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.

 

Lavender Marshmallows

Lavender Marshmallows

Light, fluffy, moist, and delicious. These marshmallows are so easy to make it’s criminal.

If you like sweet lavender deliciousness, these are for you. I pretty much followed this Smitten Kitchen recipe, but I substituted lavender flower sugar for half the regular sugar to give them a lovely lavender flavor.

Lavender Marshmallows

Here’s what ya need:

4 envelopes unflavored gelatin

1 cup of cold water, divided

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup lavender flower sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 large egg whites

1 cup-ish of confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Oil a 13×9 metal baking pan and sift a light covering of confectioners’ sugar all over sides and bottom.

In an electric mixer combine the gelatin and the first half cup of water. Let this stand while in a 3 quart saucepan you cook granulated and lavender sugar, corn syrup, second half cup of H2O, and salt over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Increase the temperature and bring to a boil until temperature comes to 240F. Remove from heat and add to gelatin mixture, stirring until combined.

Beat mixture on high until white, thick and about three times the volume. While you are doing this beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff peaks form. Stir this into the gelatin mixture until just combined. Pour into your prepared pan and dust with confectioners sugar. Chill uncovered for at least three hours or up to a day.

Flip pan over and ease marshmallow onto your cutting board. Cut into desired shape and size. Eat immediately or store in airtight container for up to a week.

Lavender Marshmallows A person can only eat so many plain lavender marshmallows, so stay tuned for recipes that use these marshmallows!!

-Charleston Spice Co.

Lemon Icebox Cookies

Lemon icebox cookies

You know when you are day dreaming of eating something and you’re not quite sure what it’s name is but you know that it’s exactly what you want and crave. So then you have to search for a recipe to make that dream become a reality and you dive into the fray of the kitchen with the hope that blind faith and courage will help you recreate your vision.

Well, the other day I had a dream of biting into a thin crumbly but firm shortbread-like cookie with a delightful lemon flavor hinting of lemon curd and sunny afternoon tea time. So I went in search of a recipe and found this one from Martha Stewart.

And I made my dream come true.Lemon icebox cookies

Here’s what you need:

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon coarse salt (I used Sel Gris)

1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 cup butter, cut into pieces

2 large egg yolks

1/4 cup granulated sugar (for rolling)

In a bowl combine flour, confectioners’ surgar, salt, and lemon zest. If you have a large food processor, pulse the flour mixture and butter until sandy (my food processor is fun sized so I only pulsed half at a time). Add yolks and lemon juice, pulse until dough forms. Divide dough and form into 1 1/2 inch logs. Wrap in plastic wrap and place in the freezer until firm (about 2 hours or up to a month).

Place racks in upper and lower thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 350 F. Remove logs and roll in granulated sugar. Cut to desired thickness and place on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes or until edges are golden brown, rotating halfway through. Let cookies cool on a wire rack.Lemon icebox cookies

Best if served with a cup of tea and some good conversation.

XO

Charleston Spice Co.

Chocolate Covered Coconut Crispies

Coconut Crispies

How do you take a classic Rice Krispy Treat to the next level?

You add coconut and then smother, I mean, cover it with chocolate.

Coconut Crispies

 

Here’s what you need:

2 1/2 cups of crispy rice cereal

2 cups shaved coconut, toasted (and a wee bit more for topping (and eating))

2 1/2 Tablespoons butter (plus some for buttering your dish)

2 cups mini marshmallows

Chocolate of your choice for coating treats (I used semi sweet chocolate chips)

Butter the bottom and sides of an 8×8 dish.

Combine cereal and toasted coconut in a bowl. In small saucepan melt butter. Add marshmallows stirring until melted. Pour marshmallow mixture onto cereal mixture and stir until evenly coated.

Press into your buttered dish, let cool.

Cut cooled treats into bite sized nuggets. I got about 18 fun sized treats out of this recipe, but you might get more if you manage not to eat 6 or 7 in the process of cutting them… lay out a piece of parchment paper in preparation for chocolate covered treats.

Heat up your chocolate in a small double boiler. Take nuggets one at a time and dip/roll around to cover with chocolate. Move to parchment paper and decorate with toasted shaved coconut. Let cool before enjoying.

Coconut Crispies