Apple Crisp Blondies

I know it's kind of a weird time of year to be posting an apple recipe but trust me, if you could see the rain we're getting today you would understand. I can't even think about lemons or rhubarb right now. We are not getting a light sprinkle of spring rain. We are getting drenched. We're in need of comfort food to warm the bones so apples it is!

This recipe is based on these apple blondies. I bet the crumbly cheddar cheese topping from this apple pie would also work, in place of my oat topping. 

Ingredients

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 apples, peeled, cored, and diced (my pieces were approximately chickpea-sized)

Topping

1/4 cup cold butter
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease 9x13-inch baking pan.

In large mixing bowl, combine melted butter, sugars, vanilla, and eggs. Stir in dry ingredients (you could sift the dry ingredients together in a separate bowl before mixing into the butter mixture but that requires time, energy, and dirtying another bowl). Batter will be quite thick.

Gently stir in apples and press mixture into the bottom of prepared pan.

In dirty mixing bowl (look, I don't have time for perfection right now, okay?), combine topping ingredients with pastry cutter, two knives, or your fingers, until butter is incorporated and you're left with pea-sized crumbs. Sprinkle evenly over batter and lightly press into the surface.

Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes until toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean. 

Enjoy with a cup of tea and the knowledge that spring has to show up at some point. Stay warm, friends. 
 

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Flourless Fudgy Chocolate (and Chickpea and Spinach) Muffins

I'm not on board with the trend of "guilt-free!" recipes. No. If I want to eat a chocolate muffin, I'm going to eat a damn chocolate muffin and not feel guilty about it. This recipe is not an attempt to make anyone feel like the food they eat is bad or good. Food has no moral value. This recipe is an attempt to trick my picky kid into eating nutritious food without him knowing. (No regrets.)

A friend posted a recipe for chickpea chocolate muffins and I've played around with the recipe to add more good stuff (spinach) and make it a little more my style (butter instead of melted coconut oil, etc.).

Grady loves these muffins. He thinks they're dessert (which yeah, added sugar) (but also protein! And spinach!). They can be a bit crumbly because they've got a delicate, fine texture, but he's quite happy to clean up all the crumbs after he's done because chocolate.

I love these muffins because they're made completely in a blender, no mixing bowls required. I don't even have a fancy high-speed blender. If your blender is strong enough to make a smoothie, it's strong enough to make these muffins lump-free.

Ingredients

1 - 540mL can chickpeas, drained and rinsed well
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk (I've used both and can't tell the difference)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large handfuls (approximately 2 cups) baby spinach leaves
chocolate chips for topping

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F.

Line muffin pan with paper liners.

Buzz all ingredients except for chocolate chips in blender until smooth. Batter will be thick.

Spoon batter into muffin pan. Top with chocolate chips.

Bake 18-20 minutes until toothpick inserted into centre comes out clean.

Makes 12 muffins.

Disclaimer: these muffins don't taste like a regular muffin made with flour. They don't taste like chickpeas or spinach, though. The texture is a little lighter and maybe spongier than a traditional muffin but they pass the picky eater taste test in our house so I'm calling it a win.

Do you bake with legumes? Hit me with your favourite recipe!

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How to Make Light and Fluffy Buttermilk Pancakes

Saturday (and, uh, Sunday) morning pancakes are a staple in our house. Grady loves to help mix the batter and is eagerly awaiting the day I let him do the flipping. For now I make him stand out of arm's reach from the hot grill but he waits, spatula in hand, hoping one day I throw him in the game.

Ingredients

3 Tbsp butter, melted
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Directions

Efficiency is the name of the game and I refuse to dirty more than one bowl for a weekend breakfast. I use my Pampered Chef batter bowl because I can melt the butter in the microwave, measure the buttermilk, and then add the remaining ingredients. A large liquid measuring cup / bowl also works.  

Whisk together melted butter, buttermilk, egg, and vanilla. Add flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Gently whisk just until moistened (overmixing will make your pancakes tough and rubbery).

Preheat grill to medium-high heat. I use a non-stick grill but if you're using stainless steel, grease with a little butter.  

Scoop batter onto grill in desired size/shape. Cook for approximately 3 minutes until bubbles form on the surface and begin to pop. Flip and cook for another 2 minutes or so until desired doneness is reached. 

Serve with toppings of choice. Grady is a purist - he likes his pancakes naked. Shawn reaches for real butter and Quebec maple syrup. My favourite (occasional!) treat topping is fresh berries and whipped cream.  

What do you like on your pancakes?  

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Brûléed Grapefruit

We went out for brunch yesterday and the menu featured brûléed  grapefruit. I didn't order it because the spot we went to didn't have a kids' menu so I had to order a breakfast plate that came with bacon so Grady would actually eat something. And then I couldn't stop thinking about the brûléed grapefruit (hashtag: pregnant lady probs).

I don't own a kitchen torch (it just seems like a bad plan for me to operate anything that spews flame) but my broiler is pretty efficient (read: I burn my nachos consistently) so I gave it a shot this morning.

First I sliced two large grapefruits in half horizontally. Then I sprinkled each half with 2 teaspoons of brown sugar. I popped them under the broiler for about five minutes (watching carefully the entire time so I didn't set the oven on fire) and took them out when the sugar was melty and bubbly.

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The verdict? I think I would have had more of a proper "crust" if I'd used a kitchen torch but the broiler worked well (if a little inconsistently in places). We had these for breakfast but I could see them as a health-adjacent dessert topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.