Monday, September 08, 2008

Milk Chocolate With Almonds, I Am In Love With You and Some Healthy Muffins

So I know in my last post, I gave a recipe for the New York Times Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie that I made yesterday and used Hershey's Milk Chocolate With Almonds Bar and added extra toasted almonds and that I was saving some of the dough to chill.  Well, I baked the rest today after they chilled for a good 24 hours and I don't really think the flavor changed, but I did discover something.  I do really like a piece of dark chocolate now and then, and well, really I like all chocolate, but I think I'm partial to milk chocolate and I LOVED these cookies today, especially when I slightly underbaked a few of the cookies, or at least didn't make them too crunchy, but soft and still chewy.  The milk chocolate stayed more gooey and I really loved the crunch from the almonds, which are a nice difference from most always using pecans or walnuts in chocolate chip cookies.  So, guess that's just me.  These are GOOD!  I also realized that I really like cookie dough, okay, I really already knew that, but I really liked THIS cookie dough--at bit too much, I'd say!

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It's that time of year, or at least it's beginning TOO quickly here.  I'm talking about autumn and cooler weather.  In fact, tonight felt a little to me like the cold air that could even bring snow--NO!  I think the high today was only about 60, it rained about half the day and was super cloudy the rest.  I wonder something--why in the world does it always start raining when I'm taking Taylor to preschool and have to get out and walk him inside the building to sign him in?  It is always extra windy at his school, which sits up on a hill.  So today we had to get gas on the way to school and sure enough, it started raining while I was pumping the gas.  I'm not talking about a light drizzle here, it was pouring!  So the fun of it all, we got to the school and I had to get Taylor and Sam out of the car, hold up an umbrella and talk Sam in to holding my hand as we walked in the rainy, blistery weather, all the while the wind was blowing the umbrella inside out.  We made it inside and as Sam and I were leaving the building, he slipped on some tile that was wet right as we were going out the door and he banged his head right on the side of the door.  Ended up with a nasty gash and goose egg on his head.  Poor little Sweetie Pie!

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Don't worry, he got over it quickly, despite the picture and for some reason I think he fell and/or bonked his head more times today than I can count!  Oh, to be 18 months old!

Okay, so with the cooler weather, I just couldn't help it, this morning I opened a large can of pumpkin puree and put a little in my daily oatmeal.  It was good!  Then I made some other things and used more of the pumpkin.  Welcome to fall!

Banana Pumpkin Zucchini Bran Muffins!  Whoa!--adapted from a recipe on Allrecipes called Banana Bran Zucchini Bread

1/4 cup pumpkin puree

1 ripe banana, mashed

1/2 cup (equals 2 eggs) Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk

1/2 cup maple syrup (just shy of 1/2 cup as I ran out)

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (to make up for the maple syrup-would have probably been fine without it) raw cane sugar

1 scant tablespoon vanilla extract

2 cups grated zucchini

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour

1 cup unprocessed bran

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1 scant tablespoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon cloves (I omitted as I didn't have any)

1/4 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon allspice (I think this was a little strong for me and would probably leave it out next time)

1/2 cup toasted walnuts, chopped

Combine pumpkin, mashed banana and eggs in medium sized bowl, whisk together.  Add maple syrup, sugar and vanilla and combine.  Stir in zucchini.  In another bowl, add dry ingredients and nuts and whisk together to sift.  Add dry to wet and stir with spatula just until moistened.  Bake in preheated 350 degree oven in muffin tins coated with cooking spray.  I made 24 mini muffins and four regular sized muffins.  The mini muffins baked for 12-13 minutes and the larger ones baked for 15-16 minutes. 

I made a quick crumb topping for the four large ones.  1 tablespoon whole wheat pastry flour, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, 1 tablespoon oats, 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts  All mixed together in a small bowl and sprayed with butter flavored cooking spray just until slightly moistened.  Sprinkle each of the four muffins with the topping and spray them again with a little cooking spray. 

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These muffins are full of flavor and nutrition and are moist and tasty as well as low fat.  They were a great way to use up some pumpkin, a ripe banana AND some zucchini!

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AND THEN...still had more pumpkin, so I whipped up a half batch of my favorite pumpkin cookies (with chocolate chips--is there any other way?)  I got this recipe years ago from a hilarious gal who I met during my single days living in Utah.  Every time she came around, she had me rolling with laughter.  She was just the type to always say something funny at just the right time and to make you feel at ease.  I have not seen her since the early 90's, but will always be grateful to have this recipe.

Kathy Merrill's Punkin Cookies (She called them punkin, so I do!)  I halved this recipe today, but here is the full recipe.

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, softened

1 1/2 cups punkin puree

3 large eggs (I used 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk)

3 cups flour (today I added an extra 1/4 cup flour to the half recipe)--used unbleached all purpose

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon nutmeg

2-3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cloves (I omitted as I didn't have any)  added a touch of ginger instead

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside. 

In bowl of mixer, cream together butter and sugars.  Add eggs and punkin.  Blend together well, scrape sides of bowl.  In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together.  Add to wet ingredients and mix together well, but do not overmix.  Add chocolate chips and stir with rubber spatula to combine.  Drop tablespoonfuls on baking sheets and bake for 12-14 minutes.  Let sit on baking sheet for 3 minutes before removing to cooling rack. 

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Soft/moist, chocolatey and just the right amount of spice, these cookies are classic and taste great!  Coming soon, another pumpkin recipe--what, it was the extra large can of puree, there's still more! ;)

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7 comments:

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Oh poor Sam! Here we still have ok weather, althoug last week we also had some stupid rain.
Those muffins! Wow, what a great way to eat all the veggies! They look great, I allways like when you "health-pimp" a recipe! The punkin ccc are also cool, never had pumpkin in cookies...

~Priscilla~ said...

yummy, that all looks delicious. hope your little boy feels better!

Shanbanan said...

I love me some Punkin Cookies too. But my preferred add in is white chocolate chips. I don't much care for white chocolate alone or as the lone chocolate add in (usually want semi-sweet or milk or bitter to go along with it), but in Punkin cookies, it's a taste sensation. I highly advise trying it. Love your blog!

Best,
Shan

Lisa Ernst said...

My favorite add in for pumpkin cookies is also white chocolate chips. But these look really good -- kinda tall and cakey. Sam's such a doll, I always get a smile looking at his photos, except when he's crying. Glad he bounces back quickly!

Katrina said...

I'm going to have to try the white chocolate in punkin cookies, never have.

Fun With The Franklins said...

(Warning: Long comment ahead!) I was inspired by your post today and broke out a can of pumpkin. I added some to a honey bran muffin mix I got in Amish country and then to a box of corn muffin mix, just for the added vitamins. Then I had decided to make chocolate chip cookies, the Radical Rob recipe, and I had a bit more pumpkin left. So I halved the amount of butter and added the pumpkin instead (about 1/2 cup). I have to say, they turned out pretty darn good. A bit more cakey, but still very flavorful, and more healthy too! Thanks for the inspiration to change up a recipe, and for reminding me that it's never too early to break out the pumpkin!

Max and Deborah said...

These punkin cookies bring back old times. I remember Kathy. She was hilarious. Love the cookie. Bummer about little Sammy. I hope the goose egg heals quickly. It i amazing how quickly fall kicks in. I love all the colors.