sprinkles biscotti

In December I was looking around for holiday treat ideas and remembered that I’d seen the idea of funfetti biscotti floating around Pinterest. I’ve never made biscotti, so rather than use one of those recipes I decided to return to the mother ship : King Arthur Flour. I’ve barely modified this recipe for Vanilla Biscotti to make it more ***fun*** and rainbow. They turned out amazingly & were sent out to family in holiday treat boxes. Sorry the photography is the literal worst, usually I have my husband help me but he was on a Skype call with his dissertation advisor and I’m impatient so I took the photos left-handed while my right hand did the baking things. (I am right-handed, as you can tell from the photos!) 

Also, fun idea : I did a random mix of sprinkles for a rainbow/funfetti effect, but you could do anything!! Red and green sprinkles for Christmas? Blue and yellow or white for Hanukkah? Red and blue for Fourth of July? Your friend’s fave color for a custom batch as a gift? SPRINKLES ARE AMAZING!!

And : this was a genuinely fun recipe to make. You get to do weird stuff, like pull it out halfway through and spritz it with water. It smells delicious. They traveled well. UGH I’m just so excited about SPRINKLES BISCOTTI. Tomorrow, BTW, is the first day of February. HAVE YOU CONSIDERED making these with RED AND PINK sprinkles?? VALENTINE’S DAY BISCOTTI? I’m just saying…

Ingredients
six tablespoons of unsalted butter (at room temperature)
two-thirds of a cup of white sugar
one-half a teaspoon of salt
two and half teaspoons of vanilla
one and a half teaspoons of baking powder
two large eggs
two cups of all-purpose flour
one-third of a cup of sprinkles*
(unusual equipment : a spray bottle full of room temperature water)

ingredients
my favorite kind of baking is all-my-ingredients-ready-to-go baking

Preheat your oven to 350* Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with a silpat or some parchment paper.

Beat together the butter, sugar, salt, vanilla, and baking powder until creamy.

Beat in eggs. At this point, the dough might look pretty funky — “curdled,” says King Arthur Flour — but do not panic.

On low speed, add the flour until it forms a smooth, sticky dough.

Plop the dough on the baking sheet. Divide into two equal lumps and shape each one into a log that is nine-and-a-half inches by two inches, and about three-quarters of an inch tall. Straighten the logs, and smooth the tops and sides with a wet spatula (just dip it in some water).

shaping into logs
I literally didn’t know my arm could look this hairy and formless, I swear I actually have quite lovely wrists. ANYWAY note the ruler? I used a regular ol’ ruler to shape them.

Bake for twenty-five minutes.

Now, here’s the fun part. Remove the baking sheet and spritz the logs — getting the sides as well as the top — lightly with the water. You want to do so lightly, but cover all the exposed bits of logs (AKA, don’t try to pick it up and spray the underside, leave that as is).

spritzspritz
hehe spritz spritz hehehe

Let it sit on the sheets for five minutes.

Use a serrated knife (in my case, a bread knife worked) to cut the logs crosswise into half-inch to three-quarter-inch slices. Be careful to keep the knife perpendicular to the baking sheet so that the thickness of each slice is even.

log to biscotti graduation
log-to-biscotti graduation ceremony

Lay the biscotti on their sides (now they’re biscotti! not logs! yay they graduated!!) and bake another twenty five to thirty minutes until very dry** and beginning to golden.

Remove to a rack to cool. Instagram those babies. Eat too many of them while packing treat boxes, so that you have to bake a second batch to have enough for the treat boxes. (Oops.) I haven’t tried dunking them in coffee, because I h a t e coffee and will never apologize for it, BUT I love people who love coffee and I bet they’re great dunked in coffee!!

* There are so many types of sprinkles! I had to look up sprinkles to figure out how to discuss this and I found a wonderful blog post titled Sprinkles 101 on the appropriately-named blog With Sprinkles On Top. Take a glance at that to catch up on your vocabulary before reading on. –Okay, you back? So, I have tried both quins and rainbow jimmies and they both work well. I do not think that sanding sugar would work quite as well, but I haven’t tried it. My personal favorite is quins. Do note that if you use quins, which are sometimes in fun shapes (ducks, trees, hearts, etc.), the shape will disappear as the sprinkle melts into the biscotti.

** Vague, right? I know. I texted my bosom friend, Lindsey, while I was baking these, and she was casually all like oh yeah I’ve made biscotti a bunch. I was like, WHAT how come you didn’t TELL me because sometimes I’m a bit unreasonable — but anyway — she told me she has fallen into the trap of overbaking because OMG, biscotti need to be DRY AS THE DESERT. In fact, your biscotti may still be a teensy bit moist in the centers when you take them out and that is A-OKAY, they will dry more as they cool. So don’t overbake your biscotti!! Thank you Lindsey for your BAKING WISDOM.

 

for the love of pears

I love a ripe pear.

I like pears to be so ripe that I can press a bite against the roof of my mouth, and it simply turns to juice.

So, naturally, I almost never enjoy a good pear. I find it so difficult to tell when they are at that precise moment, and the slightest bit of crunch in a pear turns me off of it immediately. (I’m picky, I know.)

But I have found a quasi-solution : pear sauce. As in applesauce, but with pears.

This morning, I peeled & chopped 8 bartlett pears into small bits and put them in the crockpot. I added a half a cup of water*, a tablespoon of vanilla, a few squirts of lemon juice, about a tablespoon of brown sugar, & a sprinkle cinnamon. Then I stirred it all up and left it in the Crockpot on low for about 4 hours.

I was still at work when David got home at about 4:30 this afternoon. He texted me : “The apartment smells so good!” I asked him to give the pears a stir and switch the Crockpot to low, which he kindly did. And when I got home, I used the immersion blender to finalize the pear-sauce-making-process. It was amazing how fast they blended — one press of the button and each place I set the immersion blender turned instantly to a perfect sauce (really a pear butter). I didn’t want to over-do it, so I left in some chunks. And those chunks are perfect for squishing against the roof of my mouth with my tongue and having that ideal pear experience I mentioned earlier. Victory. 

And, y’all, this stuff is so good. So delicious. We’re both a bit in love with it. I totally failed at taking photos throughout the process but I’ll try to add them back in next time I make this (next time there’s a sale on pears anywhere). But for now, here is a sweet little bowl of pear butter (my third of the evening):

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* As it turns out, this was a bit much — there was a lot of standing juice. So I skimmed a bunch off, and then simmered the juice with a few tablespoons of sugar in a pan on the stove to make an improvised pear syrup. My plan is to add some of the syrup to a glass of cold seltzer for a homemade “pear soda.” Just another reminder that it’s okay to make mistakes — sometimes they result in homemade pear soda!

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favorite recipes of our household

Just recently I was talking with my wonderful parents-in-law about one of their “family fall-back” recipes that they ate all the time when my husband was growing up. I think every family must have some of these — something that you keep around for a busy night. In my family, that was spaghetti with tuna fish (which I still think is so delicious and make all the time).

I thought I would round up a few of David & my favorite recipes these days and link to them, for anyone looking for some meal inspiration. These are all at least semi-easy (although not as easy as spaghetti with tuna fish), and make great leftovers!

  1. (Lighter) Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup from Sally’s Baking Addiction — I love this (more than David does, but he likes it too). It’s enjoyable to cook, delicious, and makes great leftovers. I do find that it thickens quite a bit when in the fridge, so I usually add more chicken broth when I reheat it. I also leave out the potato.
  2. Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce from the Pioneer Woman. This stuff is to die for. I keep shelf-stable cream and canned tomato sauce around at all times for this purpose.
  3. (Skinny) Chicken Enchiladas from Pinch of Yum. Finger-lickin’ good. David discovered that the leftover juices in the crockpot make an amazing sauce. Sometimes we make rice along with this in order to stretch the enchiladas a bit, and the crockpot sauce spooned over rice is delicious.

We love all of these recipes and make them pretty regularly! We haven’t had the soup in months (it’s really a cold-weather food), but I am making it tonight. (I know it’s August, but it is currently 57 degrees (at 9 AM) and I miss this soup…so…tonight, we are pretending that it’s fall.)

Chocolate Shortbread Hearts

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This is genuinely one of the best cookie recipes ever. In fact, it might be my favorite cookie I’ve ever baked. I found the recipe last year on the blog Two Peas & Their Pod and made them to take to a Saturday class I had on Valentine’s Day. They’re amazing! Made with Dutch cocoa (the pricey stuff) and dipped in semi-sweet chocolate at the end (with some cute sprinkles), they look gorgeous and taste phenomenal. I made them again this year to take to a meeting at work and they were a huge hit (my officemate ate another three after the meeting since the leftovers were sitting in the office — they’re that good). David & I are working our way through the last few now…and I miiiight make another batch on Sunday.

I made only one edit to the original recipe, which I’ll share later.

Also, I know the Dutch cocoa is pricey but I really think it makes the difference — these babies are so chocolatey and lack that occasional bitterness/sourness that chocolate cookies sometimes have. I bought a box of Dutch cocoa last year for this recipe and very slowly used it up over the course of the year, running out only last month. If you want to, you can sub in regular cocoa powder, but I’ve never tried that so I can’t speak for their flavor. Anyway, without further ado : chocolate shortbread hearts.

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup Dutch cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 of a big bar of semisweet baking chocolate, melted
Sprinkles

Directions:
Sift the flour, cocoa and salt together into a mixing bowl

sifting-cocoa-and-flour
my new sifter! we finally found a “crank” style one, which I greatly prefer. also note the dutch cocoa box

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter (room temp!) and sugar until light & fluffy. Add vanilla extract and mix. Gradually add in the flour mixture, occasionally stopping the mixer and scraping down the sides of the bowl. Mix until it forms into a ball of dough (for a while, it may appear piecey or crumbly, but keep mixing and it will combine). (Note: Whenever I am gradually adding a mixture this way, I use one of the measuring cups I’ve just dirtied with flour or cocoa powder or whatever to scoop it up and add it gradually. It’s an easy way to ensure you don’t accidentally add too much at once, and I don’t dirty any extra dishes.)

Lay out two sheets of waxed paper on a baking sheet, set the dough between, and roll it out to about one-quarter inch, trying to keep it even.

Place rolled-out dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Remove dough from the oven and slide off the baking sheet. Line two baking sheets with silpats or parchment paper. Cut out the cookies with a cookie cutter (I used a heart because Valentine’s Day, but you can use whatever! If you don’t have any cookie cutters, use an upside-down glass or jar). Arrange cookies on baking sheets. (Note : because the dough is chilled, the cookies hardly spread at all so don’t worry too much about that.)

cutting-out-cookies
lovely heart-shaped beauties, awaiting the oven

If the oven still isn’t heated (like my crappy apartment oven), place the trays of cookies back in the fridge to keep them chilled. Once the damn thing has heated up…

Bake the cookies for 15 minutes.

Let cookies cool on baking sheets for two minutes and then transfer to a wire cooling rack (I find a slim metal spatula to be best for the transfer) to cool completely.

While cookies are cooling, melt chocolate! The recipe calls for chocolate chips but I prefer semi-sweet chocolate as I think it melts more evenly. I chopped an entire bar of semisweet chocolate, but I had more than I needed — three-quarters of a bar should do it if you’re only dipping corners like I did.

baking-bar
this is what I mean by a baker’s bar of chocolate. I always have lots of baking chocolate around because uh…that’s how I make hot chocolate, I melt baking chocolate into milk and cream. future post?

To melt the chocolate you can use a microwave I imagine, but I don’t have one so I do it on the stove. I also don’t have a double-boiler — I chop the chocolate (baker’s chocolate sort of splinters as you chop so it’s really easy to chop it finely) and pour it into a Pyrex measuring cup, then set that in a saucepan of simmering water, like so :

melting-chocolate
I stir a bunch with this adorable tiny spoon.

Next it’s decorating time! I removed the measuring cup from the water and wiped the bottom dry, then set it on my table. Then I set up a little station : plate with several cooled cookies, spinkle-shaker, and a tray with wax paper on it. For each cookie I dipped a corner in melted chocolate, wiped off drips with the small spoon, sprinkled it with sprinkles, and set it on the wax paper to cool.

final-product
TA-DA!

Not only are these cookies unbelievably delicious — flaky texture, super chocolate taste, and a burst of extra chocolate where they’ve been dipped — but they are cute as heck and you will get showered in compliments if you manage to show anyone else the cookies. And if you just stay home and eat them yourself, you will feel a rush of pride whenever you briefly glimpse its beauty before shoving it right into your mouth. YUM.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Giant Halloween Skillet Cookie Cake

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Ok, not the most chic and elegant of names, but uh…that’s basically what I made, y’all. Chocolate chip cookie cake is (and always has been) a beautiful thing. I started with this recipe from http://www.allthecooks.com, because it came up when I Googled for “giant skillet cookie” and had good reviews. But I wondered if I could…Halloween-ify it. So I swapped in Reese’s Pieces (fall colors! also more peanut butter = more better) for chocolate chips, and added a milk chocolate frosting border from Sally’s Baking Addiction. The result? A delicious treat made a bit more festive by the seasonal colors and the candy swap-in. I just adore cookie cakes — that childhood flavor plus the squishiness of cake.

big-giant-cookie-cake-fall-montage
yeah, that’s a snitch hat. it was a birthday gift last year and I LOVE IT. what says fall more than a snitch hat??

Ingredients:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (packed down — click here to learn how to measure brown sugar)
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 – 2 boxes Reese’s Pieces (see directions)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350*
Grease cast iron skillet with vegetable oil (I took a clean dishrag and just tilted the bottle onto it a few times to dampen it with oil, and wiped down the inside of the skillet)
Whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl (note in the first photo how I am measuring flour? This is important, y’all. Learn more about measuring flour here.)

In another bowl, cream together butter and both sugars using a hand-mixer or a stand-mixer, until well combined (you may have to scrape down sides/attachment a few times)
Add egg and vanilla and continue to beat together ingredients
Slowly add flour mixture to butter/sugar until well combined (I scooped up the flour mixture in a small bowl and added it in bits, waiting until it was creamy before adding more)
Turn off mixer and stir in one box of Reese’s Pieces using a wooden spoon or a spatula
Scrape dough into skillet and bake for 25 minutes, or until edges begin to brown (a note : this took MUSCLE. The dough was relatively thick — I may have overstirred it a bit, but even so — and getting it to spread evenly was a bit of a task. For me, it helped to use a large spatula and then a butter knife, because the dough would stick to the spatula and needed some encouraging to flop into the pan.)

big-giant-cookie-cake-spreading-batter
almost ready to go in the oven — all that remains is decoratively adding even MORE Reese’s Pieces. mua ha ha

If desired, open a second box of Reese’s Pieces and decoratively place extra candies in the top of the dough. Eat the rest.
Remove from oven and set skillet on wire rack to cool.
Once cool, frost if desired (it’s really good without frosting, too!)

big-giant-cookie-cake-in-pan-no-frosting
fresh out of the oven! note the browned edges

Frosting
Ingredients:
1 & 3/4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon instant coffee (this is my addition — I feel it brings out the chocolatey flavor more, and I keep instant coffee in the baking cabinet for my mom’s mocha chocolate frosting, which I may just post next month — keep your eyes peeled!)

big-giant-cookie-cake-making-frosting
ignore the bottle of chocolate milk — that’s not an ingredient, it’s just in the photo because I was drinking chocolate milk straight from the bottle while I made chocolate frosting. totally normal.
big-giant-cookie-cake-in-pan
I sort of have no idea what I am doing with a frosting bag, but it looks alright to me. 🙂

Directions:
Sift together sugar and cocoa to remove lumps
Beat butter with a hand mixer or stand mixer until creamy
Gradually add in sugar/cocoa mixture and vanilla & heavy cream, alternating between the two, until well combined
Add a pinch of salt (to taste, I like sweet things with a bit of salt almost always) and the instant coffee (if desired) and then continue to beat frosting for a couple of minutes (note : instant coffee is in pretty big granules, so I crushed it between my fingers as I added it to the frosting).
Decorate how you wish! I placed my frosting in a decorating bag and piped it around the edges, and then set Reese’s Pieces in it

big-giant-cookie-cake-just-a-slice

Cut into wedges and serve. 🙂

Go-To Easy-Peasy Brownies from Life, Love, and Sugar

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I found these brownies last year when I was looking for a way to make “box mix” brownies from scratch. I know, I know…why not just make box mix brownies then? I suppose because I like to make things harder for myself — but also because I truly enjoy baking, and it’s just not as satisfying to combine a mix with two eggs and some water. Where’s the challenge in that?

ooh, so many ingredients, so much challenge, I like challenge so much I could be a Triwizard Champion
ooh, so many ingredients, so much challenge

Anyway, I came across this recipe for Quick and Easy Brownies on Pinterest. The recipe is from Lindsay, who blogs at www.lifeloveandsugar.com. Lindsay posts TONS of beautiful, drool-inducing recipes — I keep meaning to try another one, but what always happens is this : I look at the many gorgeous recipes and get overwhelmed and unable to choose, and then I think, why not just make the brownies, though? I already know those are perfect… and thus, I never try anything new. But one of these days!

This is a two-bowl recipe. In one bowl, you combine the wet ingredients (plus sugar), and in another, the dry.

Then you mix them all together…pour them in a pan…and pop them in the oven. It’s quick and fun to put together, and SO CHOCOLATELY. The aroma from the oven while they are baking is phenomenal and just makes you more excited for them to be done.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 eggs
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup & 2 1/2 tablespoons cocoa*
1/4 teaspoon & 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350* and butter a 9 x 9 baking pan (butter it well, or these guys will stick)
Mix the oil, sugar, and vanilla extract
Add in the three eggs and mix well
In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt
Add the dry ingredients to the wet in several installments until well combined**
Pour the batter into prepared pan. It’s a very wet batter, so it should spread evenly all on its own
Place pan in 350* oven for approximately ?? minutes (the original recipe states 25 – 30 minutes, but that was totally off for me, and judging by the comments, for a lot of other people too. originally I set an alarm for 25 minutes and then checked with a toothpick every five or ten minutes. in my oven, they end up taking 50 minutes.)

* Lindsay’s recipe calls for dark chocolate cocoa powder (like Hershey’s Special Dark). I have made it with both dark and regular cocoa powder and they both turned out great, but the dark cocoa powder had a stronger chocolate flavor. Don’t worry if you only have regular cocoa around, though, it’s still very chocolatey!
** By “several installments,” I mean that I added some dry ingredients, mixed until combined, and then added a bit more. I repeated this “add, mix, add” cycle three times, as opposed to dumping all the dry ingredients at once. This makes things a bit easier on you and also helps ensure that the ingredients are better combined and there aren’t any clumps of dry ingredients in the batter.

This is definitely a go-to recipe for me when I’m craving chocolate or we want to have a special dessert and I haven’t planned ahead. I always have the ingredients on hand, it’s quick, and the brownies are so good. I definitely encourage you to go check out Lindsay’s blog for more baking ideas — I know I’m intrigued by the Apple Cinnamon Skillet Blondie (!), No-Bake Oreo Cheesecake, and this Blackberry Champagne Bellini recipe (and no, that’s not a baking recipe…but I am intrigued by it).

Have a great weekend, and I hope you enjoy the recipe if you try it!

I am a corner-piece person.
I am a corner-piece person.

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins (Adapted from Land O’ Lakes)

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These banana chocolate chip muffins are sooo good. I woke up early-early to make them the other day, and baked them while still in my pajamas and robe and listening to Stephen Fry read The Goblet of Fire aloud.

The original recipe from Land O’ Lakes is for mini-loaves, which I have made as well and which are great. But we like this recipe as a heading-out-the-door breakfast treat, so muffins just make more sense for us. This week, we misjudged a bunch of bananas and they ripened way too fast for us. Having made these muffins in August, I knew just what to do. I was extra excited because I recently purchased reusable baking cups for myself and was looking for an opportunity to try them out. I got these cups from the Chambers Bay Baking Company on Amazon because they had great reviews and because they come in colors I like — most silicone baking cups I’ve seen are screaming neon, but these are more faded/pastel-esque colors, which is much more my style.

Mashing up overripe bananas is quite fun : I just use a regular fork, and am sure to continue to mash past the initial squish, until the mashed banana is quite moist. The recipe calls for one cup, which in my case took two-and-a-half bananas.

Yes, that’s a brown spot on the banana (gasp). I don’t cut out brown spots, because they don’t make a lick of difference in the end product, so why waste them?
adding-mashed-bananas
a cup of properly-mashed bananas (see how moist they are?) and also you can see my bathrobe and flannel jammie pants. so comfy…

The recipe, which I have typed out for you below, is simple and quick. Other than mashing the bananas, the most exciting moment for me was spooning batter into my fancy new baking cups (which are nestled into my fancy muffin tin, a wedding gift from dear friends — we have Williams-Sonoma bakeware and it is GOLD and sturdy and washes beautifully and I love it). After I took this photo, I buttered half the cups and left the other half untouched as an ~experiment~ so that I know in the future if they need to be greased or not (results: it does not matter at all, yay!). I filled the cups to juuust under the top.

Adorable, rainbow baking cups in my goldtone muffin tin. So cute aaah.

The smell of the muffins baking is just glorious. If you, like me, have a wonderful mother who made you banana waffles when you were a little girl, the smell makes you feel like you’re seven and playing in the living room with your big brother while your mother makes Saturday breakfast. It’s a very good feeling.

Ingredients:
1 cup mashed banana (2 – 3 ripe/a bit too ripe bananas)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup sugar (see note below)
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (semisweet)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350* and prepare a muffin tin with liners (or grease tin with butter)
Combine butter and sugar in a bowl and beat until creamy (I use a stand mixer for this, but a hand mixer would work as well)
Add eggs and beat until smooth
Add bananas & vanilla and beat until well-combined
Stir in flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips (I stirred this by hand to avoid overmixing; it took some muscle. A mixer on low speed would work fine too)
Spoon batter into muffin tin and bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick/butter knife/skewer comes out clean. Let sit at least ten minutes before carefully releasing muffins.
Note : I tilt the pan to roll them gently out, using a knife to lift them and give them a little push. If you did not use muffin liners, you may need to run a butter knife all the way around the edge of the muffin in order to take it out of the tin. 

Note on sugar: The original recipe calls for granulated white sugar, but this time when I made them I didn’t quite have enough so I used half a cup white sugar and a quarter cup brown. I think the brown sugar gave them a slightly more caramel-y flavor. If you prefer that sort of taste, you can try it as well, otherwise regular old sugar works great!

out-of-the-oven-banana-chocolate-chip-muffins

 

Ricotta Eggs on Toast

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Maybe it’s raining. Maybe it isn’t, but you’re listening to one of those background-noise websites that simulates rain because you’re a weirdo who loves rainy, moody weather. Maybe it’s Saturday morning and you want a breakfast that feels Hearty and Significant, but you don’t want to go through the whole process of making eggs and bacon and biscuits and and and.

Or maybe you eat this, like, almost every day. Sometimes for lunch. Whatever.

Either way, friends, the answer is ricotta eggs on toast. It’s creamy and indulgent and satisfying. Protein galore! Perfect eggs! Easy and quick! Stuff you have around (the only slightly unusual ingredient, I guess, is ricotta. But I always have ricotta around, because I love it)!

Start off the usual way for scrambled eggs. Couple eggs, splash milk, salt and pepper, heat up a skillet with a pat of butter. But remember : LOW & SLOW. Good scrambled eggs come from low heat and sloooow cooking. Rubbery, weird-edge-having, or otherwise bleh eggs come from high heat. Don’t rush it, friends. You will be rewarded for your patience. Listen to that soothing rain-simulation website, take a deep breath. Low & slow.

Add a dollop of ricotta and whisk it in. I use a biiig heaping tablespoon, like so :

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Heat up a pat of butter in a big ol’ frying pan (nonstick makes everything easier, but you’re the one doing your dishes, so it’s really up to you). Remember what we talked about : low and slow. Looooow heat. Once the butter is melted, tilt the pan around to spread it around. And pour those eggies right into the pan.

Lovely. See the lumps? They freaking you out? It’s okay. Squish them with the flat of your spatula or wooden spoon. Or leave them — they’re just creamy lumps of tastiness. Don’t fear, I wouldn’t lead you astray.

lumpy-eggs-its-okay

My go-to egg-scrambling gestures are push and squish. Puuuush the eggs across the pan. Turn spatula. Squish them down. Push & squish.

Meanwhile, make some toast. We’re talking a big, thick slice. Sturdy bread. It’s gonna have a lot to carry. Spread a little butter on that cutie…add some more ricotta because life is short…salt and pepper that toast. Yes, I said salt and pepper it. Nice.

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When your creamy, delicious eggs are looking good…pour them right on the toast. Don’t overcook them, loves. Just plop ’em on the toast.

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Oh, man, look at that.

Serve with a fork because there are way too many eggs for that toast. Alternate bites of creamy, smooth eggs and that toast/ricotta/egg stack.

Directions without all the annoying photos are below.

Ingredients (for one serving):
Two eggs
About two heaping tablespoons of ricotta
About a quarter cup milk
Two tablespoons of butter (ish)
1 piece of bread, whatever kind (sourdough works great, as does any savory/farm bread)

Directions:
Whisk together eggs, milk, salt, and pepper
Heat a nonstick skillet on low and melt 1 tablespoon of butter in it, tilting pan to spread it around
Add one heaping tablespoon of ricotta to the egg & milk mixture and whisk it in thoroughly
Pour egg mixture into pan (still on low) and slowly cook eggs.
Toast slice of bread and butter it.
Spread toast with a second tablespoon of ricotta and salt and pepper it
Heap eggs on top of toast and enjoy!

Applesauce Mini-Muffins (adapted from Williams-Sonoma)

applesauce-mini-muffins

Today’s is a two-part recipe. These applesauce muffins can easily be made with store-bought applesauce, but making your own is so easy and fun that I thought I’d include that recipe, too. Click on over for crockpot applesauce instructions, and when you’re ready, come back here for the baking!

After we’d been enjoying our applesauce for about a week, I felt overwhelmed by how much we still had left and wondered how I could use some up. I came across a simple muffin recipe on Williams-Sonoma and made a few alterations. Ding ding ding! I left out walnuts (because I don’t like them) and raisins (because David LOATHES them) and used a mini muffin tin instead of a regular sized one. I also added vanilla to the batter to make the flavor a bit more mellow and warm, and included a cinnamon-sugar topping for crunch and a touch of sparkle. The result is adorable, autumnal treats that make a great snack, dessert, or sweet treat at breakfast. They are also great to bring to an event or get-together as they travel well and are just so cute!

Applesauce Mini-Muffins from Williams-Sonoma
makes about 36 mini-muffins

Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup canola oil
1 egg
1 generous cup of applesauce (Williams-Sonoma advises measuring this not in a one-cup measure but in a glass measuring cup, like a Pyrex)
1 teaspoon vanilla

carefully picking out bits of stupid, stupid apple peel from my applesauce before baking

Cinnamon sugar for topping (Note: We have an entire shaker of cinnamon sugar just sitting in our cabinet because David eats a lot of cinnamon toast. If you don’t have some around, combine 1/4 cup regular sugar with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder. This will make enough for the muffin toppings plus some extra that you can keep in a jar for cinnamon toast or for sprinkling on oatmeal or applesauce.)

Directions :
Preheat your oven to 350* F and butter a mini muffin tin (or regular muffin tin)
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and allspice. Create a well in the bottom of the mixture.
In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, egg, vanilla, and applesauce.
Pour the liquid ingredients into the well in the dry ingredients. Stir; this will take some muscle and seem at first like there are too many dry ingredients, but be persistent. Don’t overmix — stir until just combined.

Combining the wet & dry ingredients. See the chunks in the applesauce? There are two possible results with each chunk : it melts into the muffin, or it becomes a very very soft little apple chunk that you get to bite into. Both results are awesome. So don’t worry if your applesauce is a bit chunky.

Spoon mixture into muffin tin, filling each well between halfway and three-quarters full.
Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mixture on top of each mini muffin.
Bake for about 10 – 12 minutes if in a mini muffin tin or 25 – 30 in a regular tin, or until a toothpick (or in my case, skewer, as I can’t find the toothpicks…) comes out of the center of a muffin clean.
Let cool at least 5 minutes and enjoy!

the muffins are exactly the size of a tea light.
the muffins are exactly the size of a tea light.

These smelled SO GOOD while they were baking. I mean, I thought the applesauce had smelled great but this was next level. The cinnamon sugar topping adds a touch of crunch to these otherwise very moist muffins. They store well in an airtight container for up to a week. But they’re so cute and easy to pop in your mouth that they probably won’t make it that long anyway. 😉

Note on why mini muffins : I just love mini muffins…they are so cute, and it feels like I’ve accomplished more because there are so many MORE muffins. Plus, they’re more versatile. You can have like 4 if you want a big ol’ muffin, but if you just want a teeny snack, these fit the bill too, thus increasing the number of times per day that you can eat the muffins…brilliant, right?

A final note : it is 100% okay to use store-bought applesauce for this recipe! I’d recommend buying applesauce with no sugar added, as sugar-added applesauce + the sugar in the muffin recipe might make them overly sweet.

Simple Crockpot Applesauce

This is your bonus recipe! Check out the main recipe on the blog today : Applesauce Mini Muffins

Last week I made homemade applesauce in the crockpot. I did my usual cooking thing of reading a bunch of recipes online and then kind of cobbling them together/cooking from memory. I chose Jonamacs after a conversation with a police officer and a grocer in the produce section of our co-op, because they were described as tart-but-sweet.  I did not peel them, because I thought, oh, apple peel is good for you! It has fiber! I will blend the applesauce, and then it won’t matter!  Wrong. I did not end up blending the applesauce, I mashed it with a potato masher because I am lazy. And subsequently I have picked out chunks of apple peel while eating applesauce, because it’s just sort of weird and flavorless and floppy. In conclusion: peel your apples.

Innocent-seeming apples with their healthy little peels.
Innocent-seeming apples with their healthy little peels.

Here’s the recipe :

Ingredients
3.5 pounds apples, whatever variety you prefer
1 cinnamon stick
Half a lemon
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/2 cup water

Directions
Core, peel, and chop apples (chopping into quarters is fine) & place in crockpot
Juice the lemon and pour into crockpot (pick out lemon seeds first). Cut off chunks of lemon peel and toss those in, too
Add the vanilla, cinnamon stick, and water and give everything a quick stir
Set crockpot to low and walk away to do whatever you have to do that day! (Note: you can give it a stir if you’re around in order to shift the top apples to the bottom, but it isn’t necessary.)
After 4 – 6 hours (depending on your crockpot), remove lemon peel and cinnamon stick and mash apples with a potato masher or large fork
Serve & enjoy!
Keeps in a sealed container in the fridge for 1 – 2 weeks.

crockpot

Okay, now that you’ve got your homemade applesauce, head on over to my post about applesauce mini muffins! Don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of homemade applesauce left to eat — the recipe only uses one cup. 🙂

Before I cobbled this recipe together, I read these posts for inspiration : Simply Recipes Applesauce, Detoxinista’s Slow Cooker Applesauce, and The Pioneer Woman’s Homemade Applesauce.