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Archive for September, 2011

Apple Muffins

Growing up in New England, fall brought not only¬†the most beautiful foliage in the country but also tons and tons of apples! Apple picking was always a highlight of the year and was the official kick off to fall and the holidays. Moving down South suddenly not only could you go apple picking but you can go peach picking, cherry picking, blackberry picking, etc. However, apple picking will always be my favorite not only because it reminds me of home but you can pick a TON of apples and they don’t go bad as fast as some of the other fruit.

Apple muffins were always my favorite muffins growing up, but having a nut allergy most of the varieties in bakeries and stores were some sort of apple nut muffin. But that is the beauty of baking, you can put in and leave out whatever ingredients you want to and this is how I developed my apple muffins! Lacie has spent the week perfecting an AMAZING applesauce spice cupcake for a co-worker’s birthday and in honor of her applesauce cupcakes, I figured I would make my apple muffins this week in sort of a muffin and cupcake marriage ūüôā

Making them this week I realized I should combine my apple muffin with my cinnamon swirl muffins for the ultimate fall treat, but I’ll save those muffins for another week! Usually I prefer making an apple strudel muffin using a similar brown sugar and cinnamon crumb topping as those on the banana muffins, but after a week of banana muffins I left off the crumb topping this time and simply sprinkled some pure cane sugar on the top for an added treat! If you are looking for something to do with any extra apples, let us know if you want the recipe!

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Ever since I decided to do a different muffin post each week in September, Scott has been dropping not so subtle hints for his (and my) favorite muffins: banana muffins. Since this is his last week home before doing on an away rotation in Roanoke, VA I figured it would only be fair to make these while he was here to eat them! I discovered this muffin several years ago when I found a recipe for banana muffins with a cinnamon, brown sugar crumb topping online. I have always loved banana bread but once I tried these muffins… banana bread has never been the same. I don’t really have a big sweet tooth except during breakfast time. I love all sorts of heavy, buttery, sweet breakfast treats and can usually out eat most people when it comes to breakfast, so these muffins with the crumb topping is the perfect breakfast dessert! Notice: these are not for those looking for a healthy breakfast, but you can always justify it in that you have the rest of the day to work it off! ūüôā

As much as I want to take credit for this idea, I merely came across the recipe online which I am happy to share with you:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease 10 muffin cups, or line with muffin papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, 2 tablespoons flour and cinnamon. Cut in 1 tablespoon butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Sprinkle topping over muffins.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean.

This muffin is a perfect food to bring along to a brunch with friends, get well gift basket, study basket, etc. because it is a little more of a unique muffin, but is sure to impress! (For those who are looking for a healthier twist, feel free to substitute whole wheat flour and just sprinkle some cinnamon on the top of this muffin instead of the brown sugar crumble topping!)

Enjoy!!


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Per Lacie’s request, this week’s muffin is one of my family’s favorites, cinnamon swirl muffins! Growing up my mom would make us these muffins at least once a month and my brother, sister, and I each perfected how we liked to eat them. First, we would heat them up in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes, so they got nice and crispy on the top and warm and soft in the middle. Then we would eat around the outline of the muffin top, then the sides of the muffin bottom. Now, all that was left was the crispy outer layer of the top and the fluffy middle part. Finally, we would eat all of middle of the muffin so our last bites were the crispy top which tasted almost like cinnamon sugar candy at this point. I know it is silly and I am not even sure if I am explaining it eloquently, but it took me a long time to eat this muffin like a regular muffin! (Honestly, I think my 29 year old brother still eats this muffin as he did when he was 5 ūüôā ) What helps makes these muffins so moist is using yogurt in the batter. I have found over time that I really prefer using yogurt in muffin batters rather than sour cream as other muffin experts often recommend. Although this may in part be because I love the smell of yogurt and vanilla mixed together in a batter. To make these muffins, you fill each muffin cup only about 1/3rd of the way full and then sprinkle in a cinnamon sugar mixture. Then fill the remaining batter and spring the remaining cinnamon sugar mixture on the top. Finally, get a small spoon and make a full swirl in each muffin cup to blend the cinnamon and sugar throughout the batter. While making these cinnamon swirl muffins, for the first time I thought of all the things I could add to this batter: blueberries, chocolate chips, dried cranberries, etc. Interesting idea for next time! Send an email to info.whiskandwhimsy@gmail.com if you are interested in the recipe!

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I know what you’re thinking…

(in all actuality the chances that I really know what you are thinking are slim to none…if I did know what you were thinking…Wow how cool would that be??…I digress)

What’s a Lacelyn you say?

Well…picture it…Charlottesville 2011. (yes…you’re right this is another Golden Girls reference)

Jaclyn and I were talking to a fellow co-worker (lets call her Tammy to protect the innocent and save me from writing fellow co-worker a bizzillion times)¬†about you guessed it…clothes…we are usually talking about clothing or food when we aren’t talking about work…of course. ¬†This particular conversation revolved around pants…AND…if you’ve ever seen me, Jaclyn, and Tammy you would know that we are three completely different sized people. ¬†But anyway there we were talking about pants and the conversation started to go a little like this “I like the Marissa pants from the Loft” ¬†“Oh no I much prefer the Ryan pants at Banana Republic”…after this I started to zone out because this sounded a lot like a conversation I’d been having with myself (again…if i knew what you were thinking it would be “whew…this girl’s crazy”) about what to name our line of bows. ¬†So far everything I’d come up with sounded silly…fluffy, flowery, glittery, glamoury, shiny, pinky, sparkily, …kind of sounds like the seven dwarfs in drag. And pretty confusing. ¬†Nope this naming clothing after people gave me an idea…wait for it…wait for it. ¬†JACLYN!! lets name our bows after people!!!

So clearly this was a great idea. ¬†An idea to rival that of string cheese (which Scott doesn’t eat…have I mentioned how weird that is??) and sliced bread. ¬†But what would that name be…

we thought….

and we thought…

and we thought some more…

but I’m sure you already know by now what we named it…mostly because I gave you a hint in the title. ¬†You guessed it…the Lacelyn. ¬†Lacelyn was going to be the name of our store/blog before we came up with Whisk & Whimsy. ¬†But it works even better as the name for our first/signature bow. ¬†Why is this bow our signature? It just is. ¬†And if you hadn’t already figured this out…Lacelyn is a combo of both of our names. ¬†To be fair I did offer up Jackie but thankfully Jaclyn didn’t go for that one :).

So everyone say hi to Lacelyn

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Jaclyn – “Scott, unfortunately, is another one of the rare few who also doesn’t like cheese so now I don’t get to make or eat cheesecake very often. Luckily, my boss at work requested a white chocolate, raspberry cheesecake for his birthday and I jumped at the chance! This cheesecake is actually one of the easiest cheesecake recipes I have, because there are actually only a few ingredients: chocolate wafers, butter, white chocolate chips, cream cheese, eggs, half & half, vanilla, and sugar and then just cranberry juice, sugar, raspberries, and cornstarch for the sauce. But sometimes those recipes with the fewest ingredients are the best! You don’t always have to get too fancy and the combination of white chocolate, cream cheese, chocolate wafers, and raspberry is delicious!”

Lacie – “To make the cheesecake a little more special and unique, I wanted to put a picture of Ronald Reagan on it. ¬†If you know my boss at all you would know how perfect this is for him. ¬†If you don’t know him…well lets say that he has about 3 pictures of Reagan in his office (including a gigantic poster of¬†Reagan¬†in a cowboy hat) and his idea of a good pen would be one with a Ronald Reagan bobble head on it (could be he was lying to make me feel better about my pen with a bouncing flower). ¬†Ronald Reagan was not easy to get on a edible sheet of …something. ¬†I had to call 7 grocery stores before finding one that’s bakery printer was working. ¬†But for the low price of $7.00 we got a 5×7 edible image from Kroger. ¬†Jaclyn and I decided to add some blue to make it more patriotic and put a dash of the rasberry sauce. ¬†Only a dash for two reasons 1) not to drizzle it on Reagan and 2) I don’t like raspberries. ¬†Needless to say we can’t wait to see his expression when we unveil ‘Reagan The Cheesecake’. ¬†Also, can I say how beautifully awesome this cheesecake looks…my last cheesecake was all burnt around the outside and collapsed in the middle (i’m definitely a cupcake girl). ¬†P.S. – Scott is the ONLY person I’ve ever met that doesn’t like cheese. ¬†Therefore, I think it is my duty to double my consumption to make up for Scott’s lack of…it’s a duty I bear gracefully”

If anyone is interested in a unique, special occasion cake, feel free to email us at info.whiskandwhimsy@gmail.com!

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I’m not sure about you, but I personally think September is the perfect month to try a bunch of different types of muffins. It is the perfect time of year where summer fruit may not be as plentiful as before but still around (or maybe you froze and saved some from earlier in the summer) and fall fruit is just starting to ripen. In other words, there are endless possibilities for muffins: blueberry, apple, banana, strawberry, cranberry, pumpkin, chocolate chip, cinnamon, etc. So I figured I would take the chance to try a different muffin recipe each week in September. (Alright…truthfully…this idea came about because a co-worker at work asked for muffins for her going away party and since Lacie is in charge of office parties, she commissioned me into making these muffins since I have always been more of a muffin girl and Lacie is more of a cupcake girl.)¬†In any case, I LOVE muffins so I am super excited for making all sorts of muffins! I have a couple of muffin recipes perfected but they are the more out of the ordinary ones…banana crumb, apple cinnamon, cinnamon swirl, etc. and I have never perfected the typical blueberry or chocolate chip muffins which are the two kinds that were requested by my co-worker (of course!). First up… blueberry muffins!

The three major problems I have found with blueberry muffins are: blueberries sinking to the bottom, muffins turning blue, and soggy muffins. To combat the first problem, I took a page out of Lacie’s recipe book and substituted buttermilk for milk. I think this makes the batter just a little bit thicker (especially for me since I only ever have skim milk on hand), and having a thicker batter allows the blueberries to stay suspended within the muffin. To prevent muffin batter from turning blue, it is just important to use fresh blueberries rather than frozen ones. Whenever I have used frozen blueberries in the past, for whatever reason the entire batter turns blue (which is pretty in a way!). Finally, soggy blueberry muffins are a major bummer, and you have to remember that it is very important to wash fresh blueberries, but you need to pat them dry fully. DO NOT PUT WET BLUEBERRIES IN YOUR BATTER. If you do, these inevitably will ruin the dry to wet ingredient proportions.

Keeping these tips in mind, I think you will be ecstatic with how your blueberry muffins turn out! I loved these below! One final hint, try mixing some cinnamon and sugar together to sprinkle on the top! It’s delicious!! ūüôā

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