Entries in Baking (7)


Morning Glory Muffins

There have been so many preparations on my plate for baby and making it through the holiday season with my sanity intact, that the new year seemed to show up rather quickly for me. I am not one to make resolutions but after a season full of indulgences, finding ways to incorporate healthier food options back in to my diet is one thing I always try to do when the new year begins. 

Mr. Ramon and I are taking a fantastic birth class series through Northwest Natural Childbirth . One of the things we talk about each week is nutrition. We each bring a snack to class based on a food group. This week we had to bring a snack that had eggs in the ingredients. As a baker I knew I wanted to bring a baked good that would be healthy and have the featured ingredient in it. 

I decided to work out a recipe for a really healthy muffin full of dried fruit, whole wheat flour and nuts. When I was working for Starbucks back in the day, there was an amazing muffin called the Morning Glory. It was full of nuts, raisins, carrots and topped with brown sugar. I loved that muffin and tried to pretend that it was actually healthy. 

The recipe here is less sweet and contains no oils or fats in the recipe. In their place I used a mixture of yogurt and mashed ripe banana. I chose a hearty variety of dried fruits - pineapple, dates and golden raisins. Wheat germ, flaxseed meal and oats added a hearty feel and a health benefit. Overall these were dense but quite moist with great flavor from the fruit and nuts. I served them with a low sugar blackberry jam. Yum.

Morning Glory Muffins

Makes 18

1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tablespoon wheat germ
3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain fat free greek yogurt
1 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2)
1 egg lightly beaten
1 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup golden raisins
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dried pineapple
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place 18 muffin cups liners in muffin cups
  3. Combine flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl; blend together
  4. Make a well in center of mixture 
  5. Combine yogurt, banana, and egg; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist 
  6. Fold in dates, walnuts, raisins and pineapple 
  7. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups 
  8. Top each muffin with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds 
  9. Bake 17- 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center
  10. Remove muffins from pans immediately and cool on a wire rack 
  11. Once completely cool store in an airtight container for 3 days or freeze 



Lebkuchen Bars

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and all I want to do is bake. The holiday season is my favorite time to be in the kitchen. I love the tastes of fall - pears, pumpkin, citrus and cranberries. The spices so rich - nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and clove. With that in mind I thought I would begin baking some of my favorite holiday treats. 

Lebkuchen Bars are a a spicy gingerbread type bar hailing from Germany. They are a traditional Christmastime treat and would be delightful with a cup of tea after a cold day outside. Some recipes call for almonds, candied citrus peels or ginger. 

These bars are great the day they are made but only get better over the next couple of days - if they last that long!

Lebkuchen Bars

4 tablespoons butter

4 tablespoons vegetable shortening

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspon cardamon

3/4 teaspoon ginger 

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup molasses

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest 


1 tablespoon  lemon juice

1 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

3 tablespoons whole milk

Preheat oven to 325. Set oven rack to lower middle. Prepare a 13x9 pan by lining it with foil or parchment and greasing it. 

Melt butter and shortening together and let cool slightly. 

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, cardamom, ginger and salt together in a small bowl. 

In a large bowl, whisk granulated sugar, molasses, eggs and lemon zest loather, then whisk in cooled butter until combined. Stir in the flour mixture until just combined. 

Spread batter into prepared pan and smooth top. 

Bake 35-45 minutes - rotating pan halfway through baking. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean. 

Let bars cool completely in pan on wire rack - about 2 hours. Lift bars out with parchment/foil overhang. Cut into 24 pieces. 

Whisk the Glaze ingredients in a small bowl and spread evenly over each bar. Let glaze set for 30 minutes before serving. 

Store in airtight container for 3 days. 


Dreaming of spring!

While it is still technically winter we are starting to get glimpses of spring here in the Pacific North West. Bulbs are sprouting and the first daffodils are open with their happy yellow faces teasing the rain. A day here and there of brilliant sunshine. These days get me so excited for starting the garden. This last weekend we carved out a small bed against the fence of our garden and put in Sugar Peas and Snap Peas. I loved working out in the garden, digging in the dirt again.

Today it rains again so I took some time to start planning our garden. Drawing out the beds and pouring over the Maritime Northwest Garden Guide to plan when to put in each plant. Day-dreaming of lettuce, tomatoes, squash and the like. Looking through our carrot seeds spurred me to bake today. I had an abundance of carrots in the refrigerator and with every store filled full of Easter candy and stuffed bunnies holding carrots it just seemed appropriate to make some Carrot Ginger Bread. 

I love quick breads. They are just that quick. The outcome feels like you worked harder than you did and they are all so yummy. This one is filled with fresh grated carrots and several types of ginger for a spicy punch. Top it off with a ginger cream cheese frosting.

Carrot Ginger Quick Bread

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup packed dark-brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup packed finely grated carrots (from about 2 carrots)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and dry spices.

In your electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and 1 teaspoon vanilla, ginger and carrots.
With mixer on low, gradually add flour mixture; mix just until combined.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.
Let cool in pan 5 minutes.
Turn cake out onto a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh finely grated ginger
  • 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
Beat all ingredients until fluffy. 
Frost top of cooled cake.

Raspberry Jam Bars

I love bar cookies. They are the simple no fuss cousins of regular cookies. Mix, dump in pan and bake. So easy. I was so excited to find myself with 2 flats of raspberries last week. I almost never indulge in reaspberries - the short growng season makes them a little too pricey for my budget. But this year our longer than usual sunny streak meant that I got a great deal on these little gems. 

I knew that jam would be in my near future. I followed the same reciped I used for my Strawberry Jam just substituting these berries. It turned out so great - sweet and the color of rubies. I had some left that would not quite fill a jar so I decided to make a batch of Jam Bars. You can use any jam on hand - I love them with apricot also. 

These are really easy to prepare and have a great butttery crust that pairs well with the sweet jam center. These are sure to disappear quickly. 

Raspberry Jam Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cups oats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts chopped finely
  • 12 tablespoons butter cool room temperature cut into pieces
  • 1 cup raspberry jam

Adjust the oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with foil allowing edges to hang over for easy removal. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray. 

In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix flour through nuts on low speed until combined, about 30 seconds. With machine on low, add the butter and mix until fully combined - about 2 minutes. 

Press 2/3 of the crust into the bottom of the pan with your hand until even. Bake for about 20 minutes until crust is brown. Take out of the oven and spread the jam over the warm crust with the back of a spoon. Take remainder of crust and sprinkle it over the jam. Place back in oven and bake for about 30 minutes and golden brown. 

Cool on a wire rack before removing from pan. Cut 1/4 inch of edge off on each side for a neater presentation. Then cut into squares. 


7 Layer Bars

There are a few items in the bakery category that are sure to give you a cavity upon consumption. These 7 Layer Bars are one of them. Using bittersweet chocolate and natural unsweetened cocoonut in place of semi-sweet chocolate and sweetened flake coconut makes my version a a little more grown up and a little less 3rd grade. These are really easy to make and you are sure to make some new friends with these gooey bars.

 7 Layer Bars

  • 1 cup natural unsweeteded coconut
  • 1 stick of butter melted 
  • 9 graham crackers crushed
  • 1 cup walnuts chopped fine
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips 
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and place your rack in the lower middle. 

Spray a 13x9 inch pan with cooking spray then line pan with foil or parchment leaving an overhang on all sides. Spray the foil/parchment with cooking spray. 

Spread your coconut on a baking sheet and toast in oven until it just started to turn light brown. About 8 minutes. Let cool.

Pour your melted butter into the bottom of the 13x9 pan then sprinkle your graham cracker crumbs over it. Toss the crumbs lightly in the butter until they are all coated. 

Sprinkle the next items over the graham cracker mixture:

  • walnuts
  • chocolate chips
  • white chocolate chips
  • butterscotch chips
  • coconut 

Pour the sweetened condensed milk evenly across the entire pan. 

Bake for 25 minutes and top is golden brown. 

Cool on rack for 2 hours then remove from pan using parchment/foil overhang and cut into bars using a sharp knife.