Sindulgence: Bikini Muffins

bikini muffins

Thankfully these muffins aren’t made from bikinis, but they’re skinny enough to make sure you won’t bust out of yours. Any time you can squeeze a vegetable or fruit into a treat, you are staying ahead of the curve (get it?) with more nutrients and fibre. Feel free to substitute grated carrots for the zucchini, as both contain precious vitamin A that nourishes the skin and plumps the lips.

Preparation Time: 30 mins
Preheat Temperature: 350F

INGREDIENTS:
3 eggs
1 2/3 cups organic cane sugar
1/2 cup grape seed oil
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup almond butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose organic flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat organic flour
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp nutmeg
5 cups coarsely shredded zucchini (divided)

DIRECTIONS:
In bowl, beat eggs with hand whisk or electric beaters until light. Gradually add sugar, oil and butter, followed by almond butter and vanilla.

In separate bowl, use a fork to mix together all-purpose and whole-wheat flours, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add only 3 cups of zucchini (reserve remaining 2 cups).

Add to sugar mixture and beat until smooth.

Spread remaining 2 cups zucchini onto a baking sheet to dry in oven for 10 minutes before baking muffins. Set aside to cool.

Spoon into non-stick muffin cups until three-quarters full. Bake at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes for mini muffins, 15 to 20 for full size muffins.

Carefully pile dried, grated zucchini onto muffins and allow to cool before removing from muffin pan.

Serves 24

Sindulgence: Sin-amon Cake

sindulgence-cake

Recipe by Theresa Albert.

Ancient and primitive people have known for millennia that spices like cinnamon and cardamom contribute rich and mysterious nourishment, enhancing the very essence of life. Fascinating that a product of tree bark and the unripe seed pod of a small plant can be baked into an exquisite temptation I call Sin-amon Cake. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and enjoy with a cup of rooibos tea.


INGREDIENTS

1 cup cake and pastry flour
1 cup organic whole wheat flour
1-1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 pinch cayenne pepper
1 pinch ground allspice
1 tsp cracked cardamom
1/2 cup butter, softened at room temperature
1-1/4 cup organic cane sugar (plus more for topping)
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS
Sift flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cayenne pepper and allspice together.

Place cardamom pods on a cutting board and use the bottom of a heavy skillet to crush them. Discard green pod covers and crack remaining black seeds. Add half to flour mixture, set aside remaining half to top cake.

Use a blender to mix together butter, sugar and eggs in a separate bowl.

Add flour mixture to butter mixture, one cup at a time, alternating with buttermilk until it is well blended but not over-mixed.

Pour into two 8 inch buttered cake pans.

Bake for 20 minutes then sprinkle top with a few teaspoons of cane sugar mixed with remaining cracked cardamom and bake for further 5-10 minutes.

Serve topped with real whipped cream.

Sindulgence: Caramel Brownies

Caramel Brownies2

Salty, sweet, chewy and chocolateythese squares of sticky goodness are easy to make and form the best brownie edges you will ever bite into. Enjoy them alone or warmed and topped with an oozy scoop of your favourite ice cream. Oh, and just try not to eat the whole pan at once…

Preheat 350°F

INGREDIENTS:
4oz unsweetened chocolate (99+% cacao)
3/4 cup butter
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp salt, divided
3 large eggs
1 cup flour
6oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
14oz caramels, unwrapped
1/4 cup heavy cream

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13 x 9 pan with foil and grease with cooking spray or butter.

Place chocolate and butter in microwaveable bowl.

Heat on HIGH for 1 ó minutes, stirring occasionally until melted. Stir in sugar, vanilla and 1 teaspoon of salt. Beat in eggs one at a time. Stir in flour and chocolate chunks.

Pour half batter mixture into pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 20 mins.

Meanwhile, place caramels, heavy cream and remaining teaspoon of salt into a microwaveable bowl. Heat for 1 minute on HIGH or until caramels start to melt. Stir until smooth.

Remove brownie batter from oven and pour caramel mixture over top. Smooth with a spatula. Spoon over remaining batter and smooth with a spatula.

Bake for a further 30 mins or until just set. Do not over bake. Sprinkle a little salt on top of brownies.

Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Serve with vanilla or espresso ice cream.

Caramel Brownies

Prep Time 30 minutes
Makes 24 brownies

Sindulgence: Cocoa Chanel

Sindulgence-choc

Take your time when you sip this deeply satisfying dark chocolate treat. Aim for cocoa that is 70% or higher and feel free to languish in your enjoyment of this indulgence. I’ve given you two versions—guilt-free mixed with buttermilk or pure decadence made with half and half. Only you’ll know which version you’re serving.

INGREDIENTS:
2-3 oz dark chocolate
4-6 oz half and half cream or buttermilk

INSTRUCTIONS:
Use the microwave to melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl. Melt in 20-30 second increments until very soft and then use a whisk to stir. In a separate bowl, warm your choice of liquid—either buttermilk or half and half—for 30 seconds. Then blend the chocolate and liquid together, pouring an ounce at a time and whisking to blend.

Sindulgence: Love Nest Monster

sindulgence-issue2

Be very gentle. We are making meringues. They’re not hard to make, but they are a wee bit temperamental. So, take your time. Allow the egg whites to warm gently to room temperature. Then add the ingredients ever so slowly, one at a time.

Finally, bake at a low temperature. Done correctly, you end up with a base that is strong enough to support all kinds of delicious toppings, yet light enough to melt in your mouth. Yumminess.

INGREDIENTS:
3 egg whites
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp cream of tartar
3/4 cup granulated sugar

INSTRUCTIONS:
Preheat oven to 250°F.

Separate egg whites from egg yolks and allow whites to warm to room temperature. Place whites into a clear glass bowl. Add salt and cream of tartar, then beat with a hand blender or a whisk until it is very foamy and no white remains at the bottom of the bowl. Blend in sugar one tablespoon at a time until mixture is very firm and forms glossy, pointed  peaks when you lift the beaters.

Use a 1/4 cup scoop to form 5 or 6 small nests. Bake in oven for 1 hour. Turn oven off and open the door leaving meringues inside to cool.

Serve each meringue on a dish of mixed berries and top it with fresh, real whipped cream.