Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

Does anything say love more than the warmth of cinnamon and sugar?

Need I say more?

Flavoured with vanilla and nutmeg and rolled in cinnamon sugar, these donuts are the perfect fluffy antidote to a bad work day. Best of all, they take less than 30 minutes in total. In the interest of full disclosure, I made these as a vegan treat, but it's easily done non-vegan too.

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins

(from C'est La Vegan)


3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
heaped ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax mixed with 3 tbsp water OR 1 egg)
3/4 cup milk (non-dairy or dairy)
¼ cup canola oil (or melted coconut oil)
1½ tsp vanilla extract

2 tsbp earth balance (or butter)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Grease or spray a standard 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients (sugar through nutmeg). In a large bowl, stir together wet ingredients (flax egg through vanilla extract). Stir dry ingredients into wet. Spoon into muffin tin, filling each about 2/3 full. Bake for 18-21 minutes until they spring back when touched lightly.

3. Meanwhile, melt earth balance and stir together sugar and cinnamon a dish. Brush warm muffins with earth balance, then roll in cinnamon sugar mixture. Let cool on rack.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Jam Oat Bars

When I was, oh, I don't know, maybe 12 or 13, my mother had (and I believe she still does have) a Company's Coming Bars and Squares cookbook. There was one recipe in there that I love so much, that it was the first thing I knew how to make by heart - chocolate chip squares. They were so easy, I could throw them together on a week night for our lunches throughout the week.

This post isn't really about the chocolate chip squares. It IS about throwing together some bars for lunches mid-week, AFTER you've made dinner, you're exhausted and pregnant.

Expedient. That's the name of the game.

I'd like to think I've upped the health ante somewhat on your typical jam bar by using spelt flour (you could just as easily use all purpose or whole wheat) and gluten free oats. And, since all I have on my shelves is homemade jam, I used up what was left of a jar of my mother's Ginger, Pear & Crème de Cacao jam AND finally cracked into one of my jars of elderberry jam.

In the interest of honesty, let me admit that the elderberry jam scared me. When I made it, I was totally turned off by the smell. But, as it turns out, if you let the jam sit for the better part of 6 months, you're in for a decadent treat. This is up there with blackcurrant jelly in terms of rich berry flavours.

Which is a big relief, given how much effort I put into making the stuff.

Jam Oat Bars


1 3/4 cups flour (spelt, whole wheat, all purpose, or a mixture)
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
3/4 cups chilled unsalted butter (use earth balance if you want to make this vegan), cut into chunks
½ tsp vanilla extract
1½ cups GF oats
1½ cups jam


1. Preheat oven to 350º. Line a 9"x13" baking ban with parchment paper, ensuring that paper extends over the sides of pan. This will make it easy to remove the bars.

2. In a food processor, pulse together, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. Add in chilled butter and vanilla, pulsing until small granules are formed. Add in oats and pulse twice. You want some of the oats to be in small pieces and others left whole.

3. Put 3/4 of the flour-oat mixture into the baking pan, patting down to firm. Spread jam over base. If you're using two flavours of jam, spread half on one side and half on the other. Sprinkle with remaining flour-oat mixture. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until jam is bubbly.

4. Remove from oven and let cool completely in pan on a rack. Makes about 28 pieces, but you decide how much jammy goodness you need in a serving!

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Peeking out from under my rock

Alright, it's been a while.

I know.

It's just that, by the time mid-November rolled around, I found myself steadfastly avoiding the kitchen. I couldn't look at a carrot without wanting to hurl.

The smell of cooking onions? Shoot me now.

Apparently that's what happens when you get pregnant - you lose your ability to do the thing you love the most.

Now that I'm happily into the second trimester and the constant nausea is a thing of the past, I can kind of look back on that stretch of food rejection with some humour.

I mean, there was a week there when I pretty much lived off of cheese slices and jujubes.

Let me repeat that.

Cheese slices.


Those aren't even real foods. And the worst part of that week? When I went to the grocery store (and almost threw up in the dairy aisle), I walked out with 4 different processed cheese products. I haven't bought that nonsense in years. YEARS.

Babies make you crazy, I tell you.

Three weeks ago, I entered into what I'll call the "hot sauce phase". For the record, I've never liked spicy food. All of a sudden, I was licking buffalo wing sauce from the spoon.

And the pommelo Kat brought over for Chinese New Year? Totally made me gag.

So, it's a new day for my taste buds. I really don't know where they're going to bring me next.

I am back cooking now, so I hope to update here regularly again. To tide you over, here's a little something my husband wrote as our weekly menu:

Anyone know what foie gratitiude might be?

The Strawberry Oops interested me though... so I threw these together that night:

The frosting did, in fact, turn out wrong! It was supposed to be a strawberry buttercream, but I made some awkward substitutions and was headed down the path to disaster (Oops!) when I remember the whipped cream in the fridge, so it all worked out in the end.
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