Fresh Strawberry Biscuits!

What do you do when the world gives you too many strawberries? First, you say “Thank You World!” because really, what a terrible problem to have… too many strawberries! Oh, the horror!

Strawberries

Second, you make these biscuits! They go together so quickly and easily you’ll find yourself making them often. They are especially good for those few extra berries you need to use before they spoil!  You can swap out the strawberries with blackberries, blueberries or raspberries!  Even peaches would be delightful!

Strawberry biscuits

These biscuits are bright and beautiful and with the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon, I needed my world a little brighter today.

Strawberry Biscuits
(recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
1 cup chopped very ripe strawberries
1 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat.

In a large bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Add butter and cut it in to the dry ingredients with a pastry blender, until it resembles a coarse meal. Stir in the strawberries carefully, so they get coated in the flour mix. This keeps them evenly distributed in the dough later when you add the liquid. Speaking of liquid… add the heavy cream, then gently fold all the ingredients together. You don’t want to overwork the dough, so don’t worry if everything is completely worked in. It will be.

Generously flour your counter or cutting board, then transfer the dough to the board. Flour the top of the dough and with your hands gently press the dough into a 3/4-inch thick rectangle. Using a 2 1/2-inch biscuit or cookie cutter (or even the top edge of a drinking glass) cut circles out of the dough. Press straight down without twisting (this makes for nice layered edges) as you cut. Carefully transfer the biscuits to prepared baking sheet, leaving a few inches between each one.

You can re-roll the scraps of dough, and continue cutting circles, but don’t worry if the dough appears very wet. The strawberries will have already started to release some of their juice. That’s ok though! They’ll still turn out beautifully.

Bake the biscuits for 12 to 15 minutes, until lightly brown at the edges. Cool in pan for a minute, then transfer to a cooling rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Strawberry Biscuits

I made a quick strawberry butter to slather on top of these beautiful biscuits. Just mash up 1/8 cup of strawberries into 4 TBLS soft butter, then freeze for about 20 minutes. (You can do this while the biscuits bake.) It’s a tiny detail that will make a world of difference in flavor.

When I took them to work they disappeared rather quickly and I’m betting they’ll do the same thing at your house! Enjoy my Foodie Friends!!

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Muffins

Lately, I’ve been on a muffin kick… I’m not sure why.

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Muffins

Perhaps because it’s winter and my mornings have been lazy lately. Muffins satisfy the desire for something warm to go with my coffee. Additionally, muffins are very flexible creations. They can be plain or you can add your favorite fruit. They can have chocolate chips! Try muffins with lemons and homemade ricotta for a special treat! Add nuts, vegetables, grains, whatever your heart desires! They can be topped or left alone. No matter what you like in or on your muffin (wait… does that sound bad? 😉 ) be creative and have fun!

This morning, the forage through the pantry found a half box of raisins, some oatmeal and a small bag of pecans. Perfect muffin makings!

And since I was feeling fancy, I added a quick cinnamon struesel topping! Isn’t breakfast much more fun with one of these?

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Muffins

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Muffins with Cinnamon Struesel Topping!

Muffins:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup oat flakes
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBLS baking powder
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
3/4 cup raisins
3/4 cup toasted, chopped pecans

Topping
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

FOR THE MUFFINS:
Lightly grease a muffin tin and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, brown sugar, salt, baking powder and spices. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the milk, vegetable oil and eggs, until well blended.

Add your wet ingredients to your dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until just incorporated. Add the raisins and pecans, also mixing until just incorporated.

FOR THE TOPPING:
Combine all the struesel ingredients in a food processor and pulse until crumbly. Alternately, you can mash the ingredients together in a bowl using a pastry blender or fork. Alternately, you can also just smash everything together with your fingers!

Fill your prepared muffin tin two-thirds of the way. Spread 1 TBLS struesel topping over each muffin. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool slightly before popping them out of the pan, slathering them with butter and dipping in your coffee. Oh wait. That’s just me.

You will have extra topping! Toss what is left in a plastic bag and place in the freezer until the next time you make muffins!

Oatmeal Raisin Pecan Muffins

Happy Breakfast Foodie Friends!

Monday Morning Muffins

Mondays can be a real bummer. People have to go back to work. Traffic is terrible. The weekend is a full five days away! The first cup of coffee doesn’t seem to cut through the morning haze as easily as it does the rest of the week. In my “I need more coffee” mode this morning, I decided I needed muffins too. Not just any muffins, but muffins that would make Monday better. After digging through my pantry, I discovered a few ingredients that might work very nicely! There was half a bag of Dark Chocolate chips and a bag of Pomegranate infused Craisins. Those flavors together are fabulous and thus, my Monday Morning Muffins were born!

Dark Chocolate and Pomegranate Muffins

Dark Chocolate and Pomegranate Muffins

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Monday Morning Muffins

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBLS baking powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1 cup dried pomegranate infused Craisins (I used Ocean Spray!)

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Lightly grease a muffin tin (or use cupcake liners) and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugars, salt and baking powder. Add the chocolate chips and pomegranate seeds, tossing well to coat them with flour. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the milk, vegetable oil and eggs, until well blended and a light yellow color.

Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients. Mix with a fork for about 20 seconds – seriously NO MORE THAN THAT! Just until everything is barely incorporated. Most people make the mistake of over-mixing muffin batter. Stopping after just a few seconds will make them light and fluffy! You’re going to have to trust me on this!

Fill your prepared muffin tin two-thirds of the way. Place muffins in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 400 degrees. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

When you put your muffins in a super hot oven, then drop the temperature, it creates lovely high peaks!

Yield: 6 mega-muffins, 12 muffins, or 24 mini-muffins, depending on the pan you use!

Monday Muffins
I hope these make your Monday better. They certainly made mine delicious! Enjoy!

A Delicious Opportunity! Boozy Eggnog Bread Pudding!

There is a scene from the movie “Evan Almighty” when God is talking to Evan’s wife about “opportunities.” He advises her, “When people pray for patience, do you think God gives them patience, or opportunities to become more patient?” I’d been thinking and praying about how to get more creative with recipes and dishes…

Do you remember this?

Imperfect Banana Bread

This was my “opportunity” to become more creative in the kitchen!

I couldn’t just toss away the Boozy Banana Bread that fell apart. Immediately after sharing my mistake with my Sundays with Joy group, it hit me! Bread Pudding! Even better, Eggnog Bread Pudding!

I crumbled that broken loaf into a big bowl and let it sit on the counter for a few days to dry out. This morning, I warmed some eggnog and brown sugar on the stove, whisked in some eggs, vanilla and a bit more bourbon. In an 8×8 pan, I put the bread crumbles and covered it with the warm eggnog mixture. After it sat for about 15 minutes, it went into the oven for 35 minutes. This is how it turned out…

Bread Pudding

What do you think?

Eggnog Chocolate Banana Bourbon Bread Pudding

Here is how you can make your own!

Boozy Eggnog Bread Pudding

3 1/2 cups of your favorite banana bread, cut or torn into chunks
1 banana, sliced into discs
1 1/2 cups eggnog
1 cup milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
4 eggs
2 TBLS bourbon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 TBLS chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray an 8 x 8 square pan with non-stick cooking spray.
Place torn banana bread chunks into the prepared pan. Add 1/2 of the banana slices, tossing well to combine.
In a medium pan over low heat, combine the eggnog, milk, sugar, nutmeg and salt. Stir to dissolve sugar. Heat only until eggnog mixture is warm. Do not let it boil! Set aside to cool a bit while you prepare the eggs.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs together. While you are whisking, slowly add the warm eggnog mixture. Go slowly so you don’t scramble the eggs! Continue whisking until all the eggnog is incorporated. Finally, whisk in the bourbon and vanilla.
Pour the eggnog mixture over your banana bread. Press down on the banana bread until all the pieces are submerged. Let the bread sit and soak in the eggnog for at least 15 minutes before putting it in the oven.
Bake for 30-40 minutes or until the top is lightly browned and the bread is no longer jiggly in the center. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve warm topped with the remaining banana slices and the chocolate chips!

This was a great learning experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to turn a near disaster into something delicious. Plus, what a sweet way to ring in the New Year!

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