chocolate chip almond muffins

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Apparently December is brunch month for me – with pain au chocolateapple pie biscuits and cinnamon-almond scones and now… muffins! Sure everyone else is helping you make Christmas cookies but here at Wee Eats we are committed to ensuring you are covered for your most important meal of the day.

These muffins are adapted from Monica over at Playing with Flour. She’s got tons of gorgeous goodies over on her blog, I highly recommend you stop by and check her out!

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These are not those big, dense muffins from your nightmares. The almond flour in these muffins give them a remarkably light crumb, they have a touch of sweetness, and then sliced almonds on to give them a nice little “crunch” as if to say “Good morning, Sunshine!”

Although her recipe calls for orange zest, I left it out because I’ve never really been into that whole chocolate-orange thing. Instead, I added a dash of almond extract to complement the almond flour and sliced almonds, and took these guys another route.

almond muffin pin 2

chocolate chip almond muffins

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 12 to 15 muffins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1 cup buttermilk, shaken
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a muffin tin with liners. Grease liners, if desired, to aid in easy removal of muffins.
  2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl. Add the mini chocolate chips and toss to coat with the flour mixture.
  3. Place sugar and almond meal into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add butter and beat on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 1 minute.
  4. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until incorporated scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
  5. Add vanilla and almond extracts, then add the buttermilk and beat on low speed until combined.
  6. Remove bowl from stand mixer and add the flour mixture. Fold flour mixture into wet mixture, stirring just until combined.
  7. Scoop batter into the prepared muffin cups (the batter will be very stiff), filling them nearly to the top and sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
  8. Bake until muffins are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 12-14 minutes. Let muffins cool in the pans on a wire rack for about 5 minutes, then remove them from the pans and set onto the rack to finish cooling.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/12/16/chocolate-chip-almond-muffins/

[ Recipe adapted from: Playing with Flour ]

apple pie biscuits

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Apple pie isn’t something we really do around here. I mean, I’ve made it once or twice, but it’s just not usually on my radar. And that, my friends, is a shame because I love apples. Like, a lot.

I love them in muffins and cakes, I love them dipped in peanut butter, piled on top of toast, or even on their own.

So why, you may wonder, when fall presents itself and apple pie season rains down upon us, do I not use the opportunity to make a thousand apple pies?

I don’t know. I honestly couldn’t tell you, except that I tend to be pie-averse in general. Generally speaking I hate rolling out dough, but then I just spent like two days rolling and shaping croissants with no problems so what’s the big deal with apple pie? It just… doesn’t excite me.

BUT, if you take that very same apple pie flavor and stuff it inside of some biscuits, like that lovely lady Joy the Baker did recently… well, now you’ve got my interest.

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When I told Mr. Eats what I was making, he thought I was a crazy person and replied with “Hm, weird.” About a half a dozen biscuits later though, he was forced to wave his white flag and submit to the glory that is these biscuits.

And honestly, what’s not to love about a light and tender biscuit dough filled with freshly sliced apples that have been sauteed in cinnamon, sugar, and butter. Though not the most photogenic thing I’ve ever made, these babies would (and did) make an excellent after dinner snack, midday snack, or an equally delightful breakfast treat.

apple pie biscuits

Ingredients

    For the Apple Filling:
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 large Fuji apple, peeled, cored and sliced very thin
  • pinch salt (about 1/8 teaspoon)
  • For the Biscuits:
  • 2 cups Self-Rising Flour (I made my own - see below)
  • 1/4 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into half-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2/3 to 3/4 cup cold buttermilk
  • For the Topping:
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a small bowl, whisk together sugar and cinnamon for the topping.
  2. Make the filling:
  3. Heat butter in a 9 inch skillet over medium heat until it melts. Add cinnamon and sugar and stir to dissolve to sugar. Add the apples and toss to coat. Cook for about 4 minutes until the apples are just slightly softened, but not cooked through.
  4. Set aside to cool.
  5. Make the biscuit dough:
  6. Place flour in a medium bowl and add cold butter cubes. Using your hands or a pastry cutter, work the butter into the dough until the pieces are about pea-sized. Add the granulated sugar and stir to combine.
  7. Create a well in the center of the butter and flour mixture and add 2/3 cup buttermilk. Stir the mixture together until it is well-moistened and holds together well.
  8. Add the remaining buttermilk if the dough looks too dry, as needed.*If you're using your own homemade self-rising flour or you'll want to add the full 3/4 cup of buttermilk.
  9. Spoon dough onto floured work surface and use your hands to gather it into a ball and gently pat it into a small rectangle.
  10. Using a rolling pin, gently roll the dough into a rectangle 1/2-inch thick, about 7-inches x 10-inches.
  11. Arrange cooled apples in a single layer over half of the rolled out biscuit dough and fold the bare side of the dough over the apples. Gently press the edges to seal in the apples and pat the dough into a 6 x 8-inch rectangle.
  12. Use a sharp knife to slice the dough into 12 squares.Carefully transfer each biscuit onto the prepared baking sheet, placing them about 2-inches apart.
  13. Bake the biscuits:
  14. Brush each biscuit top with beaten egg and sprinkle generously with the cinnamon sugar mixture.
  15. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until the biscuits are golden brown and puffy.
  16. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool slightly, about 5 minutes.
  17. Serve warm or cool completely before storing in an airtight container. Biscuits are best enjoyed within two days of baking.
  18. Reheat briefly at 400F in the oven before eating.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/12/02/apple-pie-biscuits/

[ Recipe Source: Joy the Baker ]

apple pie biscuits | wee-eats.com

pain au chocolate

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Pain au chocolate, though frequently found at your local grocer or bakery, is rarely made at home. Flaky, buttery croissant dough filled with rich dark chocolate and topped with salty, crunch fleur de sel. It’s like it came straight from heaven.

Since I had a bunch of leftover croissant dough from my Pain au Thanksgiving project (and really had no need for 24 Thanksgiving-filled treats) I used half of it for these delectably sweet treats.

Unfortunately, Mr Eats doesn’t like dark chocolate and I didn’t want him to miss out on all the delicious goodness, so I filled some of my dough with cinnamon sugar in place of chocolate. The result was remarkably delicious, like if a cinnamon roll and a croissant had a baby and then rolled that baby in cinnamon sugar. Seriously, what’s not to love?

This also gave me the opportunity to show you what happens when you don’t properly seal your pains. Some were actually much worse than my cinnamon snail below, but what can ya do? Just remember to seal your dough very well when you are rolling it up because once it starts to rise all bets are off.

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So I filled my croissant dough with some delicious Ecuadorian Askinosie dark chocolate and others with cinnamon chips and cinnamon. Honestly, you can fill these things with pretty much whatever you want – milk chocolate, Reese’s cups, cookie butter, caramels, or even last night’s leftovers.

pain au chocolate
 
Author:
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • ½ recipe croissant dough
  • Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)
Chocolate version
  • 10 ounces dark chocolate (or filling of your choice)
  • Fleur de sel (for sprinkling)
Cinnamon Version
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar + 1 teaspoon cinnamon (for filling and sprinkling)
  • Cinnamon chips
Instructions
Shaping
  1. Remove croissant dough from refrigerator, unwrap and cut in half cross-wise. Re-wrap half of dough and place back in the fridge.
  2. Roll on lightly floured surface into a 16 x 12 inch rectangle, stretching as needed to maintain rectangular shape
  3. Cut into 4 by 4 inch squares. Stretch each square so that it is slightly elongated and place a small amount of filling of your choice into the center. If you go over 2 tablespoons of filling you will probably have a hard time rolling it into shape.
  4. Fold one side over the filling and wet it slightly with some water. Fold the other side over and press down firmly to seal.
  5. Place onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan, seam side down. Continue with remaining squares, I was able to fit 8 onto each pan. Once the pan is filled cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and set in a warm spot to proof until doubled in size 1 to 2 hours.
Baking:
  1. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375F and make an egg wash by whisking one egg with 1 tablespoon water.
  2. Right before you put the dough into the oven, brush with egg wash and sprinkle with desired topping (cinnamon sugar or fleur de sel). If you feel so inclined, you can sprinkle some shredded cheese on top for added flavor. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until well-browned.
Notes
You can see more detailed directions for shaping and rolling your dough by clicking here

To freeze raw:

Once you have filled and sealed the dough, you can place them seam-side down on a small baking sheet (that will fit in the freezer) and cover lightly with plastic wrap. Freeze for 1 hour until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe Ziploc bag and return to freezer until ready to bake.

To freeze cooked:
Wrap cooled pains tightly in foil and place into a freezer-proof Ziploc bag.

To bake from frozen (un-baked):
Place frozen dough on parchment-lined sheet and cover with plastic wrap.Place on counter to rise overnight about 8 to 10 hours. Once doubled in size paint with egg wash prior to baking.

If you freeze croissants pre-baked:
Frozen croissants can be thawed overnight prior to reheating or taken from the freezer directly to the oven, in which case they will need a few minutes more to reheat. Bake for 10 minutes at 375F from thawed, add a few extra minutes if baking from frozen.

 

m4s0n501

salted caramel pumpkin roll

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Pumpkin rolls are one of my favorite desserts and it kinda sucks because I only get to eat them once a year. For some reason it’s less acceptable to enjoy a pumpkin roll from January through October, but November? November is fair game. I think I’m going to make an effort to bring it back in 2015. This March, PUMPKIN ROLL BIRTHDAY  CAKE! You heard it here first, guys.

I took a big risk making this for Thanksgiving. We’ve talked about it before, the fact that Mr. Eats has a deep love for my praline pumpkin cake. I mean, I love it too, but I also like to not eat the same exact thing every year for Thanksgiving. This meant that a regular old pumpkin roll just wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to kick it up a notch. I

First thought? I know! Praline pumpkin roll! Which did seem like a good idea until I realized the praline would just crack off of the roll, assuming I was able to even roll the cake with hot, molten, drippy praline all over it. So I used my second thought instead: salted caramel.

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Initially I thought a beautiful salted caramel layer swirled between the cake and frosting would be gorgeous and delicious, and maybe it would have been, except for one small issue… You see, caramel is liquid and so it did what liquid does and oozed out… all over the counter. I really wish I had been able to snap a picture but I was too busy trying to fanangle my pumpkin roll and yelling “I MADE A MISTAKE” and “OH GOD NO” in the kitchen, so there was no time.

Back to the drawing board.

The solution, of course, was to beat the caramel IN the frosting. That way you get all of that salted caramel flavor and zero mess on the counter. Well, not zero mess. Pumpkin rolls are a bit on the messy side, but the mess won’t be caramel, so at least you’ll have that going for you.

 

 

This is the part where I tell you how to roll up your pumpkin roll without it cracking. And I would really love to tell you that, except that I’m 0 for 3 at the moment… However, I did some research (read: talked to some pumpkin-rolling masters) and we decided that I was most likely rolling the cake too tightly. So when you’re rolling, roll it loosely and gently and with care. Then say a prayer.

The good news is that if you do crack it, it will still taste just as good. And if you use some artistic liberty in your photos and angle the roll “just so” and crop out most of the cracks no one will ever know it cracked to begin with! Well, except the people who are actually eating it. Just slice it before you serve it and those dummies won’t know any better anyway.

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salted caramel pumpkin roll
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 1 10-inch roll
Ingredients
Cake:
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • ⅔ canned pumpkin puree
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup powdered sugar
Salted Caramel:
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspooon fleur de sel
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons light corn syrup
  • ¼ cup water
  • ¼ cup sour cream
Filling:
  • 1 (8-oz) package cream cheese
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup salted caramel
Instructions
Make the cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 375F. Grease a 10 by 15-inch jelly roll pan and line with parchment.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together flour, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, eat the eggs and sugar on medium speed until thick and foamy.
  4. Add pumpkin puree and continue to beat until combined. Stir in flour mixture and pour into prepared pan.
  5. Bake 10 to 15 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  6. Dust a dish towel with ¼ cup powdered sugar and invert cake onto towel. Starting from the short end, loosely roll the cake until a spiral and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the salted caramel:
  1. In a small saucepan mix the water, sugar, and corn syrup. Stir to combine.
  2. Mix heavy cream and fleur de sel in a small measuring cup and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute until it is hot. Stir to dissolve the salt.
  3. Heat over high heat until it reaches about 340F and is dark amber in color. Remove from heat and allow to sit for 1 minute.
  4. Carefully pour the heavy cream into the sugar mixture (it will bubble and spit), whisk to combine. Add the sour cream and continue whisking until it is incorporated. Transfer to a small bowl and set aside to cool completely.
Make the filling.
  1. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter at medium high until combine. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
  2. Add the salted caramel and beat to combine. (You could also probably just stir the salted caramel in for a more swirly effect but, whatever)
Fill the cake:
  1. Carefully unroll the cake, if it breaks just keep going, you've come too far to stop now.
  2. Spread filling onto cake leaving one inch un-frosted at the end and re-roll into spiral. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place into refrigerator to chill for at least 4 hours.
Notes
Once chilled, you can move the roll to the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw roll overnight in the refrigerator prior to serving.

[ Pumpkin roll recipe source: Libby’s Pumpkin ]

[ Salted caramel recipe source: Baked Sweet & Salty Cake FROM: BAKED: New Frontiers in Baking ]

halloween candy bark

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Halloween is tomorrow and since I’ve been 1,896 miles from home for the past week, sadly I haven’t had time to create a Halloween costume.

I have, however, managed to carve a pumpkin – Hubby and I started this tradition just last year, neither of us having carved pumpkins for many years.

pumpkins

In my time away over the last five days I’ve enjoyed a bit of actual autumn weather, got to see some fall colors, and walked 25.25 miles through the trails surrounding the beautiful Chateau Elan in Braselton, GA, while away at work conference. And yes, my legs are very, very sore.

I also learned the bad news from my beloved that, despite following the advice of a trusted website, our pumpkins have already turned to rotting mush in record time and will not be making it to Halloween… It turns out that peppermint soap thing actually does the opposite of preserving your pumpkin.

chateau elan

So today, as I am sitting on a plane hurdling towards home (and 90 degree weather) at 500mph (or around there), anxiously awaiting my return home, I am also mourning the loss of our beloved pumpkins, and have every intention to drown the sorrows of our loss in this bark.

Just like the last bark, I used the sturdier candy molding formula for the base layer of bark because I love the snap it gives the chocolate. I also went with an extra dark chocolate for the base to provide a good contrast to the sweeter milk chocolate flavor for the second layer.

After spreading the second layer of chocolate, I adorned it with some of my favorite candies and a sprinkle of crushed potato chips and set it in the fridge for a few minutes to set up. Start to finish (including chopping time) I was done in under 30 minutes which isn’t bad at all if you ask me.

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Even though one day is plenty of time to make this bark in time to hand out for Halloween, it would be an excellent way to use up all of your leftover Halloween candy as well.

I included my favorite candies in the recipe below, but feel free to use whatever candy you find in the bottom of your (or your kid’s) trick-or-treat basket.

halloween candy bark

Total Time: 30 minutes

Yield: one 18 by 12-inch half sheet pan of bark

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dark chocolate (I used this candy molding formula from Chocoley)
  • 2 cups milk chocolate (I used this dipping and coating formula , which is a bit thinner than the candy formula)
  • 2 Tablespoons creamy peanut butter (go with a regular standard peanut butter that won't separate, I always use Jif)
  • 1/2 cup mini peanut butter cups; chopped (I used a mix of Trader Joe's dark chocolate and milk chocolate peanut butter cups)
  • 1/2 cup mini Oreos (I used mini Reese's Oreos), coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup mini Reese's Pieces
  • 1/2 cup potato chips, roughly crushed
  • 2 Tablespoons sprinkles

Instructions

  1. Melt dark chocolate in double boiler or microwave. Pour melted chocolate onto parchment-lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to solidify, about 5 minutes.
  2. Melt milk chocolate in a double boiler or microwave and stir in peanut butter until fully incorporated. Pour over hardened chocolate and spread to cover.
  3. Working quickly, before the top layer of chocolate hardens, sprinkle with assorted toppings (I listed them in the order I sprinkled, but that's not necessary) and place into fridge to harden for about 5 to 10 minutes.
  4. Remove bark from refrigerator and cut into pieces.
http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/30/halloween-candy-bark/