Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins

Everyone likes blueberry muffins, almost as much as they do banana chocolate muffins. So combining the two seems like a bit of a no brainer. Banana chocolate blueberry muffins you say? It’s may be a mouthful, but a ridiculously delicious one at that. Complete with not just any blueberries, or any chocolate, but rather Marich chocolate covered blueberries, they’ve got just enough fruit in them to qualify as breakfast, and just enough chocolate to make for a satisfying dessert. That’s all the convincing you need right there.

Banana Chocolate Blueberry Muffins
 
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Author:
Serves: 6 large muffins
Ingredients
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • ¾ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 2 very ripe bananas
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup neutral oil (like canola or grapeseed)
  • ¾ cup Marich chocolate covered blueberries, roughly chopped
  • granola, to garnish (optional)
Instructions
  1. Mash up the bananas until there aren't any lumps remaining.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and egg, mixing until incorporated.
  3. Gently fold in the remaining dry ingredients until there are no longer any bits of flour visible. Do not over-mix or you run the risk of the muffins becoming tough and tunnelled.
  4. Pour the batter into lined muffin cups and sprinkle the tops of granola.
  5. Bake at 350F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre of them comes out clean.
  6. Cool and enjoy!

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Miso Blondies

Miso Blondies

I admit, it has been awhile, but these miso blondies are a recipe worth coming back for. Inspired by the current trend toward more savoury desserts (like the miso éclairs at Libertine Bakehouse here in Montreal) and a recent trip to Japan (which I should probably get around to writing about at SOME point), they are the perfect combination of delicious and fool proof. Even chef said that they were some of the best baking he has tasted in a long time, period. Perhaps he knew there would be hell to pay if his review was anything less than positive, but all of that aside, I encourage you to make them and decide for yourself whether or not they are worth adding to your staple baking rotation.

Other than the miso itself, which adds both necessary salt and a touch of je ne sais quoi to these blondies, the real kicker is the addition of Marich Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cashews baked into the batter. I’ve baked with Marich chocolates in the past and they are easily the best chocolate-coated confections I’ve ever tried. They don’t skimp on the coating and they also use good chocolate, not the crappy stuff that tastes and feels like wax. In a recipe with such few ingredients, it really pays to use only the best quality products you can get your hands on. Marich chocolates fit the bill.

I can’t really think of any negatives when it comes to these miso blondies. You only need one bowl, they take less than 45 minutes to make, all in, and they’re loaded with sweet salty decadence in every bite. I guess the only downside is that you’ll eventually run out and have to make more… Is that really such a bad thing?

Miso Blondies
 
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Recipe type: Dessert
Serves: 8 blondies
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. mugi miso
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup AP flour
  • pinch salt
  • ¼ tsp. baking powder
  • ¾ cup chopped Marich dark chocolate sea salt cashews
Instructions
  1. Whisk together the warm melted butter and miso until incorporated. Whisk in the olive oil. Let stand for about 10 minutes to let all the flavours meld together.
  2. Whisk the egg and brown sugar into the melted butter miso mixture.
  3. Whisk in the flour, salt, and baking powder.
  4. Finally, stir in the chopped chocolate covered cashews.
  5. Pour into a lined or greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for about 25 minutes.
  6. Cool, slice, and enjoy.
Notes
If you make a double batch it is enough to fill a 9X9 pan. You will just have to cook them a bit longer.

**The chocolate used in this recipe was graciously provided by Marich chocolates, however the opinions are my own.

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Ungava Cranberry Negroni

Ungava Cranberry Negroni

I’m a big fan of the Negroni any time of year, but its sweet boozy balance makes it the ideal winter cocktail. This version uses Ungava gin, a Quebec product with botanicals like Nordic Juniper, Wild Rose Hips, Cloudberry, Crowberry, Arctic Blend, and Labrador Tea. Mixing it with another native ingredient, cranberries, makes this cranberry Negroni about as Canadian of a cocktail as they come. Happy sipping.

Ungava Cranberry Negroni
 
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Serves: 1 cocktail
Ingredients
  • 1.5 ounces Ungava gin
  • 1.5 ounces Campari
  • ¾ ounce sweet vermouth
  • 1.5 ounces cranberry juice
  • fresh or frozen cranberries, to garnish
Instructions
  1. Pour everything over ice, stir, and drink.

 

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Chocolate Pudding Cakes

Molten chocolate cakes are about as old-school a dessert as they come, but there’s something about them that gets me every time. With Valentine’s fast approaching, if there’s one super-simple chocolate dessert to have in your repertoire when you need to pull out all the stops, this is it.

I decided to call these chocolate “pudding” cakes, rather than “molten” cakes, because they don’t have a clear distinction between a clearly set, cooked-through exterior, and an under-baked, molten centre. This isn’t a bad thing, in fact, it is a very good thing, because the entire cake is the consistency of warm, baked pudding. It’s not quite raw, and not quite cooked, but decadent and satisfying to boot. If you’re in need of comfort food in the dead of winter, make this (or get someone to make it for you and it will taste even better).

Choosing the chocolate you want to use for a dessert that is pretty much entirely comprised of chocolate is always an important step. I opted for Green & Black’s Organic 85% bar, because I love chocolate and when I make a chocolate dessert, I want to taste chocolate. If that sounds too dark for you, their 70% bar is also a perfectly good option.

These cakes come together in a flash, so regardless of whether you are meticulously planning your Valentine’s meal, or are just craving chocolate after a long day, you can get them on the table in 30 minutes or less. In fact, I might just make another batch tonight.

Chocolate Pudding Cakes
 
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Serves: 2 cakes
Ingredients
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch salt
  • 100g (1 bar) 70% or 85% Green & Black's dark chocolate
  • 3 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 3 tbsp. whole wheat flour
Instructions
  1. Heat your oven to 350 F and grease and sugar two ramekins.
  2. Melt the chocolate and coconut together in the microwave or over a double boiler.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, brown sugar, and salt.
  4. Once the chocolate mixture has melted and cooled slightly, gradually mix it into the egg mixture.
  5. Whisk in the flour to combine.
  6. Distribute the batter evenly between the two ramekins.
  7. Bake for 12-13 minutes, or until the cakes appear set around the edges and slightly tacky in the centre.
  8. Allow them to cool slightly before unmolding.
  9. Serve with cranberry sauce, ice cream, or the garnishes of your choice.

*The chocolate for this post was provided by Green & Black’s Organic Chocolate but the opinions and recipe are my own.

Granola babka with brown sugar and walnut butter

Granola babka with brown sugar and walnut butter

I don’t eat a lot of bread, but when I do, it tends to be the focus of the meal. Enter this granola babka, the perfect breakfast treat. I was lucky to be gifted some Oatbox granola over the holidays. Inspired by their recipe for cinnamon rolls, I decided to use the granola in a same-same-but-different form, babka. Who can’t get on board with sweet, swirled bread dough?

Now the kicker here is that this dough isn’t swirled with just anything. Babka is typically filled with chocolate, but this one rather has layers of walnut butter, brown sugar, and granola. The granola is key because it adds a much-needed element of crispy, crunchy texture. As I mentioned, said granola comes from a Montreal-based company called Oatbox. They are basically a “granola of the month” club. Monthly subscriptions cost $20 and get you two bags of granola. Flavours change from month to month. I used their banana molasses variety in this granola babka. The two flavours for January are buckwheat, almond, and honey, and matcha, coconut, and mulberries. An Oatbox subscription is a great idea for the New Year to help ensure you always have some healthy breakfast (and baking!) options on hand.

As for this granola babka, it’s surprisingly good for you despite its apparent decadence. Walnut butter replaces the butter you’d find in traditional cinnamon rolls. Given the sweetness in the nut butter and the granola, there’s not a ton of extra brown sugar. Otherwise, it’s just a basic white bread dough. You could totally use whole wheat flour instead or throw some bran in if you’re looking for the extra fibre. Pureed dates would also make a great substitution for the brown sugar in the filling.

Whether you need to feed a crowd of people for a holiday gathering, or just want to treat yourself on a cold winter morning, this granola babka will warm you up from the inside out!

*Oatbox supplied the granola for this post but the words and recipe here are my own.

Granola babka with brown sugar and walnut butter
 
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It's easiest to prep this recipe the night before you want to eat the babka. It's a great breakfast treat for the holidays!
Author:
Serves: 1 loaf
Ingredients
  • ½ package dry active yeast (just over 1 tsp. or about 4 grams)
  • ½ cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp. fine salt
  • 2 tbsp. oil (neutral-flavoured)
  • ⅓ cup walnut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup banana molasses Oatbox granola
Instructions
  1. Bloom the yeast with ¼ cup of warm water and 1 tbsp. of brown sugar.
  2. Once it has activated, add in the remaining ¼ cup of water, flour, salt, and oil.
  3. Mix in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment or by hand, kneading until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 5-10 minutes depending on what method you use.
  4. Let the dough rest for about 15-20 minutes.
  5. Roll it out into a rectangle about ¼ inch thick.
  6. Smear the walnut butter evenly over the rolled dough and sprinkle on layers of both brown sugar and granola.
  7. Roll the dough up tightly into a log, as if you were making cinnamon buns.
  8. Slice the roll longitudinally right down the middle, dividing it into two even halves.
  9. Twist these halves together, forming a spiralled loaf.
  10. Place the babka into a well-oiled loaf pan, cover, and rest it in the fridge overnight. Alternately, if you want to move ahead with baking it right away, leave it at room temperature and let it rise until doubled.
  11. Once the loaf has risen (whether that was in the fridge overnight or at room temperature for about an hour) bake at 350F for about 30 minutes. It should be golden and slightly crusty.
  12. Cool slightly and enjoy. Fresh bread is always best eaten warm!