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June 21, 2011

Fresh Blueberry Muffins

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It's the beginning of blueberry season in New Jersey and they're on sale everywhere!  I picked up a pint or two for 99 cents each last weekend.  Would you think it's weird that I don't like to eat blueberries by themselves; and I dont like blueberry yogurt or blueberry pie.  But I LOVEEEEEEE blueberry muffins.  And I've fallen in love with this recipe.  I have no idea where I found it but the muffins are delicious.  The crumb is light, tender & very moist.  The addition of lemon zest adds a zing to the flavor and brings out the freshness berries.  I subbed in a cup of whole wheat flour, too, for wholesomeness.

With this recipe, I made 4 king-sized muffins, 2 wrapped in the pink petal paper and 6 standard-sized muffins.  This is a recipe that you can definitely cut in half or quarter.

Ingredients:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of whole wheat flour
1 TBSP baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1 stick or 8 TBSP butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
zest of one lemon
1 pint of fresh blueberries (if using frozen, toss in flour so they dont sink)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 
Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda & salt.  Set aside.  Cream the butter and sugar together for 3-5 minutes.  Add in the eggs one at a time and then the vanilla extract and lemon zest.  Beat together for another 2 minutes.  Add in the flour & yogurt in batches, beginning and ending with flour.  Bake at 375 degrees for 20-35 minutes.

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June 10, 2011

Chinese Paper-Wrapped Sponge Cakes (紙包蛋糕)

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I love paper-wrapped sponge cakes from the Chinese bakery.  They're airy, light and not too sweet.  At about $1 ea at the bakery, I thought I'd take a stab at making my own.  Plus, I had an excuse to buy & use my new kingsize muffin pan.  Each cup measures 3.5 inches across the top and 3.25 inches deep, and holds almost a cup of batter.

The recipe below will probably yield 6 cakes in a standard muffin pan.  In the king size pan, I ended up with 3.

1/2 cup cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 large egg yolks (whites used below)
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar (divided)
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large egg whites

Preheat the oven to 340°F and have ready 6 sturdy unwaxed 1-cup paper cups, ungreased.

Sift the flour and baking powder together 3 times.
Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the egg yolks, salt, vanilla extract, and about half of the sugar (reserve the rest for later). Whisk for several minutes, until the mixture turns pale yellow and thick ribbons fall from the whisk. Stir in the water and the oil, and whisk well between each addition. Fold in the flour mixture and whisk until well blended, but don't overmix.

In another large clean bowl, combine the egg whites and remaining sugar, and beat with a clean whisk until stiff.

Fold the beaten egg whites into the batter and mix gently until blended.

Pour the batter into the prepared cups to about 3/4 of their capacity. Bake until set and golden brown, about 20-30 minutes. Invert the cups onto a cooling rack so the cakes won't collapse, and let cool completely. To unmold, run the blade of a knife around the inside of the cup to loosen, and shake gently until the cake falls out.

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June 07, 2011

ABC ~ Favorite Buttermilk Cake

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Last week as I was thinking about starting another baking group, I was invited to join one.  The group, Avid Baker's Challenge, founded by fellow-SMS baker, Hanaâ of Hanaa's Kitchen, is a monthly baking group that is baking through Baking for All Occasions by Flo Braker.

Favorite Buttermilk Cake was this month's selection.  I didn't want to make the entire cake, even though the full recipe only yields one 8-inch square cake.  I was afraid I would end up eating the whole thing by myself (because that does happen sometimes).  I halved the recipe and came out with exactly 6 standard-sized cupcakes.  Added lightly sweetened whipped cream & sprinkles on top... these were the perfect lil treats.  A very good yellow cake recipe!


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June 01, 2011

:: coming soon :: Club: BAKED

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Sweet Melissa Sundays will be ending soon and as many of you know I haven't been baking along for over a year now... lil kids do keep you busy.  Rest assured, I will definitely be making one of the last recipes.  I have to... i volunteered myself to be the host of our final recipe.

Meanwhile, a few SMS Bakers have been discussing baking from another book. Unfortunately, Melissa Murphy didn't publish another cookbook.  So we decided to bake through Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito's Cookbook:  BAKED Explorations.  And I decided to lead a new baking group - Club: BAKED.

This group will be open to everyone and we'll begin July 1, baking twice a month.  So how about it? Care to join me?  Email me at club.baked@gmail.com for more information.

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