Archive for September, 2010

So Long Summer Muffins

September 30, 2010

Jam Muffins

The sun is setting on my beautiful Portland summer.  I’ve been dazzled by Kruger’s farm, wowed by the Brew Festival, tickled by the Mt. Tabor Soapbox Derby, delighted by the test rose gardens , and overwhelmed by Powell’s bookstore.  I mean, I’ve been privileged enough to see a soapbox car shaped like a giant slice of lasagna!  Summers really can’t get more colorful than that.  I realized that I was no longer a Portland novice when I met folks who had moved here more recently than I had.  I had the pleasure of confidently recommending the best sites to see.  Now (I am a little sorry to say) my summer play time is over, and I can look forward to some good quality fall fun (tempered, of course, by the rigors of law school). I recommend eating these guys with the Beach Boys playing in the background.

–Little Ms. Muffin

Jam Muffins

1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup melted butter
apricot jam
cherries (halved and pitted), optional

1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees
2) Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl. In a separate bowl, mix together the vanilla, milk, and butter. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and beat in the eggs, one at a time.
3) Put paper cups in a muffin tin, or grease and flour the tin. Fill each hole halfway. Put one teaspoon of jam or preserves in the center of each. Then, add one to two teaspoons of batter on top of the jam (covering the jam).
4) If desired, place a cherry half on each muffin before baking.
5) Bake for 18-20 minutes. Remove the muffins from the tin immediately and cool on a rack before serving.


Applesauce Cake

September 29, 2010

applesauce cake

There’s a certain comfort in family recipes.  Even more so if they’re full of chocolaty goodness :)  This particular family recipe is one that has graced family get-togethers since before I can remember.  One taste of the homemade mocha frosting and you’ll realize why the heel of the loaf was always the most coveted piece of cake.

This delicious spiced cake is moist and fudgy (are you sensing a theme in my baked goods here? lol) and like a good lasagna, is even better aged a day or two (usually in the trunk of my Aunt Joanne’s car on the way to family reunions).

Even if you don’t like spiced cakes, please please PLEASE try this frosting.  Slap it on any good cake recipe and it will instantly turn a good cake into a great one :)

Here’s to old family recipes, coffee, and chocolate!

<3 Betty

applesauce cake

Applesauce cake

1/2 c. shortening (crisco)

1 c. sugar

1 egg

1 c. rasins (sometime I replace these with chocolate chips)

1 c. applesauce

1 tsp baking soda

2 Tbsp hot water

2 c. flour

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 tsp. allspice

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/2 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 F.  Grease and flour a loaf pan.

In a large bowl, blend shortening, sugar and egg all together.   Add raisins and applesauce.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, and spices.

Add 1/2 of mixture to the batter.

Dissolve  baking soda in hot water and add to batter.

Add remaining flour.

Pour into loaf pan and bake 1 hour.

Mocha frosting

4 Tbsp. butter

1/4 tsp. salt

2 Tbsp. Cocoa

3 or 4 Tbsp. hot coffee

2 c. powdered sugar

Blend butter, salt, cocoa, and 1/2 c. together.

Alternatively add hot coffee and powered sugar until combined, creamy, and delicious.

Spread icing on a cooled cake.

Extra Special Visitor Muffins

September 28, 2010


One of my very dearest friends visited this week.  She teaches English in South Korea, and we mostly only get to rendez-vous on Skype once every week or so.  She was back in the U.S. for a rare break and graced me with her presence.  However, as a result of my own schedule, her visit was limited to 36 precious hours.  I gave her the “Best of Portland” tour: The Bite of Oregon (an annual food and beverage festival),Voodoo Doughnuts  (a renowned donut shop), Pittock Mansion  (a  real bad ass house with the best view of Portland), Multnomah Falls  (the second highest waterfall in the U.S.), and Powell’s (the biggest independent bookstore in the world). This tour was quite the success, and it also works up quite the appetite.  For my very favorite visitors, what is better than a muffin that tastes like a scrumptious cookie?  That’s right: absolutely nothing. Enjoy!

— Little Ms. Muffin


2 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
¾ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp cream of tartar
¾ tsp nutmeg
1 ¼ cup sour cream
2 ¼ cup flour
1/2 cup cane sugar plus 1 tbsp cinnamon for rolling

1) Cream the butter and sugar until it is soft (3 or so minutes).  Add the vanilla and then the eggs and sour cream, one at a time, beating and mixing thoroughly.   Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a muffin pan.
2) In a separate bowl, mix the flour, nutmeg, baking powder, baking soda, and cream of tartar. Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and combine well.
3) In yet another bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon for rolling.
4) Using an ice cream scoop (or your hands, if you don’t have one), form balls with the dough. Roll the balls in the sugar and cinnamon mixture, until coated.
5) Bake for about 20 minutes and remove from the muffin tin immediately.

**Makes a batch and a half, so have an extra muffin tin ready, or freeze the extra batter for another day.

Can’t-live-with-out-them Brownies

September 28, 2010

In most of my cooking endeavours I try to make things new and different in some way or another.  Always deconstructing, miniaturizing, or adapting things, somehow making things my own makes them that much tastier.

There are a few times in life however, that something is perfect just the way it is.  No tweaking necessary.  So for brownies “that time of the month”, or any other time of the month for that matter – I defer to one of my foodie favs – Alton Brown – for brownies that you can’t (or at least shouldn’t) live without…  Ridiculously fudgy and as chocolaty as they come, these are definitely an all-time favorite.

<3 Betty

can't live without

  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar, sifted
  • 1 cup brown sugar, sifted
  • 8 ounces melted butter
  • 11/4 cups cocoa, sifted
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup flour, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square pan.

In a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat the eggs at medium speed until fluffy and light yellow. Add both sugars. Add remaining ingredients, and mix to combine.

Pour the batter into a greased and floured 8-inch square pan and bake for 45 minutes. Check for doneness with the tried-and-true toothpick method: a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan should come out clean. When it’s done, remove to a rack to cool. Resist the temptation to cut into it until it’s mostly cool.

Sharktopus Muffins

September 26, 2010

Doughnut Muffins

Sharktopus is the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a while.  I know that you’re probably wondering if I’ve gone off the deep end yet.  I assure you that I haven’t.  In fact, if anything, I’m happy that law school hasn’t seemed to have completely taken over my life.  I had enough time this weekend to join a couple delightful classmates for the Sy-Fy Sharktopus special.  Within two hours, minus commercial time, Sharktopus ate more than thirty sun-bathers, swimmers, media anchors, otherwise innocent by-standers, and a corrupt scientist played by Eric Roberts.  We speculated that the really kitschy “special” effects were a result of blowing the budget on hiring Roberts for the gig.  Whatever the case may be, my friends expected some good quality baking for the occasion.  So I provided the best “made-for-TV-movie-watching muffins” I could think of.  When you scarf down some of these goodies, be sure to say (aloud) “Let’s 86 this freak!”

–Little Ms. Muffin

Doughnut Muffins

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

3/4 cups milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon lemon zest

For Coating:

1/3 cup melted butter

1/2 cup cane sugar

1)      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a muffin tin, or spray with vegetable cooking spray.

2)      Beat the sugar and egg together for two to three minutes in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg. In yet another small bowl whisk together the milk, oil, vanilla, and lemon zest.

3)      Add half of the flour mixture to the sugar mixture and stir with a large spoon just until combined. Stir in half of the milk mixture and stir to combine. Repeat this step, but be careful not to over-mix the batter.

4)      Pour the batter into the muffin cups and bake for about 15 minutes.

5)      Allow the muffins to cool for a few minutes and roll them in the melted butter. Let the buttered muffins sit for a couple minutes, and then roll in the cane sugar.
**Recipe adapted from

Homemade Pasta a la Josie and Rachael

September 19, 2010

Pasta has always been a favorite in my house.  Fast and easy – done in 15 minutes – the perfect base for a meal for any busy family.  Recently I discovered the tasty art of making my own pasta (without a pasta maker!).  While it’s not the fast and easy meal of my youth, it’s delicious and well worth the time and effort :)  The noodles come out thicker and slightly doughier than their dried, store-bought counterparts, but are quite delicious.
The other night, Little Ms. Muffin and I threw together a delicious  dinner of homemade pasta and a fresh basil veggie sauce :)  Bon appetite
~ Betty
3 C. flour
2 Tbsp. garlic powder
4 eggs
2 Tbsp. olive oil
enough water to form elastic dough
1)  Mix flour, garlic power, eggs, and olive oil in a large mixing bowel, mixing by hand until dough begins to come together.
2)  Turn out onto floured surface and knead together, adding four and water as needed.  Dough should be elastic and smooth to the touch.
3)  Allow to rest for 30 minutes before rolling out.
4)  Roll small amounts at a time ( about 1/8 of a batch) into flat sheets, approximately 1/4 inch thick.
5)  Roll sheet of dough up, and cut 1/4 inch thick spirals, unwinding them after each section of dough to prevent them from sticking.
6)  Drop pasta in boiling water, stirring occasionally for 6-7 minutes.
1 clove garlic minced
1 onion diced
1 pint cherry tomatoes quartered
1 fist full of basil torn
1 red bell pepper diced
2 italian sweet peppers diced
1/2 head broccoli
1 small can tomato puree
1 tsp oregano
1 pinch tarragon
1 tsp salt
pepper to taste

1) Sauté onions and garlic with olive oil until onions begin to sweat.

2)  Add all other ingredients and simmer until veggies are tender.

Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake

September 18, 2010

honey cake

It’s altogether wonderful to celebrate a New Year in September.  It’s even more fun to invite people over for a big breakfast.  Conveniently, my law school cohort was separated into “pods,” and we have a block schedule.  So, I invited everyone in my pod to join me in a delicious spread of tea, coffee, and cake before heading off to Civil Procedure and Contracts.  As I explained to those who were not opposed to eating cake for breakfast (and what are muffins and loaves, really?), honey cake is a traditional Jewish food for the holidays.  The meaning is simply to add a little something sweet for the New Year.  I alter my recipe a bit each year for something a bit different—enjoy version 2010!

— Little Ms. Muffin

Honey Cake

2 ¼  cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ground cloves
¼ tsp. allspice
½ tsp. salt
3 tbs. vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 cup honey
2 medium eggs
grated orange zest
½ cup fresh squeezed orange juice
½  cup brewed dark coffee
½ cup minced or crushed walnut chunks
brown sugar for dusting over the top, if desired

1)  Preheat oven to 350F.  Grease and flour loaf pan.

2)  Place honey in a bowl, beat with electric mixer for approximately three minutes until opaque.  Beat in sugar.

3)  Add egg and wet ingredients to honey sugar mixture and beat until well combined.

4)  In a seperate bowl mix together remaining dry ingredients.

5)  Combine two mixtures .  Stir in walnuts.

6)  Pour into loaf pan and bake for 45-50 minutes.

7)  Dust with brown sugar if desired.

Comfort Muffins

September 17, 2010

comfort muffins
I’ve had some friends going through some tough stuff lately, and I worry about them. If I could give them the world I most certainly would, and I’m sure that they know that it’s absolutely true. I miss them terribly, but on top of it all, I’ve been struggling with class-A period woes. I’m of the opinion that menstruation and PMS aren’t things that girls should be taught to be ashamed or embarrassed to discuss. It’s a part of many women’s experiences, and it can bite major big time. Sometimes it helps just to say, “I feel bloated, crampy, slightly sick, and I want a nap and some muffins.” No guilt or shame involved—just the truth. So for my friends whose lives feel a little broken right now, and for myself (just because I can), I have made the best-ever comfort food. When you need a pick-me-up, or know someone who does, try these. Trust me, it’ll take the edge off.

— Little Ms. Muffin

Chocolate Chip Banana Nut

3 very ripe medium-sized bananas (about 1 ¾ cups)
1 ½ cups flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 large egg
4 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup walnut chunks
½ cup chocolate chips
1) Grease and flour a muffin tin. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2) Peel and thoroughly mash (I mean really obliterate) the banana. Add all the ingredients except the walnuts and chips and mix well.
3) Add the walnuts and chips and stir in a few quick decisive stirs. Fill the muffin tins only alittle more than halfway.
4) Bake for 17 to 20 minutes and remove muffins right away so as to not overcook.

I Can Just Taste Fall!

September 17, 2010

carrot squashy deliciousness

Mother Nature and I are in a fight.  It’s official.  No no, I know what you’re going to say.  The weather’s been beautiful –  what could she possibly be doing to make you mad?  It’s not so much what she’s doing as much as what she did… last fall.

Yesterday morning I got a recipe from in my inbox for carrot pumpkin bars.  “Mmmmm,” I thought to myself.  Delicious!  Off to the store I went in search of a few carrots and a can of pumpkin, only to discover that none of the grocery stores carried canned pumpkin – nor had they had any since last Thanksgiving!  Apparently due to a very wet fall last year, the pumpkin crop failed, and there hasn’t been canned pumpkin to be found anywhere since.  Luckily, it’s due out on the shelves in late September!

For those of you as impatient as I am, a butternut squash will usually do the trick – thus I give you carrot squash cake!


Carrot Squash Cake

1 butternut squash (to be replaced with one large can pumpkin when it’s available again)

3 medium carrots finely grated

2 cups flour

1 Tbsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp nutmeg

1/2 tsp allspice

2 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup sugar

1/3 cup butter

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 eggs

1 batch cream cheese frosting (optional)

1)  Preheat oven to 350

2) Peel and cube butternut squash (seeds removed), place in medium sauce pan, cover with water and boil on medium high heat until tender (approximately 30-40 minutes).  Drain.

2) While the squash is cooking, mix butter, sugar, and brown sugar in large mixing bowl until crumbly.

3)  Add grated carrots, squash, and eggs to mixture and stir well.

4)  In an other bowl mix flour, cinnamon, nutmeg allspice, baking soda, and baking powder.

5)  Combine flour mixture with the rest of the ingredients

6)  Pour into 1 13*9 or 2 8 inch cake pans (well greased) and bake for 25 minutes

I happened to have some left over cream cheese frosting laying around, but this cake was delicious without it too!

Happy Birthday Muffins

September 16, 2010

blueberry muffins

Ah, Portland. A week ago, my housemate and I signed up for the amazing Organics to You service. For less than $30 per week, we receive a big box of fresh organic vegetables and fruits. The box is conveniently dropped off at our front door on Thursday afternoons. Fortuitously, our first box included a pint of fresh blueberries, just in time for my birthday. There is nothing better than waking up to homemade blueberry muffins. Blueberry is classic. (As an aside, the box also included chard with which I had never cooked. However, I have now successfully incorporated the leafy green into a stir fry and a frittata. This makes me very proud.) In any case, please do extend my birthday season with a batch of these, and enjoy them warm out of the oven.

— Little Ms. Muffin
Blueberry Muffins

1 ½ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
½ cup sugar
4 tbsp butter
¾ cups vanilla milk (or vanilla whole milk yogurt)
1 large egg
1 cup fresh blueberries
1) Grease a muffin tin and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt the four tablespoons of butter and set aside.
2) Mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
3) In a separate bowl, cream the butter and the sugar. Stir in the lemon zest, juice, milk, and egg, mixing well.
4) Pour the wet mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients. Mix with even strokes—don’t be afraid of a few small lumps. Mindfully add the blueberries a handful at a time, gently stirring until incorporated.
5) Bake for 18 minutes and remove the muffins from the tin right away so as to not overcook.