Friday, December 14, 2012

Blueberry Breakfast muffins to share with friends

Childhood friends are forever

Every time I want to treat the girls I make these succulent blueberry muffins. Especially when M.J. sleeps over. Since first grade my daughter Lola has been friends with M.J.   
I highly encouraged their friendship as it was a healthy and positive relationship. M.J. is a very sweet, polite and well mannered little girl and always encourages and helps Lola is her studies. They seldom fight and always have a good time. 

When I see both of them playing together or when M.J. spends a weekend with us, I remember my own childhood friends who live far away. How we had fun playing, talking and sharing. I miss my childhood friends. We are all scattered around the world today. Some are in England, others in Dubai, Egypt or other parts of the world. I miss them all. The distance is not easy, but I try to keep in touch as much as possible. 

Lola and M.J. are proof that once you have a true friend, it is for life. Last year we traveled to the Dominican Republic where we spent 10 month. Lola was heartbroken. Both girls cried their hearts out, as they said their goodbyes. At that time we did not know how long our adventure was going to last. In the summer we decided to come back to Montreal and as soon as the two girls saw each other it was as though they had never been apart. Their friendship had survived time, space as well as new relationships. 

So to all friends in the world here is a recipe for you to share and enjoy together. A muffin recipe that is easy to make and always comes out perfect. Light with a hint of sweetness. You won’t be able to resist eating two. If you don’t have blueberries, you could use any berries you have. 

Breakfast Blueberry Muffins
(Adapted from Barefoot Contessa back to basics)

Makes 16 regular sized muffins

·        1 ¾ cups all purpose flour
·        ⅔ cups granulated sugar
·        2 ¼ teaspoon baking powder
·        ½ teaspoon baking soda
·        ½ teaspoon kosher salt
·        1 cup buttermilk, shaken
·        ¼ cup butter (½ stick) melted and slightly cooled
·        1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
·        1 extra large egg
·        1 teaspoon vanilla extract
·        1 ¾ cups fresh blueberries (or frozen, UNTHAWED)
·        2 tablespoons turbinado or raw sugar

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line muffin tins with muffin paper.

2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix with a fork. Add blueberries and toss all together.

3. In a separate bowl mix buttermilk, butter, lemon zest, vanilla extract and eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. (If you don’t have buttermilk, you can use milk instead, mixed with the juice of one lemon.) Mix until JUST blended (don't over mix as you will make tough muffins.)

4. Scoop into prepared cups, filling them until just full.

5. Sprinkle tops with turbinado sugar (or any medium grain raw sugar will do) for extra crunch. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Enjoy!

Recette en français:

Imprimer la recette ici

Muffins aux Bleuets « Bon Matin »
(Recette adapté du livre Barefoot Contessa back to basics)

Pour 16 muffins de taille régulière

· 1 ¾ tasse de farine tout usage
· ⅔ tasse de sucre granulé
· 2 ¼ cuillère à café de poudre à pâte
· ½ cuillère à café de bicarbonate de soude
· ½ cuillère à café de sel de mer
· 1 tasse de babeurre (sinon 1 tasse de lait avec le jus d’un citron)
· ¼ tasse de beurre (bâton ½) fondu et légèrement refroidi
· 1 cuillère à café de zeste de citron râpé
· 1 œuf extra large
· 1 cuillère à café d'extrait de vanille
· 1 ¾ tasses de bleuets frais (ou surgelés, décongelés)
· 2 cuillères à soupe de sucre brut ou sucre turbinado

1. Préchauffer le four à 375 degrés. Posez des caissettes en papier dans les moules à muffin.

2. Mélangez avec une fourchette la farine, le sucre, la poudre à pâte, le bicarbonate de soude et le sel dans un grand bol. Ajoutez ensuite les bleuets et mélangez le tous délicatement pour ne pas écraser les fruits.

3. Dans un autre bol, mélanger le babeurre, le beurre, le zeste de citron, l'extrait de vanille et les œufs. Incorporer le mélange de babeurre au mélange de farine. (Si vous n'avez pas de babeurre, vous pouvez utiliser du lait à la place, mélangé avec le jus d'un citron.) Avec une cuillère en bois ou en silicone mélangez juste assez pour que tous les ingrédients soient bien incorporés. Trop mélanger durcira la pâte de vos muffins!

4. Verser la pâte dans les moules préparés, en les remplissant jusqu'au trois quart.

5. Saupoudrer avec le sucre brut pour un effet craquant. Cuire au four pendant 20-25 minutes. Ils seront prêts quand leur couleur prendra un beau teint doré. A partager sans réserve. Bon appétit!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Remembering autumn with a Caramel Apple Butter Spread

After 10 days of being in bed with a bad influenza and high fever I can finally write my 2 posts. I was so eager to share with you these recipes.

I have for you today a yummy and easy recipe for all the left over apples that you did not bake with or eaten after your last apple picking trip.

The beautiful jewel color autumn leaves in Canada
In the end of October we went apple picking at the Mont-Saint-Grégoire. Mont-Saint-Grégoire is a municipality in the province of Quebec, Canada, located in the Regional County Municipality of Le Haut-Richelieu and it is about a one hour drive from Montreal.
Fallen maple leaves in all the shades and hues of autumn. Nature in all its glory!
I was a beautiful sunny day in spite of the chilly wind. Marie J., Lola’s friend, came with us to pick apples. The three kids had so much fun running in the fields, picking apples, eating the apples and then climbing everywhere. It was a joy to watch them and take pictures. It is magical watching kids at play. They are so carefree and intense. Anything makes them happy. We should learn from our kids the joy of living and appreciating the moment.

The warm autumn sun was slightly warming my face while sitting on a wooden bench and daydreaming. The nature was so beautiful with the warm multicolored leaves falling around me. I love autumn with its colors, aromas and warmth.

The days passed by and winter came. The big bag of apples had still some apples left in it. Most of the apples were starting to lose their crispiness.
I had made several recipes and put apples in the lunch bags of my girls.
So with the leftovers I decided to make apple caramel butter.

I did not want to make apples compote or apple sauce. My kids used to love them younger but now they are not interested in these recipes anymore. I wanted to make something richer that would be savored all winter long. Not too sweet nor too heavy. So I decided to make Apple Caramel Butter which is rich in flavor, creamy and so versatile. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as we do. You can use pears for the recipe if you like. It would be equally good. Hope to get your comments.

Apple Caramel Butter Spread
Makes 4-5 small jars

You will need:
10-12 apples (Cortland, Golden or McIntosh)
1 lemon
1 cup of butter (about 220 gr)
2 cups of raw sugar (or caster sugar)
1 pinch of salt (1/4 tsp)
1 tbs vanilla
Half a pod of vanilla (optional)
1 tbs brandy (optional)

Peel, core and cut the apples and put in a big bowl of water added with the lemon juice. Water and lemon will help the apples keep their creamy color and not oxidize.
In a medium pot add the butter and sugar and let simmer on medium heat till it starts caramelising (about 5-7 minutes).
Add the apples to the caramel and let cook till you don’t see whole pieces anymore. Then add the pinch of salt, the vanilla and brandy. Let cook for 1 more minute then put in a mixer and puree.
Put your caramel apple butter in jars and enjoy. You can eat them with brioche, bread slices or add to the bottom or your apples pie. Simply delicious.
The caramel apple butter will keep for a long time if you sterilize your jars. It is worth the effort and not that complicated to do. Buy new jars and their covers and follow the method shown in the video below (found on youtube): 
I don’t have the basket that goes in the pot and I have no problem canning without it. So don’t worry much about it. Hope you enjoy the recipe and start canning your food. Bon appétit, Sahten, Enjoy!


Coin Francophone:

Beurre au caramel de pommes
Donne 4-5 petits bocaux en vitre

Vous aurez besoin de:
10-12 pommes (Cortland, McIntosh ou Golden)
1 citron
1 t de beurre (environ 220 gr)
2 t de sucre brut
1 pincée de sel (1/4 cuillère à café)
1 cs de vanille
½ gousse de vanille (facultatif)
1 cs de brandy (facultatif)

Pelez, épépinez et coupez les pommes et les mettre dans un grand bol d'eau additionnée de jus de citron. L’eau citronnée aidera les pommes à conserver leurs couleurs et elles n'oxyderont pas.
Dans une casserole moyenne, mettez le beurre et le sucre et laissez mijoter à feu moyen jusqu'à ce qu'il commence à caraméliser (environ 5-7 minutes).
Ensuite ajoutez les pommes au caramel et laissez cuire jusqu'à ce que vous ne voyez plus de morceaux. Ajoutez alors une pincée de sel, la vanille et le brandy. Laissez cuire pendant 1 minute puis mettre le tout dans un mélangeur et réduire en purée (retirer la gousse avant, si vous en avez mis).
Mettez votre beurre au caramel de pommes dans des bocaux. Vous pouvez mangez ce beurre avec vos brioches ou croissants. Les rajouter à vos tartines et toasts. Ou même garnir vos tartes aux pommes et s’en servir comme appareil. C’est simplement délicieux.  Bon Appétit!

Le beurre au caramel de pommes se conserve pendant longtemps si vous stérilisez vos pots. Pour ce faire il vous faudra des pots neufs et suivre la méthode de la vidéo ici-haut.
Le panier utilisé dans cette vidéo est pratique mais pas nécessaire. Moi-même j’en ai jamais utilisé et je réussi toujours mes conserves. Donc pas de problèmes et pas de panique. C’est vraiment facile faire des conserves. Il faut seulement un peu de patience. J'espère que vous apprécierez la recette et que vous tenteriez la méthode de conservation.