Oatmeal Banana Yogurt Breakfast Muffins

Oatmeal Muffin | Rookery

I’ve been making these muffins for the past few months and I can’t seem to stop. Part of the reason is that they require pretty much zero planning — I always seem to have the ingredients in my pantry, and they don’t need any special prep. And because they actually have some rather wholesome ingredients, it allows me to justify their constant presence in our kitchen. Oh, they’re breakfast muffins. Okay then.

Normally I loathe recipe substitutions and I’ve been suspicious of applesauce for that very reason: “If you just replace the butter and oil with applesauce and false hope, you can hardly taste the difference!” But I tried it and even though you can technically taste the difference, it’s still good enough to justify the sub. For those of you who care, I believe these are also gluten-free (just oat flour).

So to review, this recipe is chock-full of wholesome goodness, like:

– Bananas!
– Yogurt!
– Oatmeal!
– Flax seeds!
– Applesauce!
– ………………………………………………………………chocolate chips! (shhh)

Normally this combination would make me flee. Who needs another healthy (read: gross) muffin? But these are really really good.

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Do It Yourself Thin Mints

Thin Mints | Rookery

I couldn’t resist this recipe. The promise is so great – that you can make your own thin mints in fifteen minutes without any baking. It sounds too good to be true, but at its core there’s an ingenious trick.

If the sleight of hand worked, it would be amazing. And if it didn’t work, I would still be left with chocolate-covered Ritz crackers, and how could that be bad?

Well, I needn’t have worried because — eureka! It works! Add this to your list of Important Things To Know: coating Ritz crackers in chocolate and peppermint extract gives you a crazy thin mint doppelgänger. They do not taste like crackers. Except for the fact that the inner “cookie” is white rather than brown, I don’t think I ever would have guessed something was amiss.

Thin Mints | Rookery

I pondered this, as one is wont to do while eating an entire roll of thin mints at the kitchen counter. The crunch — yes, the crunch was perfect. The flavor was indistinguishable. And so here I am with one more dessert recipe made from a classic cracker…maybe that’s a blog within itself.

I grant you that these are not technically “homemade” and they do have some rather not-so-wholesome ingredients in them, as packaged foods do. And yes, it’s possible to make your own thin mints from scratch without any partially hydrogenated anything.

But when a shortcut like this comes along, it’s really too good to pass up. Continue reading

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie and the Saltine Challenge

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

Sometimes the idea of a food and the reality of that food just don’t match. That’s what I learned when I made this pie for a picnic. For me, lemon pie evokes summer, outdoors, barbecues and iced tea, which made it seem perfect for the picnic we were going to in Stern Grove. I didn’t really think critically about this until I had baked it and it was time to leave the apartment.

Then I realized how totally impractical lemon pie is as a picnic dessert. You can’t transport it without smooshing it. It requires refrigeration. And forks. And plates. And whipped cream on top, which you will have to transport separately. What was I thinking? Why couldn’t I just bake cookies like a normal human being?

Lemon Atlantic Beach Pie | Rookery

On the plus side, what the dessert lacked in transportability it made up for in ease and deliciousness. The saltine crust is a revelation. You could probably skip the filling and just eat the saltine crust and be happy. In fact, maybe I’ll just make that for the next picnic.

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Hello, Madeleines

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Well hello there, madeleine pan. I’ve been waiting for you.

I saw this recipe in Martha Stewart Living back in 2011 and knew that it was for me. I have loved madeleines since I was a little girl. Soft, sweet, buttery — why am I even describing how good they are? If know, you know.

SONY DSC However, making your own madeleines involves a fairy high barrier-to-entry — that is, buying the stupid madeleine pan. I have a real aversion to single-use kitchen implements. Avocado corers, garlic presses, egg slicers, anything that’s used for basically one thing and one thing only isn’t worth the space in my kitchen.

But then I realized that I had an event coming up that justified – even encouraged – the selection of unnecessary kitchen items. My wedding! I registered for the madeleine pan from Williams Sonoma and then waited almost a year for it to arrive. Yes, I could have just bought it myself for $15 without getting married, but I have patience.

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(Cut to a year later when Jesse and I are opening wedding presents and I tried to convince him that we had registered for the madeleine pan, together. I hadn’t tacked it on at the end when he had stopped paying attention. That would have been…wrong…)

So now I have the pan and have tried the recipe and, well, good things come to those who wait.

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Banana Pudding: The Best Thing Bananas Ever Did

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Have you ever been to Magnolia Bakery in New York? Did you wait in the interminable line for the fairly decent cupcakes? Did you get to the front and notice that the line is only for the cupcakes? If you don’t need a cupcake, you can come right to the front and you can get their banana pudding immediately. And it is good. Nilla wafers, bananas, and vanilla pudding. Simple, sublime.

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Four years after leaving New York, I am still having cravings, so decided that it’s time to make my own.

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