Savoury Butternut Squash – Broccoli Muffins With Feta

These are just perfect to make on a rainy afternoon, and eat them all up whilst they are still lovely and warm. I have a very picky toddler and seems like my baby girl is following her big brother’s footsteps. Lucky me. Not. I was hoping that at least one child of mine will eat properly. Nope, I can keep envying other parents with their small children eating raw carrot stick and steamed broccoli, but non mines. Anyway, that is why I try to smuggle some extra healthy ingredients into their dishes and also hoping that they will venture beyond the usual tastes and textures.

Muffins, both sweet and savoury are usually big hits in our house. I normally need to avoid whole pieces of vegetables being visible and use lots of cheese, for the savoury muffins to get green light. This recipe meets both criteria. Also contains more of the “friendly” veggie (butternut squash) and less of the “unfriendly” one (broccoli). Great for snack or even as a lazy main meal with some more cheese or healthy spreads like hummus.

Tip: by adding lots of fresh rosemary instead of chives, these muffins can be turned into more of a grownup’s snack.

Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients:

250g plain flour

100g butternut squash diced

80g broccoli (4-5 small florets)

1,5 tsp bicarbonate soda

1 tsp baking powder

200ml milk

50g butter melted

100g feta cheese crumbled roughly

1 egg

half a tsp salt

1 tbsp of chopped chives

some grated cheddar to sprinkle on the top (optional)

Method:

Steam the vegetables until they’re tender. With a hand mixer, blend the butternut squash into a smooth paste. I guess it could work with just mashing it with a fork. As a smooth paste, it adds some extra liquid to your batter (so does the broccoli). After this, I normally just add everything one by one in no particular order and just mix it quickly (with a wooden spoon, by hand).

Preheat oven to 160C. I found that because of vegetables, they bake a bit slower than without them, but they can burn just as easily. Therefore, it’s better to keep it around 160C instead of 180C. So the baking time is slightly longer than with normal muffins: 12-14 minutes.

They are lovely warm or cold, or even reheated in the oven.

One Messy Mama
Real Mum Reviews

Green Tea Cookies With Matcha And Mint

I’m a bit of a matcha addict lately. Not just as a tea (once a day at least), but I also love combing it with sweet flavours. Like cakes and ice cream. It adds the subtle bitterness of the finest green tea and a lovely, bright green shade. I already tried it with cream cheese chiminangas (find my recipe here: Cream Cheese Chimichangas With Matcha And Strawberries) and it worked very well. So, last weekend I thought, why not try making cookies with matcha? Sounds like a pretty obvious combination, isn’t it? Yummy choc chip cookies with a little twist. I also added a bit of a maca powder to it, but that’s completely optional. And oh so easy, it only takes a half an hour from scratch.

Crispy outside and gooey inside – these are delicious.

Yield: about 20-22 cookies

Ingredients:

100g butter

100g caster sugar

80g light brown sugar

1 egg

200g all purpose flour

1 tsp of baking soda

1.5 tsp of matcha powder

1tsp of maca powder (optional)

1 tsp of vanilla extract

half a tsp of mint extract

100g choc chip

1/4 tsp of salt

 

Method:

Preheat oven to 170C.

Melt the butter in the microwave (proper bakers feel free to gasp here), so that all the tools you will need is a wooden spoon. In a bowl, cream the melted butter with the sugars and add the mint and vanilla extracts. Add the egg, the matcha, the maca powder, the salt and the baking powder. Combine well. Add the flour. (I never sift the flour either, just stir it in well.) Finally, add the choc chips and combine well.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper and evenly place 9 little balls (bit smaller than a golf ball) on it. Bake them for 8 minutes only, I kept checking on them: when they are getting a light golden shade (that’s how they are getting their lovely crispness), they will be just perfect.

Leave them to harden and cool for a few minutes before transferring them to a plate. I think they are the best when still a bit warm, but they also store well. But they are always gone in no time ūüôā

 

Bridie By The Sea

Lebkuchen Christmas Tree Decoration

So, I’ve been baking all week last week to get the recipe right for this year’s Christmas tree decoration. I’ve decided to make cookie ornaments this year, completely toddler friendly, if Bobcat gets his hands on them and takes a bite – no problemo, it’s just cookies. Oh, and the gorgeous smell of the freshly baked cookies will fill your house for days giving you an extra benefit for your efforts!

Find my recipe for the Lebkuchen (German honey and ginger cookie) here: Christmas Lebkuchen Recipe  image

Used 2 methods for decorating the cookies:

  • Home-made sugar paste. Easier than you think. Put some icing sugar into a small bowl, pour very little water on it and stir. Keep adding more water depending how thick paste you want. For dipping the watery paste is better, but for snow-white writing quality icing you need to add less water making the mixture thicker. Then ladle it into a clean plastic food zip bag and cut a tiny hole off one corner. This is the cheapest possible option to create your own icing pipe. You can also perfectly determinate the size of the hole. (I have tried¬†Sainsbury’s White Designer Icing, but it didn’t work well for me.) I then used some edible white pearl and bronze¬†sprinklers too.

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  • Ready to roll icing. I used¬†Sainsbury’s Ready To Roll White Icing¬†and I was very happy with it. With Christmas themed decorating cutters I made cut outs from the thinly rolled icing and stick them on the Lebkuchens with edible glue. Very very easy.

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To cut a hole into the cookies so that I can hang them on the tree I used a simple plastic drinking straw at around half way through the 10 minutes baking time. To hang them on the tree I used silk ribbon pieces, in festive red and green colour.

The preparation is very easy, the baking takes little time too, so I can recommend it as a children Christmas preparation activity, the decoration is good fun and it makes very little mess.

Christmas Lebkuchen (Honey and Ginger Cookie) Recipe

As promised, here’s the recipe for the Lebkuchen decoration. Lebkuchen is a traditional German Christmas cookie, similar to ginger bread. It’s spicy, and normally comes with sugar icing on the top. There’s a lot of different recipes around¬†and some prefers the very soft and thick cookies, some like it thin and crunchy. My aim was to make thinner cookies, primarily to use them to decorate the Christmas tree. They are also really tasty at the same time and they will keep soft for a few days. You can also make thicker ones from this dough recipe. Super easy, super quick. It shouldn’t take you more than 25 miutes to prepare the dough and cut the cookies, plus another 10 minutes of baking time.

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Ingredients:

250g plain flour

100g honey

80g butter

100g ground almond

1 ts bicarbonate soda

1 ts baking powder

1 ts ground ginger

1 heaped ts ground cinnamon

1/2 ts of ground nutmeg

1 orange zested

2 orange slices juiced

For the icing:

Mix icing sugar with water in a bowl until you get the desired thickness of the sugar paste. If you’re just dipping the cookies, a weak and watery icing will do it. If you want to ¬†decorate the cookies with writing, make the paste thicker.

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Directions:

Weigh out all the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Add the orange zest and squeeze the juice out of two orange slices by hand. Melt the honey end the butter in a pan over low heat and pour the mixture over the dry ingredients. Start mixing by hand. If it’s too sticky for some reason add more flour. If it’s too dry and you notice big cracks when you’re kneading the dough, add some more honey and butter combo or more orange juice. Let it cool down a little. Roll it out and cut the cookies with your preferred cutter. I cut holes into them with the help of a regular plastic drinking straw, for hanging them. Preheat oven to 175C and place the cookies on the baking tray covered with baking paper. Bake them for 10 minutes and they should be ready. They burn very easily, be careful. If the cookies are thicker, you can add 3-5 minutes more to the baking time.image

Enjoy them with mulled wine, punch or spicy tea. I wouldn’t pair anything with a glass of milk, but if that’s your thing then go for it!

Chocolate muffins with white choc chips – with a minimum of sugar only

Not that I’m obsessed, but Bobcat gets very little sugary stuff. Much less than¬†his friends. He’s quite hyper anyway. The other day we were invited to a birthday party. (I mean, Bobcat was invited, got party bags and a thank you note for the present later, NOT ME.) He was snacking on some fruit pieces when the birthday cake arrived and because he’s never seen a Victoria sponge-cake with rainbow icing before, he rejected it immediately and didn’t even want to have a bite. He gets some sweet stuff though, like low-sugar biscuits for toddlers, oaty bars, home-made muffins, and if I’m not watching some ice cream from daddy.

This is why I like this recipe: it does contain some sugar, but not too much. No tricks here, the chocolate and the white choc chips will do the magic. It is also very presentable whenever you have children guests or you need to impress your mummy friends. Very easy to prepare and the method below should give you 12 handsome muffins.

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Ingredients:

250g self-raising flour

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1 generous tsp baking powder

7 tbsp of soft brown sugar

1 tbsp of light in colour olive oil (or other vegetable oil)

2 tbsp of cocoa powder

70g of white choc chips or white chocolate pieces (I used Green & Black’s Organic White Chocolate, because it contains 30% real chocolate and tastes better.)

1 large egg

250ml full fat milk

Directions:

Weigh out all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Put all the liquid ingredients into a cup and mix them well. Now pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and combine them. As you might know already, you only need to mix it roughly, the batter¬†needs to¬†stay¬†lumpy. That’s a golden rule with muffins.

Preheat oven to 200C when everything mixed, before you start to scoop them into the paper cases.

Scoop the mixture into the muffin cases and they are ready to go into the oven for about 20 minutes. keep an eye on them, when they are nicely risen, check one of them with a fork. It shouldn’t be sticky.

When ready, have one for yourself. Everyone knows that muffins always come in a set of 11 ūüôā

 

You can decorate them as you like. I used Sugarfree Mom’s recipe for the icing, because these muffins were made for a Halloween party and I needed to decorate them.