Category Archives: Cookies and Muffins

Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Cookies

sweet potato cookies 2Sweet potatoes are guaranteed to show up in a CSA farm basket this time of year. Superfood or not, enthusiasm for this mighty root can start to wane as the weekly stash of spuds starts to back up. Continue reading Chai-Spiced Sweet Potato Cookies

Blueberry Lemon Avocado Muffins

Blueberry Lemon Avocado MuffinsHigh on my list of “What I learned in 2013” is that avocado makes for a fabulous fat substitute in baked goods (as well as the secret to lending an absolutely silken texture to smoothies). And as a side note, I also learned that avocados are also known as “alligator pears.” Continue reading Blueberry Lemon Avocado Muffins

Oatmeal Almond Cookies

I couldn’t be a bigger fan of oatmeal cookies. Among my favorite things, is that I tell myself that there’s actually a shred of nutrition in them — certainly some fiber. Another great thing about oatmeal cookies: they’re not brittle or flimsy and hold their own in the mail. A few nights ago, I got a hankering for a hearty oatmeal cookie hot from the oven. Bill is always on board with this kind of plan. The rest were packed up and mailed off to Anna. Everyone was happy.

plate of oatmeal cookies

Always looking for some sort of new twist on the tried and true, I decided to substitute sliced almonds for walnuts, and almond extract for vanilla. Even though I couldn’t be a bigger fan of the basic walnut and raisin combination, the all-almond approach proved to be a bit of a game changer. It may well be my new go-to.


  •  1 stick (1/2 cup) softened butter
  • 2/3 cup raw sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. salt teaspoon table salt (I often use a half teaspoon, but I like more salt in my baked goods)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 sliced almonds


  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • In a large bowl, beat the butter, sugar, egg and almond extract until smooth.
  • Sift in the flour, baking soda, and salt.
  • Stir in oats and almonds.
  • Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Remove cookies from the oven while the top still appears slightly undercooked.
  • Transfer to a wire rack to cool.


Sweet Potato Cheddar Muffins

If there had been any doubt as to what kind of bread to serve at Thanksgiving Dinner, there isn’t any longer. These muffins have it all and can absolutely hold their own as a side dish unto themselves. And another thing … they were better the second day once the cheddar, sweet potato and jalapeno had a chance to merge into complete awesomeness. In other words, make a batch on Tuesday or Wednesday and there’s one less thing to worry about on Thanksgiving Day, (providing you can keep them away from the hungry hoard until show time.
half sweet potato muffins
While Thanksgiving is only six days out and it’s the holiday that’s on my brain right now, let there be no doubt, these babies will be a welcome addition on any of the other 364 days.
Take tonight, for instance. Friday. Freezing rain. End of a long week. A bowl of Broccoli Cheddar Carrot Soup along with a tasty Sweet Potato Cheddar muffin and all is right with the world.
The following recipe is adapted from a cool website that I happened upon called Wanna Bite. After a brief perusal of the site, I subscribed, and highly recommend it for anyone who is looking for fun and fabulous recipe ideas that are slightly off the beaten track.
The following recipe makes about 12 muffins.
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into chunks
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1½ cups  flour
  • 1/2  tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp, baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp Kosher salt
  • 2 green onions diced
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed and finely diced.


  • Peel and chop sweet potato. Add to a large saucepan of boiling water and cook for about 20 minutes until tender.
  • Preheat oven to 375.
  • Beat milk, egg, oil and cheese. Drain cooked sweet potato and press into an 8 oz. measuring cup. Add one cup of cooked sweet potatoes to the milk/egg mixture, and beat well until sweet potato is completely incorporated.
  • Sift flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Add to sweet potato mixture and stir  until just combined. Stir in green onions and jalapeno.
  • Spoon batter into muffin tins coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes.
  • Enjoy warm from the oven and store the remaining muffins in an airtight container for up to a few days.

Ginger Pear Bundt Cake

The pear is a tricky fruit. The window between rock-hard and mushy seems to last no more than a few hours. Unlike, say, bananas that can be peeled and frozen for smoothies, or apples that tend to last AND remain perfect for hundreds of recipes even if they are a little past their prime,  too often around here, pears have just gotten tossed. I’m happy to report,  however, that sorry state of affairs is officially a thing of the past. Last week as four pears started to head down that inevitable road, I peeled and cored them, sprinkled them with about a tablespoon of lemon juice and kept them covered in the fridge for a few days.

When I was ready to play with a pear cake recipe, the peeled pears were in perfect shape.  Problem solved. Lemon successfully managed to buy time for the pears.

Spiced Pear Bundt Cake

As for the Ginger Pear Cake that they ended up in: A delightful addition to Sunday Brunch. A few tweaks and it could transfer over into the dessert realm, but this version, with just a touch of sweetness and a good dose of healthy walnuts provided a solid start to the day.


  • 3 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly grated ginger or 1 tsp. powdered ginger
  • 3/4 cup pear puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


  • Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a 12-cup bundt pan with cooking spray.
  • Puree pears and set aside.
  • Sift together dry ingredients.
  • Beat ginger, oil,  sugar, eggs and pear puree. Add dry ingredients and beat until just combined. Stir in walnuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared bundt pan. Bake for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.