Saturday, October 29, 2011

Apple Pumpkin Pecan Muffins

I have really been into the fall baking this year, in a really traditional way. Apples, pumpkins, spices, and molasses are making very regular appearances in my kitchen. I have even made hot spiced cider. I can't figure out if I am embracing winter or trying to hold on to fall just a little bit longer. It seems that I am moving pretty seamlessly through the seasons this year. These muffins are great for the end of apple season,  or the beginning of pumpkin season, or something in between. These are very durable muffins. I packed a few for David to take on the plane. The rest have been slowly disappearing at breakfast each morning. They seem to be holding up beautifully, still as fresh as the day I made them. You don't need to use walnut oil if you don't have any or just find it to be a bit too pricey. I'm honestly not sure it made a huge difference. I might actually try them with pumpkin seed oil next time as I have some left in the cupboard from another project. In any case, simple vegetable oil will also do just fine. Also, feel free to swap out the nuts with walnuts. The original recipe called for them, but I was out. The pecans great and I like them better than walnuts most of the time, although a combination of the two can be great as well. Nutty or not, these are a great morning treat.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Cinnamon Honey Butter


Many years ago I had an extended stay at a resort in Lexington, Kentucky. I was there for a wedding and we ate every meal for a week, with the exception of the wedding reception in their facility. I could not tell you a single thing I ate the entire time I was there except bread and butter, primarily butter. Now, I am not just saying this because I assume we ate bread and butter as pretty much every restaurant serves it. No, I am telling you because I actually remember the butter! Some special butter, huh? Every meal came with an assortment of flavored butters. Breakfast was a variety of fruit and sweet butters, then dinner had such things as basil butter and salt and pepper butter. They were always changing, but you always had a choice of three or four different types. They were always served piped onto a white plate. A great little touch that has obviously stuck with me.
This honey butter is the perfect little touch for Saturday morning pancakes or french toast, or maybe even just to smear across toast to make a weekday breakfast special.
You can pipe them out ahead of time on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer, once frozen transfer to a ziploc bag. Then you can take out a few when you start to prepare you meal, as needed.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Ginger Snaps

I am so ready for winter this year! I know that sounds crazy, but it is true. Winter is all about woodstoves and warm ovens. It's about long leisurely weekend mornings, sleeping in, breakfasts that are baked. Winter is a cold brisk walk followed by a cup of something warm to drink and a spiced cookie; curled up on the couch with my feet tucked under me and a blanket on my lap with the dogs fighting for the little corner that has flowed out onto the floor.
So, as the first few flakes of snow quietly fall on Fairbanks this week I can't help but prepare for winter. These cookies dipped in coffee are the perfect way to get things started. I have made these so many times that I had to check twice that I had not already shared them here before. Sorry it took me so long.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake

When I started this blog it was to escape from the reality of living in Fairbanks. It wasn't exactly a secret that I wasn't too happy here. I wanted my old life back. I missed all the things that came so easy living in the Pacific Northwest. This blog was evidence of that. I constantly used hard to obtain ingredients in my recipes. Yes, I was kind and provided links to where I had ordered them from. Most of my recipes were challenging multi-step, expensive ingredient ordeals. For me, spending all that time in the kitchen was a means of escape.
Slowly, something started to click. Although I got a lot of great comments about my photos and how good the food looked, I was also getting a lot of comments to the effect of, “I could never do that”. The more involved I became in the food community, the more I didn’t want food to be difficult. I honestly believe that eating at home is easier, and much cheaper than eating out.
Despite my resistance, Fairbanks has been good to me. In the process, life has become quite a bit busier.  I want recipes that are easier to make. That is not to say that I won’t on occasion be making some more involved meals. You can expect things to be a little more basic around here. This Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake is the perfect example. It is perfect for the season, and makes your house smell great on a cool Saturday morning. It takes a bit of time to bake, but doesn’t use too many dishes, so you can take that time to enjoy a cup of coffee and relax. Isn’t that really what good food is all about?


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