Monday, April 25, 2016

Cinnamon Molasses Muffins - #MuffinMonday

I'm from a "sugar country". My father had a few acres of sugarcane and I still have vivid memories of smelling cane burning during harvest season. (The sugarcane field is burned to get rid of all the leaves. The leaves are not processed for sugar and it is more cost effective to burn them than remove them another way.)  I really loved that smell. We also had a few sugarcane plants at the house. There was no burning required - just a machete - to cut what we wanted to eat. In high school, our final history project was on the sugar industry. Just yesterday, my friends' father gave me a book he wrote on Jamaica's sugar industry. A few of my friends lived on sugar estates because their parents worked in the industry.

I say all of this to emphasise that I have a rich sugar background - a background that goes way beyond pouring sugar into my hand or into a cake. Decades ago, that bottle of white rum that I love to reach for when baking, may have had a tiny bit of cane grown by my own father. But with all of that sugar "experience", I am ashamed to admit that I first tasted molasses in February of this year. This is one of those times you just blame my mother and not look at me like that!

I honestly can't remember if we ever had molasses in the house. I have a vague memory of a gallon bottle of a dark substance being in the cupboard at one point. But that memory could be confabulated. Gingerbread cookies are not part of our culture so we certainly were not using it for that. Perhaps it went into cakes? I really do not know. I'll ask my mother later.

After using it in February, I vowed to use it more often, so it was an easy decision to use it for muffins for this Muffin Monday. I did not want traditional gingerbread - though I must admit that it was DIFFICULT to step away from the ginger. I have used ginger every day for the last two weeks. We are a ginger-loving people. I ditched all the other spices and stuck to just my second love - cinnamon. I fancied making a streusel that would emphasise the cinnamon but there have been murmurs about "Kelly trying to make us fat" so I had to hold back.

I had two bottles of molasses to choose from - one from a US brand and the other, a Jamaican molasses. I grabbed the Jamaican molasses and started pouring into my measuring cup. The little voice in my head said, "TASTE IT". And so I did. What in the world?!! Why is it bitter? I grabbed the American brand - yup definitely sweet. What is going on here? I quickly messaged a friend who quickly gave me the breakdown. The Jamaican molasses is akin to blackstrap molasses and there is very little sugar left so it's not as sweet. In fact, the process of making the molasses may be different in the two countries. There was also a quick lesson on how the process of making rum in French islands differed from in the British islands, leading to a very different taste.

That sugar experience that I mentioned above? Forget it. I clearly do not know my sugar. It's a good think I got that book yesterday. I'll be delving into it over the next few weeks. Maybe in another month or so, I can once again pretend that I know something. But first, I need to acquire "wet sugar". That's unrefined, "new" sugar - still wet from the minimal processing. I'd love to tell you more about it but the first time I saw it listed in a recipe for a popular Jamaican treat, I thought they just wanted me to wet my sugar. Don't laugh (too hard)! Wet sugar isn't popular anymore but only after obtaining some and learning more about it, can I start to claim some sugar experience again.

After all that babbling, here are my Cinnamon Molasses Muffins. Scroll down for more Muffin Monday goodness!

Cinnamon Molasses Muffins

1 1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup molasses (not blackstrap molasses)


Preheat oven to 350 F and grease or line the wells of a muffin tin. I got 8 muffins from the batch.

Whisk flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg, water, coconut oil and molasses.

Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just combined. Don't overmix.

Divide among the muffin wells and bake for 15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

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Thursday, April 21, 2016

Tunnel of Fudge Cake - #BundtBakers

It's April 21 and two things are happening today. First, it's Bundt Bakers day! And second, it's the sixth anniversary of my craniotomy. I always celebrate with a special cake. However, with the unexpected move, I had no plan in place. I decided to make the bundt the cake this year. But what to bake? The theme this month is a really good one - retro desserts. However, I couldn't think of anything that felt special enough for the anniversary celebration. I asked friends for suggestions and pulled out my mother's cookbooks from the 60s/70s. Lots of great cakes but I just could not think of how to turn them into Bundts. Plus, there are a few ingredient limitations here.

One cake kept coming up over and over though - the Boston Cream Pie. I have always wanted to make one and I had all the ingredients on hand. I even wrote it into the list for this month's Bundt then changed to the Tunnel of Fudge cake right before hitting submit. Bundt cakes themselves are retro and the Tunnel of Fudge cake is the cake that made the Bundt famous. Would that make it the ultimate retro Bundt? Perhaps.

I should point out that I am breaking the host's rules a bit. Felice asked us to recreate retro desserts in Bundt form. I missed that key word. I honestly did not notice it until yesterday. The Tunnel of Fudge isn't a recreation since it was always in Bundt form. Sorry, Felice! I will work on a Lady Baltimore Bundt as my penance. It requires figs though and the likelihood of me getting figs here is miniscule so I'll need a worthy substitute.

This version of the Tunnel of Fudge cake comes from the amazing recipe developers and testers over in America's Test Kitchen. Unlike other versions, this does not include nuts. I don't mind nuts in my cakes but I tend to skip them when I plan to share the cake with friends who may not like nuts in desserts.

Happy anniversary to me! And happy Bundt Bakers day! As usual, links to all the other Bundts are below.

PS. I'm still itching to do a layer cake for my anniversary cake. When I get my all baking supplies in a couple weeks, it just might happen.

PPS. Is it weird that I travel with a Bundt pan and a kitchen scale? I didn't think so.

Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Recipe slightly adapted from:  America's Test Kitchen
Yield: 1 six cup Bundt cake


For greasing the pan:
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 tablespoon cocoa

1/4 cup boiling water
1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup confectioner's sugar
6 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
10 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 tablespoons brown sugar


3/4 cup confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup cocoa powder
milk to reach desired consistency

Preheat oven to 350 F. Mix together the cocoa powder and melted butter then completely coat the inside of a 6 cup Bundt pan.

Pour the boiling water over the chocolate chips. Let it sit for about 30 seconds and then whisk until smooth.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, confectioner's sugar, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the vanilla, whole eggs, and egg yolk.

Cream together the butter and two sugars until light and fluffy. Add the egg mixture and beat until just combined. It might look curdled. Next, beat in the chocolate mixture. Finally, stir in the flour mixture until just combined.

Pour into the prepared Bundt pan and bake 30 minutes or until the edges start pulling away from the side of the pan and the cake springs back when lightly touched. Note that the centre will be fudgy.

Allow to cool in the pan for about an hour then invert onto a plate and allow to cool completely. When completely cooled, whisk together the glaze ingredients then pour over cake.
  • Be careful not to overbake or you'll lose the fudge effect. My cake here is slightly overdone.


You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about #BundtBakers, can be found on our home page. And don’t forget to take a peek at what other talented bakers have baked this month ~

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Lemon & Thyme Cookies - Crazy Ingredient Challenge

The ingredients for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge are lemon and thyme. These ingredients are pretty straightforward to combine so I challenged myself to use them in an unexpected way. Unfortunately, my roller coaster life took an unexpected twist last week and I thought, well, "lemon and thyme" just won't happen. I still had not decided on what to make and I ended up moving to a country where lemons are not easily sourced. We have lots of limes and oranges but lemons are only grown in certain areas. Maybe we just don't like lemons? I am not sure what it is. Thyme, however, is abundant. You will not walk into a kitchen here and not find several bunches of thyme. Sunday through Saturday, we are using thyme.

With all the rushing and figuring things out and trying to settle in, I decided to keep my lemon and thyme ambitions simple. I went with cookies! I keep saying that I am not a cookie baker yet somehow, I keep reaching for cookie recipes when I am in a rut. These were simple and pretty good though. One day, one day, I will be an excellent cookie baker.

Be sure to visit all the other Crazy Ingredient Challengers this month! See what they did below and won't you join us next month?

Lemon Thyme Cookies
Yield: ~36 cookies

2 eggs
2/3 cup of sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)
zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, minced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 cups of flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
additional sugar for rolling


Whisk together eggs and sugar until pale colored, thick and frothy. Pour in the coconut oil, lemon zest, thyme and lemon juice and whisk until combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Stir in the flour mixture into the egg mixture.
The dough is sticky so chill until firm enough to handle.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment.
Take a scant tablespoon of dough and roll into a ball. Damp your hands if dough starts sticking to them. Roll each ball into sugar and place on the prepared cookie sheet.
Bake for about 8 minutes or until very lightly browned.
Cool and enjoy.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Garlic Sunflower Bread - #BreadBakers

Today I had a rough day at work. I had to tell my coworkers that I was leaving. It was completely unexpected and sucked big time. In 24 hours, I'll be in a different country, starting a new chapter of my life.

I'm not prepared. I'm reeling. I'm glad that I took time out to bake this bread. I'd been neglecting my blog for the last few months while my life took crazy twists and turns. Hopefully, this new chapter brings back regular blogging.

The bread is supposed to be a sunflower. Clearly, I didn't do as great a job as the original but it's still clearly flower-like. Right? I didn't make any major changes to the recipe. The theme for this month's Bread Bakers is garlic so instead of a plain butter filling, I used garlic butter. I didn't have black sesame seeds so I used parsley. No big deal.

I'll then ask you to visit Jo Cooks for the beautiful version and the recipe. My garlic butter filling that I generously used is below.

Be sure to visit all the other Bread Bakers too!!

Garlic Sunflower Bread

Dough and instructions on Jo Cooks

Garlic Butter Filling
113 grams extremely soft butter
10 cloves finely minced and crushed garlic
Garlic powder to taste

Mix the ingredients together. Taste and add more garlic if needed. A little pepper would be great too.

Brush the garlic butter generously over each layer and over the center dough.

BreadBakers #BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page.

We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient.

If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to

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