Pretty Please with Sugar on Top

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There are hundreds of blueberry muffin recipes but this one is my all time favorite. A hint of lemon, the surprise of fresh cranberries, and the character of buttermilk make these muffins special. The recipe makes 8 muffins but they won’t last long, so it might be a good idea to go ahead and double or triple!

Red, White & Blueberry Muffins

Happy Memorial Day and Thanks to All Who Served!

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 24 fresh cranberries
  • extra sugar for tops

Preheat oven to 375, and line a standard muffin tin with 8 paper liners.  Beat egg, oil, & buttermilk until smooth.  Add sugar, vanilla, & lemon.  Add baking powder, salt & flour, mixing until just combined.  Fold in blueberries.  Using a 1/4 scoop, fill each muffin cup almost to the top. Add 3 cranberries to each muffin, pushing down to cover with batter. Sprinkle about 1/2 tsp sugar on top of each.  Bake 18 – 20 min until muffins are lightly browned.  Makes 8 muffins.

Enjoy with a cup of tea on a beautiful Memorial Day in your own backyard!

Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984, Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast

541 Hickory Street, Highlands NC 28741 (828) 526-2060

Ginny’s Gingers – with a Twist

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Years ago, our innsitter Ginny had a cookie business called “Ginny’s Ginger’s” and she gave me that wonderful family recipe with strict instructions not to share it with anyone else. She’s now a real estate agent with no time to bake, so – here it is!!  However, here I have altered it a little by using whole wheat flour, raisins, and cranberries.  AND if there are any leftover cookies, or if you just want to be decadent right from the start, dip half of each one in melted chocolate!!  You don’t see chocolate and ginger paired very often, and believe me, there is nothing better.

Here’s the recipe:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/8 tsp soda
  • 1 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 3/4 tsp clover
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or half white & half wheat)
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries
  • extra sugar for rolling

Preheat oven to 350. Cream butter & sugar until fluffy.  Add molasses and egg, beating thoroughly.  Add all dry ingredients in order given, beating just until combined.  Add raisins and cranberries.  Using a 1-tablespoon scoop, drop balls of dough into a bowl of sugar, rolling to coat.  Place each sugared ball on cookie sheet – about 12 per sheet.  Bake about 9 minutes.  Cool 1 minute on pan and remove to cool completely on wire rack.  Optional:  Dip half of each cookie into melted chocolate. Ghirardelli Dark Melting Wafers give a glossy finish and is perfect for this purpose. Makes 24 cookies.

041Notes: You may have to experiment a little to get the desired result in your kitchen. The way you measure flour and the cooking time in this recipe determine whether you get a crunchy or chewy cookie. Slightly more flour and/or a longer cooking time will yield a crunchier cookie.  A chewy texture is what I prefer.  If you get hard cookies, don’t despair – just dip them in chocolate and you will still have a delicious product!

Happy Baking!

Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984

Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast

541 Hickory Street, Highlands NC 28741 (828) 526-2060

Sausage Primavera

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Perfect for low-carb diets, this easier version of  “Quiche Primavera” (see Aug 2013 post) eliminates the crust and adds flavor from spicy sausage, mustard, and italian herbs. For a meal in itself, add fresh fruit and maybe a sweet muffin to contrast with the spicy casserole. Fits nicely in a baking pan 11 X 14 to serve eight.

  • 1 lb Jimmy Dean Hot pork sausage
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onions
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian Spice herb mix
  • 16 oz shredded mozzarella
  • 16 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 1/4 cup Bisquick
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Lightly spray 11 X 14 baking pan with cooking oil.  Saute crumbled sausage with mushrooms and onions until sausage is no longer pink and onions are translucent.  Add to pan and layer with spinach, tomatoes, herbs, & mozzarella (in that order).  Beat 16 eggs with mustard, skim milk, Bisquick, salt & pepper.  Pour over, cover, and refrigerate overnight.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes until top is lightly browned and center is just set. Do not overbake. Cut into eight portions and serve.

Bon Appetit from Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984

Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast

541 Hickory Street, Highlands NC 28741 828.526.2060

Banana Chocolate Oatmeal Buckwheat Buttermilk Muffins!!!

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Sorry – I just don’t know what other name to give this recipe!  Any ideas? Almost guilt-free, these muffins are packed with nutrition.  They keep nicely for a few days out of the refrigerator and taste even better the next day after baking.  Be sure to use extra-ripe bananas for more sweetness, and if you’re not into chocolate, substitute dried cranberries or simply leave it out. Makes 12 muffins.

p.s. This recipe was updated in December 2014 after a lot of experimenting in the past few months.  If you tried the previous version, be sure to try this one.  It now makes a full dozen muffins, has a better texture, more fiber, and more flavor!!

  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3 mashed very ripe medium-size bananas
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbsp milled flax seed
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped 70% cocoa bittersweet chocolate (or dried cranberries)
  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 3/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and place liners (I like the unbleached kind) in a standard  2″ muffin pan.  In a large mixer, combine first five ingredients, beating well.  Add all other ingredients in order given, mixing until just combined.  Do not over-mix.  Fill each lined muffin cup with 1/4 cup of batter and sprinkle tops with sliced almonds, if desired. Bake for 20 minutes until nicely crowned and slightly browned.

Too healthy for you?  Try serving with Orange Butter:  Beat 1 stick unsalted butter with 2 oz cream cheese until smooth. Add 1/2 cup orange marmalade and mix until just combined.  Place in a serving dish and chill.  Also delicious on tea breads, toast, dinner rolls, pancakes, french toast, or sweet potatoes!

A Recipe From the Kitchen of Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984

Colonial Pines Inn Bed and Breakfast, Highlands North Carolina

Check our BLOG for year-round specials. Call (828) 526-2060 or (866) 526-2060 Toll Free for Reservations.

 

 

Lemon-Cranberry Buttermilk Bread

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Welcome Spring!!! Use those frozen cranberries you have leftover from the holidays to create a flavorful bread with a  fresh burst of Spring.  The cranberries rise to the surface while baking and create a sweet/tart topping for the bread, especially when you add the sugary glaze after baking.  These loaves freeze especially well, so if you have a large mixer, make the full recipe and you’ll have a nice treat for transitioning into warmer weather.  Cut only the slices needed with a large chef’s knife and you won’t have to thaw the entire loaf.   I love the color and flavor of fresh cranberries and try to keep them in the freezer year-round for Baked Cranberry-Blueberry French Toast, Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread, Cranberry-Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes, or Cranberry-Jalapeno Preserves (a hot pepper jelly which I sell in our gift shop).   They can usually be substituted for dried cranberries as long as your recipe includes plenty of sugar to temper the tartness.

Preheat oven to 350 and prepare (4) 4X8 or (3) 5X9 loaf pans by spraying with a light coat of cooking oil and dusting with flour.

  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups canola oil
  • 4 1/2 cups sugar + 1 cup sugar for glaze
  • 4 lemons, juice & zest
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 Tbsp salt
  • 6 cups flour
  • 3 cups buttermilk
  • 12 oz package fresh or frozen cranberries (not dried)

Reserve 1/4 cup lemon juice for glaze.  In a large mixer, beat eggs, oil &  4 1/2 cups sugar, remaining lemon juice, and all lemon zest.  Add baking powder & salt, mixing well.  Add flour alternately with buttermilk and mix well.  Add cranberries and mix until evenly distributed.  Pour into prepared pans and bake at 350 about 1 hour until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then remove to wire rack. While still warm,  glaze with 1 cup sugar mixed with 1/4 cup lemon juice.

Special Note:  Spoiled milk products such as half and half or regular milk work well in this recipe as a substitute for the buttermilk. However, fat free products can sometimes cause the cranberries to sink rather than rise. If using fat-free skim milk or fat-free buttermilk, eliminate the cranberries, glaze as directed, and you will have a delicious, healthier version of lemon pound cake!!

Bon Appetit and Happy Spring!!

Donna Alley, Innkeeper Since 1984

Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast, and Miss Rebecca’s Cottage

Click for SPECIALS or call: (828) 526-2060 or (866) 526-2060 Toll Free

 

Ghirardelli Chocolate-Almond Bars

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Pure comfort. Bite into one of these and your Winter Blahs will disappear!!

  • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 cup Ghirardelli semi-sweet chocolate chips (or half raisins)
  • 1/2 cup flaked coconut
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/8 cup sliced almonds (for topping)

Preheat Oven to 350 and line 8X8 baking pan with foil.  Cream butter & sugar, add egg, and continue mixing until light and fluffy. Add almond & vanilla extracts, baking powder & salt.  Add almond meal, flour, chocolate chips, coconut & 1/2 cup sliced almonds. Mix until combined.  Press into prepared pan, sprinkle with 1/8 cup sliced almonds and bake about 20-25 minutes until lightly browned.  Cool completely, remove from pan along with foil, and cut into bars. Makes 25 small bars.

Say Bye-Bye-Blahs with our Winter Specials: Click HERE

Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast, 541 Hickory Street, Highlands NC 28741

(828) 526-2060 or (866) 526-2060 Toll-Free

White Cheddar Flan

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Guests at Colonial Pines Inn on Thanksgiving are usually going out for a sumptuous holiday feast served at one of Highlands’ fabulous restaurants.  Since the only other meal that day will be breakfast, I like to serve something  especially hearty like this White Cheddar Flan, crispy bacon, Pumpkin-Cranberry Bread, Apples-in-a-Dish, and whole-grain toasted bread from Annie’s Organic Bakery.

White Cheddar Flan is a creamy, cheesy crustless quiche and the original recipe was in Yankee Magazine’s “Main Dish Church Supper Cookbook,” published in 1980. To serve eight, you can make my version a day ahead in a 9X13 pan. See previous posts for the bread and apple recipes which can also be made ahead.  In the morning, pop the casserole into the oven, fry up the bacon, warm the apples and serve. Easy as pie!

  • 11 oz grated extra-sharp Vermont white cheddar
  • 11 oz frozen corn niblets, thawed
  • 12 eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese

Spray 9X13 baking pan with cooking spray.  Layer half of corn and half of cheese in pan.   Repeat layers.  Mix eggs, half-and-half, salt, pepper, nutmeg, & cayenne pepper, beating well. Pour over eggs & cheese.  Dot with butter and sprinkle with parmesan cheese.  Bake at 325 about 55 minutes until puffy and lightly brown.  Serve immediately.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Donna & Chris Alley!

Colonial Pines Inn Bed & Breakfast

Highlands NC (828) 526-2060

CHECK OUR BLOG FOR LAST MINUTE SPECIALS