Apple Toad Muffins

Apple Toad Muffins

Is there a better way to start the day than with coffee and homemade baked goods? I can think of few other morning rituals that can bring such delight as reading a book, sipping coffee, and munching on a little something sweet.

With the cool spring mornings we’ve been having I’ve been craving apple muffins. So I went in search of a recipe that would satiate my desire and found this one. I decided to call mine Toad Muffins because I ended up using less topping than the original recipe and they turned out warty and toad like in appearance, appetizing description, yes? I sort of followed the recipe, I recommend you read this recipe because the author is very detailed and describes at what speed you should blend the different ingredients.

When I get into the kitchen it’s more of a free for all and by the time I get half way through such a detailed recipe I think, well, it probably doesn’t matter now, I’ve got a general idea of what I’m supposed to do now… Sometimes this works out, other times it does matter and things don’t turn out well. But this recipe was a success, even with a disregard to the blending instructions, thus I’m sharing it with you.Apple Toad MuffinsHere’s what ya need:

For toady topping:

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

1 teaspoon Poudre Douce (or Pie Spice or just plain ol’ cinnamon)

1/4 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

For muffins:

1/2 cup butter, at room temp

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup granulated sugar

2 large eggs, room temp

1/2 cup greek yogurt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups apple, peeled and chopped

In a small bowl assemble the topping: combine sugars, Poudre Douce, and butter. Stir in flour until all combined and crumbly. Put to the side.

Preheat oven to 425 F. Line muffin tins with muffin/cupcake liners (makes about 15 standard size muffins (and yes, I used Halloween cupcake liners, who says you can’t celebrate Halloween in April?)).

In a mixer beat butter until smooth and creamy. Add sugars and beat on high until creamed. Add eggs, yogurt and vanilla. Beat until combined.

Combine flour, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix together with a whisk. Slowly pour in milk and blend until relatively smooth, then stir in apple chunks.

Pour into prepared muffin tins. Fill to the top and press some of the crumble topping on top. For once in my baking career, I erred on the side of caution with the topping. I tend to steer clear of overly sugar-coated muffins so I really didn’t use very much of the topping and had some left over.

Bake for 5 minutes at 425 F then reduce heat to 350 F and bake for 15 more minutes.

These will last about 3 to 5 days at room temp, but they do have a tendency to disappear when left in the open…Apple Toad Muffins

Enjoy,

Charleston Spice Co.

Roasted Chickpeas

roasted chickpeas

Market season is here and for us that means salad season is about to kick into full swing.

After standing in the humid heat of sunny SC for hours eating isn’t always top on our list of things to do, but a nice big salad can work wonders to restore morale. With four markets a week we eat a lot of salads and are always looking for ways to keep things interesting.

Enter Roasted ChickpeasCrunchy and delightful, these are a fabulous salad topper and snack.

Here’s what you need:

3 cups chickpeas (I used dried prepared according to package instructions, but you can use canned as well)

2 Tablespoons olive oil

seasoning to taste

Preheat oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Coat chickpeas with olive oil and throw them onto your prepared baking sheet. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Take chickpeas out, add your seasoning of choice and bake another 10-15 minutes. As far as seasonings go, it’s up to you, this is your chance to get wild. I enjoy chickpeas roasted with our Hot Curry for salad topping and for snacking I like Cocoa Nib Rub.

Happy snacking and salad eating,

xo

Charleston Spice Co.

Artichoke and Avocado Spread

Artichoke and Avocado Spread

Inspired by a recent trip to one of our favorite wine and cheese shops, my mom and I decided to make some sort of artichoke spread.

When we first pulled out the artichoke hearts we were thinking something along the lines of olive oil, olives, and artichoke but then we saw half an avocado sitting all alone on the counter and we started moving in a whole new direction.

What we created was a beautiful combination of artichoke dip and guacamole. Perfect for an afternoon snack or cocktail hour.

Artichoke and Avocado Spread

Here’s what you need:

1 cup artichoke hearts, chopped

1/2 an avocado

2 ounces cream cheese

1 teaspoon Adobo

Hot pepper paste to taste (we used about 1 1/2 tablespoons of ají mirasol paste!)

Cheese for topping, optional

Mash avocado and cream cheese together until somewhat smooth and blended. Add in Adobo and chili paste. Stir in chopped artichoke hearts. Top with a light dusting of cheese and serve right away with bread or crackers!! We found that the spread was best on slightly toasted and crunchy bread!

Artichoke and Avocado Spread

Now you might be asking, what’s up with this ají mirasol stuff? And why does that knife say Braniff?

It’s all connected, my friend. As it happens my mom spent a large part of her younger years in Lima, Peru. Thus hot peppers and hints of Peruvian cuisine are part of her soul and flair in the kitchen and often find their way into last minute meal creations like this one.

But what about the knife?

Oh yes, when she and her family flew down to South America airlines like Braniff provided real silverware on flights, fancy huh? I’d like to think they stopped that practice on account of too many people taking these cute little knives with them and not because they may have presented a safety hazard.

Hope you’re having a great week!

-Charleston Spice Co.

The rocky road to perfection

Rocky Road BrowniesPerfection is in the eye of the beholder and this Rocky Road Brownie looks pretty darn good to me.

It’s ooey and gooey and an all around hot mess.

It’s everything you could hope for in a Rocky Road Brownie.

Here’s the thing, I love the crispy sticky outer layer of a fire roasted marshmallow so this is a picture of my idea of the perfect Rocky Road Brownie:

Rocky Road Brownies

So here’s how you make some awesome brownies:

For brownies

2 eggs

1 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup butter, melted

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup chopped nuts

For topping**:

1/4 cup chopped pecans (we used pecans roasted with our Pecan Pie Spice blend but you can use an kind of toasted or sugared nut!!)

1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

about 2 cups marshmallows, enough to cover surface of brownies (I used homemade lavender marshmallows!!)

**All measurements for the topping are guidelines, I have a terrible habit when I’m baking of measuring out things like nuts and chocolate and then adding a handful or two more. So just listen to your heart, you’ll do the right thing.

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 F.

In mixer beat eggs, gradually add sugar and vanilla; beat well. Add melted butter. Combine dry ingredients and add to egg mix until completely combined. Stir in nuts. Pour into parchment paper lined pan and bake for 25 minutes. Take out of oven and throw pecans, chocolate, and marshmallows on top and bake for another 5 mins.

Remove and let cool in pan.

You can stop here and eat your brownies as is or right before serving pop the brownies back in the oven under the broiler set on high until the marshmallows are roasted to perfection.

Rocky Road Brownies

Whether you prefer roasted marshmallows or perfectly white melty marshmallows, I hope you enjoy!!

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Creamy Dill Spread

Creamy Dill Spread

This spread is perfect for bagels, crackers, and bread. It’s also divine when spread on top of a steak or a burger!!

Here’s what you need:

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temp

1 heaping Tablespoon Dill Dip

1 Tablespoon cream style horseradish (if using pure horseradish, use 1/2 amount)

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix them all together. Let sit overnight or use right away!

This is one way we’ve used it, creamy dill spread and lox toast with deviled eggs and avocado on the side:

Creamy Dill Spread

Hope you have a great weekend!

xoxo

Charleston Spice Co.

Springtime S’mores

Remember those Lemon Icebox Cookies? And those Lavender Marshmallows?Springtime S'mores

They were both pretty great, right?

Well let’s take a minute and put two and two together with a little dark chocolate.

That’s right, let’s make s’mores.

Springtime S'mores

But why stop there? Let’s take these s’mores to the next level. Let’s add some fresh-cut strawberries:

Springtime S'mores

The delicate flavors of each of the components of this dessert sandwich are rather chic & sophisticated yet the ooey gooey nature of this treat allows you to be a messy happy kid again.

So enjoy the subtle melding of flavors while you lick your fingers and giggle at the chocolate and marshmallow stuck to your friend’s face.

XO,

Charleston Spice Co.