Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater

My new 5-year-old got "The Mother Goose Cookbook" for her birthday. It's a cute little book full of nursery rhymes and their coordinating recipes. Olivia wanted to get right to work. She chose Peter Pumpkin's Pumpkin Muffins, and she helped me the whole way. The muffins turned out very moist and yummy. My husband thought they had molasses in them, so the brown sugar must give them a little kick. But they still don't beat my favorite pumpkin muffins of all time. Sorry, Peter. What's up with your poem anyway? Who keeps his wife in a pumpkin shell?


1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. plus 6 Tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. pumpkin puree
1/2 c. melted and cooled butter
1/4 c. plain yogurt or sour cream
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 c. warm honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. dried currants (I left these out)
3/4 c. chopped walnuts (I left these out)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter and flour muffin tins. In a mixing bowl, sift together flour, 1/2 cup brown sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. Add spices. In separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, butter, yogurt, eggs, honey and vanilla. Stir in currants and nuts. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring until batter is just blended. Fill muffin cups halfway with batter, then sprinkle remaining brown sugar on top. Bake about 20 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in muffin comes out clean. Makes about 15 muffins.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Truffle meets cookie

These chocolate truffle cookies are evil. They have been sent from the underworld to destroy us. They have a dense and fudgy texture, like a truffle -- perfect for sinking your teeth into. They are rich and delicious. I meant to give them away, but I couldn't stop eating them. They were in control, not me. Evil, I tell you. I got the recipe from My Kitchen Cafe.


1 1/4 c. butter, slightly softened*
2 c. powdered sugar
1/3 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 c. sour cream or plain yogurt
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/4 c. flour
2 c. chocolate chips
About 1/3 c. cocoa powder for rolling
About 2/3 c. powdered sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In large bowl, blend butter and powdered sugar. Add cocoa powder and salt, then sour cream and vanilla. Blend in flour, then stir in chocolate chips. If dough is too difficult to handle, refrigerate for 30 minutes or more. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll in cocoa powder. Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Do not flatten. Bake for 10 minutes.

Get them out even if they don't look done. Let cool for a few minutes before moving to wire rack. Cool completely -- I'm talking a good 45 to 60 minutes -- before rolling in powdered sugar. I know, it's hard to wait that long, but you must or the powdered sugar will melt.

*Your butter should give a little when you touch it, but it shouldn't be so soft that your finger pokes far into it. If your butter is too soft, you are going to have to refrigerate your dough before baking or your cookies will flatten.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter object lesson

I've seen these fun "empty tomb" rolls on multiple websites. Some people use homemade roll dough, others use frozen roll dough, and still others use refrigerated crescent dough. These rolls are the perfect way to teach the story of Jesus Christ's death, burial and resurrection to a child. Each roll starts out with a marshmallow inside, a symbol of the body of Jesus. When the rolls are cooked, the marshmallows melt, leaving a hollow roll -- an empty tomb. My almost-5-year-old was riveted on the lesson. She asked me to tell the story again and again as we assembled the rolls. Each ingredient is a symbol.


1 8-count package refrigerated crescent roll dough
8 large marshmallows
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. sugar
1 Tbsp. ground cinnamon

Separate roll dough into eight triangles. Combine sugar and cinnamon. Dip each marshmallow in butter, then roll in cinnamon-sugar and place on triangle. Roll up marshmallow, being sure to seal edges well. Dip tops of dough balls in remaining butter and cinnamon-sugar. Place sugar-side up in greased muffin tins. Bake at 375 degrees for 13 to 15 minutes. Serve warm.

Symbolism ideas:
(Scripture references come from King James version of Bible)

Marshmallow -- body of Jesus
Butter and cinnamon-sugar -- spices and ointments (Luke 23:56; John 19:40)
Roll dough -- linens for wrapping and/or tomb (Luke 23:53)
Oven -- tomb (or you can just have the dough be the tomb)
Hollow roll -- empty tomb/linens (Luke 24: 6; Mark 16:6)