More Than Muffins

Posted on: Friday, May 31, 2019

Now that Zoe and “Muffin Man” Conor are one year olds, their tastes in foods and textures grow by the day. Every Sunday, I find myself baking a big batch of my go-to muffins that are tasty, easy to nosh on and filled with nutrients for the little ones.
On Co and Zo’s first birthday, I transformed the beloved muffins into a “smash cake” with a quick cream cheese frosting for the two to dive into after singing “Happy Birthday” three times (a tradition in our family). At first, they didn’t know the cake was edible and stared at the spectacle.
Once they put their hands in, they found the familiar-tasting muffin underneath! They loved putting their hands in, Zoe led the way massaging the frosting with her palms then putting finger-fulls in her mouth with Conor soon following with big fist-fulls of cake.
These muffins are portable, freeze fantastically and are super versatile with various add-ins like Zoe’s favorite, blueberries, Conor’s favorite, strawberries or the recent addition of grated zucchini. Patrick and I find ourselves chowing down on them too for a pick-me-up!
More than Muffins

1 c flour (we use all-purpose, but could use whole wheat)
1/2 c oats
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 t cinnamon
2 large eggs
2 bananas, mashed (the riper the better!)
1/4 c vegetable or melted unsalted butter
1/2 c apple sauce or 1/4 c applesauce + 1/4 c Greek yogurt
1/2 c chopped fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, even zucchini!)
(Optional) Cream Cheese Frosting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Spray a muffin tin with cooking spray. In a large bowl whisk together the flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, then stir in the mashed banana, oil and apple sauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until combined. Stir in the chopped fruit. Spoon the batter into the muffin tins up to the top of each cup. Bake for about 15-17 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden and firm.

Makes 12 muffins; 2 smash cakes or 24 mini muffins

For an easy frosting for their first birthday, I caved and used some sugar but feel free to add maple syrup as a substitute.

Smash Cake Cream Cheese Frosting

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
2 t pure vanilla extract
2 c powdered sugar

Add the cream cheese and butter to a bowl and use an electric mixer to beat until creamy. Add the vanilla extract. With mixer on low, gradually add powdered sugar until completely combined.

Easy Granola and Berry Yogurt Bowl

Posted on: Monday, April 1, 2019

This past weekend, my husband, Ryan and I packed up our apartment to embark on our next adventure from one Cambridge square to another. Before boxing away our tableware, I assembled some flavor-packed and nutrient-rich breakfast parfaits featuring our favorite, Golden Girl Granola and some local wildflower honey. The layers of delicious berries, banana, granola, Greek yogurt, almonds, chia seeds and a drizzle of honey can be assembled in an individual carton of yogurt (life hack), or fancied in your favorite bowl.
The sweet and crunchy breakfast provides long-lasting energy for moving day and is also an easy breakfast for family members of all ages on the go!
Easy Granola + Berry + Yogurt Bowl
1 carton or cup plain Greek yogurt (we love Fage)
1/2 c granola (we love Home Sweet Honey Golden Girl Granola)
1/2 c fresh berries
1 banana, sliced
1/4 c almonds
Sprinkle of chia seeds
Drizzle of honey (we love Local Wildflower Honey from Follow the Honey)

Top the Greek yogurt with granola, berries, banana, almonds, chia seeds, and a drizzle of honey. Stick in a spoon and enjoy!

Have fun with the flavor combinations! Here are some other ideas:

Tropical Yogurt Bowl
Yogurt + Gluten Free Truly Tropical Golden Girl Granola + Mango + Cashews + Shredded Coconut

Monkey Yogurt Bowl
Yogurt + Chocolate Decadence Golden Girl Granola + Teddy’s Crunchy Peanut Butter + Sliced Banana + Raspberry Jam

Cranberry Apple Pie Yogurt Bowl
Yogurt + Creative Cranberry Granola + Sautéed Apple + Pecans + Sprinkle of Cinnamon

Tiny Twin Tastes Pancakes

Posted on: Tuesday, March 12, 2019

2018 was a momentous year for Twin Tastes. City-side Marni got married in a beautifully intimate wedding by-the-sea, and Country-side Kara had twins! This year has been one of incredible love, joy, reflection and growth and has shifted the blog’s inspiration and focus ahead...
Now that Conor and Zoe are 10 months old, it’s been a blast introducing them to different flavors, textures and tastes. Zo is loving avocado, meatballs and mango; Con is loving pears, chicken and yogurt. They both adore bananas and eggs, so I decided to whip up morning pancakes using these two ingredients. The tiny tokens can be further enhanced with a touch of cinnamon, dollop of peanut butter, or sprinkle of diced fruit on top.
2-Ingredient Mini Pancakes

1 ripe banana
1 large egg, beaten
Butter or coconut oi

In a medium bowl, mash the banana with a fork until it resembles a thick puree-like mix, rid of large lumps. Pour in the eggs and stir until combined. The mixture will be very liquidy.

Heat a cast iron or nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Once hot, add a teaspoon of butter or a bit of coconut oil to the pan. With a tablespoon or large spoon, dollop a bit of batter on the edge of the pan, and repeat dropping more batter, leaving a couple of inches in between each mini pancake. Cook the pancakes for about 1 - 2 minutes until the edges appear set. With a thin spatula, carefully flip the pancake onto the other side and cook for 1 - 2 more minutes until the bottoms are slightly browned.

Transfer the cooked pancakes to a plate and repeat with the remaining batter. Makes 8 mini pancakes
.

By making them larger, parents can enjoy these too! They are easy to freeze, transport to the park, or enjoy right off the griddle. . . Stay tuned for more easy and healthy recipes to fuel these tiny twin tastes with tips and tricks along the way!

Mosaic Biscotti

Posted on: Tuesday, January 30, 2018

What's the best thing to do while nesting? Baking of course! This past weekend, I was inspired by the days I lived in Boston's North End with Marni. Walking through our neighborhood at any given hour, we were constantly overcome by the enticing aromas of freshly baked breads and pastries billowing out of the North End’s famous bakeries. While most people are hypnotized by Mike’s famous cannolis overflowing with sweetened ricotta, custard-filled sfogliatelle from Maria’s, or rich and decadent tiramisu from Modern Pastry, we often opted for a more subdued sweet. We’d pop into one of these bakeries and reach for a few biscotti. The twice-baked Italian cookies are crunchy, slightly sweet, and ideal for submerging into a hot beverage. Now in the Quiet Corner of Connecticut, I often make my own using a standard base dough with whatever flavorings and enhancements we have on hand. The bars are a stunning mosaic of colors and textures.
Toasted Pistachio, Cranberry, Chocolate Chunk, and Coconut Biscotti
 

2 C flour
1 1/2 t baking powder

1/4 t cinnamon
1/4 t salt
3/4 c sugar
1 stick butter melted
1 t orange zest
2 eggs
1 t almond extract
3/4 c dried cranberries
3/4 c pistachios, toasted
3/4 c chopped dark chocolate
1/3 c coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the sugar, butter and orange zest with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add the eggs, almond extract and combine.

With a wooden spoon, slowly stir in the dry ingredients into the wet mixture. Form the dough into 2 equal-sized logs, about 6-inches wide and 1-inch thick. Lay side by side on a lined baking sheet. Bake for 23-25 minutes until lightly golden and firm. Cool for 20 minutes. Reduce oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Cut the cooled cookie logs into 1/2-inch slices and lay them in rows on the lined baking sheet. Cook for an additional 12-15 minutes until firm and golden.

The cookie base for this recipe is extremely flexible. Substitute your favorite nuts and dried fruits for endless cookie combinations. For an added edge, submerge one side in melted chocolate!

Chocolate Truffles with Chili Salt

Posted on: Monday, December 4, 2017

All of a sudden it’s December and holiday season! Admittedly, Kara and I have been a bit distracted with some engagements and baby news in our family. 'Tis the season to get into high gear and brainstorm ways to celebrate your loved ones...for me in the form of indulgent creations in the kitchen.
Last weekend, I spent way too long at one of my favorite local farms, Wilson Farm in Lexington. I was instantly attracted to the holiday gift section, most notably the array of gingerbread houses, chocolates, and confections, as well as the fine foods section, overflowing with assorted spices and and locally made goods.
With gift-giving in mind, I picked up some sea salt and chili powder, a perfect complement to sweet, decadent chocolate truffles. The classic truffle is a delightfully chocolatey pop and a simple, gourmet gift for family, friends and coworkers around the holidays. For the chocolate lover, the bite is the ultimate concentration of rich and creamy goodness. A sprinkle of spicy sea salt takes truffles up to another level.
Chocolate Truffles with Chili Salt
2 T flaky sea salt
1/2 t chili powder

1/2 c heavy cream
2 T unsalted butter
12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 t vanilla extract

In a small bowl, combine the sea salt and chili powder and set aside.


Pour 8 ounces of the semi-sweet chocolate chips into a heat proof bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream and butter on medium heat. When the liquid starts to boil slightly, remove from the heat and pour it over the bowl of chocolate. Let stand for a minute. With a spatula, stir the chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the vanilla. Let cool in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.

Remove the ganache mixture from the refrigerator and with a melon baller (or Tablespoon), spoon out balls. With your hands, roll the chocolate into perfect round shapes and place them on a lined baking sheet. After you have formed all of the ganache into spheres, return them back to the refrigerator. While the truffles chill, microwave the extra 4 ounces of chocolate in 20 second intervals. After 20 seconds, stir the chocolate and place the bowl back into the microwave. Repeat this process three times.

Remove the chocolate balls from the refrigerator. With two forks, place the truffles into the melted chocolate. Cover the spheres with the melted chocolate evenly, tapping off the excess with the forks, and place back onto the lined baking sheet. Sprinkle each truffle with a pinch of the reserved chili sea salt blend. Return the truffles back into the refrigerator to completely harden. Makes 20 truffles.


If you have leftover chili salt, it adds a wonderful punch to a Margarita glass rim!

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