The Cooking Chronicles: Sweet Treats

I don’t bake sweet treats as often as I want to – most of the products out of the oven are more utilitarian in nature – muffins or scones to be taken for breakfast and the like. So it’s nice to have a reason to do so, and visits and occasions are some of the best excuses!

Muffins that Taste Like Doughnuts

Out of Muffin Mania (the same book that gave us Best Ever Banana Muffins), came a recipe for muffins that taste like doughnuts (the name reminds me of Conan’s “puppies dressed as cats” segment, heh).

I decided to make them just before we were to drop by Grandma Male’s house one afternoon. They were easy to make, and produced six large muffins – just enough for us to taste together, with some leftovers for Grandma Male.

Muffins that Taste like Doughnuts

Muffins that taste like doughnuts

The texture reminded us of store-bought cake doughnuts, and with a topping of cinnamon sugar, they did taste a little like doughnuts. Next time, I’d be apt to coat the entire muffin in melted butter before a quick shake in a plastic bag filled with cinnamon sugar (instead of just sprinkling the tops with the topping mixture).

Oatmeal Cookies

Mack loves oatmeal raisin cookies, so it was about time I made some for him. I tried Mark Bittman’s recipe, particularly great because it lists alternative ingredients to easily adapt it to vegetarian and vegan standards.

In place of butter, I used canola oil, and instead of nuts, I added chocolate, but other than that, I stuck pretty close to the traditional cookie recipe.

The results were okay – though chock full of oats, raisins and chocolate chips, the dough itself seemed more crumbly than usual, perhaps a result of the oil vs. butter substitution. There also wasn’t enough hints of spice, so in all, the cookies were a bit bland. I’d definitely play up the cinnamon, nutmeg and all spice next time.

Oatmeal Cookies

Oatmeal cookies

Mack liked the cookies though, and the recipe made a large enough batch that we were even able to freeze some for a rainy day (as Bittman directs). Once the bag is done, I’ll be able to make an even tastier batch!

The Cooking Chronicles: Breakfast Banana Muffins

Every family seem to have that one go-to cookbook for baked goods, so used that the spine is worn, the pages tabbed and wrinkled. For my family, when it came to muffins anyway, that cookbook was Company’s Coming Muffins & More. For Mack’s family, it was Muffin Mania, by Cathy Prange & Joan Pauli.

Though I’m not giving up Jean Pare anytime soon (her zucchini muffins are a particular favourite), Grandma Male gave me a copy of Muffin Mania last year, so appreciated because I know how much the recipes are treasured by their family.

Muffin Mania

I’ve replicated a few recipes from the book, but I had yet to venture into banana territory until recently (banana muffins are Mack’s favourite). It never really occurred to me to make muffins in the morning – but with a pot of coffee brewing and ready to sip while the muffins are in the oven, they really are a wonderful way to start the day.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

First up was a recipe for banana oatmeal muffins. The inclusion of oats certainly made it a heartier muffin, and did add a layer of texture, but both Mack and I agreed that we preferred the more cake-like banana muffin. Next.

Banana Oatmeal Muffins

Banana oatmeal muffins

Best Ever Banana Muffins

The best ever banana muffins was a winner, and though I still don’t believe Mack when he says they taste like the ones his Mum makes, I have to admit, they are pretty good. Most surprising to me is the fact that the recipe doesn’t call for any spices – the usual cinnamon and/or nutmeg is conspicuously absent. And yet, they really are the best banana muffins I’ve had – moist, soft, and so fragrant.

Best Ever Banana Muffins

Best ever banana muffins

They’re the best reason I’ve found to let your bananas brown.