Espresso Chocolate Bran Muffins

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I was walking to the mailbox yesterday to post a birthday card. Through slush & ice. Down my mile-long driveway. Okay, it was an easy stroll. And on the way back I ran into my not-quite-elderly or else in really great shape & elderly neighbor. She engaged in small talk. Eventually she asked what I study & when I replied “Global Environmental Policy” she responded: “Is that like… Al Gore stuff?”

Yes, folks. It is indeed a bit like “Al Gore Stuff.”

Though, only a fraction of us study climate change. Some of us study energy, some conservation, some international institutions, some water, and those of us that are particularly cool study agriculture & food.

Speaking of which, this week we’re actually studying the EU decision making process on GMOs. Which shall serve as a transition to delicious muffins made with organic whole wheat flour. And probably GM wheat bran… but I wouldn’t know, because it’s not labeled!

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These muffins are a one bowl, three measuring cups (because I use a 1/4 & 1/2 cup for everything) , throw it together in a jiff kind of recipe.

As muffin recipes should be.

And they’re dairy-free, whole wheat, bran muffins. Hello, sorta healthy.

With CHOCOLATE in them. And ESPRESSO. Which probably explains my use of caps right there.

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And the most important part is that I now have espresso-laden, semi-healthy muffins to take to campus Wednesday & Thursday.

I usually forget to pack any food at all and survive off overpriced soy lattes & bagels sold on campus. And by the end of the day my stomach feels cramped & ready to implode/explode. And my journey begins at 6 (wake up) & ends around 10 (get home). But fear not this week! I have prepared with muffins, tabbouleh, hummus & pita! Oh me oh my!

Also, these muffins make the house smell glorious. In all their chocolatey, espresso, fresh-baked goodness.

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Bran Muffins

Inspired by The Kitchy Kitchen
Makes 12 Standard Muffins

WET:
1/2 Cup Oil (i use canola)
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Brewed Coffee (cold)
1/2 Cup Soy Milk
2 Tbsp Ground Espresso
1 Egg (i use ener-g)
2 Tsp Vanilla

DRY:
1 2/3 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
2/3 Cup Bran (I used half oat & half wheat)
2 Tsp Baking Powder
1 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Cinnamon
3/4 – 1 Cup Chocolate Chips*

*I used dairy-free chocolate Рhalf Ghirardelli Semisweet Chocolate Chips & half chopped Ibarro Mexican Chocolate. The Mexican chocolate is full of granulated sugar & adds a nice sugary crunch to the muffins.  Feel free to use as much chocolate, or little as you like Рkeeping in mind that it may affect the volume of the batter.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line muffin tray with muffin papers.

Combine all the wet ingredients in a medium/large bowl. Add all the dry ingredients, except the chocolate chips.
Combine thoroughly. Stir in chocolate Chips.
Spoon batter evenly into muffin papers. Should all be about 3/4 full.
Bake for about 18 – 22 minutes or until muffins spring back to a light touch (or toothpick comes out clean method).

Now, NOSH.

With a cold glass or milk or hot cup of coffee.

Contains caffeine. Please, enjoy responsibly : )

All gone!

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

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These peanut butter oatmeal bars are the best. Ever. I could eat the whole pan. Or half. Since I did do that, already.

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Mom’s been making them since I was little.

Straight from a Better Homes & Gardens cookbook she’s had forever. With it’s deep red cover ¬†& worn looking pages.

My brother Fred & I would devour them. Because they’re a perfect comfort food treat.

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Full of oats. And peanut butter. And topped off with a hard layer of just enough chocolate.

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It’s easy to eat 1/2 a pan because they’re not too sweet, just sweet enough, and almost fool you into thinking they might be healthy.ish. And the flavors of peanut butter & chocolate flood your mouth as your teeth sink into the soft, chewy bars.

They’re a good choice for a sneaky breakfast treat.

This is the second time I’ve made them vegan and they’re perfect. They taste more or less exactly like the original recipe.

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Peanut Butter Oatmeal Bars

adapted from Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book

1/2 cup shortening
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 ener-g egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup almond or soy milk
1 cup AP flour
1 cup oats (i use quick oats)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 13×9 inch pan.

Beat shortening & peanut butter until well-creamed. Add sugar and continue beating until light & fluffy. Add egg, milk & vanilla and beat to incorporate into fluffy peanut buttery goodness.

Add flour, oats, baking soda & salt – slowly. Beat until well-mixed & smooth.

Spread mixture evenly in your greased pan. It may be a bit thick so spread carefully.

Bake for 18 to 22 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven.

Spread chocolate chips across the surface while still hot. When the chocolate has softened/melted, after a few seconds, spread evenly.

Let cool & allow chocolate to harden before cutting into bars…

Before devouring in huge bites!

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Snickerdoodles!!

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Happy New Year, everyone!

I know the new year’s resolutions usually dictate getting fitter, healthier, eating fewer sweets, etc.
Which especially makes sense after the holidays…
but I feel it has been long enough since Christmas to indulge in a little 2013 treat.
And one of my mom’s coworkers demanded 3 dozen snickerdoodles! Lol.
And apparently Snickerdoodles are Stephen’s favorite cookie. Which I guess I should have known since he loves cinnamon :)

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Snickerdoodles:

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups + 2 tbsp AP flour
2 tsp angel cream (or cream of tartar)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

combine & roll in:
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar

Preheat oven to 350F. Use center rack in oven.

Beat butter & shortening on medium until light, creamy & fluffy. Add sugar and beat thoroughly. Add eggs & vanilla and beat until all of the ingredients are incorporated and everything is still light & fluffy. Begin adding the dry ingredients and mix slooowly. Increase the speed until mixture is consistent.

Flour flying out of the bowl is the worst.

Combine extra sugar & cinnamon in a shallow bowl or on a plate. Making tablespoon sized balls of dough, gently roll them in the cinnamon-sugar to coat. Place on baking sheet.

Bake each batch for about 10 to 12 minutes. Cool on drying rack.

Indulge.

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These cookies are especially good with a steaming cup of coffee.

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Or all by themselves.

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After dinner. For a nice & simple dessert.

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Even for a lovely, cinnamony breakfast ; )

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They’re light. And crispy. And they melt in your mouth.

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They’re probably delicious dipped in a cold glass of milk (cow OR almond).

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Or 10 at a time.

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Or just one bite.

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Enjoy!!!

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