Like on facebook Follow on Twitter Subscribe to Posts! View Instagram Feed Pastry Affair on Pinterest

Subscribe to posts! Connect on facebook! View flickr page! Add to google reader!

To receive RSS updates
Click here
subscribe via email

Entries in flax (5)


Double Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins

Summer is here. The sun is out, shining brightly, heating the earth and the air with a pleasant warmth. The grass is a vivid green, the flowers are in bloom, and the perfumed scent of lilacs floats up in the air and down the paved sidewalks. Children are running and playing, making makeshift soccer goals out of park benches, and young women are sunbathing, soaking up the sun's rays. By all accounts, the weather is lovely—the view outside my window could be an illustration from a children's book.

But for now that's all it is: a view.

Double Chocolate Muffins Double Chocolate Muffins

I have been indoors quite a bit lately, tethered to an electrical outlet, typing away at the computer while writing essays and finishing assignments as I wrap up my degree. As a parade of t-shirts and shorts pass my second-story window, I wear pants and wrap myself in sweatshirts, struggling to keep warm in the air-conditioned building. I feel like I am at the end of two separate extremes, my wishes and duties tugged in opposite directions.

Soon, I tell myself, soon you can take a break and go outside.

Double Chocolate Muffins

I made these muffins last weekend, when the weather was miserable and as cold as my air-conditioned building. It was one of those mornings made for socks and warm breakfasts. Growing up, I was a fan of double chocolate anything but, after eating too many platters of double chocolate chocolate chip pancakes at the local breakfast diner at few years ago, my excitement for the combination has waned. Even so, I felt enough time had passed to give the combination of chocolate and chocolate another chance.

As a self-proclaimed chocolate addict, I could never stray away for too long.

Double Chocolate Muffins

Double Chocolate Muffins are defined by a measuring cup full of cocoa powder and a handful of chocolate chips. The muffins have brown sugar for depth of flavor and ground flaxseeds for health. Before baking, the muffin tops are sprinkled with granulated sugar and miniature chocolate chips for a tasty appearance and extra sweetness. The muffins stay surprisingly moist for a couple days and make for a bright breakfast or afternoon snack.

Click to read more ...


Sunflower Seed Bread

Sunflower Seed Bread

I think of myself as a practical person, as someone with a realistic outlook towards life. I partake in the activities that society says I should be doing: finishing my degree, paying the bills, going to bed at a reasonable hour, and making frequent trips to the gym (even when I do not want to go). I do these things because they are practical and sensible. I structure my life around all of these sense-making activities to the point where I need the occasional reminder that it is okay to be impractical once in awhile. To be reminded that every one of my actions does not need useful purpose.

To be reminded that doing something wild can be freeing.

Sunflower Seed Bread Sunflower Seed Bread

As a result of my practical ways, I rarely spend money on things that I do not need. While I would call myself frugal, my mother would refer to me as cheap. Reluctantly, I agree that may be the proper title. I can count on one hand the items I bought myself in the last couple years that did not have a specific purpose (that were, in all honesty, just for fun). I save my money for a trip around the world, for a rainy day, for an adventure of the kind that appears when I close my eyes to daydream. I save it for a day that is not today.

And I wonder, will that day be tomorrow? Will that day ever come at all?

Sunflower Seed Bread

When I came across the old Chinese proverb—When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other—it was a gentle push, a voice to remind me that beauty may not clothe or feed me, but it nourishes another part of me that can easily be forgotten—my soul. Have I become so rooted in practical behavior that I have forgotten that it is okay to stray from that norm? I want to believe I have not; I have to believe that it cannot be true. At the same time, I worry my actions say otherwise. When was the last time I bought a handful of flowers to enjoy in a vase in the light of the setting sun? When was the last time I purchased a silly game to play to remind myself to relax? When was the last time I ran away for a weekend because it was finally right for me to open my eyes and turn my daydreams into a reality? It is time to start.

I have my loaf of bread. I have a hundred loaves of bread. Now all I need to find is a lily.

Sunflower Seed Bread

Sunflower Seed Bread is a hearty, whole grain loaf that makes a filling accompaniment to a meal. The bread is dotted with roasted sunflower seeds and flax seeds, which gives it a nutty taste and unique texture. As a quick bread, it does not deal with the fuss that can come with yeast, making it a quick loaf to bake before a meal. While I preferred the bread with a thick layer of strawberry jam, a spread of butter and honey or a side of gravy would do it justice.

Click to read more ...


Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Since the beginning of January, my baking habits seem to be circulating around one central theme—breakfast. When I pull out the flour and sugar early on Saturday morning, scones and muffins are the first items swirling about my mind. Perhaps it should not come as a surprise to me that cookies and cakes are pushed to the side for a simple treat that can accompany a plate of bacon and eggs. With dozens of ingredient variations on my favorite recipes just a cupboard away, I could not resist baking and sharing just one more breakfast recipe with you.

I stand by the claim that everyone loves a good muffin.

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Recently at work, a coworker brought in a couple dozen muffins from a nearby bakery to share. Since I began baking a few years ago, I have rarely gone out of my way to buy baked goods that I can easily make for myself. Along with chocolate chip cookies, good old fashioned muffins make that list. I grabbed the nearest over-sized blueberry muffin and took a bite. To put it quite simply, I was disappointed. The muffin was much more like a mislabeled cupcake—too sweet, with blueberries that looked and tasted nothing like the fruit I adore.

When did store bought muffins fall so far?

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Feeling the desire to right the wrongs of bakers past, I turned on the oven and got to work, creating my vision of what a muffin should be. Muffins hold a place as a sacred breakfast treat to me. They ought to be lightly sweetened, with enough sugar to satisfy the taste buds, but never enough to mistake it as a cake. Muffins should be driven by a hearty texture and filling personality. A good muffin should have a healthy nature, but be delicious enough to deceive yourself into believing that you are eating dessert.

These whole grain muffins, with chocolate chunks and a hint of espresso, will do just the trick.

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins

Chocolate Oatmeal Flaxseed Muffins have a complex texture and compelling flavor. The muffins are made with a combination of whole wheat flour, ground flaxseed, and rolled oats, which give a nutty, chewy texture to the final product. The muffins are not very sweet, with just a hint of brown sugar and sweetness from chocolate, but if you do prefer a bit more sugar, you can do as my boyfriend does and drizzle the muffins in a bit of maple syrup before taking a fork after them. A few chocolate chunks and a hint of espresso powder give the muffins all the flavor they need. This is a healthy and hearty alternative to the breakfast "cupcakes" out there.

Click to read more ...