Chocolate Zucchini and Rosemary Loaf

My summer herb and vegetable garden is the inspiration behind a new zucchini loaf recipe. Fresh herbs are easy to grow , provide many nutritional and health benefits, and add natural flavor to baking. This year I expanded my herbs to include rosemary a new favorite addition to my zucchini loaf collection. My previous recipes include Lemon Thyme Zucchini Loaf and Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Buttercream Frosting. Flavors of chocolate and espresso pair well with fresh rosemary and zucchini to make a moist tender loaf with tastes similar to a chocolate iced latte.

Rosemary is easy to grow in containers and compliments well with other herbs. Rosemary does best when planted in a sunny location and in well drained soil. Whole rosemary can be added to dishes to infuse flavor or can also be used as an attractive garnish. In this recipe, I removed the leaves from the stem, then finely cut up the leaves before blending in with the butter and sugar.

Healthy Ingredients and Baking Tips

  1. Zucchini: Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, folate, soluble and insoluble fiber. The green skin is rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free-radical cell damage. Grate the zucchini using a box grater or food processor. Medium size zucchini works best, to avoid excess moisture in a larger squash, drain the grated zucchini or lightly pat with a paper towel.
  2. Fresh Rosemary: Rosemary can be used fresh, dried, or as an essential oil and is found in sweet and savory recipes. In this recipe, first remove the leaves from the stem and then finely chop or cut up the leaves. If fresh rosemary is not available use 1 teaspoon of dried rosemary. Blending the rosemary with the butter and sugar helps to infuse the aromatic oils.
  3. 100% Cocoa powder, Mini chocolate chips, and espresso: Adds a rich chocolate flavor with a hint of espresso.
  4. Maple syrup: I like to use maple syrup to replace part of the granulated sugar. Maple syrup adds a natural sweet flavor, is more healthy and nutrient rich compared to granulated sugar.
  5. Olive oil: A combination of unsalted butter and olive oil ensures a moist and a light tender crumb. I like to use a extra light mild tasting olive oil in baking. Canola oil or grape seed oil can be substituted in place of the olive oil.
  6. Baking equipment: food processor or box grater, electric standup mixer with a paddle attachment or a electric handheld mixer, 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 5/8 loaf pan, measuring cups and spoons, whisk, spatula, sifter, parchment paper, no-stick baking spray, and a baker cooling rack.
  7. Baking techniques: Organize all your ingredients prior to starting the recipe, butter, buttermilk, and eggs at room temperature. Be careful not to over mix the flour mixture with the batter, I like to reserve a small amount and gently fold in with a spatula. After transferring the batter into the loaf pan, take a sharp knife and score the top by making a shallow cut down the center length of the loaf. This controls expansion during baking and adds to a beautiful presentation. During the last 5 to 7 minutes of baking time, look for browning and insert a toothpick to check if bread is cooked through.

Recipe

Chocolate Zucchini and Rosemary Loaf

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Rosemary leaves finely cut-up
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/3 cup 100% Cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup Mini chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray loaf pan with a no-stick baking spray and line the bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted all-purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat the butter and sugar together until smooth. Add rosemary leaves and blend well. Then add olive oil and maple syrup, continue to beat until light and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
  5. Whisk together the espresso and buttermilk.
  6. On slow speed, starting and ending with flour mixture alternate with buttermilk /espresso just until blended, being careful not over mix.
  7. Gently fold in shredded zucchini and mini chocolate chips.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, and place on center rack of oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is lightly brown and when batter is cooked through using a tooth pick.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and allow to completely cool on baking cooling rack.
  10. Store at room temperature for 1-2 days, or if desired wrap and place in the freezer for a later date.

Orange Chocolate Chip Mini Bundt Cakes

Orange Chocolate Chip Mini Bundt Cakes

This is the perfect recipe for a cold winter day. It is citrus season and Orange Chocolate Chip Mini Bundt Cakes are the newest addition to my bundt cake collection. Freshly squeezed orange juice and zest with mini chocolate chips highlight this recipe. Citrus and chocolate are a classic baking combination. The bright citrus flavor of fresh oranges pairs well with the rich chocolate flavor of mini-semi sweet chocolate chips. This cake is easy to make and does not require a lot of special ingredients.

Healthy Ingredients and Baking Tips:

Fresh orange and orange zest: You will need one to two fresh oranges. Orange zest is the bright orange outer layer of the fruit. I like to use a micro-plane zester to make orange zest, but you can also use the smallest holes on a box grater. Be careful not to include the white skin of the orange as it has a very bitter taste. Mixing with a small amount of sugar can help release the flavors of the orange zest.

Maple syrup: I like to use maple syrup to replace part of the granulated sugar. Maple syrup adds a natural sweet flavor, is more healthy and nutrient rich compared to granulated sugar.

Olive oil: A combination of unsalted butter and olive oil ensures a moist and a light tender crumb. I like to use a extra light mild tasting olive oil in baking.

Baking equipment: You will need a box grater or micro-plane zester, electric standup mixer with a paddle attachment or a electric handheld mixer, a 6 well mini bundt cake or a 6 cup bundt cake , measuring cups and spoons, whisk, spatula, sifter, no-stick baking spray, and a baker cooling rack.

Baking techniques: Organize all your ingredients prior to starting the recipe, and have butter, buttermilk, eggs, orange juice and orange zest at room temperature . Be careful not to over mix the flour mixture with the batter, I like to reserve a small amount and gently fold in with a spatula. During the last 5 to 7 minutes of baking time, look for browning and insert a toothpick to check if bread is cooked through.

Finishing touches: These mini bundt cakes can be enjoyed plain, with a dusting of powdered sugar or top with a simple orange glaze (whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1/8 teaspoon grated orange zest, gradually add 1-2 teaspoons of freshly squeezed orange juice to desired consistency).

Recipe

Orange Chocolate Chip Mini Bundt Cakes

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened 
  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra light tasting olive oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk 
  • 1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 well mini bundt pan with a non-stick baking spray. 

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. 
  2. On medium speed of an electric or standup mixer cream unsalted butter , add granulated sugar and beat until smooth, then add olive oil and maple syrup, continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Add vanilla extract, then eggs one at a time, and mix until well blended. 
  4. On slow speed gradually mix in orange juice and orange zest until well blended. 
  5. On slow speed of electric mixer gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to batter,  starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions, being careful not to over mix. 
  6. With a spatula gently fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Evenly spoon batter into the mini bundt pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until light brown in color and tops lightly spring back to touch. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

Apple and Carrot Morning Glory Muffins

Apple and Carrot Morning Glory Muffins

A breakfast or anytime muffin filled with apples, carrots, pecans and whole grains making this my most nutritious and healthy muffin recipe. Maple syrup, reduced apple cider, unsweetened applesauce, and warm fall spices offer natural sweetness without the need for refined sugars. Olive oil and Greek yogurt create a light, tender and tasty crumb. These muffins are packed with good nutrition, are easy to make, and can provide a healthy start to your day.

Healthy Ingredients and Baking Tips

  1. Apples A variety of apples can be used in this recipe. I used a combination of 2 types of baking apples, a Northwestern Greening apple and a Wealthy apple. Honey Crisp or Granny Smith apples work well to. The apples can be peeled or grated with the skin on. Grating the apples right before adding to the batter helps to prevent over-browning before baking.
  2. Reduced apple cider : In a medium deep saucepan, bring 3 cups of high quality, no added sugar apple cider to a gentle boil and simmer for approximately 25 minutes or until slightly thickened and reduced to 1/2 cup. Remove the cider from the stove top and allow to cool completely in the refrigerator to a light syrup-like consistency before adding to the muffin batter. Apple butter (1/3 cup) may be used in place of the apple cider syrup.
  3. Carrots: The original morning glory muffin recipe was created by Chef Pam Mc Kinstry in 1978 for her restaurant on Nantucket Island. It became popular as was one of the first healthy muffin recipes to include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. Like the original recipe carrots is one of the main ingredients in this variation of the morning glory muffin.
  4. Olive oil: With nutrition in mind I used olive oil in this recipe. Other neutral oils such as canola, and grape seed oil may be used in place of the olive oil.
  5. Maple syrup: Adds a natural sweetness keeping this muffin free of refined sugars.
  6. Whole wheat pastry flour: A whole grain flour milled from low protein soft spring grains creating a tender crumb that is ideal for cookies, muffins, and sweet loaf recipes. Substituting part of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat pastry flour adds to the whole grain nutrition of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
  7. Ground flax seed: A nutrition super food containing fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and lignans.
  8. Warm fall spices: Cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and all-spice compliment well with the apples making this the perfect autumn recipe.
  9. Greek yogurt: An excellent source of protein, contributes to a moist and tender crumb, and activates the baking soda helping the muffins to rise during baking.
  10. Pecans: Add a light sweet buttery flavor and elevate the nutrition factor providing a good source of protein, fiber, monounsaturated fats, omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins and minerals . Walnuts can also be used in place of the pecans.
  11. Baking Equipment : A food processor or hand grater, standard size 12 cup muffin pan, hand electric mixer, whisk, standard size ice cream scoop, mixing bowls, measuring cups and spoons, and parchment cup cake liners.

A recent visit to a local apple orchard offered a variety of apples to choose from.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup reduced apple cider (see notes)
  • 1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
  • 1 1/4 cup finely grated apple (peeled or with the skin)
  • 1 1/4 cup shredded carrot

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup sifted all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground all-spice or nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 tablespoons of ground flax seed

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with parchment paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together flours, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, allspice, and chopped pecans.
  3. In a medium size bowl on low speed using a hand mixer blend the olive oil and maple syrup together until well incorporated. Add eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.
  4. Stir in the applesauce, reduced apple cider and Greek yogurt.
  5. Add shredded carrots and apples and mix well.
  6. Gently fold in mixed dry ingredients just until combined.
  7. Using a standard ice cream scoop fill each lined muffin cup evenly over 12 muffins.
  8. To decorate sprinkle each muffin with a little chopped pecans and small thinly chopped apple slices.
  9. Bake on the middle rack of oven for 7 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees F continue baking for 15 to 18 minutes until baked through and muffins lightly spring back.
  10. Cool in muffin pan for 5 minutes then remove from pan to a cooling rack.

Similar Recipes

Lemon Thyme Zucchini Loaf

Lemon Thyme Zucchini Loaf

Summer baking is in full bloom. Garden fresh thyme and lemon make this zucchini loaf extra special. Moist and lightly sweetened, lemon and thyme add a bright, citrus and herb flavor to this zucchini loaf recipe. Recently I have been introducing more herbs and spices into my baking recipes. Herbs and spices add fragrance and flavor and have many health-protecting benefits similar to fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other plant-based foods. Fresh herbs are easy to grow and contain higher levels of antioxidants than dried or processed forms.

Healthy Ingredients and Baking Tips

  1. Zucchini: Zucchini is a good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, folate, soluble and insoluble fiber. The green skin is rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free-radical cell damage. Grate the zucchini using a box grater or food processor. Medium size zucchini works best, to avoid excess moisture in a larger squash, drain the grated zucchini or lightly pat with a paper towel.
  2. Fresh Thyme: Culinary thyme can be used fresh, dried, or as an essential oil and is found in sweet and savory recipes. In this recipe, first remove the leaves from the stem and then finely chop or cut up the leaves. If fresh thyme is not available use 1 teaspoon of dried thyme.
  3. Lemon juice and lemon zest: You will need one fresh lemon. Lemon zest is the bright yellow outer layer of the fruit and unlike lemon juice contains essential oils. I like to use a microplane zester to make lemon zest, but you can also use the smallest holes on a box grater. Be careful not to include the white skin of the lemon as it has a very bitter taste.
  4. Whole wheat pastry flour: A whole grain flour milled from a low-protein soft wheat, containing the whole bran and germ making it a healthier substitution for white flour in baking pastry, cookies, muffins, and quick breads. In recipes substitute 25% of the white flour with whole wheat pastry flour.
  5. Maple syrup: I like to use maple syrup to replace part of the granulated sugar. Maple syrup adds a natural sweet flavor, is more healthy and nutrient rich compared to granulated sugar.
  6. Olive oil: A combination of unsalted butter and olive oil ensures a moist and a light tender crumb. I like to use a extra light mild tasting olive oil in baking.
  7. Baking equipment: food processor or box grater, microplane zester, electric standup mixer with a paddle attachment or a electric handheld mixer, 9 by 5 inch loaf pan, measuring cups and spoons, whisk, spatula, sifter, parchment paper, no-stick baking spray, and a baker cooling rack.
  8. Baking techniques: Organize all your ingredients prior to starting the recipe, butter, buttermilk, eggs, and lemon at room temperature. Be careful not to over mix the flour mixture with the batter, I like to reserve a small amount and gently fold in with a spatula. After transferring the batter into the loaf pan, take a sharp knife and score the top by making a shallow cut down the center length of the loaf. This controls expansion during baking and adds to a beautiful presentation. During the last 5 to 7 minutes of baking time, look for browning and insert a toothpick to check if bread is cooked through.
Healthy Ingredients: Lemon juice, lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves, zucchini, olive oil, maple syrup, and whole wheat pastry flour.

Recipe

Lemon Thyme Zucchini Loaf

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded zucchini

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour sifted
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour sifted
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves finely cut-up

Lemon Glaze (optional): In a small bowl whisk together 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice, gradually add one to two teaspoons of heavy cream to create a glaze consistency.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 9 inch by 5 inch loaf pan with a no-stick baking spray and line the bottom and 2 sides with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together sifted all-purpose and whole wheat pastry flour, baking powder, baking soda, and fresh thyme leaves. Set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat the butter and sugar together until smooth, add olive oil and maple syrup, continue to beat until light and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
  5. On low speed, mix in lemon juice and lemon zest and add shredded zucchini.
  6. On slow speed, starting and ending with flour mixture alternate with buttermilk just until blended, being careful not over mix.
  7. Spoon batter into prepared loaf pan, and place on center rack of oven. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until top is lightly brown and when batter is cooked through using a tooth pick.
  8. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack for 15 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and allow to completely cool on baking cooling rack.
  9. Store at room temperature for 1-2 days, or if desired wrap and place in the freezer for a later date.

For more zucchini recipes

Zucchini and Carrot Muffins with a Maple Glaze

Lemon, Zucchini, and Almond Bundt Cake

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Chai Spice Apple Zucchini Bundt Cake

Chai Latte and Blueberry Coffee Cake

Chai Latte and Blueberry Coffee Cake

Traditional coffee cake is a single layer cake flavored with cinnamon and has a streusel topping made from butter, flour, and sugar. When creating this recipe I included the warm blend of chai spice and chai tea with fresh blueberries , a layer of cheese cake and an oatmeal streusel topping. This cake looks fancy but is very easy to make and perfect for everyday or as a special occasion cake. Fragrant and delicious on its own, or sprinkle with powdered sugar, add a vanilla drizzle ,or serve with ice cream or whipping cream. It can be made in two 6-inch spring form cake pans or in one 8-inch spring form cake pan. Other flavor variations, berries or seasonal fruits can be substituted including raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, a fresh berry mix, apples or peaches.

Ingredients and Baking Tips

  1. A chai spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice adds flavor and color without the need for additional fat and sugar.
  2. Fresh blueberries are a rich source of fiber, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin K, and manganese, are heart healthy, and support brain, digestive, and immune health. Blueberries contain anthocyanin and polyphenol antioxidants, helping to protect against disease and cell damage caused by free radicals.
  3. A combination of olive oil and butter adds flavor, while making a moist and tender cake.
  4. I like using maple syrup in many of my cake recipes, reducing the need for added sugar. It has a lower glycemic index compared to cane sugar and brown sugar. Maple syrup is rich in antioxidants and calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese.
  5. Baking tools and Equipment. An electric stand mixer, measuring cups and spoons, two 6-inch spring form cake pans (or one 8-inch spring form cake pan), baking spray, parchment paper, and a baking cooling rack.
  6. Using the classic French baking technique of “Mise en Place”, organizing baking tools, gathering and measuring ingredients before starting the recipe, ensures a smooth process and a high quality cake. Preparing the cheesecake filling and streusel topping before mixing the cake ingredients can also be helpful.

Recipe

Chai Latte and Blueberry Coffee Cake

Cake Ingredients

5 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup extra light olive oil

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup chai skinny latte concentrate (I used Tazo)

1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest

1/2 cup low fat buttermilk

2 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)

1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/4 teaspoon ground allspice

1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Cheesecake Layer

6 ounces cream cheese softened

one large egg lightly beaten

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 tablespoons all-purpose white flour

Oatmeal Streusel Topping

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

1 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon white sugar

3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 2- 6 inch spring form pans or one 8-inch spring form pan with baking spray then line the bottoms with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together, sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice. Set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric hand or stand mixer beat butter and sugar together until smooth, add extra light olive oil and maple syrup, continue to beat until light and creamy about 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time mixing well between additions.
  5. Add lemon zest and chai skinny latte concentrate, mix well.
  6. On slow speed of electric or stand up mixer alternate flour mixture and buttermilk to cake batter mixing just until flour begins to disappear. Try not to overmix.
  7. Spoon batter evenly between two -6 inch spring form cake pans or one 8-inch spring form cake pan.
  8. Top batter with fresh blueberries.
  9. To make the cheese cake layer: in a separate bowl light beat the cream cheese until smooth. Add the sugar, beaten egg, and vanilla and mix well. Stir in flour until blended. Spread cheese cake layer evenly over the blueberries and cake batter.
  10. Prepare the streusel topping. In a small bowl mix the flour, oatmeal, brown and white sugars, and ground cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender or with two forks until topping resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle batter with streusel topping.
  11. Bake on center rack of preheated oven for approximately 45 minutes, or until cake is baked through and lightly springs back or by inserting a toothpick. Cool in pan for 15 minutes then release and continue to cool on a baking rack.

Similar Posts and Recipes

Strawberry and Cardamom Spice Streusel Muffins

Fresh strawberries are in season and compliment well with cardamom spice allowing each to shine in this recipe, creating a muffin that is lightly sweet, fragrant and flavorful. This muffin is also topped with a streusel of oatmeal and maple sugar, and is finished with a vanilla glaze. This recipe is very versatile and when fresh strawberries are not available, other fresh fruits in season can be substituted such as blueberries, cranberries, apples, and peaches. I think this may become my most favorite muffin recipe for summer. Many store bought muffins are overly sweet, lacking in flavor and contain unhealthy ingredients. These muffins are easy to make, contain high quality ingredients and taste amazing.

Key ingredients and Baking Tips

  • Fresh Strawberries: Choosing fresh fruits in season ensures the best quality and flavor. Conventionally grown strawberries are part of the “Dirty Dozen” 2021 produce list, when possible try to choose organically grown strawberries to avoid potentially harmful levels of pesticide residue. Strawberries are very nutritious, high in vitamin C, and a good source of potassium and fiber. Strawberries contain healthy phytochemicals and are rich in antioxidants protecting the immune system from the negative effects of free radicals that lead to heart disease and cancer.
  • Ground Cardamom is a very distinctive spice with origins in the ginger family. Cardamom is highly fragrant and has a unique minty and slightly sweet citrus-like flavor. It is used in both sweet and savory recipes. Clinical studies suggest cardamom may have many potential health benefits, is antibacterial, high in antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Cardamom has also shown to help relieve digestive problems. The amount of cardamom in this recipe can be adjusted to your taste and preference.
  • Organic Maple Syrup and Maple Sugar contributes to the natural sweetness and flavor, limiting the amount of added sugar needed. Organic maple sugar contains vitamins and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Maple sugar also has healing and immune boosting properties.
  • Olive oil: These muffins have the flavor of real butter and the healthy goodness of olive oil. Substituting part of the butter with olive oil adds a warm rich flavor along with increasing healthy monounsaturated fats. Grapeseed oil, canola oil, or melted coconut oil can be used in place of the olive oil.
  • Greek yogurt and Buttermilk keeps these muffins fluffy, moist and tender .
  • Oatmeal Maple Sugar Streusel Topping: Oatmeal is included in the list of healthy ingredients in this muffin recipe, supporting your whole grain and fiber goals for the day.
  • Equipment : I used a standup mixer to blend the ingredients, a 12- cup standard size muffin pan, parchment paper cupcake liners, and a ice cream scoop to portion and distribute the batter evenly in the muffin pan.
  • To create perfectly domed muffin tops, first bake the muffins at a higher temperature for 7-8 minutes then lower the temperature for the remaining baking time.

Recipe

Strawberry and Cardamom Spice Streusel Muffins

Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh strawberries rinsed and cut into small pieces

Dry Ingredients

  • 2 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom

Oatmeal Streusel Maple Sugar Streusel Topping

  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter cut into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup maple sugar

Directions: in a small bowl mix together all the ingredients with a fork to create a crumb-like topping.

Vanilla glaze (optional) : in a small bowl measure 1/2 cup powdered sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla, gradually whisk in one to two teaspoons of heavy cream to create a glaze consistency.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin tin with parchment paper cupcake liners.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together, sifted flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cardamom and set aside.
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat butter and sugar until smooth, add olive oil and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and fluffy, approximately 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add vanilla, then eggs one at a time until well blended.
  5. Add Greek yogurt and mix well.
  6. On slow speed of electric or standup mixer, starting and ending with flour mixture alternate with buttermilk just until blended. Try not to over mix.
  7. Gently fold in strawberries.
  8. Using a ice cream scoop evenly distribute batter among a 12-cup prepared muffin tin. Sprinkle with streusel topping.
  9. Bake in center rack of oven for 7-8 minutes, then reduce temperature to 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes. Bake until tops are lightly brown and muffins spring back with a light touch.
  10. Allow to cool in muffin tin for 15 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack.
  11. Once cooled drizzle with the vanilla glaze if desired.
  12. Store muffins at room temperature for 1-2 days or freeze for a later date.

For more muffin recipes:

Lemon Blueberry and Carrot Muffins

Rhubarb and Lavender Muffins

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

10 Tips to Healthy Home Baking

10 Tips to Healthy Home Baking

Homemade cakes and muffins are easy to make and can be more nutritious than store bought bakery. Replacing part of your recipe with healthier ingredients can improve both taste and nutrition, increasing fiber, and decreasing refined sugars, fats and oils. With nutrition and creativity as your guide there are endless ways you can make your homemade cakes and muffins a healthy option for breakfast, on the go snack, or dessert. 

  1. Reduce the amount of sugar by 25% in your recipe. Granulated white sugar contributes to “empty calories”. Regular consumption of high amounts of refined sugar increases health risks of diabetes and heart disease, and contributes to weight gain. Using natural sweeteners such as bananas, unsweetened applesauce, coconut sugar, or maple syrup to replace part of the sugar adds natural flavors and nutrition to your recipe.
  2. Replace butter in your recipe with healthier oils such as olive oil, grapeseed oil, or canola oil. Replace part of the fat with zucchini, applesauce, or prune puree or try using nut butters. Healthier oils contribute to your intake of monounsaturated fats and omega-3 fatty acids and aid in the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, E, and K.
  3. Replace 1/3 to ½ of white flour with almond flour, whole wheat pastry flour, or coconut flour. For every one cup white flour use ¾ cup of whole wheat pastry flour. Using unprocessed flours can help meet your daily fiber goals. Fiber helps to stabilize blood sugars and provides important prebiotics to support healthy good gut bacteria.
  4. To increase nutrition add fresh or frozen berries, apples, shredded carrots or zucchini, pumpkin puree, nuts, seeds, unsweetened coconut flakes, ground flaxseed or wheat germ.  Limit artificial flavorings and candies, that can add unnecessary calories and increase refined sugars.
  5. For a vegetarian option to eggs, mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed meal with 3 tablespoons of water, mix together and allow to sit in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to thicken. 
  6. Add natural spices, pure extracts, fresh lemon or orange zest for added flavor. Natural spices contain antioxidants and phytochemicals that support the immune system. I like to add a chai spice blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and allspice.  
  7. Using plain yogurt or buttermilk helps to add moisture, tenderize and provide a softer texture.
  8. For recipes using chocolate, substitute with 100% unsweetened cocoa powder, 70% or greater dark chocolate, or cocao nibs. I like to add 1-2 teaspoons of instant espresso to recipes to bring out the rich chocolate flavors. 
  9. Skip heavy sugar sweetened frostings for a light glaze or simply add a topping made of nuts or seeds. 
  10. Use organic whole-food unprocessed ingredients and avoid artificial food colorings or extracts. For added color use strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, beets, carrots, and pumpkin puree. Natural foods provide both color and added nutrition.

Healthy homemade baking is easy, guilt-free and can contribute to your healthy eating goals. Update a cherished family recipe or try one of the following recipes.

Chocolate Zucchini Muffins

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

Chai Spice Apple Zucchini Bundt Cake

Lemon Blueberry and Carrot Muffins

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Fresh lemon and ginger highlight this blueberry and carrot muffin recipe. It is the perfect way to welcome Spring. Using whole fresh ingredients adds flavor and helps to keep these muffins healthy. Lemon juice and lemon zest adds a natural bright citrus flavor while activating the baking powder and baking soda helping the muffins to rise. Ginger contributes both a sweet and a lightly spiced flavor that balances well with the tartness of the lemon. If you do not have fresh ginger, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger can be used in place of 1 tablespoon of fresh ginger added with the dry ingredients . Mixing the lemon zest and freshly grated ginger with a small amount of sugar before adding to the muffin batter helps to release and distribute the flavors more evenly.

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When cooking or baking with fresh ginger, first lightly peel off the top brown layer, then using a zester finely grate the amount of ginger needed. Fresh whole ginger can be placed in a tightly sealed bag and stored in the crisper of the refrigerator for up to one month or longer in the freezer. For this recipe baking tools I recommend are a stand up mixer, measuring cups and spoons, zester, small juicer, 12 cup muffin pan, ice cream scooper, and parchment paper cup liners.

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Recipe
Lemon Blueberry and Carrot Muffins
Ingredients
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened 
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon white granulated sugar (separated)
  • 1/3 cup grape seed or canola oil 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated lemon zest (approximately one whole fresh lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 cup finely shredded carrots
  • 1 fresh blueberries
Dry Ingredients
  • 2 cups all purpose flour sifted
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

Glaze: in a small bowl measure 1/2 cup powdered sugar gradually whisk in one to two teaspoons of heavy cream to create a glaze consistency.

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 12 cup muffin pan with parchment paper cup liners. 

  1. In a medium bowl whisk sifted flour, baking powder, and baking soda together and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl mix together fresh lemon and ginger zest with 1 tablespoon sugar and set aside. 
  3. On medium speed with an electric or standup mixer beat together butter and sugar until smooth, add canola or grape seed oil and maple syrup and continue beating at medium speed until light and fluffy about 3-4 minutes. 
  4. Add eggs one at a time blending well between additions, then add vanilla, lemon juice, and lemon ginger mixture. 
  5. On slow speed of mixer gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions. 
  6. Gently mix in shredded carrots and then fresh blueberries being careful not to over mix the batter. 
  7. Using a ice cream scooper spoon batter equally among 12 muffin cups. 
  8. Bake for 22- 25 minutes, until muffins are lightly brown and tops spring back. 
  9. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then remove and continue to cool completely on a cooling rack before adding glaze. 

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Chocolate Banana Raspberry Mini Bundt Cakes

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Happy Valentines Day !

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It may be cold and snowy today but the weather can’t stop me from baking Valentines treats. A combination of chocolate, banana, and raspberries, these mini- bundt cakes have a rich moist chocolate flavor that will warm your heart. I used banana, maple syrup, and raspberry jam for just the right amount of sweetness that compliments well with 100% cocoa powder and instant espresso.

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Recipe
Chocolate Banana Raspberry Mini Bundt Cakes
Ingredients:
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter softened 
  • 1/3 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup grape seed or canola oil 
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup 
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (approximately 2 medium bananas) 
  • 2 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam 
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk 
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder 
Dry ingredients 
  • 1 2/3 cup all purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1/3 cup 100% unsweetened cacao powder 
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 
Directions: 

preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 6 well mini bundt pan with a non-stick baking spray. 

  1. In a medium bowl whisk together the sifted flour, cacao powder, baking powder, and and baking soda. Set aside. 
  2. On medium speed of an electric or standup mixer cream unsalted butter , add granulated sugar and beat until smooth, add grape seed or canola oil, and maple syrup and continue to beat until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. 
  3. Add vanilla extract, then eggs one at a time, mix until well blended. 
  4. On low speed gradually mix in mashed banana and seedless raspberry jam until blended. 
  5. In a separate glass measuring cup whisk together the buttermilk and espresso powder.  
  6. On slow speed of electric mixer gradually add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to batter,  starting and ending with flour mixture in 3 additions, being careful not to over mix. 
  7. Evenly spoon batter into the mini bundt pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, and tops lightly spring back to touch. Cool in pan for 15 minutes and then remove to a cooling rack.

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Related Posts 

Chocolate Zucchini Loaf with a Raspberry Buttercream Frosting

Red Velvet Beet Cupcakes

How to Make a Healthy Smoothie

Fruit and vegetable smoothies are quick and easy to make and a powerhouse of nutrition. Smoothies can help you meet your nutrition goals whether you are following a vegetarian, plant-based, paleo, or keto diet or you are needing extra nutrients. Commercial or store- bought smoothies often contain added sugars, fats, artificial ingredients, and are high in calories.  Homemade smoothies can be much healthier than commercial or store- bought ones and when prepared right they provide many health benefits. They are a great way to get your fruits and vegetables in for the day and can provide a good source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, and antioxidants. Homemade smoothies save time when you are too busy to prepare a complete meal. The basic ingredients of a smoothie are a liquid base, fruits and vegetables, healthy add-ins, and ice. There are endless ways to make a smoothie and can be designed specifically to meet your nutrition goals. Homemade smoothies along with a well-balanced diet, exercise, and a healthy life style can support wellness, anti-aging, and improve nutrient intake. 

Tips to making the perfect smoothie 

1.    Choose fresh or frozen produce. Wash fresh produce thoroughly to remove any possible soil, bacteria, and pesticide residue. Produce should be cleaned right before using with a vegetable brush and then rinsed under cold water. Peel foods with non-edible skins. 

2.    Experiment with a variety of ingredients. Be creative. Choose ingredients specific to your nutrition goals. 

3.    Freezing fruit for a slushy or creamy texture. Adding ice can also maintain smoothie texture, increase fluid volume and fullness, without additional sugar or calories.

4.    Layer each ingredient starting with the liquid ingredients first. Blend at low speed first and gradually increase the power. The liquid base will keep the solids moving to make a more smooth consistency without small pieces remaining.

5.    Avoid refined sugars, if additional sweetness is desired add a little fruit concentrate, stevia, dates, or maple syrup to taste.  

6.    It is best to drink your smoothie right away. But you can keep it covered in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. Freeze your smoothie in small containers or in an ice cube tray to enjoy at a later time. 

Step 1: Choose a liquid base (1-2 cups) 

A 32 ounce smoothie is approximately 2 servings and will require 2 cups of liquid depending on the water content of fruits and other ingredients 

·     Almond, coconut, soy milk unsweetened, or low fat milk 

·     Kefir (choose without added sugars): is a fermented yogurt-like drink containing probiotics 

·     Herbal or green tea 

·     Vegetable juice

Step 2: Add Leafy Greens if desired 

To maximize nutrition antioxidants and phytochemicals add leafy greens. Choose a milder green if you are new to a smoothie. 

·     Mild: 1-2 cups spinach, romaine, or radish greens

·     Medium: ½ to 1 cup chard, Bok choy, collard greens, beet greens, or kale

·     Strong: 2 tablespoons to ¼ cup dandelion greens or arugula 

Step 3: Pick your protein

Protein is essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass, bones, skin, hair and nails, and supports the immune system. 

·     Greek yogurt ¼ to ½ cup (plain is preferred) 

·     Cottage cheese 

·     Tofu 

·     Peanut butter

·     Protein powder (1 tablespoon to 1 scoop or more to preference, aim for 15 to 21 grams of protein per serving) choose certified USDA organic and non-GMO brands, whey based protein or pea protein (a non-dairy vegetarian and plant-based protein). 

Step 4: Choose your Fruit (1 cup)

Fruits provide a rich source of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, folate, B-vitamins, fiber and antioxidants. Antioxidants support the immune system and protect your body from harmful free radicals that can lead to heart disease, cancer, inflammation, and other health conditions. Using frozen fruit creates a more creamy smoothie. Be careful when adding fruit as it also contributes to sugar and calorie content.  

·     Choose fresh or frozen fruit or try a combination of different fruits. 

·     Fruits high in antioxidants are blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, oranges, prunes and raisins. 

Step 4: Add Nutrition Boosters

Add one or more of these nutrition boosters to increase the nutritional value of your smoothie. 

·     Healthy Fats 1 tablespoon (nut butters, avocado, unsweetened coconut, flaxseed oil, cashews): contain omega 3 fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, and helps to increase the absorption of vitamins and minerals.

·     Herbs and Spices (cinnamon, turmeric, ginger): helps improve immune function, digestion, decreases inflammation and relieves chronic pain associated with arthritis. 

·     Seeds 1 tablespoon (ground flaxseed, chia, or hemp seeds): provide omega 3 fatty acids, fiber, antioxidants, vitamin E, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, B vitamins, and zinc. 

Health note: 

There is no evidence that dietary supplements provide the same health benefits as eating a healthy well-balanced diet that includes lean unprocessed animal proteins, plant-based proteins, fruits and vegetables. High-dose supplements may actually be harmful and increase health-risk or interfere with certain medications. It is best to consult with your health care provider or a registered dietitian before starting any supplement.

Click on the link below to start your smoothie adventure

Orange and Mango Green Smoothie