These muffins make kids (and grown-ups) happy.
We’ve become enamoured of these muffins in our house over the last 6 months. I have been wrapping the muffins individually in plastic wrap and freezing them in gallon bags. Every time someone wants a muffin they just pop one out of the freezer and thaw it quickly in the microwave. The chocolate gets a little melty and it’s like they’re just coming out of the oven.
So I’ve come out of my long, lazy hiatus to share this recipe with you. I found the original recipe for these on the Pass The Sushi blog. I’ve made some changes, but one of the first things that drew me to the recipe was the use of coconut oil. Apparently this stuff is really good for you. A friend of mine gave me a gallon some time ago, and I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with it, so whenever a recipe calls for coconut oil I’m likely to want to try it. That and I LOVE coconut. Now I’m starting to want to hoard my coconut oil so I can keep making these muffins. The combination of butter and coconut oil, chocolate and banana is a winning one! The coconut flavor in the muffins is subtle, so I like to highlight it with some grated coconut toasted onto the top of the muffin.
Fill them right up to the top and pile on the coconut.
They bake up just beautifully!
Banana Coconut Chocolate Chip Muffins
- 4 large ripe bananas, peeled
- 1 stick cu unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 1/4 – 1/1/2 cups brown sugar (depending on sweet you like it)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup milk
- 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cup white whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts
- 2 cups chocolate chips (you can throw in some more if you like them super-cholatey)
- sweetened coconut for topping
Preheat the oven to 375°. Line 2 muffins tins (24 muffins) with muffin/cupcake liners or grease tins.
Put the bananas in a large, microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Add the butter and coconut oil and microwave 20 seconds at a time until the butter is softened but not melted.
Using a potato masher, mash the bananas, butter, and oil together until there isn’t a lot of lumpiness left. Thoroughly stir in the sugar, beaten egg, milk, vanilla extract, and salt in the bowl with the mashed bananas.
In another bowl, mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda.
Fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Stop when they are just moistened. Fold the walnuts and chocolate chips in gently.
Distribute the batter into the tins. Top generously with shredded coconut. Bake about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out dry.
I’ve been thinking a lot about cookbooks aimed at kids lately. My 3 kids have been cooking a lot, and I have an extensive collection of cookbooks here at home. My kids cook out of grown-up cookbooks a lot, which I think is good. I have hated every “kids” cookbook my kids have ever gotten their hands on. They’re all full of gimmicky recipes for mediocre food. I am not going to sculpt ghosts out of my kids mashed potatoes so that they’ll eat them. I’m not going to cut letters out of raw sweet potatoes and then roast them (after having thrown away all the non-letter bits). A broccoli floret is not a tree – I don’t get why it would be more appealing it you pretend it is. I guess what I’m trying to say is the majority of these cookbooks focus on presentation and really lack on quality of food, and ease of preparation. So I’ve decided to look around at what’s out there and let my kids take a whack at them. I’ll let you know what we find, what we like and what we hate.
The First Review is Baking Kids Love, which is published by Sur La Table – a cook’s nirvana of a store. One just opened up around the corner from my house and I am both thrilled and frightened at the possibilities.
This is an attractive cookbook, with nice photos of appealing food. Most recipes have one picture of kids cooking the recipe. There is an ingredient list and a tools list on the side, then clear, numbered, step-by-step directions. There are also tips on some recipes . The Secret Ingredient cookies included a tip that the dough could be portioned out and frozen for later use – which my daughter did and loved. The book has inspired my kids to try the recipes with no prompting from me – but then it’s a baking book full of cookies, cakes and pies.
The recipes we have tried include: Secret Ingredient Cookies, Peanut Butter Cookies, Banana Cake, Popovers, Oatmeal Cookies, Freeform Apple Tarte.
All of these recipes were easy enough for a kid to make and yielded delicious results. The Secret Ingredient cookies might be a bit of a challenge without an extra large mixer – the book suggests mixing by hand, which would be a challenge, but do-able. The Peanut Butter Cookie recipe can be made in a Kitchen Aid. My 8 and 5 year olds needed no assistance with the recipes. I wouldn’t say this is much different than an adult’s cookbook: good recipes clearly explained with good pictures. I’d definitely use it myself.
These delicious little muffins are, indeed, reminiscent of pecan pie. They’re sweet and wouldn’t say no to a scoop of ice cream and a dessert presentation, although my kids ate them for breakfast. Apparently my sugar standards have fallen way below what they used to be when I just had one child who only ate whole grains and little processed sugar – oh well – I’m o.k. with that.
I made the original recipe which I found on the tasty kitchen blog, but found them a little too greasy and sweet. So when Luca woke up the next morning and was flabbergasted that his father had polished off the last one, I allowed him to make them with some modifications. We liked this version better. This is a very easy muffin to make, with only 6 ingredients and no mixer needed. Totally easy enough for a 5 year old to make all by himself!
Pecan Pie Muffins
1 cup chopped pecans
1 stick butter softened/partially melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Preheat the oven to 350, and grease and flour (or use baker’s joy) 8 standard muffin cups.
Put the pecans, brown sugar, flour and salt into a bowl. Mix with a wooden spoon (or your kid’s hands). In another bowl mix together the butter and egg, then mix that into the dry ingredients. Scoop into the muffin cups, they should be about 2/3 of the way full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool for 2 minutes or so then remove and eat.
This nice and hearty vegetarian chili is not only delicious, it is also nutrient dense. Packed with quinoa, red beans peppers and spices this is a great comforting winter’s meal. Cook it in one pot and if you double the recipe enjoy it for lunch throughout the week. I like to serve it with my cornbread, and garnish with cheese, sour cream and avocado chunks.
This recipe is adapted from the book Feeding the Whole Family by Cynthia Lair, a great little cookbook with a few family favorites in it.
Red Bean and Quinoa Chili
1 can dark red kidney beans, rinsed
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
1 teaspoon or to taste kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
1/8th teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon chili powder (not spicy – I use McCormick’s dark)
2/3 cup quinoa rinsed in warm water and drained (red or white)
1 – 2 cups tomato sauce
1 – 2 cups frozen corn –thawed in theory
1 cup water
heat the oil in a skillet on medium heat. Add onion, pepper, salt, garlic, and spices, sautee 5-10 minutes. Add rinsed quinoa and stir in. Add corn, tomato sauce, and water to onion/quinoa mixture. Simmer together 20 minutes. Add cooked beans to other ingrediens; simmer for another 10 minutes. Top each bowl with a sprinkle of grated cheese, a dollop of sour cream and some avocado if you have it.
Lately my kids have been really into cooking. Like so into cooking that I feel like I never get to cook anything anymore. Because of this Santa brought them some cookbooks. They got Baking Kids Love (which I notice is on sale here for $8.00 – hmm. . .) by Sur La Table, and also the Spatulatta cookbook. Today Niamh pulled hers out and whipped up a giant batch of giant cookies. Actually the batch was so giant I’m not really sure how you’d do this without a Bosch Universal mixer. . . but maybe you could do it by hand like the book says – I’m pretty sure it’s too big for a Kitchen Aid. This is one of the few cookie recipes I’ve seen that actually makes the promised number of cookies – it makes over 25 huge – like saucer sized – chocolate chip cookies.
The secret ingredient in these cookies is cornflakes, which she put into a bag and had the tactile pleasure of crushing. The cookies seem to be chewy and crunchy and the kids are really delighted with them. We also put some pre-measured dough balls in the freezer so they can make some fresh cookies at a later date, I think they’ll enjoy that – and frankly 25 cookies this size is waaay too much to have in the house.
Secret Ingredient Chocolate Chip Cookies
from Baking Kids Love
1 cup butter, softened
1 tablespoon vanilla
4 large eggs at room temperature (put them in a bowl of hot water for 5 minutes)
1 cup canola or corn oil
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
2 cups tightly packed light brown sugar
2 1/2 cups quick oats
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 1/2 cups Kellogs Corn Flakes
12 ounces chocolate chips – recipe calls for mini – but we only have regular
You’ll need 2 bowls – one BIG – or a large mixer.
Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.
Mix the butter, eggs and vanilla in the smaller bowl. Add the oil until well –combined. Ours looked like a failed mess at this point.
Put the flour, sugar, brown sugar, oats, salt, and baking soda in the other large bowl and whisk until blended (Niamh had to mix it with her hands because it was too much for the bowl) Add the wet to the dry (or the other way around) and mix well. You’ll probably need to use your hands.
Put the cornflakes in a ziplock bag and crush them with your hands – don’t use a food processor, you don’t’ want flour – you want tiny pieces.
Mix the corn flakes and chocolate chips into the dough.
Use an ice cream scoop to put 3Tbsp sized balls onto a parchment or silpat lined sheet – only bake 5 at a time and stagger them, because they spread a lot while cooking. Bake for 8-10 minutes.
Cool on the racks for 7 minutes at least, then transfer to racks.
We joined Beantown Baker’s Operation Baking Gal’s team this month. Then I dropped the ball and left my 8 year old to pick it up. She did a great job!
Operation Baking Gals is a group of people who bake cookies and send them to servicemen and women who are deployed. A nice care package to show our appreciation. It’s hard to leave your family and friends for such a long time, and whether or not we support the war I think we should all support the troops. This organization offers a nice and personal way to do that, and my kids were all over it.
Niamh instantly set about baking her now famous mint cookies for our soldier, whose name is Ryan.
She also decided to give him the enormous amount of halloween candy she had left, her brothers kicked in generously to that. We’re hoping that Ryan will enjoy the cookies and candy and that we can brighten his day a little.
This is what our box looks like right before we sent it: Did you know that putting apple peels in the paper towels in the box is recommended? Not sure why – I’m assuming it has something to do with preserving the cookies. . .
If you’d like to join Operation Baking Gals you can click on the link above and help spread the cheer.
Today I spent 2 hours stalking my oldest child who was selling Boy Scout Popcorn. It looked like this: clean cut boy scout approaches house and politely sells popcorn, bored mother sits in giant green mini-van, all alone – inching along from house to house trying not to look like a psycho. While I was out of the house magical things were happening in my kitchen.
I had picked up a bag of Andes mint chips in my “deer – in – the- headlights” trip to the brand new Target near my house. (Does anyone else find that place over stimulating?) My 8 year old promptly whipped up a batch of cookies with them while I was out. They are so, so good. Well, you can probably guess how good if I was actually prompted to blog about it…
She adapted the recipe herself, by taking the recipe for Chewy Brownie Chip Drops from A Baker’s Field Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies and omitting the nuts and chocolate chips and putting in the Andes chips instead. They’re moist, chewy, minty and delicious, and if you like chocolate and mint I recommend tracking down these chips and making them right away.
I know those fingernails are a little dirty, let’s call it chocolate – he’s a real boy, not a model:)
Chocolate Mint Cookies
2 1/4 cups flour
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (kosher)
3 sticks butter
1 cup sugar (I got a cell phone message asking me what “gran-u-laated sugar” was. . . )
2/3 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
1 cup Andes Chips
1) Preheat oven to 350 and line 2 cookie sheets with parchment or silpat.
2) Sift flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt together in a bowl.
3)In the bowl of an electric mixer beat the butter until creamy, about 2 minutes. Add the sugars and beat 3 more minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Add the flour in thirds and beat just until blended. Stir in the Andes chips.
4) Bake until firmed up around the edges, but still soft in the center, about 10 minutes. Cool completely.
This is the only tofu recipe I have been able to cook for the last few months. I have other great tofu recipes, but I am stuck on this one. It’s so good. So good. So good. I make 2 pounds for our family of 5 and there is none left. Let me say the kids will only eat tofu when it is irresistible – there aren’t a whole lot of tofu recipes that make it irresistible to children – this is one of them.
I found this recipe on a great blog called Eat Me Delicious, she has so many delicious looking tofu recipes on there. . . unfortunately I cannot get past this one. I find the food she posts really appealing and tasty, as well as healthy – a great find in a blog in my book. Apparently the recipe originated in the Garden of Vegan. . . which is a cookbook, not a place.
This tofu is also a really quick supper using all pantry ingredients. So when you’re thinking to yourself, ‘ugh, it’s six o’clock and I have no plans for dinner. . . ‘ this is where you want to go from there.
This giant wok can easily handle 2 pounds of tofu,
an excellent impulse buy – I love it.
This is the deliciously caramelized result.
from The Garden of Vegan where it appears under the guise of Matthew’s Delicious Tofu via the Eat Me Delicious Blog
5 servings (with rice and vegetables on the side – we like steamed broccoli)
2 lbs medium firm tofu, chopped
4 tbsp peanut or olive oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp dried chili, or 2 tsp Asian chili sauce (sriracha or garlic chili sauce is what I use)
1/4cup maple syrup
1/4 cup soy sauce or Braggs
1 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup dry roasted almonds, chopped (garnish)
In a medium saucepan on medium-high heat, sautée the tofu in oil until browned (I use a big non-stick wok, which works perfectly). Reduce heat to medium-low and add the garlic, ginger, and chili. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the maple syrup, Braggs (or soy sauce), and lemon juice. Cover and cook until the liquid has evaporated and the tofu is looking caramelized and delicious. Garnish with almonds. If you don’t have dry roasted almonds just use raw, but throw them in during the sautée part so that they brown a little. I usually serve it with rice and steamed broccoli.
A while ago I was watching some British cooking show and they visited this fantastic farmer’s market stand with amazing looking tarts and savory baked goods. Of course I had to google them, and then pick up their cookbook. I finally tried one of their tarts, it was different in a very nice way. The tart used a creamy base of Greek yogurt and cheddar cheese as a bed for roasted vegetables – no eggs! The pastry was flaky and delicious, and while it was easy to make – just throw everything in the food processor, it was not easy to roll, so I just patted it into my tart pan. The recommended dough for this tart in the book was a yeasted “pizza dough” with an egg in it, I didn’t have time for a rise so I just used the flaky pie dough. Since the vegetables rest on the creamy filling the tart doesn’t make for the prettiest slices. . . but I thought it looked great when it was uncut, and it tasted really good. I’ll definitely make it again.
Eggplant, Bell Pepper, and Tomato Tart – adapted from: popina book of baking.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
6 1/2 Tablespoons chilled, cubed butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cold water
Throw all of it in a food processor and blitz unntil it forms moist crumbs. Take the top off and press it in your palm, it should hold together. Dump it out on the counter and form a ball – try to roll it out. Or just dump the crumbs in your pie plate and pat them down. In the book she says to “blitz until it forms a ball of dough.” That wasn’t happening for me, and I didn’t want to overmix, the dough worked out perfectly when I made it as I stated. Throw this in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so.
1 medium eggplant chopped into 1/2” cubes
1 large bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1 large onion thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons olive oil
ground black pepper
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes halved
1 tablespoon freshly chopped parsley
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup greek yogurt
Preheat oven to 350.
Put the eggplant, peppers and onions in a non-stick roasting pan, drizzle with oil and season well with salt and pepper. Cover the pan with aluminum foil (oops, I missed this) Bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes or until just soft (mine took much longer with the open pan). Drain any excess juice from the roasted vegetables.
Reduce heat to 325.
Stir the tomatoes parsley, and half the cheese into the roasted vegetables and set aside.
In a separate bowl, mix together the yogurt and remaining cheese – I threw in a spoonful of pesto because I had some. . . spread it on the bottom of the pie crust.
Scatter the roasted vegetables over the yogurt and bake for 30 minutes.
This is the work of my 11 year old food stylist. . . and gardener actually – he grew the peppers and tomatoes.
O.K. maybe I’m on a bit of a waffle binge, but these are so good I had to share.
This recipe was inspired by a Marion Cunigham recipe. . . as a matter of fact, one of the only things I changed is that I use whole wheat instead of all purpose flour. When you have an overnight soak on any batter it is usually safe to use whole wheat (100% is usually fine). The overnight soak lets the bran soften and the whole wheat will generally then behave like white flour. I do use freshly ground whole wheat, which tastes very fresh, but seriously these taste just like white flour waffles to me. . .
These are very flavorful waffles. Much more savory than my Last Minute Waffles. The overnight rise lets them develop delicious flavor. There is about 5-7 minutes of work in preparing these waffles the night before, and about 30 seconds of mixing the morning you’re serving them, then you have to cook them, so that all depends on the size of your waffle maker – but this is not a labor intensive recipe. You just have to remember you’re going to want them in the morning the night before. . .
Whole Grain Overnight Waffles
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
2 c. warmed milk
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted
1 tsp. salt (kosher)
1 tsp. sugar
2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp. baking soda
In a large bowl (very large – the biggest one you have) Add the water, yeast, milk, butter, salt, sugar, and flour until blended. Everything except the baking soda and eggs. Beat until well blended. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature overnight.
Just before cooking beat in the eggs and add the baking soda. The batter will be pretty thin. Cook about 3 minutes for each waffle.