Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce

Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce

For the the greater part of human history, most cultures could not afford to waste food, so a number of uses for stale bread as an example were fashioned. Stale bread was used in many dishes, which were both savory and sweet. One of those sweet dishes became sweet bread pudding.

The basic recipe for such a dessert, was stale bread, eggs, milk and sugar. Over the years other things were added, like fresh or dried fruits, and nuts.

If two of your favorite desserts happen to be bread pudding and pumpkin pie, then why not enjoy the best of two worlds, that is pumpkin bread pudding?

Our featured recipe combines bread with pumpkin and pecans. But that is not all, this one is accompanied by a toffee sauce that has rum in it. Do we have your mouth watering? Then let’s get to baking. Here is what you will need for the featured recipe: Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce.

1 loaf or 16 oz. sourdough bread, cut into 1 inch cubes

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 ½ cups pumpkin puree, without spices

3 cup half & half or heavy cream

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon Chinese 5 star spice

½ teaspoon salt

1 cup pecan pieces

Toffee Sauce:

1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar

4 tablespoons butter, melted

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons rum

1 teaspoon sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

pecans added to bread pudding mixIn a large bowl whisk together the eggs, pumpkin, half and half or cream, melted butter, sugar, vanilla, spice, and salt.bread added to wet ingredients for Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum SauceAdd the bread cubes and pecans and toss to coat, making sure all the bread cubes are coated with the egg mixture.

Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding in baking dish ready to bakeSpoon the bread pudding into to 13 X 9 inch glass baking dish and bake 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center just comes out clean.

Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum Sauce fresh out of the ovenSet aside on a wire rack to cool slightly.

Pumpkin and Pecan Bread Pudding with Toffee Rum SauceAs the pumpkin bread is cooling you can prepare the toffee sauce. In a small sauce pan, over medium heat, add and mix together the brown sugar, heavy cream, melted butter, and one teaspoon of your favorite rum. Stir toether just until a soft boil, and set aside.

For the whipped cream topping, we personally place a large bowl and the wire whisk attachment or attachments in the freezer for about 5 minutes. A cold bowl and attachments will whip the heavy cream much faster.

In a large cold bowl, pour in the heavy cream, sugar, and rum. Whip until peaks form.

Serve a slice of pumpkin and pecan bread pudding with a dollop of whipped cream, drizzled with some toffee rum sauce, and a sprinkle of pecan pieces.

Try some of our other great bread pudding recipes…

  1. Capirotada – Mexican Bread Pudding
  2. Blueberry Pear and White Chocolate Bread Pudding
  3. Blueberry White Chocolate Bread Pudding

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Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Top View

Our pudding is referred to as “Toasted Coconut,” because it has that appearance of being toasted as we used coconut sugar. Coconut sugar is like brown sugar in appearance, but doesn’t have the same effect on blood glucose in the blood stream. In other words, it does not spike your sugar levels.

The Glycemic Index of coconut sugar is 35 as reported by the Philippine Coconut Authority, the largest supplier of coconut sugar along with Indonesia. 35 is classified as a low glycemic food.

Coconut sugar has many natural occurring nutrients, including magnessium, potassium, zinc, iron, B vitamins, and amino acids. Because it is unprocessed, the nutrient content is intact, unlike refined white table sugar.

Coconut sugar is actually more sustainable than sugar cane. The coconut palm tree produces up to 75% more sugar per acre than cane sugar, while only using 20% of the resources.

Now for the featured recipe: Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding, and here is what you will need.

1/2 cup organic coconut sugar

1/3 cup organic arrowroot starch

1/2 teaspoon organic Himalayan salt

3 cups silk Coconut milk (or your preferred organic brand)

3 tablespoons organic coconut butter

1 teaspon organic vanilla extract

About 30 to 40 organic vanilla wafers

3 ripe organic bananas

Toasted organic coconut for garnish (optional)

Organic heavy cream, whipped for topping (optional)

mixing ingredients in sauce pan to make Toased Coconut Banana Pudding

Whisk together coconut sugar, starch and salt in a medium saucepan.

Slowly whisk in coconut milk, oil, and vanilla. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, whisking constantly.

Lower heat and simmer whisking occasionally until mixture thickens, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool.

layering sliced bananas and vanilla cookiesTo assemble spread a layer of vanilla wafers in a 9 X 9 inch square baking dish, or a 9-inch round baking dish (your choice) top with half of the banana slices and half of the pudding.

Continue with another layer of vanilla wafers followed by remaining bananas and ending with remaining pudding, spreading to cover all banana slices.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 to 5 hours or overnight.

Toasted Coconut Banana Pudding - Side ViewTo serve, line a dessert glass or small dessert bowl with some vanilla cookies, and top with fresh organic whipped cream and toasted coconut.

This is a gluten free and all organic dessert. Enjoy!!

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Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

You may have heard of mascarpone as an Italian style cream cheese, but a softer texture, than the regular cream cheese, such as the brand name Philadelphia Cream Cheese. Mascarpone can be used in cheesecakes, and is also used to make Tiramisu. Because of its creamy texture, it makes a grand accompaniment with berries, like strawberries. The Italian style cream cheese is described in flavor as sweet, rich, and creamy-like with a mild buttery flavor.

Mascarpone was invented in southern Italy around the 16th century. It is made using the cream of cow’s milk. The name Mascarpone, pronounced  Mahs-kahr-po-nay, is thought to be related to the root word mascherare, an Italian verb meaning to “dress up” or “camouflage.”

This dressing up of the cow’s cream, relates to the way the cream cheese is made. It begins from mascarpa, which is a by-product that is extracted from the whey that is leftover from making stracchino, a semi-soft cheese made from whole cow’s milk, and once extracted from the whey, it is then coagulated with lemon juice and drained, and you have: Mascarpone.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten Free Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, and here is what you will need.

2/3 cup coconut flour

1 ripe medium banana

1 medium carrot finely grated, do not pat dry (should equal about 1 cup)

1/2 cup dried coconut, shredded and unsweetened

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

2 tsp pumpkin pie spice

3 eggs

2 cups coconut milk (can also use buttermilk, milk, or almond milk)

The Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce to follow.

Ingredients for Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone SauceMix all ingredients in a medium mixing bowl.

Carrot Cake Pancakes cooking in a skilletWarm a ceramic coated skillet over medium heat, and add a tablespoon of coconut butter. When butter is melted, add a ladle full of the pancake mix, and cook about 1 1/2 minutes on each side.

Before making the pancakes, in a separate small mixing bowl, make the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce, as follows.

Ingredients for Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

1 – 8 oz. tub of mascarpone cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 zest of an orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon real maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon Himalayan salt

Mix all ingredients in a small mixing bowl, and set aside. If there is any leftover cream cheese sauce, save in a glass jar with a tight lid for up to 10 days in the refrigerator.

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce

 

When you have finished cooking the pancakes (makes about 6 large cakes), plate them and top with the Orange Maple Mascarpone Sauce. You can also top the sauce with some grated carrot, and nuts, like pecans or walnuts. Enjoy!!

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Gluten-Free Carrot Cake With A Cream Cheese Frosting

Gluten Free Carrot Cake with a Cream Cheese Frosting

Just because you can’t have gluten, doesn’t mean you have to miss out on your favorite desserts! For health reasons I have chosen to eat as much gluten-free breads and desserts as I can. If gluten does bother you, then it is causing inflammation to your digestive system.

The carrot cake we are featuring was made with an all-purpose baking flour that consists of garbanzo bean flour, whole grain sweet white sorghum flour and fava bean flour. To replace the gluten, potato starch and tapioca starch was used. We also used oat flour, and coconut flour.

Gluten-Free Carrot Cake With A Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour

3/4 oat flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt

1 1/2 teaspoon 5 star chai spices

1/2 cup dried shredded unsweetened coconut

1 cup mixed dried fruits (package of mixed fruits that have blueberries, cranberries, cherries, and golden raisins)

4 medium eggs

1 cup coconut sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

2 cups shredded organic carrots

3/4 cup pecan pieces, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

 

melting coconut oil

First melt the coconut oil. Coconut oil is solid below 76 degrees. To use it in baking it is necessary first to melt it.

What we have done to melt the oil, is first place a small sauce pan over medium heat, and heat the pan for about 1 minute.

Remove from heat and add the 1/4 cup of solid coconut oil, and begin swirling the pan until the coconut butter, has melted to oil. Put aside.

mixing gluten free dry ingredients with dried fruit

In a large mixing bowl, add the first 8 ingredients from the list above, and mix till well incorporated. Then add the dry fruit and mix in, add nuts if using, mix in and set aside.

Next shred the two cups of carrots and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, cream together eggs, coconut sugar, applesauce, and coconut oil. Once well incorporated, add shredded carrots, mix in, and set aside.

Prepare two 9-inch glass pie plates with parchment paper on the bottom, and coconut butter smeared around the sides. Set the pie plates aside.

Now returning to the wet ingredients, add it slowly to the dry ingredients and stir. Divide the gluten free cake mixture between the prepared pie plates.

Place into heated oven and bake 25 to 30 minutes or until a inserted knife comes out clean. Let cool for 30 minutes before adding frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

1 teaspoon real vanilla

1 cup organic icing sugar (powdered organic cane sugar)

In a mixer, add soft cream cheese, yogurt, and vanilla and cream together. Next add icing sugar and mix in.

preparing to add frosting to cakePlace on of the cakes on a large serving platter, and cut around the outside of the cake to cut off any uneven edges.

Top with frosting and pecan pieces. Next place other cake over the frosted one, and continue frosting.

close up of Gluten Free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese FrostingPlace around the outer edge of the frosted Gluten-Free Carrot Cake pecan pieces.

Using a yellow and purple organic carrot, shred some pieces and place in the center of the frosted cake.

Serve and enjoy.

slice of Gluten free Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze

Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze

Strata or stratta is a layered casserole dishes founded in American cuisine.

Strata is most commonly found among other prepared brunch dishes or recipes. Strata is compared to a quiche or frittata, made from a mixture which mainly consists of bread, eggs and cheese, including cream cheese.

Some bakers or cooks have even prepared strata with meat or vegetables.

Now for our featured recipe: Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze, and here is what you will need.

Ingredients for the strata:

1 -24 oz. loaf of 100% whole grain bread

3 medium baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 1/4-inch wedges

8 large eggs

2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup lightly packed dark brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Ingredients for the glaze:

3 ounces cream cheese

2 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons whole milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

 

Line the bottom of a 9 x 9-inch glass or ceramic baking dish with organic parchment paper, and brush the sides with organic unsalted butter.

Unpack the bread, and use all of the slices less the ends. Cut the crust off each piece, and set the crusts aside.

Line the bottom of the prepared baking dish with half of the crust-less bread. Layer apple slices on top of bread, and layer remaining bread slices over the apple.

In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk until well incorporated. Pour the egg mixture over the apples and Apple Whole Wheat Bread Strata with Cream Cheese Glaze - slicebread. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil, and refrigerate a 1 to 2 hours, or longer (If you wish you can remove strata after refrigerated time, leaving foil over dish, and let set for 30 minutes before baking).

Heat Oven to 350 degrees.

If you haven’t already done so, remove strata from the refrigerator, and place into heated oven with foil still over the dish.

Bake for 35 minutes, if the strata was room temperature or for 45 minutes if coming straight from the refrigerator. Remove foil, and bake for additional 15 minutes.

In a small sauce pot over medium heat, mix cream cheese, honey, milk, and vanilla. Continue to stir until cheese is melted and glaze is formed. Pour glaze over warmed strata. Spread glaze with back of a wooden spoon until evenly distributed.

Let sit 10 minutes. Sprinkle with organic powered cinnamon, and serve with apple slices and blueberries if desired.

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Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes

For someone new at flour less baking, wheat flour that is, can be a trial-and-error process. Flour, when used in baking, adds body, structure, and texture to baked goods. It often acts as a binder, because of the gluten, binding all the recipe ingredients together. When you remove the gluten or flour, you have to add something else in its place that will perform the same function.

Here are some tips to help achieve better baking results when going flour less.

To increase the nutrition value, substitute up to 1/4 cup ground flax seeds plus 1/4 cup water for 1/4 cup flour in a recipe (flax will absorb more moisture).

To add more moisture to your recipe, add gelatin, extra egg or oil. Honey or rice malt syrup helps retain moisture as well. Honey works great when using coconut flour.

Substitute brown sugar for white sugar to retain moisture.

To enhance the flavor of flour less foods, add chocolate chips, dried fruits or nuts and double the amount of spices asked for in the recipe.

For better structure, add dry milk solids or cottage cheese to the recipe. Replace evaporated milk for regular milk.

Add extra egg or egg whites if your recipe is too crumbly.

Don’t over beat or over mix since the kneading time or mixing time is shorter with no gluten to develop.

You can use ground oats in place of flour, but you will also need bananas or eggs to bind the ingredients together.

Eggs can replace many functions of gluten such as binding and enhancing texture and structure of the recipe. Two other starch-based products you can use to bind and thicken are guar gum and xanthan gum. They are interchangeable and used in small amounts, usally about 1 tablespoon. But these two binders can be expensive, and in place of them you can use corn starch, tapioca starch, or arrow root starch.

Guar Gum used as a food thickener in flourless bakingGuar gum is extracted from the bean of the guar plant. The guar plant is native to Pakistan and India. The guar bean is rich in protein and used to feed cattle, and as a vegetable used in Middle Eastern cooking.

Guar gum is also used to help preserve food, and to help it retain flavor, texture and moisture. Guar gum is recommended to use when baking with coconut flour, as this type of flour can case dryness to your baked.

Xanthan Gum used as a food thinkner in gluten free bakingXanthan gum has a substance called polysaccharide, which has the ability to form a gel and bind many times its weight in water, making it a very valuable food thickener.

If you are allergic to corn products, then it is recommended not to use xanthan gum, as it is derived from corn. But it can also be fermented by using wheat, dairy, or soy as well. Just read the ingredients label to see how it was made.

The key to flour-less baking is to experiment. You may have to try different ingredients or amounts to get the flavor and texture you want.

Now for our featured recipe: Gluten-Free Chocolate Peppermint Cupcakes.

1 ½ cups ground oats

½ cup sugar

½ cup cocao powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

1 mashed banana

¼ cup avocado oil or lite olive oil

¾ cup almond milk

½ tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla

Frosting:

3 cups icing sugar

2 tablespoons of heavy cream, to thicken frosting

1/4 to 1/2  teaspoon peppermint extract

2 drops food coloring, optional

Cupcake Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Line a cupcake pan with 12 cupcake liners. Set aside.

Place oats in a blender and grind until fine.

Add ground oats, sugar, cacao, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk well. Add the mashed banana, oil, milk, apple cider vinegar and vanilla. Continue to whisk until smooth.

Divide batter among the 12 cupcake liners and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they start to firm on the top. Let cool completely before frosting.

Frosting Instructions:

Add icing sugar, cream, peppermint extract and green food coloring, if using, to a medium sized mixing bowl. Use electric mixer to blend until smooth. Add more cream, a little at a time as you’re mixing to create the consistency you want.

Gluten-Free-Chocolate-CupcakesAfter you have frosted the little cakes, arrange on a dessert plate, and serve with milk, coffee, or your favorite dessert beverage.

If you like gluten-free recipes, you will also enjoy Gluten Free Tropical Carrot Cake.

 

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Healthy White Flour Substitutes

Healthy White Flour Substitutes

These days everyone, will almost everyone is concerned about their diet. One way to improve your diet is by pinpointing appropriate healthy substitutions to use in foods you love.

One of the biggest misconceptions in our society’s diet is based upon the nutrition values of white flour. It is used in all types of recipes, breads, baking and gravies.

White flour is high in carbs, has less nutrition than whole grain products, very fattening and harder for the body to digest. By using healthier flour choices you can avoid this unnecessary mess you are inadvertently creating for your body to handle.

The following are a few substitutions to white flour you can consider next time you are baking or cooking!

Whole Wheat Flour

Whole wheat flour is a healthier choice than white and can be used as a substitute in baking and cooking.

Check out our recipe using whole wheat flour and oat bran: Pumpkin Muffins with Pecan Streusel Topping 

Almond Flour

blanched almond flour This is a great option for people following a gluten-free diet. Its density and ability to rise can make it a perfect substitute for most baked goods. It also has a fraction of carbohydrates as compared to white flour.

Ideal for pancakes, muffins or cookies, this substitute could be what you have always been looking for in regards to a healthy alternative to white flour.

The natural almond flavor helps to add sweetness to your recipe. This is something unique to almond flour and a great food to keep in your pantry. Furthermore, if used in large quantity the flour can act like a cake batter and create a light cake like consistency for you to work with.

Check out our recipe that uses almond flour: Orange Almond Cake

Barley Flour           

This type of flour is an exceptional food for use in baking breads. Barley is rich in fiber and zinc and can be mixed together with other flours. Barley is also ideal for thickening gravies and sweetening sauces.

A little added trick is to lightly toast the flour before use to accentuate the hidden flavors that barley flour secretly has. Also, if used in the right way, it can add a little sweetness to your recipe as well.

Keep in mind that barley flour is not gluten free, but still makes a great wheat flour substitute for baking.

The following white flour substitutes are gluten free flours.

Buckwheat Flour

Despite the name, buckwheat flour is gluten free and wheat free. This makes it a good option for whole wheat substitutes. The thing that you need to watch out for in this product is its dense qualities and strong flavor.

This means it is great for use in products, such as, pancakes or pastas but you cannot use it as a thickener for a sauce because it will be too rich. Its earthy flavor can be good at times, but, can also overpower any good recipe, so try combining buckwheat with white flour in recipes.

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Chickpea (Garbanzo) Flour

Image Credit: Nuts.com

When it comes to gluten free substitutes, this is a common go to for vegans and those with Celiac disease.

This flour is high in protein and calcium which allows you to balance out your diet. Its uses are abundant, including, for crepes, flat bread or hummus.

Check out our recipe that uses Garbanzo flour: Gluten Free Zucchini Cranberry Bread

Oat Flour

This is probably your classic and most dependable option when it comes to healthy flour substitutes. Oat flour is all natural and helps to create a whole what product.

Depending on which company processes it, this product can be gluten-free or low-gluten. It is optimal for use in cookie and other baked goods recipes.

In summary, these are all great options for you to use as a substitute to white flour but it is important to remember that gluten-free doesn’t necessarily mean healthy.

Unless you have Celiac disease, your body can naturally handle a bit of gluten on a regular basis, but, you should focus on the whole wheat and nutritional aspects of your diet if you are going to begin substituting for white flour. Remember, the key to being healthy is balance.

 

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Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Another great cupcake recipe I found in the April 2014 issue of Better Homes and Gardens.

The muffins came out perfectly, so soft and moist! Dark chocolate and banana is a great flavor combination. You can bake this recipe into a dessert bread as well. Just pour the batter into a 9-inch bread pan and enjoy.

Dark cocoa according to Health News Library (HNL) has great health benefits, like potassium, copper, magnesium, and iron in high concentrations. You know what that means, right? Dark Chocolate is great for your heart and lowering high blood pressure.

HNL states, “The copper and potassium help prevent against stroke and cardiovascular disease. The iron protects against anemia, and magnesium helps prevent type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease” (read more here: Dark Chocolate Helping with Health Concerns).

Now for the featured recipe: Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins and here is what you will need:

ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2/3 cup buttermilk (we forgot to add this to the cutting board)

½ cup sour cream

2 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

2 bananas, peeled

Honey for topping

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

 

Grease twelve 2 ½ -inch muffin cups; set aside.

Mixing dry and wet ingredients for Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

 

In a large bowl stir together flour, brown sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, coffee powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, sour cream, eggs, and butter. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened.

 

bananas cut for topping Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Peel and trim ends from bananas and cut each into 6 pieces. You should do this before mixing dry ingredients in with the wet. Once the wet ingredients hits the dry portion, it activates the soda. As a rule of thumb, once you have mixed the wet and dry together, get it in the oven as soon as possible.

Next, spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each about three-fourths full and press a banana piece into each prepared cupcake batter, but the banana should not be covered completely, only push in half way.

Now the next part says to drizzle with honey, then bake for 15 minutes. But it is not recommended to heat honey above 100 degrees, it kills the enzymes that benefit good health.

Ask A Scientist says, “Honey bees keep the temperature of their brood nest at just under 100 degrees. Many figure that honey should not be raised above this temperature to preserve many of its good qualities. If honey is heated above that, there is disagreement on what the temperature is at which the helpful enzymes are damaged. It is likely in the 120 to 140 range.”

They go on to say, “Honey distributed by large distributors and sold in larger stores is usually heated to 180 degrees.This is to dissolve even the smallest crystals that might act as “seeds” that promote crystallization. Although crystallization does not harm the honey in any way, it is considered less desirable (in the US but not necessarily abroad). The enzymes that are not visible are sacrificed for the sake of “good” looks.”

Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we use raw honey, in its whole form. To liquefy the honey: boil some water in a sauce pan. Place the amount of honey you want to liquefy into a small glass jar and dip the jar into the hot water. The honey will soften and become runny, but will not heat to above 100 degrees.

 

 

cooling Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins

Now bake the muffins for 15 minutes or until tops are firm, then remove and cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

 

 

Dark Cocoa Banana Muffins (end article)

 

Remove from muffin cups. Drizzle with honey and serve warm. Here we drizzled with raw honey. As a side note, 1/3 cup dark brown sugar dosen’t sweeten the muffins to well. But adding the honey will sweeten every bite. If you don’t wish to drizzle with honey, increase your dark brown sugar to add the sweetness you desire. Enjoy!!

 

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Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

I found this recipe in the April 2014 magazine –  “Better Homes and Gardens“. The recipe is called Toasty Whole Grain Orange Muffins. But I changed the recipe a little, and I liked the Toasted better then the Toasty.

To me toasty is when you are around a camp fire on a cool night in the mountains and you want to get your hands and feet toasty warm. Or when you pull back the stick with a marshmallow on it, and someone says, “Isn’t that a bit toasty?’

The grains the recipe called for, I toasted them in the oven. So that’s why I used Toasted in place of Toasty.

We did use cooked Quinoa. This recipe is great to prepare, when you have had some quiona with your dinner, and there is some left over, quiona that is.

Quinoa  is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. It also has nine times more fiber than any other whole grain.

This muffin would be great for breakfast for the reasons just mentioned, protein, and fiber. Fiber slows digestion, giving you longer sustained energy, as well as the protein.

Here is what you well need.

ingredients for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

1 cup regular rolled oats

1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled

1/3 cup finely chopped almonds

1 tablespoon avocado oil

1 cup all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour

½ cup sugar

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

 

toasting grains for Toasted Whole Grain Orange Muffins

In a large bowl toss oats, cooled cooked quinoa, and almonds, add oil and toss some more to coat.  Place mixture onto a nonstick cookie sheet or baking pan. Spread out into an even layer. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until toasted, stirring once. Remove; place pan on a wire rack and cool.

Grease a cup cake pan with twelve wells that are 2 1/2-inches round; set aside.

In a large bowl stir together all but 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture, the all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of flour mixture; set aside.

whisking wet ingredients

Here is what you will need for the wet ingredients:

2 teaspoons zest of orange

1 ½ teaspoons of orange oil

1/2 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1/2 cup Greek yogurt

3 tablespoons butter, melted

 

In a 2-cup measure whisk together buttermilk, eggs, sour cream, butter, orange oil, and orange zest. Add all at once to flour mixture. Gently stir just until moistened, the batter should be lumpy.

close up of muffin pan filled with wet muffen mixture

Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each well, ¾ full. Sprinkle with remaining quinoa mixture. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in muffin pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes.

Toasted Whole grain Orange Muffins

Serve warm. If desired, serve with orange marmalade.

 

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Best Ever Strawberry Short Cake

Strawberry Short Cake

The days are getting longer and a little warmer. It still isn’t time yet for out door barbecuing. But strawberries are in season again. I bought 4 pounds at Costco for about $6.00. The time is right for Strawberry Short Cake. The recipe is adopted from the Better Homes and Gardens Magazine (BHG).

At our place we like to top the cake with real vanilla ice cream, but you can use whipped cream as well. The BHG recipe did use real whipped cream. Yummy!!

They also gave other ingredients you could add to the batter for other great flavors, such as

  1. Strawberry Lemon-Poppy Seed Shortcake
  2. Mixed Berry or Mixed Fruit Shortcake
  3. Strawberry-Nut Shortcake

Just link here if you want the recipes for those variations: Better Homes and Gardens.

The original recipe includes real cream to whip up as part of the topping, but I omitted it, as we use real vanilla ice cream.

Here is what you will need:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup cold butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup sour cream or plain yogurt (we used plain Greek yogurt)
3 tablespoons milk
5 cups sliced fresh strawberries
3 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Grease an 8 x 1 1/2-inch round baking pan; set aside.

In a medium bowl combine flour, the 1/4 cup sugar, the baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Using the back of a spoon, make a well in the center of the flour mixture. In a small bowl stir together egg, sour cream, and milk. Add egg mixture to flour mixture all at once, stirring with a fork just until moistened.

Spread dough evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Using a small metal spatula or knife, loosen sides of shortcake. Place a wire rack on top of pan; place one hand on top of rack and other hand under pan and carefully invert pan with rack (use pot holders to protect your hands). Lift pan off shortcake. Cool on wire rack until completely cool.

Meanwhile, combine 4 cups of the strawberries and the 3 tablespoons sugar and set aside.

To serve, cut shortcake into 4 to 6 individual slices. Then cut  each slice in half horizontally. Place in a bowl and top with desired amount of strawberries and 1 to 2 scoops real vanilla ice cream.

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