Wednesday, January 30, 2013

52 Cookbooks Challenge #2: Easy Breakfast & Brunch: Simple Recipes for Morning Treats

When my husband and I moved in together, I realized I was going to have to become the "Queen of the Brunch". My husband worked the 4 p.m. to midnight shift, Wednesday to Sunday. If we wanted to entertain together, it would have to be on the weekend before he left for work at 2 p.m. This means Brunch.  The next logical step to becoming a Queen is to get a killer cookbook, so I hopped online and ordered Easy Breakfast & Brunch: Simple Recipes for Morning Treats by Susannah Blake.

The cookbook arrived and I remember thinking how bright and fresh everything looked. Then, the poor thing went up on my cookbook shelf and became part of the d├ęcor. Not because it didn’t have viable recipes (as I have rediscovered) but more that we didn’t host as many brunches as I had planned.  Besides, cooking for guests at that early morning hour usually meant I needed something brainless, like my go-to frittatas or everyone’s favorite, Farmer’s Casserole.

This weekend, my mom was visiting me while my dad was in Brooklyn. I handed her the cookbook and said, "What do you want to eat?" She chose the Pecan and Chocolate Muffins. Given the lack of preparation I had allowed myself for the recipe, we substituted walnuts (my favorite match with chocolate anyway).

Walnut & Chocolate Muffins
Adaptation of the recipe from Easy Breakfast & Brunch: Simple Recipes for Morning Treat

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 ounces walnuts, chopped small*/**
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoon butter, melted
3 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate chips*
Chopped walnuts to decorate**

* I use a small scale I got a weight loss meeting years ago. You can get digital scales for $20 and I think when you are dealing with items of strange sizes, it’s better to weight anyway.

** The original recipe called for 2 1/2 ounces of ground pecans and chopped pecans to decorate.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

In a small bowl, sift flour and baking powder together. Add walnuts and chocolate chips and mix to coat. In a medium bowl, mix together brown sugar, egg, butter and maple syrup and beat well. Add dry ingredients to bowl and mix to combine.

Spoon batter into a 12-muffin tin with cupcake liners. Fill them up generously, making sure to use all the batter (muffin will not rise so much that they spill over). Sprinkle with chopped walnuts.

Cook muffins for 18-20 minutes or until light golden brown and toothpick comes out clean. Cool and serve slightly warm, no need for butter.

These muffins can be made ahead of time and warmed in the oven to save time on party day. They are also good for work meetings – perfect with a cup of coffee or nice milky black tea.

Makes 12 muffins 

Everything is easy enough to mix by hand.


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