Archive for April, 2011


Maple-Date-Bacon Muffins

Update: I changed the title, after realizing that these muffins no longer contained oatmeal.

These muffins are the third draft of a recipe I developed to serve at Social Media Breakfast Ottawa (#smbottawa on Twitter). (Draft 2 of the recipe was served there; draft 3 is nearing final draft status.) It was a flavour combination that recently got stuck in my head, thanks largely to all I’d been hearing about Marysol’s bacon-date brioche, which I have yet to try. I find these to be a great breakfast muffin – they’re hearty, and have a good balance between salty and sweet.


Maple, Date and Praline Bacon Muffins


1/2 cup Red Fife flour, freshly milled if possible

1 cup rye flakes

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tbsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

 generous pinch of cinnamon

4 tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs

8 tbsp maple syrup

3/4 cup chopped pitted honey dates

2/3 cup crumbled pralined bacon (slightly burned bits are okay here. They amplify the smokiness of the bacon.)


Preheat oven to 375º F and line a muffin tin with paper liners.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the rye flakes and Red Fife flour and toast until fragrant and lightly coloured, anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, mix together the rye flakes, Red Fife flour, and buttermilk until completely combined. Let this mixture sit while you prepare the rest of the recipe. This will soften the hard grains, resulting in a lighter, fluffier muffin.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Whisk to combine.

In another bowl or large measuring cup, combine oil, eggs, and maple syrup. Stir this mixture and the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the chopped dates. Fill muffin cups 1/3 full. Scatter bacon evenly into muffin cups, reserving some to garnish muffins. Fill muffin cups with remaining batter and garnish with bacon.

Bake muffins until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 18 – 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins.


Vegan Blackberry Coconut Lime Muffins

For Social Media Breakfast 22, I decided to branch out into more accessible muffins. This was my first attempt at veganizing (that’s a word, right?) a baked good, and I used a mixture of vinegar and baking soda as my egg substitute.

To my surprise, this was one of the first flavours to go! The muffin is slightly tangy from the vinegar and the lime juice, but the sweetness of the blackberries cuts through it nicely. I find blackberry and lime to be a wonderfully matched flavour pairing, and decided to give it a bit of a tropical flair and some additional texture with flaked coconut. Next time, I may try one of my favourite flavour trios: blackberry, lime, and kiwi fruit. I’m not sure how well kiwi fruit would hold up to baking. Only one way to find out…


1 cup coconut milk

1 tbsp lime juice

3/4 cup grated palm sugar

1/2 cup canola oil

2 tbsp vinegar

2 tsp baking soda

seeds of one vanilla bean

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 to 2 tsp lime zest

2 cups all-purpose wheat flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch of kosher salt

1 1/2 cups blackberries

1/2 cup flaked coconut, toasted


Preheat oven to 375ºF and line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Combine canola oil, coconut oil, palm sugar, vanilla seeds, vanilla extract, and lime zest. Whisk until it’s as light and fluffy as you can get it.

In a separate bowl, sift together flour and baking powder. Whisk in salt.

Mix together the vinegar and baking soda (this acts as a substitute for 2 eggs). Allow to get fizzy, then add to the liquid mixture and stir to combine.

Add liquid ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until just combined. Stir in the blackberries and toasted coconut, reserving some for garnish.

Divide batter among muffin cups. Top each with a blackberry and a few flakes of coconut.

Makes 12 muffins.

Update: I’m thrilled to be included in the Sweet As Sugar Cookies link party!



Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Orange Blueberry Muffins


Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, one of my favourite new cookbooks.

For Social Media Breakfast Ottawa, there are a number of attendees who need to avoid gluten and dairy. I wanted to avoid any recipe calling for xanthan gum or guar gum, and go with easier-to-find ingredients. I wound up using this guideline for a gluten-free flour blend that can replace up to 2 cups of flour in most baked goods. I think that if I had whipped the egg whites to soft peaks, it would have helped the structure even more.

1/4 cup blanched, sliced almonds

zest of 2 oranges

3/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1/4 cup almond milk

2 egg whites, beaten until frothy

2 tbsp canola oil

2 tbsp almond oil

1/4 cup almond meal

2 cups brown rice flour and tapioca starch blend (see guideline link, above)

1/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup honey

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Additional sliced almonds, for garnish

Preheat oven to 375º F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin.

Heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the sliced almonds and toast until lightly golden and fragrant. Set aside to cool while putting together the muffin batter.

Whisk together zest, orange juice, almond milk, canola oil, and almond oil until smoothly combined.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the gluten free flour blend, the ground almonds, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and toasted sliced almonds.

Add the frothy egg whites to theliquid mixture and mix gently to combine. Stir into the dry ingredients, mixing until combined. I’d have to verify this, but I think gluten-free batters can take being overbeaten, as they don’t develop the gluten that can make overbeaten baked goods taste tough.

Stir in the blueberries.

Divide the muffin batter among the muffin tins, filling the cups almost to the top. Garnish with additional sliced almonds, if desired. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool before serving.

Makes 12 muffins.


Mary Poppins Pizza

Because it’s practically perfect in every way.

We had this pizza for dinner last night, and through a confluence of fortuitous events, it was one of the best pizzas we’ve ever made. Natural light was all but gone by the time I wanted to photograph it, but I was too hungry to keep leftovers for later documentation. It’s a simple pepperoni pizza, but the texture was exactly as I like my pizzas to be: crispy, without being too crunchy to bite through easily, and the toppings didn’t all slide off in one mouthful. A lot of this has to do with the technique we used – it’s the same technique used for pizzas on the grill. Since our barbeque needs a tune-up, we made do with the home oven. The thing that would have pushed this over the edge would be some Chris Brothers pepperoni, but that’ll have to wait until my next trip to Nova Scotia.

Practically Perfect Pizza Dough

adapted from a recipe by Roger Mooking

makes enough for 2 large pizzas

1 cup all-purpose spelt flour

1/2 cup red fife flour

2 1/4 cups all-purpose wheat flour

1 tbsp salt

1 cup tepid water

1/4 cup sweet white wine (I used a German wine for this)

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp instant yeast

1 tbsp honey

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, blend flours and salt.

In a liquid measuring cup, combine tepid water, sweet white wine, olive oil, honey, and yeast. Let sit for a few minutes, until yeast activates and thickens the mixture slightly. (It being instant yeast, this step isn’t really necessary, but I think it develops better flavour.) With the mixer running on low, slowly pour the yeast mixture into the flour mixture. When combined, increase speed to high and let the dough knead for about 8 minutes. You should be able to stretch the dough quite a bit before it tears.

Transfer the dough to an oiled bowl and let rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The dough is ready when it doesn’t spring back when pressed. Divide into two. Both pizzas may be made at once, or half the dough may be frozen for later use.


1/2 ball stretched mozzarella, shredded

1/3 cup tomato sauce of your choice 

1/2 recipe Practically Perfect Pizza Dough

Place a pizza stone in the oven. Preheat oven to 500ºF. Make sure all topping ingredients are prepared and ready to go.

On a pastry marble or large, smooth cutting board, stretch pizza dough into a rough circle. When the oven has preheated, place dough on the hot pizza stone. Bake for 5 minutes – the dough will bubble up a bit. Remove pizza dough from the oven and flip the dough, so the crisp side faces upwards (this can either be directly on the pizza stone, working quickly, or on the same surface the dough was stretched on). Arrange sauce, cheese, and toppings over the cooked side of the pizza crust. Return pizza to the oven and bake about 7 minutes more, until cheese is melted and pepperoni begins to curl slightly. Set broiler to high and broil for about 2 minutes more, until the cheese begins to brown. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before cutting into pieces.