no one will eat, and I always feel so wasteful when they get so bad that we have to throw them out. I know the bananas are getting old when my mom starts asking when I’ll be making “banana cake.”

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Now don’t get me wrong, I love my banana crumb muffins recipe. It was the first post that got me onto foodgawker! But that recipe only uses three bananas. Then I stumbled across this recipe, which uses SIX (!!!!!!!) bananas in the banana bread. Amazing. This bread is so easy to make (you don’t need a mixer or anything! No creaming involved), and I think I’m still amazed at the fact that it uses so many bananas. That’s all the rotting bananas in my house! It’s super easy to put together, and the flavor is great. I like how it uses vanilla pudding mix in the batter; I think that’s what makes it so moist. Lots of banana flavor, super dense and soft, and it stays moist for days. It does take a little long to bake (mine took a little over an hour, I think), but it’s totally worth it. If the top starts to brown before the bread is done, just put a piece of foil over the top and it’ll be A-OK. This is my new go-to banana bread recipe; hope y’all enjoy =).

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Six-Banana Banana Bread
Makes one loaf
From Averie Cooks

Ingredients: 

1/4 cup unsalted butter (1/2 stick), melted and cooled slightly
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup sour cream or Greek Yogurt (I used Trader Joe’s Honey Greek Yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 medium/large very ripe bananas, mashed (2 1/2 cups)
one 3.4 ounce box vanilla instant pudding mix (make sure it’s not cook ‘n serve)
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F. Prepare the loaf pan by spraying with floured cooking spray, or grease and flour the pan. Depending on the size of your loaf pan, you may need a muffin pan or mini loaf for leftover batter.

2. Whisk together the melted and cooled slightly butter, eggs, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, greek yogurt (or sour cream), and vanilla.

3. Add the mashed bananas; stir to incorporate. Add the pudding mix (don’t actually make the pudding, just add it like a dry ingredient), flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Gently fold with a spatula, being careful to not over mix.

4. Bake the loaf for 60 to 75 minutes, or until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean (or with a few moist crumbs). If your bread is browning before it’s done, tent it with a piece of foil. Like the creator of this recipe, Averie, says, “watch your bread, not the clock.” I like that phrase!

5. Let the bread cool in pan for about 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing and serving. Bread will keep airtight at room temperature for up to one week, but hopefully they’ll be gone before then =)! Enjoy!!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Blueberry Doughnut Muffins with a Lemon Glaze

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Happy Tuesday!

There’s only a little over a month of summer break left. I think I’ve done my share of baking this past summer already, but I still have a long to-do list before school starts again. I have about 9 macaron orders on hold and two birthday cakes to do in September. I’m tired…but I still like it. I will admit that I get really lazy at times (hence the 9 backed-up orders) and get tired of making the same thing, but at the same time knowing that someone wants my baked goodies makes everything so much better. I’m getting there!

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Summer’s not over yet, so I won’t make a post on that just yet. But what is almost over is blueberry season. It’s sad because blueberries are my favorite berries! I’m trying to take advantage of blueberry season, so I keep buying blueberries…then as I result I have to keep finding new recipes to use up these pints and pints of blueberries. I’m not complaining, though =).

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After gawking (hehe) through foodgawker, I found these doughnut blueberry muffins with a lemon glaze. I’ve made regular doughnut muffins, and I was pretty pleased with the results. Doughnut muffins are kind of like cake doughnuts in muffin form and not fried. It’s definitely less greasy. I loved these muffins (even though I did sort of overbake them a little bit). I loved the flavors and the combination of the lemon zest and blueberries, and the glaze was perfect with the rest of the muffin. I think I’ll probably try using lemon juice instead of water for the glaze, just because I love the extra tartness =). Yummy, and totally perfect for this summer season!

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Blueberry Doughnut Muffins with a Lemon Glaze
Makes 12 muffins (I had enough for an extra mini loaf)
From My Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

For the muffins:
zest of 2 lemons
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1 1/3 cup fresh blueberries

For the glaze:
3 tablespoons unsalted butter; melted
1 cup powdered sugar; sifted
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon warm water

1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Lightly grease a standard muffin tin, or line with 12 paper muffin cups.

2. For the muffins: In a bowl, mix together the lemon zest and sugars (granulated and brown). Use your fingertips or a fork to incorporate the zest and sugars together. (It smells great huh!!)

3. In a large bowl, cream together the butter, vegetable oil, and lemon sugar (from step two) until smooth. Add the eggs and vanilla; beat to combine.

4. In a medium bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir the flour mixture into the wet mixture alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour. Make sure everything is throughly combined, being careful to not over mix. Fold in the blueberries.

5. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, filling the cups until they are 3/4 full. Bake them for 15 to 17 minutes, or until they’re a pale golden brown , or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.

6. Meanwhile, for the glaze: mix together the melted butter, powdered sugar, vanilla, lemon juice, and water. Whisk until smooth.

7. When the muffins are slightly, dip the top of the muffin into the glaze, and set on a wire rack (make sure you put something under the rack because it will drip!) and allow the glaze to harden. If you have extra, double dip and glaze your muffins twice!

8. Serve warm, or let them cool completely on a rack. Muffins will keep at room temperature for about a day. Enjoy!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Bacon Egg Cups

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Hello all!! Sorry for being MIA! These past few weeks have just been crazy–two big baking jobs, one missions trip, and a lot of things to be thankful for.

1) My first birthday cake! I should elaborate that it wasn’t just any ordinary birthday cake. It was a birthday cake for J’s second cousins, but here’s the catch: it had to feed 50 guests, and it had to be milk, nut, and egg free because of the boys’ allergies. It was a challenge, but I did it! I’m thankful for the challenge because I was able to go out of my comfort zone and I was able to learn a lot about cake making and decorating.

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I ended up making a two tiered cake covered with marshmallow fondant. The bottom tier was a rainbow cake with vanilla “buttercream,” and the top layer was a chocolate and Oreo cake with Oreo frosting in between. The theme was puppy pool party, so I used this picture of another cake from Pinterest that the mom sent me as a guide. I don’t have any other pictures of the cake, but once the mom sends me them (she’s a photographer!), I’ll be sure to make a post on it. I’m pretty proud of my work; I’m glad it turned out okay =) . I hope they liked it!!

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PowerPlant 2013 AKA P2 Missions in Phoenix, Arizona. It was definitely a blessing to be able to serve Crosspointe Church in Tartesso, Arizona by hosting a basketball camp for the kids in the community. I worked with the preschoolers and kindergarteners, so we had our own curriculum–we did games, crafts, and bible stories. I think it was a little difficult to get their attention, but it was still a joy to see them eager to learn about the Gospel (maybe because the evangecube was so interesting, I don’t know). We spent the last two out of four days of the camp sharing the Gospel with them, and it was encouraging to hear them tell me about what they learned by the end of the week. I’m only going to post one picture:

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This is Phoenix, Arizona. We climbed up to this place called South Mountain that overlooked the city, and it was pretty cool to see the city and the sunset. God’s creation is simply amazing. What’s sad is that so many people in Phoenix don’t know Christ–there are so many people there, but so few are saved. It’s pretty breathtaking. I’ll end this on one note: P2 Missions may be done, but the mission itself is never ending.

3) My first wedding dessert order! Jess and Aaron got married this past Friday, and it was a joy to see such an amazing couple become united in marriage. I thought it was cool how they asked their friends to take on big roles in the wedding; they asked me and two other friends to make “black and white” themed desserts, and I decided to make Oreo cheesecake bars. After 12+ hours, 611 Oreos, 9.75 cups of sour cream, 78 eggs, 5 sticks of butter, 26 cups of sugar, and 21 lbs of cream cheese, and lots and lots of help, patience, and encouragement, I succeeded! 460 Oreo cheesecake bars, at your service. There were a lot of leftovers, but I’m glad that people enjoyed them. I’m even happier for Jess and Aaron! Thanks for the opportunity! Congratulations you love birds =)!!!

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That’s my short update. It’s been a crazy past few weeks, but I’m glad to be back at work, back in the apartment, and back in the blogging world (not that I was really gone, hehe. ALTHOUGH the WordPress dashboard did change! I like it!).

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BACON. EGG. CUPS. Easy peasy, and sooo good. I’ll be honest; I was never really a fan of bacon…until I came across these. I made these for J’s birthday last year, and I’ve been making it ever since. Cook some bacon, line it in a cupcake tin, crack an egg, add seasonings, and bake away. 30 minutes, tops! Hope you all try them! The recipe comes from a YouTube video.

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Bacon Egg Cups
Serving Size: Depends
Adapted From Recipe Cards on YouTube

Ingredients:

Bacon
Eggs
Seasonings of your choice

1. On medium heat, fry bacon on a skillet until lightly browned on each side but still pliable. Make sure it doesn’t get crispy because it will continue to cook in the oven and it needs to be able to bend. Drain on paper towels and let cool.

2. Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Line the muffin tins with bacon slices. To make it easier, line the tin with the meat side on the bottom and the fat on top. Cover the bottom of the muffin cup by placing a chunk of the bacon.

3. Crack an egg into each cup. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper. Bake until set, about 15-20 minutes. Loosen from cups and remove. Enjoy!!!

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Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Banana Crumb Muffins

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Summer: T-7 days. I’m almost there. One final this Friday, and two more next Tuesday, then HALLLOOO SUMMMERRR 2013!!!!!!! I can’t wait. I have a long to-do list already–PowerPlant, work, bake, J+A Wedding, date nights, arts academy, bake, retreats, relax, and hang out with people.

Another thing on that list is to bake with people. I love being able to catch up with friends while doing something in the kitchen. I love conversation over food, even more over baking. Last Friday I met up with Norah and Nathan, the two biggest kids I know. Totally kidding; it’s encouraging to see how much they’ve grown these past ten years =). Norah and Nathan used to come over for piano and violin lessons, and after class their parents and my parents would chat for a couple hours. So we played together every week, from blowing bubbles, to playing with my PS2, to sleepovers, to driving me CRAZY!, to eating chex mix and drinking Sunny D. We had our own little club, “GNN Headquarters.” They drove me crazy when we were younger, but now they’re alright. Just alright. (Just kidding you two, love you both!!! =)

We made banana crumb muffins, mainly because I had rotting bananas sitting on my counter. I’ve been using this recipe for over a year and a half, and it’s great! The muffins come out to be super moist and the crumb topping is like the cherry on top. It’s super easy to make, perfect for using up your old bananas, and you’ll have muffins in no time =).

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Banana Crumb Muffins
Makes 12 standard sized muffins
Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten,
1/3 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the crumb topping:
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon butter

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Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Lightly grease or line a standard muffin pan. In a large bowl, mix together the 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the bananas, white sugar, 1/4 cup brown sugar, egg, oil, and vanilla. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon the batter into the lined/greased muffin cups.

For the crumb topping, mix together the 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until the mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle the topping over the muffins. Bake the muffins for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Enjoy!

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Nowwwww back to studying for finals. Seven more days, Grace. seven. more. days.

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

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P.S. We’ve grown!

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Chocolate Banana Muffins

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As you all probably know, Fridays are my baking days. Baking days are easy when you have a kitchen stocked with butter, sugar, flour, baking pans, etc…but when you’re missing some of the ingredients, your baking options DROP. That’s what happened to me. We only had two sticks of butter, so that meant no cupcakes+frosting. It made room for cookies….but we ran out of granulated sugar. We were low on bread flour, so that meant no pretzels or rolls and whatnot. And yes, the market is literally a 5-10 minute walk, but I really wasn’t in the mood to go out. And when that happens…I scrounge.

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I’m so glad I stumbled across this recipe. The only oils needed were 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil, which we had. BUT THE BEST PART IS THIS: the only sweeteners are honey and bananas (and a couple of chocolate chips, but you can just omit those if you really wanted to). Just mash up those overripe bananas sitting on your counter that you know no one will eat and will eventually end up in the trash can and throw them right into the batter along with some honey–those are your sweeteners. No powdered sugar, granulated sugar, brown sugar, nada. No added sugars, and you still get a super moist and delicious muffin. I guess you can say this is probably the healthiest thing I’ve made so far! :)

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Chocolate Banana Muffins
Makes 12 cupcakes
From Tutti Dolci

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup low-fat buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup honey
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
6 tablespoons mini semisweet chocolate chips, divided
(I used regular chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350°F and line a 12-cup standard muffin pan with baking cups.

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa, baking power, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. In another bowl, mix together the egg, honey, oil, vanilla, banana, and buttermilk (you can use substitute buttermilk with milk and vinegar. Add one tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice in a measuring cup, then add enough milk to bring it to one cup. Mix, then let stand, and use however much the recipe calls for). Add the wet mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Fold in 1/4 cup chocolate chips.

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Fill each cup 3/4 full of batter; sprinkle some chocolate chips over the tops of the muffins (I used 4 semi sweet chips per muffin top).

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Bake for 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly, then enjoy! The muffins will keep in an airtight container for up to two days, or store in the fridge. I like them better when they’re cold :)

Before:

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After!!

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I spent the longest time in the beginning of this post figuring out how to word stinginess and how it’s often just correlated with money. And it’s true–I am stingy with my money. Particularly with baking, sometimes I don’t like going out to buy another ingredient just because I don’t like spending money. But I think stinginess doesn’t just only apply to money, but also to time, efforts, patience, love, discipline, and ultimately pursuit for Christ likeness and growth in Christ. I always have some excuse ready as to why I don’t do these things…I am such a sinner. And it’s crazy to think about why God would send his son Jesus to die for someone like me. To save my sins? When I lack prayer, quiet time with God, joy, love, and patience? When I don’t trust in the Almighty Creator and fail to recognize His sovereignty? That’s nuts. God loves me, and His unconditional love is all I need. So this “stinginess” factor that I have, it’s gotta go. It’s selfish and definitely not God-honoring. It’s a struggle, but with God by my side, I think I’ll be okay. :)

Until next time (and hopefully soon because midterms are OVER! Err…at least next next week…),

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy reading, eating, and baking!

Cinnamon Rolls

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Imagine you wake up each morning with $86,000 in your bank account. You can spend it on anything you like, and each day you earn another $86,000. But here’s the catch: whatever amount leftover that you don’t use disappears. What would you do? I don’t know about you, but I’d do my best to spend every dollar wisely everyday. I’d make sure that I had used the most of that $86,000 each day.

But think about this: We are given 86,400 seconds everyday. Whatever second you don’t use…disappears and never comes back. Whatever time we waste, we don’t get it back.

Same concept, right? But unlike that $86,000, I don’t use my 86,400 seconds wisely. I waste my time on meaningless things, like TV, facebook, tumblr, foodgawker, etc. Think about how much time I’m wasting that I could be using to glorify God! Think about how I could be using that time to meditate on Scripture, to invest in others, to build up relationships, and to grow in my walk with Christ!

It’s the start of a new quarter! It’s week two right now, and classes are alright. I’m taking fewer classes this quarter, so that means more time in the office, at my desk, in the kitchen, and hopefully outside meeting up with other people. I’ve realized that I’ve been a bit of a hermit, only wanting to go out of my way to meet up with people when I felt like it. This quarter, I’m hoping I can spend more time with people intentionally, to actually get to know how they’re doing and how I can pray for them. I’m hoping to manage my time more wisely to be able to do all the things I want to and have to do. Fingers crossed! That’s my prayer request–to use the time God has graced me with more wisely, and to be more motivated to study and to be intentional with others.

From J: “You have 86,400 seconds in a day. Use it wisely, because you’ll never get those seconds back.”

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With that said…let’s talk cinnamon. There’s something deliciously “cinn-ful” (you see what I did there? har har har) about cinnamon rolls. Soft, warm bread swirled with cinnamon and brown sugar, topped with a rich, creamy cream cheese (hehe you see what I did there again? Okay, I’m done) frosting. It’s a little rich, but a little piece here and there is alright. J has a sweet tooth for cinnamon rolls, and we were watching Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives this one day, and Guy Fieri went to this restaurant where they made these HUGEEEE cinnamon rolls, seriously easily the size an individual pizza. He turned to me and said, “Can you make that?” I say yes, but it was months before I actually got around to it (after he asked me numerous times). This was my second try at cinnamon rolls–the first one was a little off, like something was missing. This one..blew me away. The rolls came out super moist and soft, and I have to say, bread flour really does make a difference. Anyways, I hope you all try this treat. So good, and so easy. You can even let the rolls rise overnight and bake them off in the morning! They’ll be gone before you know it; trust me!!

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Cinnamon Rolls
Makes about 12 rolls
Adapted from All Recipes

Ingredients:

For the Dough:
2 1/2 teaspoons rapid rise/bread machine yeast
1 cup warm milk
2 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup butter, melted
4 1/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar

For the Filling:
1 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened

For the Frosting:
3 tablespoons cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk in a large bowl. Stir in the sugar, melted butter, salt, and eggs. Add the bread flour; mix well. Knead the dough into a large ball (dusting your hands with flour if needed), put it into a bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (about an hour). Meanwhile, mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and set aside.

After the dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, and roll the dough into a 16×21 inch rectangle. Spread the softened butter onto the rolled out dough, and sprinkle it evenly with the sugar and cinnamon mixture. I like patting the mixture down into the dough. If you have extra, you can save it to sprinkle on top of the rolls before baking. Roll up the dough, and cut into 12 rolls. Place the rolls in a lightly greased 9×13 inch baking pan  (or two cake pans will work as well). Cover it with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Alternatively, you could let it rise overnight in the fridge, and let it come to room temperature before baking the next morning.

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Remove the plastic warp, and bake the rolls in a preheated 400˚F oven until golden brown, about 13-17 minutes. While the rolls are baking, beat together the cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract.

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When the rolls are finished, spread the frosting onto the rolls. Be generous! The rolls are best enjoyed while warm. If it has gone cold, pop it into the microwave for 30 seconds to warm it up, and it’ll be just as delicious!

Before the cream cheese goodness:

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After:

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I’m done. Happy Monday!

Until next time,

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!

Chocolate Swirl Bread

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I am done with midterms! Hip, hip, hooray!!! And as usual, to celebrate, I’ll blog. Today we have a chocolate swirl bread (insert “ooooohs” and “ahhhs”)–and it is delicious. I followed the recipe exactly and the dough came out to be a little saltier than I would have liked it, so I would probably reduce it to 1 teaspoon next time. I also used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour, and the bread was extremely moist and had the right amount of chocolate. Definitely perfect to go with your cup of coffee in the morning!!

Chocolate Swirl Bread
Makes one loaf
Adapted from Recipe Interrupted

Ingredients:

3 cups bread flour, plus a little more for kneading and rolling
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup warm water
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 egg yolk

Mix together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add the warm water and melted butter; mix until incorporated. If ingredients do not form a ball, add in a few more tablespoons of water. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly. Add in a little flour if the dough is too loose or wet. Place the dough in a buttered mixing bowl, rolling the dough around in it briefly to coat the dough lightly with butter. Cover bowl with a damp cloth and allow dough to rise for 2 hours in a warm spot, until about doubled in size.

Mean while, make the chocolate ganache filling. Place the chocolate in a small mixing bowl. Heat the cream just to boiling and pour over chocolate. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, until chocolate is completely melted. Whisk the chocolate and cream together until smooth, then whisk in the egg yolk. Allow the ganache to set in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before using.

Once the dough has risen, roll if out to about 13″ x 18″ on a lightly floured surface. Spread the ganache on the dough; leave about a 1/2-inch border. Roll the dough into a log beginning with the long edge. Cut the dough in the middle. Stretch out dough slightly and twist the two lengths of dough together. Place the twisted dough into the loaf pan, tucking the end down towards the bottom of the pan.Brush the exposed surface of the dough with egg white. Bake for 50 minutes (mine was done earlier), or until bread is golden brown. Turn out onto a wire rack to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

P.S. If you head over Recipe Interrupted’s post, there are step by step pictures!
(Photo Credit for my post: Samantha Ho)

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Mmmm. I love bread. As you continue to read my blog, you’ll find that 1) I’m a picky eater, and 2) I love bread. I’m a total carb girl. My favorite part in a dumpling is the outer dough-y skin. My favorite part in a pizza is the crust (I actually sometimes eat everything separately. Toppings, then some of the cheese, then the bread). I love carbs, and that’ll probably all come back to bite me in the butt later on. But for now…bread4life. Actually, wait. Using the words bread and life in the same sentence reminds me of this:

“Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.'” – John 6:35 (ESV)

Desiring God says this: “Jesus is the bread that endures to eternal life. Coming to Jesus and trusting him is what it means to eat the true bread of heaven.” Eating the true bread of heaven means putting our faith in Jesus Christ and believing in the gospel. The gospel is the greatest act of love and the greatest gift one can receive. Jesus sent His son to die on the cross for our inadequacies, our sinfulness. Because of Christ’s work on the cross, we have a new life in Jesus and we will receive eternal life in heaven. It’s mindblowing–who would send his one and ONLY son to die for ME, a sinner unworthy of mercy and grace? Who would love me unconditionally despite all my sinful actions? Who would DIE on the cross to save MY sins, something that he didn’t even do? The answer to all of them: Jesus Christ. He is our Savior, our beloved. He is the bread of life.

Soli Deo Gloria, and Happy Reading, Eating, and Baking!

Blueberry Crumb Muffins

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It’s been a while…sorry readers! I’ve been pretty caught up with school due to midterms. This past week I had a paper and midterm on Tuesday, and back to back midterms on Thursday. I needed to stay up to do work/study…so I actually got my first coffee-like drink from Starbucks. I usually get hot chocolate or some other non-coffee drink, but this time I got a skinny vanilla latte and skinny caramel macchiato (don’t worry, they were on two separate occasions). Both were pretty good, but I’m still not a super huge coffee fan. They did the trick though and kept me up long enough to get more studying in.

But… HURRAY!!!! I’m finally done with midterms (I have one more on Thursday, but it can wait). I’ve been itching to bake, but I figured I should probably blog first. Today I present to you all…BLUEBERRY CRUMB MUFFINS!

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Yes, this is from the same box of blueberries Sam bought from Costco. Diana is a blueberry-aholic (how appropriate considering she just turned 21 HAHA). Okay, maybe not that extreme, but I know she really likes blueberries. Anyways, the muffins came out to be super delicious–I loved how the blueberries burst and how the crumb topping just complemented everything. The muffins stayed moist and were perfect the next morning for breakfast; I brought some to work and my coworkers loved them! I’d definitely try this recipe again, and I hope you do too. It’s 9 in the morning and blogging about this is making me hungry…blueberry muffins for breakfast would sound really good right now actually…hm. We’ll see what I can do.

Photo Credit: Samantha Ho

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Blueberry Crumb Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Adapted 
All Recipes

Ingredients:

For the muffins:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fresh blueberries

For the crumb topping:
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup butter, cubed
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the muffins: Preheat the oven to 400˚F. Grease muffin cups or line with muffin liners. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the vegetable oil, milk, egg, and vanilla. Mix this with the flour mixture–do not overmix or you’ll end up with a tough muffin. Fold in the blueberries.

For the crumb topping: Mix together the sugar, flour, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter until the mixture resembles cornmeal.

For assembly: Fill muffin cups 2/3 of the way full . Sprinkle the tops with the crumb topping mixture. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until done.

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Enjoy!

Soli Deo Gloria, and happy reading, eating, and baking!