Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Chicken and Corn Muffins - #MuffinMonday

It's a special edition of Muffin Monday - Muffin-Wednesday-because-the-last Monday-fell-on-Christmas-Day. I think this was definitely my busiest Christmas season ever. After a marathon cooking session on Monday (I rarely cook so I am extreeeeeeemely slow in the kitchen), I was ready for bed by 7 pm. It was great to get almost 8 hours sleep and wake up on Boxing Day with very few pressing issues. And then I remembered that I hadn't made my muffins yet!

I chose ingredients that I knew would be left over from dinner - cured chicken (we don't eat ham anymore so we cure a chicken in just the same way we'd have made the ham; I miss ham!) and some corn. Truthfully, the leftover corn would come from me always holding back some corn to nibble on - even if my salad could do with more. And here's even more truth for you, I didn't even add the full amount of corn to the muffins and as I stole some to nibble again. I kinda like corn.

Chicken and Corn Muffins
Yield: 6 muffins

1 cup flour
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons oil
heaping 1/4 cup cooked chicken, diced small
heaping 1/4 cup corn

Preheat oven to 400 F and line 6 cups in a muffin tin with wrappers.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cayenne, garlic, and onion. In a separate container whisk together the egg yolk, milk, and oil. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir gently until most of the flour is moist. Next fold in the chicken and the corn.

Bake 15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne does make these a little spicy. 
  • Some cumin would have been wonderful here but I forgot to add it.
  • Cheese would have been great here too.

Muffin Monday

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Thursday, December 21, 2017

Sorrel Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

For the past week, I've been neck-deep in my least favourite Jamaican Christmas tradition - cleaning the house. I don't know whose grand idea it was to deep clean the house at Christmastime but I don't like you very much right now. I'm not being my regular whiny self either, folks. This is some serious cleaning. It's spring cleaning on steroids. EVERY SINGLE ITEM in the house is CLEANED. And while that's going on, the house might also be painted. Every curtain and drape, every single wine glass that we never use because we never drink wine, every single one of those 1 million plates that I think we need to get rid of because we don't use them ever and I don't want to wash them next year. Dear shot glass collection, you are on my hit list. And no, I do not have a dishwasher. While all the crazy cleaning is going on, Jamaicans might also be painting their homes. Why oh why do we do this to ourselves? Isn't Christmas hectic enough? I need a very long nap and a cup of sorrel with lots of rum.


Now, sorrel is definitely my favourite Christmas tradition. The plant is called Jamaica hibiscus elsewhere but if you ask for hibiscus here, you will get something quite different. You'll find it in various shades of red, with almost everyone preferring the darkest colour that you can find. The sorrel is placed in a large pot with water and lots of spices (my family uses ginger, cinnamon leaves, cloves, pimento, and orange peel), brought to a boil and then left to steep for a while. It's then sweetened and then copious amounts of rum is added. We don't add rum in my household and on more than one occasion, I have walked away from a friend's house extremely tipsy because I forgot that everyone else goes a little bit crazy with the rum. It might actually be unpatriotic to NOT add rum to your sorrel so fellow Jamaicans, don't arrest me. We just pretend to be teetotallers over here but we really aren't.

This month the Bundt Bakers are baking up Christmas Bundts and I decided to try out a sorrel bundt. It just isn't Christmas if there's no sorrel. I don't care about the fruit cake and the ham. (OK, I do care about the ham.) But the sorrel? It's a must have. The sorrel gives the little cakes a pinkish hue. I think it might have been a bit more pink if I'd made my batter a bit acidic - but that's an experiment for another time.

Thanks for hosting, Sneha! Lots of Christmassy bundts below. Keep scrolling!

Sorrel Mini Bundts

3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons oil
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sorrel (prepared or steep 1/2 cup dried sorrel in 1/2 cup hot water overnight. Drain.)
Thoroughly grease 3 one cup capacity mini Bundt pans. Preheat oven to 350F.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves.
In a separate bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until well combined and then add the oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix until thoroughly combined.
Add half the flour mixture to the butter mixture along with the sorrel. Mix until almost combined and then add the remaining flour. Mix well and then divide into prepared mini Bundt pans.

Bake 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a mini Bundt comes out clean.


#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on the BundtBakers home page.
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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Bacon and Cherry Shortbread Cookies

Tis the season for all things red and the Crazy Ingredient Challenge is celebrating accordingly with bacon and maraschino cherries.

I decided to make some mini shortbread cookies. They look unassuming and when you bite in, you get that sweet flavour that you expect from a cookie and then it hits you - little bits salty bacon. I've wanted to put bacon in dessert for a long time now. I thought I would have made some cupcakes for this challenge but settled on my nemesis - cookies.  They were quick to make (chilling time excluded) so it was a lot easier than making cupcakes.

Visit the linkup below for other bacon and maraschino cherry treats!

Bacon and Cherry Shortbread Cookies


3/4 cup butter, room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon maraschino cherry juice
2 cups flour
8 maraschino cherries, finely chopped, drained
1/4 cup cooked bacon, finely chopped

Cream butter for 1 minute and then add sugar, vanilla, and almond. Beat for another minute then add in the maraschino cherry juice. Scrape down and beat together then slowly add the flour. Mix until it just forms a dough then stir in the chopped maraschino cherries and bacon.

Chill dough for at least four hours then preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Form the dough into tablespoon sized balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes until cookies have spread only slightly and have only just started to brown.Cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing.


  • Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction
  • I used a little less cherry juice but I think I'd have preferred it with the full tablespoon so I left that in the recipe.

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Eggnog Loaf - #FoodieExtravaganza

Extravaganza is celebrating National Eggnog month. This eggnog loaf is so easy to throw together that I've made it twice in the last 3 days. It's also a great base that I can't wait to play around with some more. I'm a huge fan of cinnamon so of course, I would love to swirl some in. But for today, the focus is on nutmeg. Foodie  Now, I don't drink eggnog but I always assumed that nutmeg was the only (main) spice used. While I was trying to figure out what to make, I started reading about the history of eggnog. I was quite surprised when they mentioned cinnamon. To me it has always been the "nutmegy", milk drink. I didn't add the cinnamon though. I'm letting the nutmeg shine. Next time, cinnamon, next time.

Be sure to check out the other eggnog treats below. Happy National Eggnog Month!

Eggnog Loaf
Yield: 1 loaf; number of servings depends on how much you life cake
2 1/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 eggs
1 cup eggnog
1 cup light brown sugar 
1//2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 9" x 5" loaf pan
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, eggnog, sugar, oil, vanilla, rum extract.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until combined. It won't take long - don't overmix.
Bake 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Here are the other eggnog treats!

Eggnog Cookies by Caroline’s Cooking
Eggnog Cheesecake by Karen’s Kitchen Stories
Eggnog Banana Bread by Making Miracles
Heavenly Almond Cookies by Faith, Hope, Love & Luck Survive Despite a Whiskered Accompice
Eggnog Tasting + A Classic Recipe by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Eggnog Loaf by Passion Kneaded
Alcohol Free Eggnog by Sneha’s Recipes
Frosted Eggnog Cookies by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Cinnamon Streusel Eggnog Coffeecake by Food Lust People Love
Vegan Eggnog by Cookaholic Wife

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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.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Savoury Pumpkin Muffins - #MuffinMonday

I've been craving something sweet for over a week. I've eaten bullas (a ginger & molasses spiced cake/bread hybrid), my nephew's cookies, my own cookies, sugary popcorn, and plain sugar. Still, the need for sugar persists. That would seem like the perfect reason to make a sweet muffin for this month's Muffin Monday. But alas, my mind doesn't work that way. Apparently I can crave something sweet but still go into the kitchen and make savoury muffins. 

The muffin inspiration came from all the soup that I had over the last 2 weeks. I've mentioned before that Saturday equals soup in Jamaica. And if you're making soup, it's a cultural sin to not add pumpkin to that soup. You can leave it out of the red peas (kidney beans) soup. But chicken, beef, or corn soup needs some pumpkin. And after my umpteenth cup of soup, I decided that I needed a savoury pumpkin muffin. This means that I'm still craving something sweet. The best way to deal with this may be to give up sugar for a bit. Wean myself, I guess. But I spy some sweet muffins on this month's Muffin Monday list. Perhaps, one of them is what I need.

Savoury Pumpkin Muffins 
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/2 small onion, diced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 cup pureed pumpkin
3/4 cup water or milk
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs 


Preheat oven to 400 F. Grease a muffin tin or line with cupcake wrappers. 

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and cayenne pepper. Toss in the onions and thyme. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, water or milk, oil and eggs. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix together.  The batter is very thick so be careful not to overmix. 

Fill each muffin well almost to the top. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. Tastes great warm and at room temperature. 

Muffin Monday

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Friday, October 20, 2017

Rosemary Apple Grilled Cheese - #CIC

This month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge is n easy one. Normally, I'd try to challenge myself to come up with a new way to use an easy combination. But this month, I just did not have it in me. I went for simplicity with a grilled cheese sandwich. This is only the third grilled cheese sandwich I've ever eaten so while it's simple, it's not standard fare for me. I served this for lunch but suspect that in next couple of days, variations will show up at breakfast. Scroll down to see the other apple and rosemary combinations this month.

Rosemary Apple Grilled Cheese
Yield: 1 sandwich 

1 tablespoon butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary or 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
Extra rosemary for sprinkling
2 slices of whole grain bread
2 slices of cheese
1/4 apple, thinly sliced


Heat a pan over medium-low heat.
Mix the butter and the rosemary together.
Place a slice of cheese on a slice of bread. Sprinkle with a little rosemary, if you wish and then top with the apples, cheese and then bread.
Butter the top side of the sandwich with half of the rosemary butter. Be sure to get it all the way to the edges.
Place the sandwich in the pan with the buttered side down. Butter the other side with the remaining rosemary butter. Cook for approximately 5 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted.
Serve immediately.

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Peanut Bread - #BreadBakers

As you drive along major thoroughfares in Kingston, Jamaica, you'll find several vendors lining the streets. But late evening, when the traffic is at a standstill, the roasted peanut vendors stand out. There's the whistle from their portable ovens and the smell of freshly roasted peanuts filling the air. My mother is a nuts fanatic and would always get her peanuts from one particular vendor on Washington Boulevard. Freshly roasted peanuts are not as popular in our area so she had to get her treat before she left Kingston.

There's only one roasted peanut vendor (that I know of) in our neck of the woods. I'm actually not sure when he comes out. He's not there during the day and I'm not in the area late evenings. I usually only stop by him late at night. It's become a Saturday night ritual for a friend and me. Last Saturday night we bought 5 bags and the peanut man gave us an extra bag. Oh, the joy! And oh the arguments over whom that extra bag belonged to! I conducted the transaction so clearly, it belonged to me, right? Glad we all agree.

Freshly roasted peanuts are featured in this bread. Since we don't all have a peanut man, we'll use our toaster ovens to get us some fragrant, roasted peanuts. The bread calls for a preferment (the theme of this month's Bread Bakers) so you'll have to do some advance planning. Be sure to check out the source recipe. Steve over at Breadcetera got this from the 2005 Coupe du Monde Boulangerie winning team. It's an 84% hydration bread. Bread at that high a hydration requires some skills. I'm not there yet so I reduced it to a bit under 70%. Even if the high hydration isn't your thing, be sure to visit for his beautiful loaf that he shaped like a peanut. Also, he has great lessons on mixing and hydration over there.

Also, be sure to visit the other Bread Bakers and see how they used their preferments. Thanks for hosting, Karen!

Peanut Bread 

20 grams all purpose flour 
165 grams whole wheat flour 
1/8 teaspoon yeast 

Final Dough 
40 grams peanuts
All of the preferment 
365 grams all purpose flour 
1/2 teaspoon yeast 
2 teaspoons salt 
255 grams water 


Mix the preferment ingredients together until thoroughly combined then set aside at room temperature for 12 hours. 

Roast the peanuts in a toaster oven at 350F for 5-10 minutes or until browned and fragrant. Cool then ground. Don't turn it into peanut butter!

Combine the preferment, flour, yeast, salt, and 80% of the water. Mix until all the ingredients are incorporated and the dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl. Next, slowly, add the remaining water and then continue mixing until the water is incorporated - about 5 minutes. Finally, add the ground peanuts and mix for about 3 minutes or until they are incorporated. 

Place the dough in an oiled container to bulk ferment for 2 hours. After 30 mins, stretch and fold the dough. Repeat 30 minutes later then leave the dough for the next hour. 

After the dough has fermented, divide the dough into two pieces. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes and then shape each piece into boules. Allow the boules to proof for 45 minutes or until almost doubled. 

When the boules are almost ready, preheat the oven to 450F. Bake for 30 minutes or until each boule registers approximately 200F. Cool and enjoy. 



 #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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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Pumpkin Nut Braid - #FoodieExtravaganza

The stars finally aligned for me to participate in another Foodie Extravaganza! Over the last year (probably longer), there was always something - ingredients that I couldn't find (figs!), time disappearing, or just plain being unable to think of something. But last week I decided that I just had to participate in this month's nuts theme. It's nuts, after all. So many options. So easy. All tasty. I haven't baked bread in several months so I thought I'd use this theme to start playing with dough again. So here's a simple pumpkin nut braid.

Pumpkin Nut Braid

360 grams flour
50 grams sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 1/4 teaspoon salt
113 grams milk
57 grams water
57 grams butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla

1 1/2 cup pureed pumpkin
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
1 cup chopped nuts


Knead together all the dough ingredients to form a soft, smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky. Cover and let rise at room temperature until doubled.

While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. Mix together the pumpkin, sugar, spices, and egg yolks and then stir in the chopped nuts.

When the dough has risen, divide the dough into two and roll each half into a rectangle that is approximately 12" x  8".  Spread half of the filling in a 3-inch wide strip lengthwise down each dough rectangle. Stop within an inch of the ends.

Make 1-inch cuts along the long sides of the dough cutting from the filling out to the edge. Fold an inch of the bottom of the dough up to help contain the filling. Fold the strips at an angle across the filling overlapping the ends and alternating from side to side.

Transfer the braids to parchment-lined baking sheets and allow to proof until puffy but not quite doubled.

While the braids are proofing, preheat the oven to 350 F.

When the braids are ready, brush with the egg white mixed with a little water. Sprinkle with sugar, if desired. Place in oven and bake 35-40 minutes or until the braids are golden.

Before you add the yolks to the filling, taste and adjust spices to your liking.
Dough recipe is from King Arthur and filling is slightly adapted from Pillsbury.

See all the other nuts recipes for today's Foodie Extravaganza hosted by Caroline's Cooking:

Foodie Extravaganza
Posting day is always the first Wednesday of each month. If you are a blogger and would like to join our group and blog along with us, come join our Facebook page Foodie Extravaganza. We would love to have you! If you're a spectator looking for delicious tid-bits check out our Foodie Extravaganza Pinterest Board! Looking for our previous parties? Check them out HERE.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Pineapple Coconut Banana Muffins - #MuffinMonday

Upon realising that I'd be using pineapples for another challenge, I immediately decided that I'd use pineapples for Muffin Monday. The decision was sealed when I flipped my calendar to September and noticed that Pineapple Coconut Muffins was the recipe for September. But when I realised that Stacy was sharing pineapple muffins too, I decided to change things up a bit. The next day, a friend stopped by and picked lots of coconuts. He not only picked them, he also husked and removed the meat from the shell. That meant I didn't have to play with the machete nor throw coconuts at the wall. So now coconuts could be added to my pineapple muffins. Later that evening, I realised I had a couple very brown bananas. Well, now it's pineapple, coconut, and banana! Perfection. 

These are actually better than the plain pineapple muffins that I'd made before so thanks universe for making this happen.  The muffins are on the lighter side. The banana flavour is there, the coconut is adding some crunch while the pineapple is subtle. You could perhaps add some pineapple extract to boost the flavour. 

Pineapple Coconut Banana Muffins
Yield - 12 muffins

1 cup brown sugar (I used light brown sugar)
1/2 cup mashed banana
1/3 cup crushed pineapple, drained
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
1/2 cup oil
2 cups flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt


Line a muffin pan with wrappers or grease thoroughly. Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mash together the sugar and banana then add in the pineapple and almond extract. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and oil and then add to the banana mixture.

In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Combine the wet ingredients and the dry ingredients. Mix only until just combined.

Fill each muffin well almost full.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425F then lower oven to 350F. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean. 


Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

Muffin Monday

#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.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce

Sweet potatoes and pineapple won September's Crazy Ingredient Challenge poll. Two relatively sweet ingredients and I, the dessert queen, almost made a savoury dish. Oh the horror. I pictured sweet potato cupcakes with a pineapple frosting, piped all perfectly like a sunflower. Perfect piping? Quite a dream. So why no cupcakes? Simple reason. Jamaican sweet potatoes are a bit different from American sweet potatoes. On the outside, the skin is a reddish colour. On the inside, they are white, yellow, or orange. It's not easy to find the orange ones in my area. The water content is also different. American sweet potatoes are WET compared to ours. With that in mind, I didn't want to try them in cupcakes. I couldn't think of another dessert so I decided to go savoury


But then I remembered that there is one way that we do use sweet potatoes in dessert. And that's in a sweet potato pudding. The sweet potato is grated - a good a workout for the arm - and then combined with spices, coconut milk and a little flour. Some add rum, cornmeal, and other tubers too. Traditionally, this would be baked over coals and with coals piled on top too. "Hell at the top and hell at the bottom."

This was my second time making sweet potato pudding. The first time, I used American sweet potatoes and that pudding probably took as long as the Thanksgiving turkey to bake. Silly me forgot that the American sweet potatoes had a higher water content and did not compensate. It still tasted good though - just not as firm. If you do try with American sweet potatoes, I honestly cannot tell you how much liquid to use. I'd have to get some and try again. You can find the variety of sweet potatoes that we have here in an international supermarket. In the Cuban supermarkets in Miami, they are labelled "boniato". Other places call them to "batata" and Trudy says she finds them labelled as "Japanese sweet potatoes".

Remember to look at the other sweet potato and pineapple creations below.

Jamaican Sweet Potato Pudding with Pineapple Sauce

900 grams sweet potato
200 grams brown sugar
120 grams flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
700 ml coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon browning (optional)
1 20 ounce can pineapple pieces
2 tablespoons cornstarch
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
Maraschino cherries, chopped
splash of rum


Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" pan and line it with parchment paper.

Grate or process the sweet potatoes and set them aside. In another bowl, mix together sugar, flour, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Toss in the sweet potatoes until they are coated. Pour in the coconut milk, vanilla, and browning (if using). Stir until combined.

Bake 45 minutes or until the pudding is set.

For the pineapple sauce, drain the pineapple and reserve 3/4 cup of liquid. Whisk together the liquid with the cornstarch until well dissolved. In a small saucepan, melt the butter and then ad the sugar and cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring! Let the mixture boil for one minute and then add the pineapple pieces and cherries. Keep stirring until the fruit is warm then remove from the heat and stir in a splash or three of rum.

Serve over pudding.

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Monday, August 28, 2017

Ackee and Saltfish Muffin - #MuffinMonday

Once again, I am recreating a favourite breakfast in muffin form. Ackee and saltfish is Jamaica's national dish. The ackee is a fruit that can be toxic if eaten when unripe while saltfish typically refers to salted cod. When I wasn't in Jamaica, I could only find salted Alaskan Pollock and that worked well too. The dish isn't the most complex - you boil the ackee, prepare the saltfish (by rinsing several times and then boiling or soaking in hot water for a while) and then you sauté the two together with onion, garlic, tomatoes and any other seasonings that you fancy. Some think that the prepared dish looks a bit like scrambled eggs. I guess if you allow the ackees to break down during the cooking process, it might. I think keeping the pieces as whole as possible looks a lot more attractive. My mother won't eat it if the ackee is crushed while I have friends who won't eat it if it is not crushed. If you cook it, I will eat it, but I'd prefer it you didn't crush it.

Ackee at various stages. The closed fruit is toxic. The open one is ready to be cooked and eaten

Ackee and Saltfish. Source: Food Network

When I first thought of this muffin, I had intended on adding each component separately to the muffin batter - some ackee, some saltfish, tomatoes, onions, etc. But on the day that I was ready to make these, I needed to wait for my ackee to thaw (I had parboiled it beforehand). While waiting, it occurred to me that I had already prepared some ackee and saltfish for breakfast. Why not just use that? So now this muffin becomes a way to use up leftovers. I'll use the other ackee in a quiche, fritters, or in some future muffins. The ackee is quite mild tasting and I saw a sweet muffin that I'd like to try with it.

Be sure to visit all the other Muffin Monday bakers! Their links are below.

Ackee and Saltfish Muffins 
Yield: 12 muffins

240 grams flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
a few dashes of black pepper
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons oil
200 grams prepared ackee and saltfish


Preheat the oven to 350 F and prep your muffin pan. Use liners or grease the cups.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and black pepper. In a separate container, whisk milk, egg, and oil. If the ackee is in larger pieces, dice into small pieces.

Gently stir the milk mixture into the flour mixture. Mix until almost combined and there are still streaks of flour remaining. Fold in the ackee and saltfish.

Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

#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.

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream - #CIC

I'm late! I'm late! Sorry to my fellow Crazy Ingredient Challenge members. It's the end of the day on the 20th and I'm just typing this. It was bad planning on my part coupled with my electricity company hating me. I woke up early this morning intending on getting this done. I'd be a little late but not too late. I woke up to a message from my cousin - "There'll be no electricity today between 7:30 and 5." It was 6:41 am. Welp. That changes things. My phone wasn't charged and there were a ton of other little things that I needed to get done in 49 minutes. CIC would have to wait.

I don't know why there was a scheduled power outage - maintenance, perhaps - but I am back in the land of the living. Life without internet is rough! The lack of electricity, in general, sucks too. But one can make do during the day. No internet, however? That's no way to live. I finished a novel that I've been reading for a few months and fully intended on getting a bunch of other things done. But I napped instead.

Let's soothe our souls with cupcakes. The winning ingredients were chili powder and honey. Easy. But the easy ones always stump me. Luckily, I have people who think for me so it was JJ who suggested chili chocolate cupcakes with a honey buttercream. I'm supposed to share a cupcake with her. Uhm. Well.. Maybe if I pretended that I didn't make them then I don't have to share them? The chili powder isn't particularly strong. It's an underlying flavour. I think next time I'll skip the cinnamon so the the chili powder and cayenne can really shine. Experiment with the cayenne. I doubled the amount called for in the original recipe and I think I could definitely kick it up another notch. But someone else who is sensitive to pepper might not feel the same way.

Scroll down to see the other chili powder and honey recipes this month!

Chili Chocolate Cupcakes
(slightly adapted from Good Food; yield: 12)

115 grams of flour
60 grams cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
115 grams butter
200 grams sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
120 millilitres milk

Honey Buttercream 
300 grams butter
120 grams confectioner's sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 F and line a cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers.
Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, cinnamon, chili powder, and cayenne.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time at beat until incorporated. Beat in the vanilla. Add a third of the flour mixture and half the milk - mix until just incorporated. Add another third then the rest of the milk. Mix again until just incorporated and then mix in the remaining flour.
Scoop about a quarter cup into each cupcake wrapper. Bake 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a cupcake comes out clean.

While the cupcakes are baking, prepare the buttercream.
Beat the butter until creamy and then slowly incorporate the confectioner's sugar. Beat until well combined and then add in the honey, vanilla, and salt. If the buttercream is too stiff, add a bit of milk. If it's too thin, add in some more powdered sugar.

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Vegetable Steamed Buns - #BreadBakers

The Bread Bakers are turning off their ovens in favour of steaming this month with a steamed buns theme. It's perfect for me since I have not been able to use my oven since March 31. My stove has decided to be extra efficient and have the cooking gas last almost twice as long. Wonderful, really. It just that there isn't enough gas remaining to get the oven to the desired temperature. We can only cook on the stove top. Normally a tank of gas lasts about 7 months. This one was bought almost 13 months ago. Clearly, there's some kinda sorcery involved too.

Onto the steamed buns!

I've been obsessed with these little steamed buns for years now.  I first saw a cheeseburger filled version over on Willow Bird Baking. I didn't own a steamer so I just lusted. Three years later, baozi was the theme for Sourdough Surprises and I just had to try. Still no steamer but I rigged one with a plate. Not perfect but good enough for me. They tasted great but my shaping was horrible. It's a couple years later and my shaping is still horrible. They look good after the I've just shaped them but once they rest and then go into that steamer, they take on a shape of their own. I don't own one of those special bamboo steamers but I used a metal steamer basket that I had hanging around.

Scroll down to see what everyone else steamed this month!

Vegetable Steamed Buns
Yield: 12 buns
Dough adapted from Yi Reservation

230 grams all purpose flour
25 grams sugar
20 grams cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
120 ml water
1 1/2 cup steamed vegetables.
(I used callaloo, a Jamaican green leafy vegetable)


Whisk together flour, sugar, cornstarch, yeast, baking powder, and salt. Add the oil and then stream in the water. Knead for 10-15 minutes until you have a soft, smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky nor should it be dry. If it is sticky, sprinkle in more flour. If it feels dry, add a teaspoon of water at a time until it is soft and smooth.

Allow the dough to ferment at room temperature for 45-60 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, divide the dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll into balls and let rest for 5 minutes. Roll out each ball into a 4 inch wide circle. If the dough resists, let it rest for a bit. Each circle should be thicker in the centre.

Add approximately 2 tablespoons of filling to each circle leaving about an inch uncovered around the edges. If you're great at pleating, pleat away! If not, seal as best as you can, it will still taste great.

Place the buns on squares of parchment and let proof for 30 minutes. You may have to seal them a bit more after proofing.

Steam over high heat for 15 minutes. Do not open lid while steaming. Enjoy warm.


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all our of lovely bread by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the #BreadBakers home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

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