Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

I’m pretty sure hell just froze over.

Pigs are flying.

I, eternal hater of the dreadful, ever-so-sneaky carrot, willingly bought, and cooked with…carrots.

They say that when you’re hosting a party, you should stick to your tried and true recipes and, as a rule, I tend to adhere to that. Except, every now and then, I get the occasional hare-brained, you’re-out-of-your-mind ideas. And then I dwell, and dwell, and dwell on them until I actually have to make them or I’ll go crazy.

You too?

No, just me? Oh well.

That happened last week with the party and those carrot cakes. I had seen a recipe for a whisky carrot cake on TheKitchn ages ago and couldn’t stop thinking about it. So what if I’d never bought a carrot in my life? So what if I had zero, zilch, nada experience making carrot cake? It was going to happen for this party.

So it did, and thank God, it was a smash hit.

Success.

I want to like carrots. I really do. They are so good for you! I try them every so often just to see if maybe my gag reflex when the after-taste hits has chilled out, but it never seems to work. This carrot cake though…it worked. Unfortunately pretty much all of the good nutritional aspects of the carrot were being wiped out by the fact that it was indeed still cake.

Hence the muffin was created. Less sugar, whole wheat, more nuts, more carrot, and a whole lot of yumminess! I wouldn’t go so far as to say healthy, but definitely healthier. I know what we will be having on Thanksgiving morning.

Are you trying anything brand new for Thanksgiving?

Here’s to willingness to take a risk and being open to new things.

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins from Kiwi and Peach

Carrot and Pecan Spiced Rum Muffins

{make 12 muffins}

Adapted from Sara Kate’s recipe for TheKitchn. Besides reducing the recipe, I substituted whole wheat for the all purpose flour and reduced the sugar to make it more of a muffin and less of a cake. I also upped the carrot and pecan amounts. I’m dying to try an all natural sugar version of this. I think it would be great with demerara sugar.

The Egg
3 eggs

The Dry
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 heaping tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
dash of allspice

The Fold
1 large carrot, peeled then shredded {around 2 cups, maybe slightly less}
2/3 cup chopped pecans
2/3 cup shredded coconut
3 Tbsp spiced rum

The Wet
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2/3 cup olive oil

Crack your eggs into a small bowl, beat them, and set them to the side. {Wow, that sounds like a lot of egg violence.} Do this first so they have some time to get to room temperature.

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C.

Grab three mixing bowls.

In the first, add your grated carrot, chopped pecans, coconut and rum. Give it all a stir and set it to the side for later.

In the second, sift together your dry ingredients.

In the third, the biggest of the three, combine the brown sugar with the olive oil well. As Sara Kate says in the original recipe, it should look like wet sand. Alternatively, add the flour and the egg and mix until they are just incorporated each time. Then fold in the carrot mix.

Set the batter to the side for a minute so the batter can rest while you line the muffin pan with cupcake liners. Spoon the batter in to the pan filling each cup 3/4 of the way full.

Pop it in the oven for about 20-25 minutes. Test the middles with a toothpick; if it comes out clean, you’re ready to go!

Enjoy.

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Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes

You made it to Friday, my friend! Go you!

Remember a couple months ago when I did Nicole’s Monogram Swap? Well, in addition to getting some super cute gear for my kitchen, I also met and cultivated relationships with a group of lovely and talented ladies. One of those ladies is Susan over at the lifestyle blog, Charming Lucy. As a self-professed non-cook {Susan} and a fashion struggler {that’d be me}, we’ve been great resources for each other.

Today I’m blogging over there sharing the recipe for my Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes made with our fresh pumpkin puree and sprinkled with those Spiced Pumpkin Seeds. Head on over for the recipe!

If you’ve ventured over here from Charming Lucy, welcome! I’m so glad you could stop by! I sure hope you’ll stick around for a bit, drop me a line and say hi. I’d love to get to know you! And, of course, let me know if you try the pancakes!

Here are some of the things I used to make these magical pancakes a smidge more delicious:

Our How-To for making your own pumpkin puree.

The recipe for our simple granola staple.

The easy, peasy topping: spiced pumpkin seeds.

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Pancakes from Kiwi and Peach

DIY Almond Milk

I’m lactose intolerant. Not in a Leonard kind of way, but in a if-I-eat-dairy-without-taking-my-medicine-I’ll-be-throwing-up-in-a-couple-of-hours kind of way.

It’s really not a big deal though. I actually h.a.t.e. the smell of milk {it all smells sour to me}. I hands-down prefer sorbet or frozen yogurt to ice cream. And let’s face it, all the best cheeses like gorgonzola, parmesan, gouda are all fine since they are fattier {meaning they have very little lactose}. For anything else, I can always take a little pill that provides that magic lactase enzyme I’m missing.  Not a big deal at all!

What I don’t like is having to take medicine when there is a perfectly tasty alternative. Enter milk alternatives.

I’ve been a soy drinker since I found out I was lactose intolerant, but in an effort to veer away from possible GMOs and highly processed stuff, I’ve switched to almond milk. It’s so tasty y’all! Even better is that you can make it yourself. It takes a little bit of forethought since the milk goes bad within a few days, but once you get into a rhythm it really is the simplest thing in the world!

Kiwi+Peach: DIY Almond Milk

I follow The Kitchn’s instructions for making it, but here is the condensed version. Soak your almonds overnight. Drain and rinse them then pop them in a food processor. Add fresh water and then process for about 3-4 minutes. Lay a piece of cheese cloth over a bowl. When you’re finished processing the almonds, pour the mixture onto the cheese cloth. Gather the edges and squeeze all the liquid out of the meal. Sweeten with honey or maple syrup and you’re good to go.

I find that a half batch {1/2 cup almonds, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp honey} will last me for 2-3 days which is probably only how long it will be fresh for anyway.

My biggest piece of advice is use cheesecloth. I couldn’t find it at all here in Munich, so I had my folks stock me up on their last visit. It’s exactly ten million times easier if you use a cheesecloth rather than a sieve. {I also may or may not have broken our sieve the first time I tried to make it.}

Don’t throw that leftover almond meal away though! There is so much you can do with it. My favorite ways are using it for breading my fried chicken or in a tasty pie crust.

What do you think? Would you ever try making your own almond milk? If you try it, let me know, you hipster you!

Gorilla Pull Apart Bread {aka Jesus}

I acknowledge that is an incredibly sacrilegious title. Please don’t break out the pitchforks or stones just yet. Wait until I’ve shared the recipe.

Once upon a time, my college roommate told me about this episode of Paula Deen where she cooked for Jimmy Carter. {This is all pre-scandal, mind.} One of the things she made was Gorilla Bread. So going based on my roommate’s memory of what was in it, I whipped up this magical concoction that we henceforth called Jesus because it makes you say “Jesus Christ! That’s the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth!”

{commence stone throwing}

Despite it’s slightly sacrilegious name, it really is the best. thing. ever. Definitely not healthy, but that’s why you had the fried egg and tomatoes last night right? This is really a great something something to whip up if you have house guests and want to impress them with a great breakfast! So let’s get to it shall we?

Kiwi+Peach: Gorilla Bread {aka Jesus}

Gorilla Pull Apart Bread {aka Jesus}

The Caramel
1/4 cup cream {or soy cream}
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pecans, slightly chopped

The Bread
1 Tbsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
biscuit dough {or a can of the pre-made stuff}
8 ounces of cream cheese

This recipe can be as simple or as labor intensive as you want it to be. If you’re looking for a super quick and impressive breakfast then by all means, use the canned biscuits; use pre-made caramel. Really. It will still be delicious. However, since the Kiwi and I are trying to eliminate highly processed connivence foods {like canned biscuits} from our diet, I decided to be a glutton for punishment do it the slightly harder way.

If you’re making your own caramel, heat all of the ingredients in a pot on medium low heat. Whisk gently for about 8 minutes and then transfer to a bowl. Mix in the pecans and pop it in the fridge to thicken up while you’re getting the rest done.

If you’re making your own biscuit dough, I highly recommend using the Kiwi’s recipe. I whipped up the biscuit dough according to  his fabulous instructions {substituting 1/2 the flour for whole wheat}, but stopped following his instructions after I got the dough made. Then I rolled it out and used the 3 in biscuit cutter to cut out my biscuits.

At this point, the rest of it is the same whether you’re using pre-made or you’ve just made it from scratch.

Preheat the oven according to your biscuit instructions. {450°F/225°C if you’re using the Kiwi’s recipe.}

Go ahead and grease your baking dish. I used a 6 inch pie dish this time, but I’ve had success with loaf pans and with bundt pans too. Use what you got.

In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar and mix well.

Spoon a good sized dollop of cream cheese in the middle of a biscuit and fold the biscuit around the cream cheese. Roll it into a smooth ball. Roll it around in the cinnamon sugar until it’s completely coated and then transfer to the baking dish.

Repeat for the rest of the biscuits.

Once they’re all in the pan, pour the caramel over the top. Really cover it. Then pop it in the oven to bake according to your biscuit instructions. {20 minutes for the Kiwi’s recipe.} Be sure to put a cookie sheet or something to catch drips underneath just incase the caramel decides to get unruly. Check it occasionally as well. If it starts smelling like burning sugar, take it out. Nothing worse than burnt caramel. That wouldn’t be a good way to start your day!

When it’s finished, let it cool for about 5 minutes and then plate up and enjoy!


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TheKitchn Small Cool Kitchen 2013: Lauren's Tiny Yet Airy Kitchen

Fried Egg with Tomatoes, Feta, and Avocado

In keeping with our breakfast items for dinner theme this week, I thought I’d share one of my go-to last minute dinners. This isn’t really a recipe to write home about. It’s just a bunch of delicious things piled on a plate and called a meal; however, the simplicity of it really lets you taste all of the flavors and they are beautiful together!

If you follow us on instagram you already know this, but we have a tomato!! That my friends is something to write home about. We grew that! From a seed! {Please note that this is the first thing I’ve ever grown in the history of ever, so please pardon my over-enthusiasm for our tiny little tomato baby. This is a big day.} I can’t wait for the rest of them to really come in so I can try this recipe with fried green tomatoes!

Fried Egg with Tomato, Feta, and Avocado

Fried Egg with Tomatoes, Feta, and Avocado

olive oil
4 eggs
2 smallish tomatoes
1/4 cup feta, crumbled
1/2 of an avocado
4 fresh basil leaves
fresh ground black pepper

Start heating a pan on medium high heat. While its heating up, I go ahead and slice the tomatoes and place the slices on our plates. I also crumble the feta, slice the avocado, and slice the basil into strips.

Once the pan is hot, add a bit of oil to the pan {just so the egg doesn’t stick}. Crack an egg into the pan and let it sizzle away for about 3 or 4 minutes. Then, very carefully, flip it and let it cook for 1 or 2 more minutes depending on how runny you like your egg. When its finished, transfer to a plate and repeat for the remaining eggs.

Once all the eggs are cooked and in place, top with the avocado, feta, basil, and black pepper and enjoy!


Don’t forget to vote for us in The Kitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens 2013!

TheKitchn Small Cool Kitchen 2013: Lauren's Tiny Yet Airy Kitchen

The Pig and Fig

We are big breakfast for dinner fans in the Kiwi and Peach house. It’s simple, straightforward, and usually pretty quick.

When I was in Croatia this spring, I picked up a teeny tiny jar of delicious homemade fig jam. I was kind of saving it to use on something special when I saw this delicious looking sandwich floating around on Pinterest. This was it. What more could you want? There’s fig, there’s creamy brie, and most importantly, there’s pig.

Mmm. Bacon.

Kiwi+Peach: Bacon, Brie, and Fig Breakfast Sandwich

Pig and Fig Breakfast Sandwich

{adapted for two from Sweet Sugarbean}

4 slices of bacon
2-3 ounces brie
4 slices of sourdough bread
2 Tbsp fig jam
1 Tbsp butter

Start heating a pan on medium high heat and lay the bacon in the pan.

While the bacon is cooking, cut the rind off of the brie and build your sandwich. Spread the jam on each piece of bread. Layer the brie and, when it’s finished, the bacon on two slices and then top with the other two.

Drop the butter into the hot pan. When it’s melted drop your sandwiches in the pan and cook until the bread is golden brown. Flip and do the same on the other side and the cheese is melted.

Enjoy by itself or with some scrambled eggs or with fresh fruit. The possibilities are endless!


Don’t forget to vote for us in The Kitchn’s Small Cool Kitchens 2013!

TheKitchn Small Cool Kitchen 2013: Lauren's Tiny Yet Airy Kitchen

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi is here again today to wrap up America Week by sharing his tried and true biscuit recipe. A while back he declared that he was on a mission to make the most perfect biscuit possible and has made biscuits pretty much every Sunday since in an effort to get them just right. These are, without a doubt, the best biscuits I’ve ever had.


When I first met Lauren we were both recently departed from the southeastern U.S., and both experiencing withdrawal of the staples of Southern cooking. It went without saying, then, that we would be attempting to make biscuits.

For non–American-speaking readers, I must mention that the term ‘biscuit’ does not refer to a harder version of an American cookie, as it does in English. An American biscuit, for the uninitiated, is most closely comparable to a scone, although it’s lighter and fluffier. The secret is that they’re made with buttermilk.

Buttermilk itself is a term with two meanings. It’s sometimes used to refer to the milk that is left over after you make butter—which is watery, and reportedly not very good. The stuff we want is the milk from which you might choose to make butter—which is to say, milk that has already started to go off. It’s sour, and also not very good. Despite this, Germans of all ages drink it neat, and apparently can’t get enough of it. I once saw an old lady in the supermarket scull a pint of it before bringing the empty pottle to the checkout. You can also make your own by adding lemon juice to otherwise perfectly good milk. Don’t. Anyhow, the acid in the buttermilk reacts with baking soda to form carbon dioxide, which makes your biscuits fluffy.

At least in theory. Our first attempt at making them yielded results that had exactly the size, shape, colour, consistency and, indeed, flavour of hockey pucks. We changed recipes and tried again. The result was better but still not good. In the end I baked about 20 batches, experimenting constantly, before I hit on the formula for perfect fluffy biscuits.

This recipe is borrowed from the Tupelo Honey Cafe cookbook, which you should buy immediately unless you are lucky enough to live near a Tupelo Honey Cafe, in which case you should go there immediately, and then buy the book. Not only because the food is delicious but also because it’s that rarest of things among restaurant cookbooks: one we actually cook out of almost every week. You can probably use any recipe you like, however. I am here to tell you how to make your biscuits maximally fluffy on the first attempt, and that’s something you won’t learn from any cookbook.

If you’re feeling ambitious, you can substitute in half a cup of wholemeal flour for a slightly healthier version {pictured below}. Most people don’t make wholemeal biscuits because they tend to be less fluffy, but I have had equally good results even with up to 1 cup of the plain flour substituted for wholemeal.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Southern Biscuits

{inspired by Tupelo Honey Cafe‘s ginormous biscuits}

150g {about 1¼ sticks} unsalted butter
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp salt
2 Tbsp sour cream
½ cup buttermilk

The first key to fluffy biscuits is cold butter. Extremely cold. Place your butter in a flat glass dish and then put the dish in the freezer for at least a couple of hours before you start {overnight is even better}. Unsalted butter is preferred, because you want your biscuits to have exactly the right amount of saltiness and that’s very difficult to control with salted butter.

Preheat the oven to 225°C/450°F. Working as far away as you can from the oven, use a cheese grater to grate the butter into your cold glass dish. Finally, return the dish of cold, grated butter to the freezer while you prepare the dry ingredients.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Next, begin cutting in the butter. To ensure it remains cold, I usually add it in 3 batches, returning the remainder to the freezer each time. To stop it from sticking together and forming lumps, coat the butter gratings in flour as you pull them apart. The correct tool for cutting in the butter is a pastry cutter—I love mine and would recommend you get one, but a fork should also work. When you’re done, the mixture should look like a coarse flour.

Kiwi+Peach: The Kiwi Guide to Big Fluffy Biscuits

Add the sour cream and mix it through. Next, start adding the buttermilk, a little at a time, stirring in between. Remember, the chemical reaction between the buttermilk and the baking soda starts now, so it’s important to keep the amount of stirring to an absolute minimum—just enough to get all of the dry ingredients stuck to some buttermilk. Keep adding buttermilk until you get there, it can often take a little more than half a cup.

This is the point where most recipes would tell you to roll out the mixture with a rolling pin, cut out the biscuits with a 3 inch biscuit cutter, and place them on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray. This is a sucker’s game. Fluffiness means height, and therefore the last remaining enemy of fluffiness to be vanquished is lateral spreadage. Biscuit cutters are round, and therefore your biscuits will spread into the gaps between them and cost you some of your fluffiness.

Instead, drop the biscuit dough onto a lined baking sheet and prod it gently with your fingers into the shape of a giant megabiscuit about 3cm {1in} thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the megabiscuit into 6, but don’t bother to separate the segments {they’ll separate fairly easily after baking}. Finally, place whatever obstacles you can to prevent the biscuits from spreading. I place them in the corner of a relatively deep baking tray and butt a loaf tin up against the other long side. Use whatever you have.

Place the baking tray in the oven as far from the heat as possible. In the Land of the Free all ovens heat from the bottom and you like it, so place the biscuits at the top. In most other countries you get a choice. Our oven heats only from the top, so I place the biscuits at the bottom and that has worked fine for me.

Bake for 20 minutes. Melt about a tablespoon of butter in a small bowl in the microwave {10-15 seconds should do it, depending on your microwave’s power}. Remove the biscuits from the oven and brush the butter over the top with a pastry brush. {Since spreading is no longer a risk, you can move the biscuits away from anything touching them at this point, to help stop the edges getting too much crispier.} Return to the oven for a further 5 minutes, then turn out onto a wire cooling rack.

Give them 10 minutes to cool, then eat them warm with butter and honey or jam.

{This post contains an Amazon affiliate link. That means that if you head over to Amazon from the link and choose to buy the book, a tiny bit of the money you spent on the book will come back to me for the referral.}