Spiced Pear Butter

I am officially obsessed, OBSESSED, with this recipe for pear (or apple!) butter.  It was insanely easy and produced the most delicious pear butter I have ever had.  Fortunately, my grandparents have a pear tree in their backyard and were generous enough to share their bounty with me!  The only downside is that now that I know how awesome this stuff is, I can’t get my hand on any more free pears!  They seem to have gotten to their peak and are no more.  I am so, so sad about this.  I’m still thinking about just hitting up a local apple orchard because I’d REALLY love to make apple butter from this recipe.  We shall see.

Thus far, I’ve been spreading this yumminess on my bagels in the morning.  Or eating with a spoon from the jar.  I’m not proud of that but I can’t help myself.  You could put it on waffles, pancakes, crepes…so many possibilities.  The spices in it are perfection and the texture is so buttery smooth.  I love that I was able to throw everything in the crockpot overnight and it was practically done!  It does take a little time to peel and core all the pears (about 45 minutes) but it is so worth it.  I also used Sucanat which is a great alternative to processed, refined sugar…much better for your body.  Also used pink himalayan sea salt instead of overly processed table salt that’s been stripped of all nutrients.  I wondered how it would work with the alternative sugar and honestly, I couldn’t tell a difference in texture and taste-wise, I thought it was better!

Take advantage of the pears and apples at the height of the season and make this stuff!  So, so good!

Spiced Pear Butter
 
Ingredients
  • 6 lbs (about 25 large) Pears or Apples, peeled, cored and finely chopped
  • 2½ c. Sucanat (or xylitol, etc)
  • 4 t. Ground Cinnamon
  • ½ t. Ground Cloves
  • ½ t. Allspice
  • ½ t. Fine Sea Salt (I used pink himalayan)
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a slow cooker and stir to combine.
  2. Cover and cook on high for one hour.
  3. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10 hours, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thickened and dark brown.
  4. Uncover and continue cooking on low for one hour. Place mixture in blender and blend until completely smooth. Let cool completely.
  5. Spoon the mixture into sterile containers and refrigerate or freeze.
Notes
Makes 2 pints.

 

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Strawberry Chia Jam

Strawberry Pineapple, Peach and Strawberry Chia Jam

Have you heard about chia seeds yet?  They are an awesome super food that have so many health benefits, it’s truly unbelievable.  From lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol to helping surpress appetite, I am sold on these little seeds of goodness. Do a quick Google search and you’ll find all kinds of information on them.

The first time I ever saw them was in a water bottle that the cashier was drinking out of at my local health food store.  They looks like hundreds of little bubbles in her water.  She explained what they were and all the benefits and I was intrigued but didn’t purchase any until recently.  I love to put them in my oatmeal and my juicing concoction I make in the morning.  I’ve also had them baked into thin, crisp bars (recipe courtesy of my friend Joelle…I’ll be blogging it soon!)  and can now add jam to my list of uses for chia seeds!  The seeds actually absorb water like crazy so instead of using pectin to make the gel-like consistency of jam, these seeds do all the work!  It’s totally amazing and so, so tasty.  I just used honey to taste to sweeten this jam, so even though I list an exact measurement, feel free to use however much tastes good to you.

Gorgeous Strawberries

I made three different kinds, Strawberry, Strawberry Pineapple and Peach.  I think I like the Strawberry Pineapple the best.  Because I made three different kinds, I went ahead and froze two of them, so we’ll see how those hold up after they’re thawed out.  So far I’ve enjoyed it by the spoonful, on whole-grain sprouted bagels and plan to make some whole wheat waffles to try the spread on.  I am so excited about this stuff…healthy and good for you.  Enjoy!

Original recipe by Tosca Reno 

No-Sugar Strawberry Chia Jam
 
Ingredients
  • 1 c. Fresh Strawberries (or fruit of your choice), finely chopped and slightly mashed (you can also pulse the fruit in your food processor, which I'm going to try next time)
  • ¼ c. Water (I would use a little less if you have a significant amount of juice from your fruit)
  • 2 T. Chia Seeds
  • 3 T. Raw Honey (or agave, stevia or other natural sweetener)
Instructions
  1. Warm fruit and water in a bowl in the microwave for 1 minutes. Stir in chia seeds and honey and let set on the counter until cooled. Place a jar or other air-tight container and let gel overnight. Top whole grain bread, bagels, pancakes, waffles, etc with the jam...or just eat by the spoonful. 🙂
Notes
Makes 1 cup.

Strawberry Chia Jam on Whole Grain Sprouted Bagel

 

 

 

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Mini Doughnut Muffins

Another recipe to add to your mini dessert collection!  Well, I suppose these are actually classified as breakfast but seriously, let’s be honest…this is DESSERT.  A really, really, delicious, cinnamony, sugary, cakey, yummy dessert!  These taste just like a cake doughnut, minus the frying part so I suppose you can feel not *quite* as guilty eating one or two or four.  They are mini after all.

I chose to do half with cinnamon sugar and half with strawberry jam and powdered sugar and they were both delicious.  The batter was VERY thick which worried me a bit as I was spooning it into the mini muffin tins but much to my pleasant surprise these turned out super tender and like I said before, just like a cake doughnut!  I’m thinking this recipe would be perfect for my doughnut pan.

Add this recipe to your New Year’s Eve desserts menu!  Think about serving them with small mugs or shot glasses of milk at the end of the night.  Perfect end to a night of partying.

(Recipe adapted from Blue Ribbon Cookbook)

Mini Doughnut Muffins
 
Ingredients
Doughnut Muffins
  • 3 c. All-Purpose Flour
  • 2½ t. Baking Powder
  • ¼ t. Baking Soda
  • ¾ t. Salt
  • ½ t. Ground Nutmeg
  • 10 T. Unsalted Butter, softened
  • ¾ c. plus 2 T. Granulated Sugar
  • 2 Large Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 t. Pure Vanilla
  • ¾ c. Whole Milk, at room temperature
  • 2 T. Buttermilk, at room temperature
Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 8 T. (1 stick) Unsalted Butter, melted
  • 1 c. Granulated Sugar
  • 1 T. Ground Cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 2, 24-cup mini muffin tins with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg.
  3. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the milk and buttermilk.
  4. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. Beat in eggs, one at a time until just combined. Beat in vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, beat in ⅓ of the flour mixture until combined and then half of the milk mixture. Repeat with remaining ingredients, ending with the flour mixture. Beat on low speed just until incorporated. Do not over mix.
  5. Fill the prepared muffin cups just to the rim with batter, about a spoonful. Bake, one pan at a time, until lightly golden and firm to touch, 15 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking time. Let the muffins cool in the pan for 5 minutes.
  6. While the muffins cool, combine the sugar and cinnamon in a large, resealable plastic bag. Brush each muffin generously with melted butter. Place a few muffins in the bag with the cinnamon and sugar mixture. Shake well to coat the muffins. Repeat with remaining muffins.
Notes
-For Jelly Doughnut Muffins, I omitted the nutmeg and filled middle of the doughnut muffin with strawberry jam before baking and shook in a bag with powdered sugar after they had cooled. You could also fill them with jam after baking, with a pastry bag and small tip. -Makes about 40 doughnut muffins.

 

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