Mother’s Day

Emma here. I thought I would share a few tidbits about this past weekend, mother’s day, and several cooking adventures. It began Saturday morning with a whining puppy. I didn’t want her to wake up the whole household, so I got out of bed, pitter-pattered into my parent’s room, took her out of the crate and into the backyard, the grass already sparkling in sunshine. It was then that I decided it was a good morning for blueberry muffins. As quietly as I could (not very), I grabbed ingredients, bowls, and measuring cups, and I whirlwind of flour, sugar, blueberries, and sour cream ensued. These muffins are delicious, but let me warn you – they are addicting. It took my father a matter of minutes to consume four of them. Yikes. That is a lot of muffins.

Blueberry Muffins

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Makes 12 standard muffins

2.5 tablespoons unsalted butter , softened, plus 2.5 tablespoons coconut oil (You can use butter or coconut oil for all 5 tbsp, I split half and half and the texture was just right.)
1/2 cup (3 1/2 ounces or 100 grams) sugar
1 large egg
3/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups (6 3/4 ounces or 191 grams) all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon (7 grams or 1/4 ounce) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon (1 gram) baking soda
1/4 teaspoon (2 grams) salt
3/4 cup (3 3/4 ounces or 105 grams) blueberries, fresh or frozen (if frozen, don’t bother defrosting)

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a muffin tin with 12 paper liners or spray each cup with a nonstick spray. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well, then sour cream and zest. Mix together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Gently fold in the blueberries. The dough will be quite thick, closer to a cookie dough. Bake for 22 minutes, until tops are golden and a tester inserted into the center of muffins comes out clean.

*Note: These freeze great! I had taken one out of the freezer yesterday morning, and by the time I got back from my AP Government test (thank goodness, it was the last AP test I will ever have to take) the defrosted muffin was perfect with a cup of coffee!

After a beautiful mid morning surf session on Saturday, I returned home to fully sprouted quinoa and buckwheat draining in glass jars over the kitchen sink. My attempt at sprouting grains which had begun the night before was now complete! I turned the oven on to a low 115 degrees, spread out the sprouts onto two baking sheets, and added soaked dried blueberries and pumpkin seeds in addition to agave syrup and coconut. Fast forward six hours later, and I had crunchy, raw, sprouted granola!

This granola is just as addicting as the blueberry muffins, but hopefully a slightly healthier addiction. I have had it three days in a row for breakfast, once with Straus yogurt, then with slightly warmed homemade cashew milk, and this morning on top of an acai bowl made in my mom’s new Vitamix blender (her mother’s day gift from the dog). Look for the recipe in an upcoming post!

The last cooking (more like baking) adventure of the weekend occurred spontaneously on Sunday afternoon after a Mother’s Day brunch. I was left to entertain my sister and seven-year-old cousin and was brainstorming things to do. I asked them what they wanted to do, and my cousin piped up that he wanted to bake something, and his favorite cookies were ginger. What better way to pass some time, then, than to whip up a batch of those ginger molasses cookies I made a few months ago? I had two great little helpers all the way through the baking process, but unfortunately lost their attention a little while later to Mario Kart Wii. Oh well, short attention spans yield more cookie dough for me I guess. I am telling you, I am really surprised I haven’t come down with a severe case of Salmonella yet.

Ginger-Molasses Cookies

I volunteer for school community service hours at Habitat for Humanity on Saturdays. The house Habitat is currently building in my area is all the way out in Oxnard, twenty minutes from my house. My grandparents, however, live nearby, so I normally stop by their house for a quick panini sandwich and a cup of tea on my lunch break. I decided to bring over some cookies with me for them this Saturday and called to ask which kind they would prefer.

My grandma, unfortunately, gave up chocolate for lent. My goodness, that eliminates all of my favorite cookies: chocolate chip cookies of course, oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, ghiradelli double chocolate cookies, french chocolate sables, even my uber-healthy yoga cookies (dark chocolate supplies a lot of iron, you know). I had no idea what I was going to make, when the suddenly brilliant beyond brilliant idea of making ginger cookies popped into my head. Because I love to experiment, I decided to bake from a recipe that I cut out from a Bon Appetit Magazine months ago.

Before I had time to put batch in the oven, I had to go babysit. Nonetheless, I got a text message from my father an hour or two later: “These are reallllllllly good cookies”. Sure enough, when I got home I had a delightful bedtime snack of ginger cookies with a glass of milk. These cookies truly melt in your mouth. They are soft, slightly chewy, and got a great rise on them. Mmmmmm. I think I just might need one more.

Ginger-Molasses Cookies (adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine)

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 1/2 tsp ground ginger

1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

3/4 cup brown sugar (I didn’t have brown sugar and added 2 tbsp molasses to 3/4 cup white sugar)

1 cup butter

1 large egg

1/4 to 1/2 cup of molasses

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 cup turbinado sugar (for coating dough)

Pre heat oven to 360 degrees.  Whisk all the dry ingredients and set aside.  You may mix your ginger- with either crystallized ginger and ground ginger as an option.  Blend the butter and the sugar, and then add the egg, vanilla and molasses. Place the raw turbinado sugar in a bowl.  Use a generous tablespoon of dough, roll into ball, roll into the sugar and place onto a baking sheet.  (I use a silpat for cooking). Bake for 10 minutes.  (This is Susie….Emma likes a glass of milk with her cookie, but you can’t beat a hot cup of coffee with cream, in my humble opinion.  It’s a great morning wake up.)