Archive for February, 2015

Macadamia Nut Brittle

February 20, 2015

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I don’t know if you have noticed, but it’s pretty cold outside.  Like, bone chilling, never want to go outside, wearing layers at home, cold.  And from what I hear, everyone is pretty sick of it.

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This winter is pretty bad – maybe even worse than we ever have had before – but I feel like whenever winter comes along, I completely forget what it’s like to be warm.  What did that feel like?  How did we go outside without a scarf, hat and a coat?  We didn’t have to layer?  What a wondrous time that must have been.

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So instead of day dreaming of the warm weather in front of my space heater, with three pairs of wool socks on, I decided to change things up a little bit.  I brought a little bit of tropical-ness to me with a macadamia nut brittle.  Macadamia nuts completely evoke warm weather, and they are able to play with your mind to make you think that you may just be sitting on a beach in Hawaii.

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Swirl it into some coconut ice cream made from fresh snow!  Or eat it piping hot and warm yourself up.  Either way, this will momentarily take you away from the misery that is outside, hopefully reminding us of a time when we were complaining about the summer heat.

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Macadamia Nut Brittle (recipe from here)

2 T brown sugar
1/2 T light corn syrup
1/2 T butter
1/2  C nuts
1/8 tsp cinnamon

Place brown sugar, corn syrup, and butter (and cinnamon if you’re using) in a non-stick skillet on the stove top. Set heat to medium or medium-high. Stir the mixture as it comes together until it bubbles.  Add nuts and stir to coat completely.  Continue cooking for 5-7 minutes, stirring constantly until nuts turn golden brown in color and smell toasted.

Transfer to foil, lightly sprayed with non-stick spray, or parchment and cool completely.

Break them apart with your fingers and enjoy!

 

Orange Corn Muffins with Crunchy Orange Glaze

February 3, 2015

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I have been known to have breakfast spurts.  I go for a couple weeks only eating oatmeal in the mornings (including a great oatmeal bake that I will be posting soon!).  Then, I switch to smoothies (green ones, if I’m really feeling ambitious).  That, of course, doesn’t last long.  So then, I switch to yogurt and granola, which is actually my go-to when it’s warmer outside (I don’t know why – it seems like a perfectly delicious winter breakfast).  And then I go back to tea and and an English muffin (maybe with a digestive biscuit or two on the side), because that seems easy and I feel like that was my original breakfast from back in the day, which somehow qualifies it to be the best.

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And then, like clockwork, every couple of months, all I want to eat for breakfast (or a snack, or dessert!…or just breakfast), is a muffin.  It’s slightly bizarre, actually, because I almost never go for a muffin when they’re part of a breakfast spread.  They are almost always too sweet, and too big, and too greasy.  But homemade muffins, they just can’t be beat.  They’re just a quick portable breakfast that can be eaten cold or warm, and can even be made healthy!

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I should say that the original recipe did not call for a glaze.  And it certainly didn’t recommend spreading butter on it.  But, any cornmeal-based carbohydrate product practically demands to be smeared with butter, so I give myself a pass there.  And the glaze, well, we’re in hibernation mode at the moment, it’s really cold outside, and that’s the best excuse I can give about that.  And it’s a darn good one.

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So take advantage of this glorious orange season and make these muffins.  They will satisfy your breakfast needs until muffins need to be brought back into the morning rotation.

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Orange Corn Muffins (recipe slightly adapted from Taste of Home)

1 cup yellow cornmeal

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 tbsp. + 1 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

1 cup milk

1/4 cup vegetable oil

zest of 1 orange

crunchy orange glaze, recipe to follow

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray, or line with muffin liners.

In a bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, milk, oil and orange zest.  Make a well in the dry ingredients and pour in the wet ingredients.  Gently fold together until just combined – do not over mix.

Spoon out and distribute into prepared muffin tin.  Bake for 12-15 minutes until lightly golden and a tester comes out clean.  While the muffins are baking, prepare the orange glaze.

Let cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes, and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.  Place a baking sheet under the wire rack to catch the excess glaze.

While still warm, pour the glaze evenly over the muffins.  Spoon the excess glaze from the baking sheet and pour over muffins again.  Eat warm or let cool completely.

Crunchy Orange Glaze (recipe adapted from David Lebovitz)

1 cup powdered sugar

1/3 cup white granulated sugar

zest and juice of 1 orange

Whisk together all ingredients until combined and uniform.