The best [ever] Blackberry Muffins

I had to share this with anyone who may be reading.
I was looking for recipes to use some fruit I had in my fridge that was starting to go bad. I have never been a huge fan of Blackberries, or Raspberries for that matter, due to their seeds. We use them in smoothies around here but even then my kids will gladly skip them.
So I came across a couple of recipes to use my Raspberries, and that was almost a complete fail. Which made me the more determined not to waste my Blackberries!
Here’s a super easy recipe I found from Cupcake Canyon and I have to say, I have been getting tons of compliments!

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Yields about 18 muffins.

Ingredients:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream (I used plain Greek Yogurt)
1 tsp. milk
1 cup sugar
8 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted and still warm
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1½ cups (about 5-6 oz) blackberries, cut in half (if using frozen, lay them on paper towels to absorb excess liquid)

Directions:

1. Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Grease 18 muffin tins or line with paper muffin cups.
I personally use and prefer silicone liners for muffins because the paper ones get really sticky sometimes. Or just a greased pan!

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream (or greek yogurt), milk, sugar, butter and vanilla.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the berries. Do not overmix, the batter should not be completely smooth.

5. Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins. I used an ice-cream scooper for easier and even results.
Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, 17-20 minutes (or longer).
In my case, my oven runs on the higher side so I baked them for exact 15 minutes.
Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack.

Brigadeiros (Brazilian chocolate balls)

As I said in my previous post, I have been craving some of my Brazilian traditions lately.
This one we usually serve at birthday parties and decorate the table with them, and they are most often eaten by the time we cut the cake.
But. As you grown into your teens and children’s parties are not really your thing, you start making these bad boys when you crave chocolate and by then you don’t even roll them anymore, you eat it with a spoon straight out of the pan.

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Recipe:
Ingredients
1 can of condensed milk
1 tablespoon of butter
4 tablespoons of cocoa powder (I use Ghirardelli and it is quite good)
Chocolate sprinkle, for the traditional take. But you can use crushed almonds, pistachios.. Anything you might like with chocolate!
Mini cupcake lining paper

Put the butter in the pan and wait until it is completely mush and melty. Put the can of condensed milk in, along with the cocoa powder and stir.
Have it in low to medium heat. Stir it constantly until you feel that the mix is starting do “detach” from the pan.
It will get a bit thicker, and as you move the spoon around the mixture will start to move with the spoon.
Move it promptly into a lightly sprayed bowl or plate (if you don’t have Pam, you can use butter) and wait until it has cooled off.
So on to rolling the balls, you will need to get butter on your hands as the mixture is very sticky. I would suggest you have butter ready and reapply every couple of balls you roll.
Make the balls in whatever size you want, then roll the in the chocolate sprinkle (or nuts) and place them in the small cupcake pops paper and voilá!

This recipe makes between 25 and 30 depending on the size you make them.

Enjoy!!

Brazilian Cheesy Bread (Pão de Queijo)

Being Brazilian, I miss Brazilian food a whole lot. You may not be familiar with Brazilian cuisine, many dont even know Brazil even has a cuisine, but I can assure you we do and it is quite delicious and hearty.
I try and cook some type of Brazilian style meal every day and incorporate that with our everyday meals. Recently, I have been missing the sweet treats and the baked goods part of it. And I realized nothing (other than a hard to find ingredient perhaps) was stoping me from making them myself, so I got to work! My first attempt was the Classic Brigadeiros (chocolate balls) that we traditionally serve at birthday parties. I will post that recipe next.
Then I moved on to one of my all time favorite items: Pão De Queijo. Yum!! This is basically a cheesy bread, but not your cheesy bread from the Olive Garden. It’s nothing like anything I have come across here in the US. So I went on Pinterest and got my search on. I came across many a recipe but the one I found the easiest to make (by easiest I mean just throw everything in a blender!!) was this one from Our Best Bites and the result was just excellent. Very authentic and reminded me of home.
And what was better, my kids absolutely love it, and that made me think, “one day when they eat it elsewhere, it will also remind them of home”.
And home is now a quite lovely little house in the south of Jersey. <3

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Quick Brazilian Cheese Rolls {Pao de Queijo} – Gluten Free!
Recipe by Our Best Bites

1 large egg
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup tapioca flour (sometimes labeled tapioca starch) no substitutions
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 C grated cheddar cheese* (preferably medium or sharp)
1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese
*you can play around with the cheese. I’ve used Monterey Jack, low-moisture mozarella, swiss, and even gruyere in place of the cheddar. All great!

Optional: extra cheese to sprinkle on top and any herbs/flavorings you’d like to add. Try rosemary and or garlic powder, my favorites!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place egg, milk, oil, tapioca flour, and salt in blender and blend until smooth. Add cheeses and pulse 2 times. Immediately pour batter into a mini muffin tin (if your muffin tin isn’t non-stick, spray lightly with non-stick spray first), filling each well about 3/4 full, or just slightly less. If desired (and I recommend), sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese on top and/or a tiny sprinkle of kosher salt.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until puffed and golden. Remove from oven and cool for a few minutes before removing rolls from pan. Serve warm. {Que Gostoso!} These actually don’t re-heat well so I recommend making and eating fresh.

Yield: anywhere from 16-24 rolls, depending on how full you fill your muffin pan. I fill mine pretty full (a good 3/4 full) and I generally get about 16-18.

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Tips: I found that this batch will make you 12 rolls. They are best when eaten right out of the oven.
You can eat it with jelly or cream cheese or both! As the recipe suggested, sprinkling herbs also taste great, or just plain!
Check out Our Best Bites for more photos.
Cheers!

Coco’mon

Who knew!!
I went to shop rite the other day and found this gem. It really made me smile for some reason!

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And I think that the reason was that it is so fitting that he pursued something like this! Then after a quick research, I found that he has a couple of products in his Ziggy Marley Organics line! Hemp seed being the most interesting one to me. He’s a Marley after all!
Genius!!!