Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Nonni's Blueberry Muffins

I'm pretty sure that blueberry muffins have always been my favorite type of muffin.  While I love all kinds of bread/muffins, nothing holds a candle to the deliciousness of a home baked blueberry muffin.  Even the deliciously UNHEALTHY coffee cake muffin at Dunkin Donuts can't hold a candle.

Maybe I'm just biased because I was fortunate enough to grow up with Nonni (my grandmother) making the most delicious muffins, ever!  And it's funny, because I don't even think this recipe for blueberry muffins is HER original recipe.  It's a friend of her's....But as I don't know all of the details, I suppose it's only right to give Nonni the credit for creating the most delicious muffin on the face of the planet.

After a long hiatus from blogging and baking, these muffins were my second adventure over 4th of July weekend.  They tasted so delicious, and since they're delicious warm or cold, they went FAST.  I suggest you make them.  And eat them.

Nonni's Blueberry Muffins
The Recipe
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup milk
3 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 Tbps Vanilla extract
3 cups blueberries
(Cranberries can be substituted, chopped, but add an extra 1/2 cup sugar!)

The Method
Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the eggs, beating into the butter/sugar mixture one at a time.  Add the milk, flour, baking powder, and vanilla.  Once the mixture is well incorporated, fold in the blueberries.  Do not use the mixer here - make sure to fold everything together by hand, and be very careful not to smash the berries!

Scoop into paper-lined muffin tins (make sure you use papers here - if you don't use the papers, you will end up with a big mess!).  I used a large ice cream scoop and it filled the papers perfectly (about 20 muffins).

Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes


Monday, July 8, 2013

Spumoni Pound Cake

I didn't realize it had been so long since my last blog.  I guess we'll call it a 2013 Hiatus.  So many things have been happening in life, I feel like I don't know where to start.

We have continued on our Journey of the house.  We still have a ton more to do, but it's coming along.

I am getting over a particularly nasty bout with poison ivy (from the yard, again).  At least we think it's poison ivy.  Maybe it's something different.  In any case, I'm on prednisone again...

I haven't been baking a ton.  Until this weekend.  And I realized how much I really enjoy baking.

So let's talk Spumoni.

What is Spumoni?  Technically, it's an Italian Dessert of molded ice cream, typically cherry, pistachio, and either chocolate or vanilla.  It's delicious.  (Note:  National Spumoni Day in the US is August 21).

We have had a recipe in the family for as long as I can remember for Spumoni Pound Cake.  Obviously it's not ice cream, but it takes the key flavors of cherry and pistachio and puts it into cake form.  It's one of my favorites, and it seems to come out "different" every time I make it.  Different - yet delicious.

Spumoni Pound Cake
The Recipe

2 boxes yellow cake mix
1 box instant vanilla pudding
8 eggs
16-oz sour cream
1 cup oil
1 small jar maraschino cherries, drained and chopped
1 tsp vanilla
red food coloring
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp almond extract
green food coloring

The Method

Mix together the cake mix, pudding, eggs, sour cream, and oil.  
Separate the batter equally into 3 bowls.  In the first bowl, add the chopped cherries, red food coloring, and vanilla extract.  In the second bowl, add the chopped walnuts, green food coloring, and almond extract.  Leave the third bowl as is.

Grease and flour a long loaf pan (15"x4"x4").  Layer the batter, first the white, then the green, then the red.  DO NOT SWIRL!  
Bake at 375* for about 75 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Check after about 60 minutes, and cover with foil if getting too browned.

The best part about spumoni cake is cutting it....You never know what the inside will look like!!

Slice, eat, and ENJOY!!