Friday, February 24, 2012

Let's call these: Moderate-Amounts-Of-Sugar Added Apple Streusel Muffins

Good morning and Happy Friday to you all :) I should be studying right now, but I had to make something for breakfast, and I'm getting a bit tired of eggs with toast or cereal, and I happen to have a ton of apples in my house at the moment.

After last night's battle with fried apples, I decided I needed to lower the sugar content in whatever I was going to make. But I knew it would be next to impossible to make an apple streusel muffin with no I decided on trying to add a lesser amount. Which ended up making the recipe a more moist than normal sugar would have done, so I'm basically a winner.

Let's begin, shall we? I have about eight more muffins to consume before track practice at 2:30.

Start by peeling, coring, and slicing/dicing apples. I chose to make very very small pieces so I had a ton of apples in every bite! This also helps to prevent the cake from pulling away during baking because of the moisture in a larger apple chunk. I used two small gala apples today, but any kind of apple will work. I ended up with about a cup or so after chopping.

Then, combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl, and the dry ones in a bigger bowl.

Wet: 2 tbs. honey, 2 tbs. no sugar added applesauce, 1/2 cup milk, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, a dash of vanilla, and 1 egg. (Whisk together until all of the various textures make a nice pale yellow color)

Dry: 1 1/2 cups flour, 2 tsp. baking powder, 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. salt (whisk together until airy)

Then, fold the apples into the dry ingredients. This will coat the apples to lower their moisture content before adding the wet ingredients.

Pour in all of the wet ingredients and fold until just combined. The consistency should be slightly on the wet-paste side. Next, pour half of the batter into 12 muffin tins. And here comes the fun part.

Combine 1/3 cup brown sugar, 2 tbs. butter, 2 tbs. flour, and as much cinnamon as you desire. Crumble the mixture on top of the batter, reserving about 3 tbs.

Then, pour the remaining batter on top. Finish by topping your muffin tins with a bit more streusel. (Yes, I'm still working on getting the streusel recipe to be slightly healthier, but you could probably substitute the brown sugar for sugar in the raw, just don't use Splenda!! It will boil and bubble and end up causing your muffins to sink!)

Pop 'em into a 400 degree oven for about 17 minutes. I took mine out at 15 minutes after thinking the poor little tops looked too brown, but some of the centers are too moist.

Enjoy with a hot cup of coffee or your favorite morning beverage. If you're not overly concerned with the sugar content, spread a little apple butter on top while still warm....DEEE-VINE.

I'm very very pleased with this recipe and I encourage you to make it for yourself. Every bite I took I had cinnamon, streusel bits, and of course about three or four apple chunks. If you want to crank up the nutritional value more-- add a few of your favorite nuts. I can imagine almonds or walnuts would be great mixed into the streusel center and topping.

Have a healthy dose of happiness on this gorgeous Friday.

Peace, love, and sexy muffin tops,
Mlle Phipps

Friday, February 17, 2012


One day in English 209 Section N, also known as my Creative Writing 8 am class, we were assigned a ten-minute spill. The spill could be about anything, but to help mould our hazy minds, my professor told us to think about what we had for breakfast, or something we loved to eat for breakfast. So of course my mind went to bacon. Greasy, crispy, delicious bacon. And then my mind wandered to baking. The most simplistic ingredients come together to form decadent creations. Eventually I made the connection between the salty and savory flavors of fried bacon and the rich smooth flavors of chocolate. And then it hit me. Why not put the two together?

I know people have put chocolate with bacon before but this was the first time I myself realized it could be done. My writing then took me to a place I call crazy-town. I decided I would attempt to write a bacon-brownie recipe with less than three minutes left in my ten-minute spill, during a class that I was hardly awake for. But I did it. And boy was it a mess. The ingredients were definitely all there, but the amounts would have made the worst possible brownie ever. When I got home I scrapped the entire recipe, except for one thing.

That one thing? Bacon grease. Brownies usually use oil, at least the ones I like do. Butter is great, you all know how much I love me some butter, but there is something about oil that makes a brownie that much richer in flavor. So in my fury of half-asleep writing I decided to substitute the oil in a typical brownie with bacon grease. Yes, I did in fact consider how many hearts I would stop with this type of recipe.

I dawdled and messed with the recipe for a couple of weeks, and then finally got the gaul to go out and buy bacon. And I decided today was the day for Salted Caramel Bacon Brownies.

First I had to fry the bacon, and preserve all of the grease. The house was filled with smoke and I swear I saw Miss Di drooling more than Tachey. I may have even drooled a bit while leaning over the stove trying to soak up all the bacon fumes.

Then later tonight after track practice I got together all my traditional dry ingredients. 1.5 cups of flour, 2 cups of sugar, 2/3 cup cocoa powder, and 1 tsp. salt.

For the wet ingredients I changed things up a bit. Because I used 1/2 cup of bacon grease, I used 1/2 cup of vegetable oil. Typically I would use four eggs, but to make up for some of my heart-disease prone friends I decided to use only two eggs and then 1/2 cup applesauce. The moisture in the applesauce is a perfect substitute and let's be honest, it counts as a fruit right? Then I mixed in 2 tsp. of vanilla. After stirring it all together and almost gagging at the site of it I just poured it in and started mixing.

And what I got from all of these funny ingredients was the darkest, richest looking batter I've seen. I've made a lot of brownies, but this batter was smoky, rich, and deep in flavor. Which of course terrified me.

But then I poured half of the batter into the pan and threw on some chopped bacon and my worries dissipated. This is after all chocolate and bacon we're talking about, right? Into the 350 degree oven for thirty minutes it went!

As the concoction baked, I attempted to make a caramel drizzle sauce. And it was a total disaster. The first step was easy. Make a simple syrup, bring to boil, and shake until it turns an amber color.

But then when I tried to add the milk, not heavy cream, which was probably my biggest mistake, the mixture basically exploded and made my kitchen smell like bacon, chocolate, AND scalded milk. Gross. And of course my simple syrup thingamabob went hard and didn't mix with the milk.

But after a little cooing and a lot more whisking, the mixture loosened up. So into the pot went some vanilla and butter. Then I got this.

Which was basically liquid caramel, but after an hour or so it started to solidify. And then I wasn't so worried about keeping these brownies completely naked. With only crumbled bacon to cover up the naughty-bits.

So with a little patience, and a little bit of melted down leftover cream cheese frosting, I eventually ended up with a sexy-topping for my already diabetes-causing brownies.

Then of course Miss Di and I just had to dig in. And here's what we found:

1. A half of a cup of bacon grease is wayyyy too much. More like a quarter cup next time.
2. Sugar content could be reduced, especially because I decided to use applesauce.
3. Bacon should be fully crisped and not have a soft center.
4. Bacon grease takes longer to bake in the oven than expected.
5. Eat with caution. And without knowing the true ingredients.

Bacon Brownies
1.5 cups flour
2 cups sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup bacon grease
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 eggs
3-4 strips of chopped bacon

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour half of the batter into a greased dish. Sprinkle with bacon bits, reserving some for topping. Pour the remaining batter into the dish and bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes, or until completely cooked in the center.

Salted Caramel Sauce

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup milk
1 tablespoon butter
dash of salt
pour of vanilla

Combine sugar and water, bring to boil over medium-high heat. Shake the mixture until it reaches an amber color. Remove from heat and whisk in milk. Place over low heat if the sugar clumps. Add in butter and vanilla. Once combined, cook and bring to boil for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool before serving.

I really need to go workout tomorrow morning. Desperately.

Peace, love, and food-comas to you all,