Monday, October 26, 2015

Whole Wheat Apple Rum and Raisin Muffins - #MuffinMonday

You should already know that I am not sold on having muffins for breakfast. It’s a cultural thing; we emphasize savory breakfasts. In fact, our favourites are very salty. Serving muffins and pastries would garner several frowns. I know my mother does when she’s offered Danishes for breakfast. Now with the addition of rum to these muffins, I think I am basically screaming, “These are not for breakfast!” But if you eat them at 10 am like I did, I am certainly in no position to judge. If you’re worried about being judged, keep the presence of rum a secret and simply smile widely while you enjoy these muffins in that really boring morning meeting.  I have an acquaintance who would tip a bit of white rum into her morning coffee.

I think these may be my favourite muffins to date. It might be the booze talking since I am obsessed with alcohol in baked goods. Though these are whole wheat, they are extremely moist and flavorful (that’s definitely the rum and oh yeah, the cinnamon).  If rum is not your thing, soak the raisins in some water. Hot water will hydrate them pretty quickly and you’ll be ready to bake without an overnight wait added in.

Be sure to scroll down to see all the other delicious muffins this month!

Whole Wheat Apple Rum and Raisin Muffins
Yield: A baker’s dozen


75 grams raisins
Rum to just cover raisins
¼ cup sugar
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon melted butter
226g (2 cups) whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
148g (~¾ cup) sugar
¾ cup milk
100g (~½ cup) oil
1 egg
200 grams (1) apple, roughly chopped


Soak the raisins overnight in enough rum to just cover to them.
Preheat oven to 425 F. Line a muffin pan with liners or grease the wells.
Mix together the ¼ cup sugar, flour, oats, and cinnamon. Drizzle over the melted butter and toss together until all the dry ingredients are moist. Set aside.
In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate container mix together sugar, milk, oil, and the egg. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Stir it no more than ten times. Fold in the chopped apple and drained raisins.
Distribute the batter among the muffin wells filling all the way to the top. Sprinkle each muffin with the oat mixture that you side aside earlier.
Bake for 5 minutes then lower the oven temperature to 375F. Bake for another 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.
Cool for a few minutes in the muffin pan then remove and cool on a wire rack.

Why waste that lovely rum? Reduce the milk and add the rum that you soaked the raisins in to the batter. Or use in your next microwave mug cake.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.
Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Apple, Cheese and Chive Turnovers

Welcome to another Crazy Ingredient Challenge! This month the winning ingredients were apples and chives. My first idea was to make some apple, cheese, and chives scones but at some point that turned into turnovers. No regrets here! I got to practise making a blitz pastry dough - it’s really easy and really flaky.  It’s faster than traditional puff pastry and quite delicious. I still have scones on the mind though so maybe later this week I’ll make those and post them.

Sorry about the super quick post. It’s only 7 am but it’s already shaping up to be one of those days. Be sure to scroll down to see how my fellow Crazy Ingredient Challengers used apples and chives this month. Sure to be mouthwatering!

Apple, Cheese and Chive Turnovers

Pastry Shell (adapted from King Arthur)
1 ½ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cold butter
6 tablespoons sour cream

1 apple
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
2-3 tablespoons chives, finely chopped

Egg for egg wash


Whisk together the dry ingredients then cut the butter into the flour mixture. You can use a food processor. Leave mixture unevenly crumbly. The largest pieces of butter should be about the size of a pea. Stir in the sour cream.

Turn the dough out onto a well floured surface and pat it into a rough square. It’s OK if it’s a bit shaggy. Roll out into an 8” x 10” rectangle. Dust the dough with flour, if necessary. Starting with a shorter end, fold the dough into thirds as one would a business letter. Turn it over so that the open end is on the bottom.

Once again, roll the dough out into an 8” x 10” rectangle and do another letter fold.  Turn it over so the open end is on the bottom, roll out again to 8” x 10” and do a third letter fold. If the dough is sticking, chill it before doing the third letter fold. After the third letter fold, wrap in plastic and chill for at least 30 minutes before using.

While the dough is chilling, dice the apple into small pieces, shred the cheese and chop the chives.

When the dough is ready, preheat the oven to 400F.

Roll out the chilled dough to a 16” square and cut into 16 4” squares.

Place a bit of apple, cheese, and chives on each square. Be careful not to add too much - should be no more than a tablespoon or so of filling.  Fold over each square and use a fork to the crimp and seal the edges.

Place the turnovers on a lined baking sheet and brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon of water). Sprinkle on any remaining cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden.

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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Milo and Condensed Milk Bundt Cake - #BundtBakers

This month, the Bundt Bakers are making cakes based on their favorite beverages. On a daily basis, I pretty much only drink water. But my friends had no suggestions for a "water cake".A boozy cake would have been great as I love baking cakes based on cocktails. However, the truth is that I only drink alcohol about once a year. On those occasions, I'll choose a drink that someone else loves (screwdriver) or I'll go for a strawberry daiquiri. Daiquiris are delicious and remind me of hanging out at Flanigans in Miami. But still, I wouldn't call it a favourite. Since I really don't have favourites, I really wanted to create something that had some really special meaning to me.

I was a greedy baby. If I saw food, I ate it - even if it wasn't meant for me. My mother likes to tell the story of her taking a mango from someone to pass to someone else. I was sitting in her lap and as the mango passed by, I lunged out and took a bite. I was definitely not a picky eater. I like to think that I was helping her out. She had her hands full with my brother who barely ate.

One of the things that I loved was porridge. I'm not sure if there is a particular kind that I loved but oatmeal, cornmeal, and banana are among the more common types in Jamaica so I suspect it was one of those. My mother would make a large batch for me each day and I would happily finish it. One week she was particularly busy and our helper (what we call a housekeeper/nanny) had to make porridge. No one knows what really happened during that week. But I suspect we had a bit of a Little Albert situation on our hands. Did the helper burn me? Were her porridge making skills just not up to par? We don't know. But what we do know is that I never drank porridge or milk or milky drinks ever again. My mother said I would scream and cry if she brought it near me. To this day, I still shudder if I'm near porridge.

I paused my milky drinks embargo when I was 4. Suddenly I developed a craving for Milo but only at 2 am. Every night I would wake my mother up asking for Milo. My poor mother would get up, make me Milo and then shuffle back to bed. Understandably, this started to take a toll on her. Eventually she started telling me to go back to sleep and she'd bring my Milo to me. Lies! I'd wake up each morning Milo-less. I'd complain but it didn't help. Soon, I stopped asking. Mummy: 1. Kelly: 0.

It's been decades since I've had a cup of Milo sweetened with condensed milk. (Condensed milk goes into everything in Jamaica - Milo, coffee, porridge, fruit, spoons.) But I do look back at that period and smile. I laugh actually - laugh at my mother tricking me into going back to sleep. I wasn't hungry and she knew this. Her getting her much needed rest was definitely more important.

Fun Fact: I wrote all of the above back in July. I was on the phone with my mother while writing and sure enough, she brought up the Milo incident. Forever reading my mind! We weren't even talking about food so I have no idea what primed her. I need a foil hat. Also, I wrote all of that assuming that everyone knew what Milo is. Milo is a chocolate flavoured malt beverage from Australia. It's similar to Ovaltine and Horlicks.

 Enjoy all of the other Bundts below!

 Milo Cake with Condensed Milk Glaze

1/2 cup milk. room temperature
4 eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup Milo powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup butter, cut into pieces and softened

3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons confectioner's sugar
1/2 cup condensed milk
Preheat oven to 350 F. Thoroughly grease and flour a Bundt pan. I used a 10 cup pan.
Whisk milk, eggs, and vanilla together in a small bowl. Add flour, Milo, baking powder, and salt to a mixer bowl. Mix until combined then add butter one tablespoon at a time, mixing until only small pieces of butter remain.
Add  half of the egg mixture and increase the speed and beat for a minute or until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed and add the remaining egg mixture. Increase the speed again and beat for 30 seconds or until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared Bundt pan. Bake 50-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely.

For the glaze, beat together butter and sugar then add enough condensed milk to reach your desired consistency. Pour over cooled cake.

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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Pumpkin Sourdough Bread - #BreadBakers

I have been neglecting my sourdough starter.There was a time when we'd have weekly dates but weekly dates have turned into a lacklustre monthly appointments where the starter is hardly the star of the show. I kept promising that I'd do better but just never did. I got sucked in by the speed of commercial yeast and it's been hard to tear myself away. As I was flipping through some cookbooks trying to figure out ways other than curry pumpkin to use some leftover pumpkin, I saw a recipe for a pumpkin sourdough loaf. Perfect, really, as the theme of this month's Bread Bakers is fall flavours.

I am always so worried whenever I decide to use my starter. After several years of growing the little fellow, you think I'd have a bit more confidence in its abilities. Alas, I am the nervous kind so I am always crossing fingers and toes and praying that it doesn't decide to repay me for my neglect by failing to rise and leaving me with bricks. Didn't happen this time!

The recipe is adapted from Teresa Greenway's Discovering Sourdough. I used less liquid but more pumpkin plus added some milk powder instead of using milk. The dough is a just a tiny bit sticky but the hydration is lower than the original recipe and so a bit easier to work with.

Pumpkin Sourdough Bread 

96 grams 100% hydration sourdough starter
200 grams water
191 grams flour

Final Dough 
All of preferment
120 grams pureed pumpkin
14 grams oil
14 grams of brown sugar
28 grams milk powder
286 grams flour
10 grams salt


 Mix together all the preferment ingredients and let sit at room temperature for 4-6 hours. Refrigerate overnight.

Remove the preferment from the refrigerator and add the pumpkin, oil, brown sugar, and milk powder. Next knead in the flour for about a minute. Let rest for 20 minutes then add the salt. Knead for 4 minutes the let bulk ferment for 4 hours giving the dough a stretch and fold once per hour.

On a floured surface, shape the dough then place into a floured banneton or bowl to proof. Let rise until doubled and puffy (about 1 to 2 hours depending on your starter and the temperature of your room).

While the dough is rising, preheat a dutch oven or cloche in a 450 F oven. You could also use a baking stone and a roasting pan that can be inverted over the stone.

When the dough is ready, slash the dough and place in the dutch oven, cloche or on the baking stone. Sprtiz with water, cover and carefully place in then oven.

Bake for 20 minutes then remove the cover and lower the oven temperature to 400 F. Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes or until the dough registers about 200 F.

You can add your favourite spices and/or dried fruit during hte shaping period.

Let's take a look at the other Fall Flavors being shared today Thanks for hosting, Wendy!
BreadBakers #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

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