Sour Cream Bran Muffins

These past few weeks have been action packed, stressed beyond belief, seemingly endless waiting, but that time is over! I am so happy to say that this coming fall, I will be a Northwestern University Wildcat as a part of the class of 2018, majoring in Viola Performance. It’s such a relief knowing that all of my hard work has paid off these past few years, and after visiting and auditioning in January, I couldn’t imagine myself going anywhere else. And don’t worry, I’m already stocking up on purple and white merchandise!

-3One of the questions that I get the most after I mention that I run a baking blog is what do you do with all of the things you make? Well, while I do taste everything I make, it’s rare that I make something just because I want it. While I love a good muffin, these were not made for me- they were made with my aunt in mind. She’s a sucker for coconut, but recently asked me to make something healthier, and that’s where these muffins came in.

-5Breakfast is hands down my favorite meal of the day, and if I am going to have a muffin, it better be one that can sustain me from 6:45 am until lunch, which can be upwards of 5 hours. These muffins are not the cakey kind, and filled with wheat bran and raisins, they’ll keep you going for awhile. I loved it toasted with a shmear of peanut butter, but I’m sure they’re good straight out of the oven. 🙂

Sour Cream Bran Muffins: From Smitten Kitchen

  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened or 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 1 cup sour cream or yogurt
  • 1/4 cup dark molasses
  • 1/2 cup raisins, cranberries, or other diced dried fruit
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup miller’s bran (available at natural foods stores, specialty foods shops, and some supermarkets)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

Directions

  1. In a large bowl with an electric mixer cream together the butter or oil and the brown sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy (will be far less light or fluffy if oil is used), beat in the egg, the sour cream or yogurt, and the molasses, and stir in the raisins or other dried fruit.
  2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, the baking soda, the salt, the cinnamon (optional) and the bran, add the mixture to the sour cream mixture, and stir the batter until it is just combined. (The batter will be lumpy.)
  3. Spoon the batter into 12 well-buttered 1/3-cup muffin tins and bake the muffins in the middle of a preheated 400°F. oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until they are golden brown and springy to the touch. Turn the muffins out onto a rack and let them cool.

Enjoy!

Rayna 🙂

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Spelt Pancakes

Hi again! I hope someone is still reading this, seeing that I’ve been gone for over a month! I apologize for my absence, I’ve been flying and driving all over the country going to college auditions these past few weeks, and in the last week alone I was in 6 different states, just so I could attend a 10 minute audition with an occasional theory placement test.

Obviously, most of my time these days is devoted to traveling and practicing for seemingly endless auditions and concerts, but one concert that I’m especially excited for is coming up tomorrow night. When I play chamber music, I typically play in either a string quartet or the occasional piano quintet, but tomorrow, my quartet coach invited my quartet to play the incredible String Octet by Felix Mendelssohn tomorrow night. It’s a piece that you’ll find at most sight-reading events, but since it’s not only challenging to get 8 players together for rehearsals but quite difficult music as well, I’m treasuring the fact that I am able to play this magnificent work at only 17.

On a completely different note (music puns…) these pancakes were fantastic. Despite the fact that I run a blog devoted to carbs and sugar, I try to eat on the healthier side, and these pancakes accomplish just that. The spelt flour may be tricky to find, but I promise, it tastes so much better than just using regular whole wheat or all purpose. If you’re looking for a way to keep up the Sunday morning pancake tradition without rolling out of the kitchen, or just want an awesome pancake recipe, these are for you!

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Spelt Pancakes: From King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking

Ingredients

  • 2 cups (7 ounces) whole spelt flour
  • 2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, sugar and baking powder. Combine the milk and melted butter, and the vanilla if you’re using it.
  2. Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened: it will seem very wet, but will thicken as it sits. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes before you use it.
  3. Heat a non-stick griddle if you have one, or a heavy skillet, preferably cast iron. If your surface is not non-stick, brush it lightly with vegetable oil.
  4. When the surface of your pan is hot enough that a drop of water sputters across the surface, give the pan a quick swipe with a paper towel to eliminate excess oil, and spoon the batter onto the hot surface, 1/4-cupful at a time.
  5. Let the pancakes cook on the first side until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the cakes, about 2 to 3 minutes. You may need to adjust your heat up or down to get the pancakes to cook through without scorching the surface, or being too pale.
  6. When the cakes are just beginning to set, flip them and let them finish cooking on the second side, about 1 minute more, until they’re golden brown on both sides.

I promise more recipes will be coming soon!

-Rayna

Back-to-School Strawberry Granola Bars

To say that I’m ready to wear big cozy sweaters and tall boots again would be an understatement. September is my favorite month, not just because my birthday happens to be in it, but because the weather starts to change to getting cool enough to break out the fall clothes but you don’t need a heavy winter coat, and the red and yellow (and brown) and orange leaves around have to put you in a good mood. And for those of us that are still in school (aka me), I’m back in high school, starting my senior year.

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When I was little, going back to school was such an amazing time. I would get new pencils, pens, highlighters, markers, backpack, notebook, paperclips, and about anything else that was pink and sparkly. Now that I’m in my last year of high school, I don’t really get the same excitement about it, but using a new pen or eraser is still a little bit fun. The main downfall of going back to school? Not having time to do anything that isn’t school related. It seems that my life now revolves around 3 AP classes and college essays, with a little bit of piano quintet and music theory thrown in there. Baking? I wish.

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A classic of the back-to-school lunchbox is the granola bar. I’ve made them in the past, but these little squares of almond-y jammy goodness are a much better way to start of my school morning. If you make these the night before, they’re an easy grab and go breakfast, and anything homemade just gets my day off to a better start. They come together in a pinch, so even if you don’t have time to make a layer cake, even just a homely little granola bar can brighten your day.
Back-to-School Strawberry Granola Bars- From One Sweet Cookie

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup strawberry preserves (or whatever flavor you want)
  • Slivered almonds (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8 inch square pan and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the prepared half sheet pan. Bake for about 5 minutes, or until lightly golden and fragrant. Cool completely on the pan.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, baking soda, and pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a wooden spoon, mix together until well combined. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Press the dough evenly into the pan, forming a packed layer.
  4. Using an offset or silicone spatula, spread the preserves over the dough. Evenly sprinkle the slivered almonds over the top. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and fragrant. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely.

Now back to studying!

-Rayna 🙂

 

Blueberry Pancakes

Well hello there again! These past few weeks have been so busy with music programs that not only did I not even have time to make anything, but no time to post either! I hope you haven’t missed me too much :). I just finished up the Summer Strings program at NYU, which was fun. Living in the city for 3 weeks was certainly an awesome experience, although I’m glad to be home and able to relax for a few days before the rest of my summer begins.

DSC_0025The last thing that I’m sure anyone wanted to do these past few days was turn on their oven. It was hot enough outside that any additional heat would have been just unbearable, which is why I’m giving you a recipe that does not require you use it! Besides, pancakes in an oven would be just strange. I’ve made some pancakes in the past, but that was a long time ago, so it was time for a new recipe on RTTC.

DSC_0031I haven’t had a big breakfast in quite awhile. During the school year, I am typically rushing out the door with my mug of tea and a bar in my hand, and during the summer, especially since gymnastics starts at 8:30, I’m eating some toast with peanut butter, yogurt with granola, and not so much sit-down breakfasts, which is really a shame. So, I’m making it my goal this summer to start making myself some actual breakfasts, because there is only so much granola I can eat, and with pancakes this pretty, I can’t resist!

DSC_0042Mmmmmmm, pancakes.

 

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes- From Fine Cooking

Ingredients

  • 3 Tbs. unsalted butter; more for serving
  • 9 oz. (2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • Vegetable oil for the pan
  • Pure maple syrup for serving
  • Blueberries

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk, vanilla and eggs. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Whisk gently until the dry ingredients are almost incorporated; stop before the batter is evenly moistened. Add the cooled melted butter and mix just until the batter is evenly moistened (there will be lumps). Let the batter rest while you heat the griddle.
  2. Heat a griddle or a large skillet over medium heat (or set an electric griddle to 375°F) until drops of water briefly dance on the surface before evaporating. Lightly oil the griddle. Working in batches, pour 1/4 cup of the batter onto the griddle for each pancake, spacing them about 1 inch apart. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles rise to the surface and the edges look dry, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle the blueberries evenly across the pancake. Check the underside of each pancake to make sure it’s nicely browned; then flip. Cook until the second side is nicely browned, about 1 minute more.
  3. Serve hot with butter and maple syrup.

An easy, delicious way to brighten any summer morning!

-Rayna 🙂

 

 

Brown Butter Bourbon Banana Bread

This week could not be any more insane. This craziness always happens during the spring, but as you can probably imagine, during my junior year, it’s even more insane. In this week alone, I have a final that lasts for 2 days, a physics test on one of those days, a paper due Friday, journal entries due Wednesday, a graded math sheet due tomorrow, and I hope there’s no more. Needless to say, it’s one of the more stressful weeks of the year.
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But, there is some great news to go along with it! This weekend I was honored to qualify for the Regional Championships, and I was able to travel to Boston in the Super Team meet. It was an awesome experience. Afterwards, I was able to meet my brother and a few of his friends at college so we could have lunch and walk around, and it was just a great weekend. Even if I’m feeling the repercussions now, it was totally worth it.
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Now that I’ve babbled enough, banana bread time. If you haven’t experienced the magical ingredient that is brown butter, I can’t beg you enough to try it. I promise it’s not as intimidating as it seems, and it tastes oh so good. And, this bread not only uses mashed bananas, but it uses caramelized bananas, which not only give a nice textural contrast to the bread, but give it a burnt sugar/caramel flavor, which was just out of this world. It will certainly help you get through this week!

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Brown Butter Bourbon Pecan Banana Bread
Makes one 9-inch loaf

Ingredients

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 3 very ripe bananas
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon bourbon
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2/3 cup toasted, chopped pecans

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Grease the bottom only of a standard size loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray.  Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a medium-sized bowl.  Set aside.
  2. Melt butter over medium heat in a small heavy bottomed pot. Cook until it begins to brown, but not burn; it will smell nutty and fragrant. Remove from heat, and let cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Peel and dice one banana. Mash the remaining bananas in a small bowl; set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon of brown sugar in a small skillet over medium heat until it begins to melt and turn golden. Add diced banana pieces and saute until well coated and caramelized. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. Beat eggs on medium speed in a stand mixer.  Add brown sugar and beat until foamy and combined. Add mashed very ripe banana, cooled browned butter, vanilla and bourbon; beat until mixed welll. Scrape down sides of bowl again with rubber spatula.
  5. On low speed, pour in 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Increase mixer speed to medium and mix until just blended.  Pour in 1/3 of buttermilk and beat until just blended.  Repeat this process with remaining flour and buttermilk. fold in pecans and caramelized banana pieces. Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

From: In Jennie’s Kitchen

I hope this bread can help you (and me) get through this week!

-Rayna

 

 

English Muffin Toasting Bread

Happy April everyone! It’s been one hectic month, but thankfully, I have break from school this week and I’ve been really enjoying it. Lots of sleeping in, and lots of helping my mom test some (a lot) of recipes for her website, which is launching this weekend! I think it will be an awesome place for tons of delicious, chef-quality recipes for you to enjoy.

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Speaking of chef-quality recipes, let’s talk about this bread. I’m typically not a fan of foods that are trying to be other things (tofurkey, for example) so I was a bit skeptical at first. I can’t tell you how wrong I was. It had the recognizable crumb of an English muffin and had the hearty taste that you want slathered with butter any day of the week. As the recipe states, it is absolutely spectacular toasted, and I can’t praise this bread enough.
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Don’t believe me? Try it for yourself. I dare you. 🙂

English Muffin Toasting Bread

  • 12 3/4 ounces all purpose flour
  • 1/2 ounce sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 8 ounces milk
  • 2 ounces water
  • 7/8 ounce vegetable oil or olive oil
  • Cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Directions:

1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2) Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, till it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
Yield: 1 loaf.
Courtesy of King Arthur Flour

Enjoy!
Rayna 🙂

(P.S. I tried formatting the pictures in a new way. What do you think?)

Carl’s Cinnamon Rolls

Happy March! These past few weeks have been incredibly busy with everything from the final gymnastics meets before states (only 9 days to go!) and various orchestra performances and even beginning to talk about college with my guidance counselor! It’s crazy, but I’m glad that I finally have some time to take a moment to update you on what’s been going on around my kitchen.

I guess my blog has inspired my chef mom to create her own cooking blog/ web-zine, which I will be featured on once a month! The website is www.theweiserkitchen.com and my posts will be underneath The Weiser Baker. While I hope that you all will check out her website to see my original recipes, you should really explore the whole thing. Seeing that I’m the person who got to try all of the recipes posted, I can tell you first hand that everything is absolutely delicious and not something to miss. But for now, back into the world of swirly cinnamon goodness.

My adventure into the world of yeast begins again after taking a brief hiatus to tell you about one of the most wonderful banana bread’s I’ve ever made. Obviously, after making some savory bread, I needed to venture back into sweets, and this recipe from King Arthur Flour was just perfect. I love a good loaf, but a warm cinnamon roll that is oozing with cream cheese icing sounds just incredible. Does anyone want to bring me one now?

Carl’s Cinnamon Rolls
(To make 20 rolls)

Dough

  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) milk
  • 4 3/4 cups (20 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (4 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) butter, melted

Filling

  • 2 tablespoons (1 ounce) milk
  • 3/4 cup (5 5/8 ounces) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons (5/8 ounce) ground cinnamon

Frosting

  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup (3 1/2 ounces) confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt

Directions:

Manual Method: Dissolve the yeast and 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the lukewarm water. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, and mix until fairly smooth. Knead the dough, by hand for 10 minutes, or with your mixer equipped with the dough hook for 5 minutes. The dough should be smooth and supple. Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise until puffy, 1 to 2 hours.

Bread Machine Method: Place all of the dough ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for Dough or Manual, and press Start. Check the dough during the final 10 minutes of the kneading cycle, adding additional flour or water as needed to produce a smooth, supple dough. Allow the machine to complete its cycle.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface; divide it in half. Working with one piece at a time, pat and then roll the dough into an 18 x 24-inch rectangle.

Filling: Brush the dough with the butter, leaving a 1-inch bare edge along one long side. Combine the remaining filling ingredients — sugar, salt and cinnamon — and sprinkle them evenly over the dough.

Assembly: Starting with a long edge, roll the dough into a long log (not too tightly, or the centers of the rolls will pop up during baking). Make sure to finish up at the edge that isn’t brushed with milk or butter. Brush that edge with water and pull it up over the log, pinching to seal. Roll the log so it’s seam-side-down on your work surface.

Use a ruler to mark off 1 1/2-inch intervals, then use a serrated knife to gently cut 20 rolls; you may also loop dental floss around the log at each interval and pull, which gives you a nice, clean cut. Transfer the rolls to lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheets, leaving about 1-inch between each roll. These will fit on a full-sheet pan or two half-sheet pans.

Brush the sides of each roll with melted butter or vegetable oil, if desired; this makes the rolls easier to pull apart after they’re baked. Cover the rolls with lightly greased plastic wrap, and set them aside to rise until puffy but perhaps not doubled in bulk, about 1 1/2 hours.

Bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for 30 to 35 minutes, reversing the pans midway through. They should be golden brown. Remove them from the oven, and allow them to cool slightly, as you prepare the frosting.

Frosting: Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Beat until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture should be of spreading consistency, like a soft butter cream frosting.

Using a metal spatula, frost the rolls while they’re warm. Remove them from the pan, and allow them to cool on a wire rack. Eat them soon, or freeze them, well wrapped, for later use. (If you’re going to freeze the rolls, it’s better not to frost them before freezing.)

To Reheat Rolls: Remove the rolls from the freezer, and allow them to thaw, in their wrapping, at room temperature. This will take 1 to 1 1/2 hours, more or less. Remove the wrapping, and bake the rolls in a preheated 350°F oven for about 7 minutes, or until they’re very hot. Remove them from the oven, and frost them. To reheat in the microwave, remove the rolls from their wrapping and microwave for no more than 30 seconds. Better still, heat them in a microwave set on defrost until they’re warm. Serve rolls immediately. Yield: 40 rolls.

Take your expectations for these, and double that by 20. Yeah, they’re that good.

Enjoy!

-Rayna

 

Cornmeal and Olive Oil Biscotti with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries

Merry Christmas everyone! I hope your day is filled with lots of joy and happiness (but most importantly, tons of delicious food!) Instead of the typical pecan cookies or chocolate and peppermint cookies, I thought that a biscotti would be a wonderful thing to wake up to on a cold December morning. I’ve never made a biscotti before, so trying something new from Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy sounded especially interesting to me.

Biscotti is not like a cookie or sliced cake, mainly because it is baked twice. The first time, you shape the dough into a log and bake it just until it gets a cake-like texture, and then you slice them and re-bake them so they get the signature crunch that they lend themselves to so well. This is an American style biscotti, as Mommy the chef told me, and the difference is in the ingredients. While the Italian one uses almond flour and honey, the American one uses all-purpose flour instead. Interesting, right? Either way, I hope you enjoy this not-so-typical twist on a widely enjoyed breakfast treat.

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Cornmeal and Olive Oil Biscotti with Pine Nuts and Dried Cherries

Ingredients

  • 1 cup and 2 tablespoons (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup (3.67 ounces) cornmeal
  • 3/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 (4.625 ounces) sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • Zest of 1 medium lemon
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup dried cherries

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine the flour, cornmeal, and baking powder in a medium bowl and whisk together thoroughly.
  3. In a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the olive oil, sugar, salt, pepper, eggs, and lemon zest on high speed for 3-4 minutes, until lightened in color and slightly thickened.
  4. Stir in the flour mixture. The batter will be thick and sticky. Stir in the pine nuts and cherries. Scrape the batter down the center of the prepared pan and spread it to form a flat rectangle 14 to 15 inches long and 5 inches wide.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the loaf is golden on top and golden brown at the lower edges. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Set the pan on a rack to cool for at least 15 minutes. Leave the oven on, turning it down to 325 degrees.
  6. Transfer the loaf carefully to a cutting board. If you used a liner, slide a metal spatula under the loaf to detach and remove the liner. Use a thin sharp knife to cut the loaf crosswise into 1/2-inch slices. Transfer the slices to the unlined cookie sheet, standing them at least 1/2 inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the edges and tops of the biscotti turn slightly golden. Rotate the pan from front to back halfway through the baking time. Set the pan on a rack. Cool the cookies completely before stacking or storing. May be kept in an airtight container for at least 2 weeks.

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Peanut Butter Granola

This has been one hectic week! Chemistry tests, practicing viola, and flipping in the four-inch wide balance beam have sucked up lots of my time this week. Sometimes, my usual makeshift breakfast of a bar doesn’t quite last me from 6:45 in the morning until lunchtime, so I created this peanut butter granola to satisfy my tummy in quite a delicious manner!

Before I started this blog, I did lots of baking and reading other blogs before me and my friend Deanna decided to start our own. One of the recipes that was a big hit in my house was a peanut butter granola, so after the success of the pumpkin cinnamon chip and pecan granola bars, I decided to experiment some more with this delicious breakfast (or any time of day delight). I used a base peanut butter granola, and made it much better by coating it with this peanut butter syrup that just made it melt in my mouth. Once you take one bite of this, you’ll wonder why any other breakfast made the cut!

Peanut Butter Granola- Makes about 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter (I used smooth)
  • 1/3 cup honey (maple syrup tastes great too!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

For the Coating

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 370 degrees and grease a cookie sheet.
  2. Combine the butter, peanut butter and honey in a large bowl. Add in the vanilla extract and stir. Add in the oatmeal and coat completely.
  3. Bake for 10 minutes, rotating the pan after 5 minutes.
  4. While in the oven, melt the butter, peanut butter, vanilla extract and maple syrup in a small saucepan over low-medium heat.
  5. After the granola has cooled, place in a bowl and pour the coating over the granola and coat completely. (I put mine in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes to speed up the process). Wait until cooled to put into containers, or directly into your mouth 😉

Oh. My. God. Once you eat this granola, no store brand granola will be acceptable ever again. Ever. 🙂

-Rayna 🙂

(P.S. You can add whatever nuts or dried fruits you would like. I guarantee it will taste great!)

Blueberry Buttermilk Scones

This week has been hectic. Late nights filled with papers and math problems are starting up again, so my baking time becomes much more limited than it was all summer. My limited time however, makes the recipes that much more important, so when we had buttermilk and fresh picked blueberries we got at the farmer’s market, this recipe was screaming my name. Although I’ve had quite a number of experiences with muffins, I have never made scones before. I had been told multiple times just how easy they were, and now that I’ve made them, I’m hooked on. These weren’t too sweet, and they weren’t too dense and they were just amazing with the delectable turbinado sugar on top to give it that extra crunch. I know I’m drooling over this, so before I babble on too much, I’ll share this spectacular recipe with you!

Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones: From Martha Stewart

Makes 1 dozen

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat or fat free buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 more for egg wash
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Turbinado Sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 and spray an 11×17 cookie sheet.
  2. Whisk together flours, granulated sugar, and baking powder in a large bowl. Mix the butter in with a pastry cutter or rub together with your fingers until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal. Stir in the blueberries.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and vanilla extract. Drizzle over the flour mixture and stir together with a fork, until the dough comes together but a little bit of flour remains at the bottom.
  4. Turn the dough over onto a lightly floured work surface, and gently kneed once or twice and pat into a 1 inch thick round. Cut into twelve wedges and transfer to the prepared baking sheet.Brush with egg wash and sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 22 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through.

Once you try these scones, your mornings will suddenly get much better. 🙂

-Rayna 🙂