Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Apricot pits: delicious?

I think I've professed my love for anything almond flavored before. Except almonds. I don't really like plain almonds. But any almond flavored dessert is automatically a shoo-in with me. WHAT?

Also what is up with the phrase a shoo-in? What does that even mean? Does it have to do with shoes? Who knows.

But there is a semi-reasonable explanation for this. Amaretto and almond extract gets that almond-y flavor from apricot pits. Yes, APRICOT PITS. So it's not really that I like almonds or even apricots but the shriveled up, cyanide-packed apricot pit. I don't like to think about it too much though, it kind of gives me the heebie jeebies.

So naturally one of my favorite cookies is amaretti, which is traditionally made with- TAKE A WILD GUESS- apricot pits. For those of us who don't live on an apricot grove or don't know how to use apricot pits with accidentally poisoning friends and family, amaretti is made with actual almonds.

Joe requested I make another batch of amaretti for his opera party. Joe is majoring in music, which means he sings a lot of opera and tricked me when I met him at a rock concert. He likes to watch operas a lot and I um, don't so he's been inviting other music majors over to watch operas with him. Or maybe they don't know they're going to watch an opera but we lure them in with food and they're trapped for three hours watching The Magic Flute. SUCKERS.

These pictures are actually old from another time I made amaretti with a slightly different recipe. I liked that recipe a little more than this one but of course I don't have it, I used a recipe out of my dad's cookbook. But this recipe is pretty similar from I could remember and they tasted delicious. And if you have ground almonds laying around (who doesn't?! Oh, you don't? I see...) this takes just a couple minutes to whip up. As Brian used to say: easy peasy lemon squeasy.

Alright, now I must get my beauty sleep so I can be nice and refreshed tomorrow morning to give a million more flu shots. Ta!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Muffin Life

Alright, here's some less impressive goodies that I've baked up recently. Lately I've been muffin crazed so I may have to rename my blog The Muffin Life, which sounds a whole lot less glamorous and sounds a little bit like a strange double entendre. I think I'll stick with The Cupcake Life.

My recent strategy has been to make a big batch of muffins, freeze them, and thaw and eat them throughout the week. Usually I just pop one out of the freezer, put in a ziplock and tote it in my purse until I need a snack a few hours later. By that time the muffin is thawed and soft, perfecto! So if you ever see me in a grocery store, digging in my bag for my ziplock muffin, you will know I am not totally insane.

My first batch was bran muffins. I actually really like bran muffins, is that weird? Brian called them poo muffins, probably because his diet of beer and candy had no fiber. But they are good! I especially like that they go well with raisins, one of my favorite things. My chinchilla also loves raisins so we were obviously meant for each other. Because we both like raisins, I'm constantly suggesting other things Ellie would like because her mom likes them, like popcorn or cereal. And then Joe tells me that I cannot feed a chinchilla a bowl of raisin bran crunch and I get sad.

Anyways, what? Muffins? I made these weeks ago and now I can't remember what recipe I used but I think I used this one. I am so useful.

Bran Muffins


  • 1 1/2 cups wheat bran
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup raisins


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.
  2. Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

I made a few alterations to them to make them extra mega healthy but I think they would've been fine as is as well. I think Ellie would like them, don't tell Joe.

These added fire to my muffin craze and I made pumpkin muffins next so stay tuned for those. I'm also hoping to get to work on this month's Daring Bakers challenge which I'm really excited for this time around!