Monday, July 27, 2009

Girls' Cabin Weekend

Last weekend, I headed north to a cabin on a lake with about 12 girls for the weekend. Perfect excuse to do some baking!

In charge of breakfast treats, I made blueberry muffins, biscotti and banana bread. All things that I have done before - so I know they'll work. But - in order to change it up a bit I decided to try a few new techniques that I found.

Blueberry Muffins I used my favorite recipe from the American Test Kitchen book. However, I used some of Joy the Baker's tips from her Browned Butter Blueberry Muffins. I browned the butter and used the topping from Joy's recipe. The topping just makes the muffins look so much better - and it's just flour, butter, and sugar. So easy! I used a pastry cutter instead of my fingers to mash up the topping ingredients. To make it travel worthy - I baked the muffins 95% of the way at home, then popped them in the oven at 250 for 30 minutes right before serving. This browned them up a bit more, took away the tackiness from traveling airtight, and let me serve them warm without a mess in the kitchen.

For the biscotti, I followed another favorite recipe and used dried cherries, toasted whole almonds and chopped white chocolate for the 'add-ins'. I formed the logs more narrow than I usually do - and was sure to chill the dough logs before baking to help them hold their shape (just like cookies.) I love this recipe - the addition of butter keeps them soft enough to eat without dunking into coffee first. Nice when sharing with a crowd - it eliminates the need to post a warning to avoid broken teeth!

The banana bread got rave reviews! I stirred in 1/2 cup each of toasted coconut and walnuts (instead of chocolate chips) and topped the bread with melted bittersweet chocolate. The add-ins really boosted the texture and helped differentiate it from the blueberry muffin texture.

A nice way to have 'variety' with cookie-like biscotti, perfectly sweet blueberry muffins and nutty banana bread with coconut and chocolate.


Joelen said...

These all look wonderful and what a great time to spend with friends! I've been on a slight commenting hiatus with my busy schedule lately... but it's great to catch up and see what's cooking in your kitchen!

Heavenly Housewife said...

Just letting u know that i tagged u in my most recent post :). Have a fab day.
Love, HH

Donna-FFW said...

Oh they all sound wonderful, but my favorite, if I had to choose, would be those gorgeous muffins!!

kat said...

Some great variations there. I especially like the idea of parbaking the muffins