Monday, November 27, 2017

Beet Muffins - #MuffinMonday

Yesterday a friend stopped by to pick up something. He had his 6 year old daughter with him. At the end of the visit, he asked if she could stay with me for 2 hours because he needed a nap. I was in the middle of something but figured that I could delay it for 2 hours. Plus, if I gave her a computer game to play, I could quickly finish what I was working on. Silly, silly me. 

Two hours turned into five hours (much to her delight) and we played every game available (computer games, dress-up, pretend - I'm the father, she's the mother), had some strange conversations, played with spaghetti, baked chocolate cupcakes, mixed random ingredients in mini tea cups (Milo + kidney beans + salt + sugar + flour = yummy?) and scattered Downy Unstopables in various places. Soon, I was the one who needed a nap. By the time she left, I was having trouble forming coherent sentences.

My birthday is coming  up and usually, I don't care about gifts but methinks I'm going to demand a bottle of rum as payment for my babysitting services. I'm pretty sure that I'll still be exhausted then so the rum will still be needed. 

None of that has anything to do with beet muffins or Muffin Mondays. I'd aim for a tie-in but my brain is still recuperating. Originally, I'd wanted to talk about my history with baking with beets but this is all that I can manage today. Children are exhausting! How do you do it, parents? How? My mother likes to say that she's too old to take care of children. I think I might be too old too.

As usual, scroll down for more muffins!

Beet Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

240 grams flour
100 grams light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
180 milliliters milk
80 milliliters oil
1 egg
200 grams beetroot, finely shredded


Preheat oven to 425 F and line or grease a muffin pan.

Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together milk, oil, and egg. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just incorporated - a few streaks of flour is OK. Next, fold in the shredded beets.

Divide the batter among the cups of the muffin pan.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425F and then lower the oven to 375F. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Muffin Monday

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Mocha Beet Smoothie - #CrazyIngredientChallenge

The past week had me on edge. It rained every single day starting at approximately 2 pm each day. And every single day, our street turned into a river. I'm not even slightly exaggerating. Within an hour, water would just be rushing along, cars would be stuck, and brave pedestrians would have to take their shoes off, roll their pants up, and wade through the waters. I didn't need to go through the water. I was on edge because we are in a flood prone area and have been flooded out several times. It usually starts exactly like last week. Heavy rains each day. Earth too saturated. Drains overflowing. And then the next thing you know, the water is rushing into the house. My first experience was when I was 4 years old. I remember being woken up in the middle of the night and placed on someone's back and taken to a neighbour's house. The water was actually coming in through the windows then.  

I needed to write up a post for our Bundt Bakers group last Thursday but I was just too distracted by the flooded roads to sit down and write. Plus, what if it did flood on Wednesday night? I just wouldn't have time to do what was needed on Thursday. I just couldn't get it together. The great news is - the house wasn't flooded and the rains stopped on Friday night. Two days of full sun has been amazing. Outside is still wet and the roads are still full of debris but inside is dry. I hope this is the last of the crazy weather for the year. I think this is the 4th time that we've been sitting around wondering if the water would make it inside. Not fun.

So onto Crazy Ingredient Challenge. This month we're featuring beets and coffee! I wanted to bake a cake and/or brownies so badly but having that much cake around when my self control is at its lowest, was not the best of ideas. So I went with the opposite of cake - a smoothie. I don't recognise myself either. 

The base of this smoothie is one that I often use when I'm in the mood for a smoothie - frozen banana, cocoa, and coffee. I usually add some protein powder too but didn't this time. You can make this with raw beets or you could add some roasted or steamed beets if you have that around. But that's an extra step that I didn't want to take on. 

Mocha Beet Smoothie
Yield: 1 serving

1/2 a beet (about 100 grams)
1 frozen ripe banana
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon instant coffee
dash of cinnamon
sweetener to taste (I used a little honey)


Grate the beet then add to a blender with the banana, milk, cocoa, coffee, and cinnamon. Taste and add a sweetener, if needed. Serve immediately. 

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Coffee Pull-Apart Bread - #BreadBakers

My nephew's daily cup of Milo is sweetened with condensed milk. One day his Milo tasted a bit different. Better different. Had Milo changed the formula? But then cups of coffee started tasting better too. What on earth was going on? The same ingredients were being used as before - water, Milo/Coffee, condensed milk. It took a couple weeks of great cups of Milo and coffee to figure it out. We had inadvertently picked up flavoured condensed milk at the supermarket. We didn't even know that that existed! These cans have cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla. Now, all cups of coffee and Milo are made with flavoured condensed milk. I'm not much of a hot beverage drinker but the new condensed milk has me making myself a cup now and then. 

Source: Seprod, Jamaica

The better tasting cups of coffee were my inspiration for this month's Bread Bakers. I'm the host this month and chose pull-apart breads as the theme. Be sure to scroll down to see what the other bakers made! I usually use a simple dough when I make a pull-apart loaf but this time, I decided to use a dough with tangzhong. This resulted in a dough that was silky and soft. The loaf itself seemed to rise a bit more than normal. It's a great tasting loaf and it's been hard to not eat the entire thing by myself.

Coffee Pull-Apart Bread 

Flour Paste
125 millilitres water
25 grams

Final Dough
350 grams flour 
2 teaspoons instant yeast 
All of the flour paste 
125 millilitres milk
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
25 grams sugar 
1 teaspoon salt 
28 grams butter, softened

3/4 cup light brown sugar 
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 teaspoon cinnamon 
pinch of nutmeg
2-3 tablespoons butter, softened


Flour Paste: Over medium-low heat, stir together the flour and water for the flour paste. Keep stirring until the mixture thickens and is the consistency of pudding. Remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. 

Final Dough: In a mixer bowl, combine flour and yeast. Mix together the flour paste, milk, egg, and vanilla. Add this to the flour mixture and mix until the flour is just moistened. Let rest for 15 minutes. 

Add the sugar and salt and knead using a dough hook for 5 minutes. The dough will be very sticky. Add the butter, a tablespoon at a time, and knead for another 5 minutes. The dough will become smooth.

Refrigerate overnight or set aside at room temperature to double. 

Filling: Mix together sugar, instant coffee, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

When the dough is ready, roll out to approximately 20" x 12". Spread the softened butter across the dough and then sprinkle evenly with the filling. Slice the dough into 6 strips measuring approximately 12" x 3 1/3". Stack the strips and then cut the strips into 6 pieces measuring approximately 3 1/3" x 2". 

Place these in a greased 9" x 5" loaf pan. Ensure that the for the end pieces, the filling is facing inward. 

Cover and let proof for about 30 minutes or until doubled. While the dough is proofing, preheat the oven to 350 F. 

Bake 35-45 minutes until the loaf is nicely browned. A too lightly coloured dough might mean the center isn't fully cooked. If the dough is getting dark too quickly, tent with a piece of foil. 




#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.