Tag Archives: bite me

Cinnamon Apple Streusel Muffins

2 Jan

I love baking muffins. They’re hard to mess up (unless you’re Lucy Liu in Charlie’s Angels and making “Chinese Fighting Muffins”) and you can make a zillion different kinds.  The first time I made these fantastic muffins, it was for the Hot Biscuit’s annual birthday brunch a couple of years ago. I brought two batches over to her place and they were a big hit – so much so that few were left for the birthday girl herself to have later! I have been making them ever since and I have to fight the temptation to eat them all myself.

I have tinkered with the streusel topping ratios just a bit from the original, which can be found in the Bite Me cookbook. They suggest 1/4 cup of melted butter, but I tend to use a little bit more. I find the streusel can bit a bit dry and not form the crumbly texture desired with the 1/4 cup. I would suggest starting with 1/4 c ready to go but have a bit more on hand in case you need it.

Makes 12.

Ingredients

Batter

2 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1 ts baking soda
1/2 ts kosher salt
1/2 ts cinnamon
2 c peeled, diced Granny Smith apples
1 1/2 c brown sugar
1 c buttermilk
1/2 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1 ts vanilla

Topping

1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 c  all-purpose flour
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/4 c melted butter (plus a little extra, if needed)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350F. Coat a muffin tin with cooking spray and then dust flour over the cups. Shake off any extra flour.
2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and apples. Toss gently.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg and vanilla together.  Gently stir into the dry mix.
4. Spoon the batter into the muffin tin, diving equally.
5. Mix together the brown sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Add the melted butter and stir with a fork until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the muffin batter.
6. Bake for 23-25 minutes. (To test if they are ready, insert a toothpick or knife into the muffin. If it comes out clean, you’re good to go.)
7. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack. Or to your mouth.

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Chocolate-Crusted Creamy Caramel Cheesecake

10 May

(Who likes alliteration?!)

As mentioned previously, I absolutely love the Bite Me cookbook. It has provided endless delicious recipes that have become staples in our home. One recipe in particular jumped out at me immediately when I flipped through the book in the store and that was the insane cheesecake that encompassed all the things I love in a dessert: sweetness, tartness, crunch and creaminess. I mean…really, people. It’s a supermegadeluxe cheesecake: how could it go wrong?

Happily for me, J already makes great cheesecake and I knew this would be something he’d knock outta the park. I was not wrong. We served it for Mother’s Day and, judging by the silence that befell the table (followed by a chorus of “Oh, wow” and “Damn…” and a high five between us) it was a hit.

I would definitely recommend making it the day before as it needs at least 6 hours to set up. The recipe calls for a 9″ springform pan. If yours is smaller, you can always make mini cheesecakes in a muffin in to use up the rest of the mix. (Thanks to the always reliable Hot Biscuit for both the pan and tip!)

Serves 12.

Now THAT is cheesecake.

Ingredients

Crust:
1 1/2 c Oreo cookie crumbs
1/2 c melted butter
1/4 c whipping cream
1 c semi-sweet chocolate

Filling:
4 8oz packages of cream cheese, softened
1 c sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 ts vanilla extract
2 c Skor or Heath bar, crumbled
1/4 c caramel sauce (purchased)

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 350. Wrap the inside of a 9″ springform pan with foil.
2. Combine Oreo crumbs and butter in a medium bowl. Press the mixture firmly and evenly over the bottom and halfway up the sides.
2a. In a small saucepan, bring the whipping cream to a simmer over low heat. Add semi-sweet chocolate and stir til melted. Remove from heat and pour evenly over the crust.
2b. Chill the crust in the fridge to firm while preparing the filling.
3. Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and medium speed until smooth, scraping the sides  of the bowl several times. Gradually add the sugar and continue to beat mixture. One at a time, add the eggs, scraping as needed.
3b. Using a spatula, fold in the vanilla and bits of chocolate bar bits.
3c. Pour the entire mixture into the crust and finish by spoon caramel sauce on top.
4. Place on a baking sheet in the oven and bake for 65-70 minutes. (45 or so if you’re using the muffin tins)
5. Remove from the oven and let the cheesecake cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least six hours.

Bitten by Bite Me

18 Aug

I was lucky enough to win a shopping spree at Chapters a year ago and one of the first things on my list was a plethora of cookbooks.  They’re like crack to me.  I bought books on baking, on Jamaican, Italian and southern American food and so on. One book that wasn’t initially on my list but has subsequently become my favourite cookbook of all time (sorry, Joy of Cooking. I’m sure this is blasphemy in many circles) is Julie Albert & Lisa Gnat’s fantastic Bite Me.

This book pulls off the feat of not taking itself seriously – at all – while providing incredibly delicious, accessible recipes. I have yet to make anything from this book that did not meet with rave reviews. Their Cranberry-Mango-Toasted-Pecan salad (found here!) with Dijon dressing was an instant classic. Salads can be pretty blah as, let’s face it, they are often an afterthought. But I guarantee that no one will forget this dish.  It takes a little bit of time to sugar the pecans, but the most work involved in this dish is cutting up the mango…which takes all of 2 or 3 minutes. Equally winning were the Apple Muffins with Streusel topping that I brought to a friend’s birthday brunch.

Bite Me is full of hilarious pictures, playlist suggestions for prep work, food quotes and, most importantly, page after page of flavorful, manageable recipes. I made the Herb-Encrusted Beef Tenderloin a while back which, unsurprisingly, came out beautifully despite my own timing issues. (Apparently converting cooking times isn’t my strong suit, but it all worked out in the end!) I can’t recommend it highly enough for cooks of all skill levels. My husband has promised me that he’s going to tackle the Chocolate-Crusted Creamy Caramel Cheesecake. Given the success of the previous dishes, I’m sure it will disappear within hours.

Mango, Cranberry Pecan Salad w/ Honey Mustard Dressing

16 Aug

Honestly,  the best and most crowd-pleasing salad I have  made. Borrowed from the Bite Me cookbook, which I can’t recommend highly enough!! Please note that the recipe calls for 4 cups of pecans; however, the salad does not actually need that much. Save the leftovers for a ridiculously addictive snack.

Serves 6.

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Ingredients

Toasted Pecans
4c pecan halves
1 large egg white
1 tb water
1 c sugar
1 ts cinnamon
1 ts salt

Dressing
1/4 c canola oil
1/4 c seed mustard
1/4 c honey mustard
1/4 c honey
1/4 c rice wine vinegar
2 tb orange juice
1 – 2 ts salt

Salad
10 c romaine lettuce or mixed greens
2 mangoes, diced
1/2 c  dried cranberries

Directions

1. Preheat your oven to 250F. Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with non-stick spray.
2. In a bowl, whisk the egg white and water until bubbles form. In a larger bowl, mix the sugar, cinnamon, salt and pecans. Add this mix to the egg white and water, coating all the pecans thoroughly. Spread the pecans in a single layer on the sheet and bake for one hour, stirring every 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, peel and dice your juicy, juicy mangoes and toss with the cranberries and lettuce.
4. Mix the ingredients for the dressing together.
5. Add roughly half of the pecans to the salad, along with the dressing. Proceed to snarfle it down…and you will.

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