Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Honey Cornbread

       I don't recall ever eating cornbread when I was little. I don't know if that's because I live in the upper Mid-West and it's not a common staple, or for any other random reason. Nevertheless, it's become one of my favorite dinner additions. I used to use the simple Jiffy mixes, but then I discovered Krusteaz's Honey Cornbread which immediately became my preference. Actually, I still use it all the time; sometimes a person just needs super-simplicity instead of just simplicity. Speaking of which, that's exactly what this recipe is--simple. Stir all the ingredients together, pour the batter in a greased pan, bake, then eat. Voila! I particularly like this recipe because of the honey. It keeps the cornbread moist, sweet, and delicious. Stored in an air tight container it can last several days, too.

Honey Cornbread
recipe from

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 stick butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey
--Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
--In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt. Then add the whole milk, eggs, melted butter, and honey. Stir until evenly mixed.
*If you want you can mix the dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls and then combine the two bowls together, but I found it unnecessary.*
--Grease and 8x8 pan, cast iron skillet, or muffin tins; pour the cornbread batter evenly into the pan.

*If making muffins, this recipe makes 12. I had a 12 inch skillet I poured my (doubled) batter in to.*

--Bake for 15 minutes, until golden.

--Enjoy =)

Happy Baking!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Honey Pumpkin Muffins

     It's hard to believe it's already the fall season isn't it? I don't know about you, but summer time goes by way too quickly for me. But saying goodbye to days spent at the lake, splashing around in the water, and drinking freshly squeezed lemonades isn't so terrible when I remember they days that are now upon us. Light jackets or sweat shirts, hot apple cider, crisp fall breezes, beautiful turning leaves, hay rides, and corn mazes--just a few of my favorite parts of my favorite season. Fitting right into all of this: pumpkin. To me, pumpkin equals fall. Therefore, in the spirit of embracing the future instead of mourning the past I bring you Honey Pumpkin Muffins! These have become some of my favorite fall muffins, and I think the uniqueness of the honey does that. Granted, the honey flavor itself is very subtle and you probably wouldn't know it's there unless somebody told you, but the muffins are sweet and pumpkin-y. They are very moist and have a density that I think muffins should have. After all, they have to be different from a fluffy cupcake somehow. The only thing I would potentially do differently do differently is make a different sort of streusel topping--a more crumbly one--though I did enjoy the polka dot effect the streusel I used provided.

Honey Pumpkin Muffins
recipe slightly adapted from

  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup pure honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 cup chopped, toasted walnuts (optional)

 Note: This recipe takes very well to doubling. If using canned pumpkin, this will also use up the whole 15oz can instead of just half.

Streusel Topping
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
--Preheat oven to 350°F and line a standard-size muffin/cupcake tin (or jumbo muffin/cupcake tin) with paper liners.
--In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and freshly ground nutmeg. Set it aside for now.
--Using a hand or stand mixer, beat the butter until it's light. Then beat in the honey, egg, and pumpkin.
Tip: Spray the measuring cup with cooking spray before measuring out the honey. This will allow the honey to slide right out of the cup instead of you standing there fighting to scrape the last globs of honey out.
-- Gradually add the flour mixture and mix until just blended. If using walnuts, stir those in now too.
--Fill the lined muffin tins with the batter, 3/4 of the way full if you want big muffin tops. Otherwise just do half full.

 --If using the streusel: combine the flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Then cut in the butter. (If the butter is too soft the streusel won't be crumbly but will look like the pieces in the above picture. It still tastes good though.) Sprinkle as much desired streusel on top of the raw muffins.
-- Bake at 350°F for 25 to 30 minutes for standard-size muffins, or 35-40 minutes for jumbo muffins. A toothpick inserted in center of a muffin will come out clean when the muffin is done. Remove the muffins from the tin and put 'em on a wire rack to cool/prepare to be eaten.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Honey Challah

       This was so much fun to make! Some people get the "foodie jitters" over making things like salted caramel frosting, beautiful pork roasts, or any homemade pudding. Not this girl. Obviously those scrumptious delicacies can be divine, but so far things like that haven't made me jump up and down in the middle of my kitchen like a giddy little school girl. But I tell you what, when I was rolling out this Challah, braiding it, and watching it bake, I truly was a victim of the foodie jitters. First of all, how beautiful does it look?! I'm so proud! (Might I mention this was my first time ever braiding six strands of dough into one loaf.) It browned up perfectly, in my not-so-humble opinion. Secondly, the smell was deliciously intoxicating. Not kidding. It permeated the entire house, upstairs and down. In fact, because I was baking in the middle of the night--when ya get an urge, give in I say--the sweet aroma even woke up my mom and grandma who was visiting. That's how awesome and intense the smell was. Since this made a rather large loaf, I cut about a third of it off and brought it over to my boyfriend's house with the intention of his whole family trying a little bit or eating it with dinner. Well, that back fired. After he tasted it, he claimed the entire 9-ish inch portion for himself. And he ate it. All at once. If the way to a man's heart truly is through his stomach, I'm pretty sure I got my man hook, line, and sinker.

Gorgeous isn't it?

Honey Challah
recipe from

  • 1 package (1/4 oz.) active dry yeast
  • 1-1/4 cups warm water, divided
  • 5-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted

egg wash
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of water

--In a small bowl or cup, combine the yeast and a 1/4 cup of warm water (about 110-115 degrees). Let this stand for about 10 minutes while the yeast gets nice and frothy.
--In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Then add the honey, the two eggs, the melted butter, and the proofed yeast. Stir until well combined. Now stir in the remaining cup of water, a little at a time. You don't want soupy dough; depending on the day you won't need all the water.

--On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Then place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and cover the bowl with a towel. Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place until it has doubled in size (about an hour).

--After this first rising is complete, punch down the dough and let it rise again until doubled (approximately another hour).

--After the second rising, punch down the dough again. If you want to braid your Challah, separate the dough into strands (mine had 6). Braid away!

If you want to know how to braid a 6 strand loaf go here. Just remember, "over two, under one, over two".

--Place the braided loaf on a greased baking sheet, and then brush the egg wash (mix together the egg yolk and tablespoon of water) over the formed Challah.

--Once again, let the Challah rise until almost doubled in size. (Only about 20 minutes this time.)

--Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 350°F.

-- After the dough has doubled, bake for 35-40 minutes. The Challah will be golden brown and hollow sounding when the underside is tapped. Careful, it's hot.

--Do your best to let the Challah cool before slicing it up. If you can't resist, nobody will care unless you're taking pictures ;)

Happy Baking!