Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Orange Almond Cakes


Featured Ingredient: Orange + Zulka sugar giveaway

Undeniably, North Americans eat too much sugar. According to conservative USDA estimates, Americans on average consume 22 teaspoons of “added sugars” each day, or 355 additional calories, which is more than double what is recommended by the American Heart Association. Likely us up here in Canada are not far off these numbers.

Still, there are many times when my recipes call for some sort of sweetener such as granulated sugar. When it comes to cooking with sugar, I use a two-prong approach. Firstly, I use much less than what typical baked good recipes call for. I’ve never met a muffin that actually needed 1 cup of sugar. Second, I stick with a little less guilty options such as coconut sugar and honey.

Some recipes such as these moist and fragrant flourless orange cakes adorned with vanilla scented yogurt goodness are best served with a lighter style of sugar. A good candidate is Zulka pure cane sugar. It’s non-GMO, sourced from family farms and is more flavorful than traditional white sugar. You can use as a direct 1-to-1 replacement for regular white sugar in your recipes.



















Though it seems odd, boiling whole oranges reduces the bitterness of their pith and softens the rind so you avoid bitter, chunky cakes. Since you are using the whole orange, it’s preferable to choose organic. Another benefit is you get some of the antioxidant compounds thought to reside in the orange peel.

As is the case on most Wednesday’s, it’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at Zulka would like to award one of my readers with some of their wonderful cane sugar to work with in the kitchen this holiday season.

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says “I’m sweet on Zulka” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday November 28th, so if you entered write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize.

Congrats to Julie who was randomly selected the winner of her very own Zulka cane sugar. 

Orange Almond Cakes

















2 navel oranges
5 large eggs
2/3 cup natural cane sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup plain yogurt, preferably Greek
1 tablespoon honey or cane sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Fresh mint 

Place whole unpeeled oranges in a medium sized saucepan. Cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 45 minutes. Drain water, fill with fresh water and simmer for an additional 45 minutes. Drain oranges, cut into quarters, remove any seeds, and place in a blender or food processor container. Blend into a smooth pulp. Leave to cool to room temperature.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar with electric mixer or metal whisk until fluffy and pale, about 2 minutes. Beat in the baking powder. Fold in the orange pulp, almond flour and almond extract. Divide mixture among 12 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a cakes comes out clean. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, honey and vanilla. Serve yogurt sauce over cakes and garnish with fresh mint if desired.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Microwave Wheat Germ Cakes


Featured Ingredient: Wheat Germ + Kretschmer Giveaway  


















Talk about your nutritional overachiever. What germ is a by-product of converting whole wheat into refined wheat and is highly concentrated in a number of vital nutrients including vitamin E, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium and immune-boosting zinc. Plus, it’s a surprisingly good source of protein, with about 7 grams in each quarter cup. Why the nutritional payload? Wheat germ is the center part of the wheat kernel that feeds the growing plant. You see, sometimes germs are a good thing.

Check your grocer for either fresh or toasted wheat germ, which has a nuttier flavor. I’ve found that inexpensive wheat germ makes an excellent addition to oatmeal, pancakes, and baked goods in replace of a portion of the flour. You can also toss it into smoothies, oatmeal, casseroles and stuffings for a nutrition upgrade. 

Because of its delicate oils, wheat germ can be prone to rancidity. So it is best to store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or for a longer shelf-life the freezer to maintain freshness.

A little trick I learned while researching my book Muffin Tin Chef is that you can whip up quick mini cakes in the now ubiquitous microwave using silicon muffin cups. And these cakes (slash) muffins are a perfect opportunity to work more nutritious wheat germ into your diet. Just stir together the ingredients and zap for a couple minutes. It should go without saying that you don’t want to try this with metal muffin tins. If desired, you can replace the banana with about 1/3 cup applesauce and the currants with raisins.














As is the case on most Wednesday’s, it’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at Kretschmer would like to award one of my readers with some of their wonderful wheat germ to work with in the kitchen. Kretschmer offers both toasted wheat germ and a honey crunch flavor that can gussy up any oatmeal.













To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says “Bring on the Wheat Germ” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday November 14th, so if you entered write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize.

Good News Eve. You were selected the winner randomly. Enjoy your wheat germ. 

Microwave Wheat Germ Cakes

















1/3 cup toasted wheat germ
2 tablespoons whole wheat pastry flour or flour of choice
2 tablespoons dried currants
2 tablespoons sunflower seeds
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 ripe banana, mashed
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a medium sized bowl, stir together wheat germ, flour, currants, sunflower seeds, baking powder, ginger and cinnamon. In a separate bowl, lightly beat eggs and stir in banana, molasses and vanilla. Divide mixture among 6 standard sized silicon (not metal!) muffin cups and microwave on high for 2 1/2 minutes, or until set. Let cool a few minutes before unmolding.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Almond Banana Pancakes


Featured Ingredient: Almond Flour + Bob’s Red Mill Giveaway

From previous recipe posts, you know I’m a vociferous fan of individual baked pancakes. No flipping required, reheat and eat, and so on. Even better is when you can just toss all of the batter ingredients into a blender and whirl together. If only all baking could be this simple.

In this installment of Muffin Tin Mania pancakes, I’m featuring almond flour. So essentially, these are flourless for those who are looking to avoid wheat or gluten in their baked goods. Where almond flour excels is its stellar amounts of heart-chummy monounsaturated fat, dietary fiber and vitamin E. Not surprising, it lends pancakes and other items a great nutty flavor.

The addition of banana and chocolate chips to these pancakes really make them feel like dessert for breakfast. And that is never a bad thing. Make sure to try and find chocolate chips that indicate a cocoa content of about 70% so you get more chocolate and less sugar. In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve include a pumpkin sauce that is a great side-kick. But a topping of berries and maple syrup will do the trick as well.

It’s time for another Muffin Tin Mania product giveaway. The kind folks over at Bob’s Red Mill would like to award one of my readers with some of their amazing almond flour to work with in the kitchen.














To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this blog post that says “I’m going nuts for Bob’s Red Mill” along with some way of identifying yourself such as your initials, name or email address and I will use this online tool to randomly select a winner. I’ll announce the winner next Wednesday November 7th, so if you entered, write the date down on your calendar and check back in then for a chance to claim your prize.

Congrats to the second Sarah listed in the comments section who was randomly selected as a winner of Bob's Red Mill almond flour. 

Almond Banana Pancakes with Pumpkin Sauce

















Pancakes:
3 large eggs
1/3 cup low-fat milk or non-dairy alternative
2 medium sized ripe bananas
2 cups almond flour
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Sauce:
1 cup pumpkin puree
Juice of 1/2 orange
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Place all of the pancake ingredients in a blender container and blend until smooth. Stir in chocolate chips.

Divide matter among 12 standard sized greased or paper lined muffin cups. Bake until set and lightly browned on top, about 20 minutes. Let cool several minutes before unmolding.

To make the sauce, place pumpkin, orange juice, maple syrup, cloves, and vanilla in a blender container and blend until smooth.

Serve almond pancakes warmed and topped with pumpkin sauce. I prefer to warm the pumpkin sauce in the microwave or on the stovetop.