Saturday, December 4, 2010
Good Food: Two Winning Winter Recipes
Ginger Pear Bran Muffins are good any time of the year. This summer I made the muffins for the first time using pears from my own tree. I found the recipe a little while ago on Farmgirl Fare blog. Now that winter's chill is on, I'm enjoying one of these muffins with a hot cup of coffee or tea. Here's the recipe in Farmgirl Susan's own words...
Farmgirl Fare 100% Whole Grain Ginger Pear Bran Muffin Recipe
Last year I discovered small bags of something called uncrystallized candied ginger in the dried fruit aisle at Trader Joe's. It was love at first bite. The little chunks have a smoother texture than crystallized candied ginger, and they taste like ginger rather than sugar. This is actually the first time I've used any in a recipe; they're so good that usually I just munch on them straight from the bag. (They taste great with roasted and salted almonds, too--something I learned from my mother.) I'm sure crystallized candied ginger would work fine in this recipe, but if you love the flavor of ginger this stuff is definitely worth seeking out.
As always, I urge you to use local and organic ingredients whenever possible. Organic wheat bran, oat bran, and whole wheat flour are a bargain in the bulk bins at natural food stores.
2 cups (3oz/86g) wheat bran
1 cup (5oz/141g) oat bran
1 cup (6oz/170g) whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons (12g) baking soda
1 teaspoon (6g) baking powder (make sure it's fresh!)
1/2 teaspoon (4g) salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup (5-1/2oz/156g) yogurt (nothing beats homemade)
1/3 cup (2-1/4oz/65g) canola oil
2/3 cup (7-1/2 oz/216g) honey
1 teaspoon (6g) vanilla extract (optional)
2 cups peeled & mashed very ripe pears (about 3 pears or 17 oz) or 2 15-oz cans of pears, drained and mashed + 1/3 cup of the pear syrup
1/2 cup finely chopped candied ginger, preferably uncrystallized
Place oven rack in middle of oven and heat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a standard size muffin pan or line cups with paper liners (which makes cleaning up a breeze).
Combine wheat bran, oat bran, whole wheat flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. Combine eggs, yogurt, canola oil, honey, and vanilla in a small bowl and mix well. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until combined.
Gently stir in the pears and candied ginger.
Generously fill muffin cups with batter. (I use a large stainless steel scoop, sometimes called a disher. These are also great for portioning out cookie dough and making perfectly shaped cookies.) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 to 28 minutes. Cool muffins in pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then carefully remove from pan and serve warm, or let cool on a wire rack.
Store muffins in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze. Defrost muffins at room temperature, or in the microwave if you're really in a hurry.
Coffee and Cinnamon Cookies Recipe
Above: Photo by Radostina Boseva
Last week I ran across this Coffee and Cinnamon Cookies recipe on 79 Ideas blog, written by Radostina, a graphic designer/budding photographer who lives in the Czech Republic. Please note when you read the recipe on Radostina's blog, the baking temperature is shown in Celsius, so for those of us accustomed to Fahrenheit, the oven temperature translates closer to 400 degrees F. She also mentions that it is a bit early for baking these cookies for Christmas. But as my friend, Katrin pointed out, Hanukkah began on December 1st. I say enjoy these cookies now, and Happy Hanukkah! That's what we are doing and they are delish!