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Friday, October 25, 2013

Coconut Almond Chocolate Muffins

These are for all the chocolate lovers of the world. I threw in some extra flavors like coconut and almonds into the mix, but don't be fooled....chocolate heaven is awaiting you with each bite.

This recipe came about because I was itching to finish up my buttermilk before it went bad. I'll buy the carton for pancakes and then scrounge around trying to find other uses for it. For muffins and cakes, buttermilk is magic. The acidity in the milk acts as a self riser for your batter. Whenever I have some on hand I replace regular milk with buttermilk and for recipes that I had previously used plain milk I see a difference in how high the muffins/cakes rise. It's awesome!  I also feel like the buttermilk gives my desserts that "professional bakery" taste that many home recipes are lacking ;-)

Makes 16 muffins

2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon (or 2) ground espresso coffee beans (or insant coffee crystals)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup coconut oil (if firm then melt)
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup white chocolate chips
1 cup chocolate chips (milk, semisweet or dark)
3/4 cup chopped almonds
optional: toasted coconut flakes

To make
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line cupcake pans with baking cups
-Mix together flour, cocoa powder, white and brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, coffee and salt.
-Add coconut oil, eggs, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until all ingredients are incorporated. Take care not to over mix so your batter doesn't get tough.
-Add chocolate chips and almonds.
-Fill cupcake liners 3/4 full.
-Sprinkle optional toasted coconut flakes if using.
-Bake on bottom rack of oven for 18-24 minutes, starting with the lowest baking time and inserting a toothpick into the middle to check if baked through. Muffins are done baking when a few crumbs are stuck to the toothpick.

*Reheating left over muffins for about 15 to 20 seconds before eating the leftovers melts the chocolate chips again and makes them super delicious

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Spinach and Pomegranate Salad

This salad is so simple to make but it looks and tastes like an elegant starter fit for the fussiest of company! It is loaded with vitamins to boost immunity during the cold/flu season.  My daughter cheers for joy when I make it because she loves the tang of the sumac and the sweetness of the pomegranate...not to mention the fact that it is void of her nemesis: tomatoes ;)

Toss the salad RIGHT before serving, and keep it in the fridge if you are going to prepare it earlier in the day. My experience with salads has taught me that serving them cold will ensure that the salad retains a crisp bite to it :)

 I also use this same recipe for my spinach fatayir (empanadas/pastries) but that will come another day. Stay tuned ;-)

Serves 5 to 6 adults

-12 ounces baby spinach
-3/4 cup fresh pomegranate kernels
-2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
-juice of 1 small lemon
-2 tablespoons sumac
-2 tablespoons good quality extra virgin olive oil
-salt to taste

To make
-Roughly chop spinach.
-Add pomegranate seeds, red onion, walnuts.
-Top with lemon juice, sumac, olive oil and salt
-Mix until well incorporated and serve immediately
 -Enjoy :)

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