Archive for DESSERTS

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

Some of my favorite desserts are chocolate cake, coffee ice cream, and toffee candy.  This dessert combines all three in one very decadent dessert.

I combined my love of these three sweet indulgences into one rich and luscious ice cream cake.

If you’ve read through my directions below, you may be thinking that this is a difficult desert to make.  Don’t let the number of steps fool you, however.  This is actually very simple to make; just follow each step as I’ve described them below and before you know it, you’ll be enjoying this heavenly dessert!  The only hard part is waiting for the ice cream to re-harden! 🙂

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll love it. 🙂

Chocolate Ice Cream Cake

10352789_700854603304696_2410885298969090088_n Ingredients: Cake:

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg YOLKS
  • 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Filling:

  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)
  • Half gallon coffee ice cream (or your favorite flavor)
  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Ganache:

  • 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup half-and-half (or heavy cream)

Topping:

  • 1/2 cup toffee bits

Directions:

1.  In a small mixing bowl, sift together the cocoa powder and cake flour.  Add the instant espresso powder and salt to the bowl.  Whisk to combine.

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2.  In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter.  Set aside to cool.

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3.  Place a small pot filled with about 2 inches of water over medium heat; bring to a simmer.  In a large heat-safe mixing bowl, place the eggs, egg yolks, and sugar.  Place the egg and sugar mixture over the simmering water, whisking constantly until the mixture is warm to the touch.

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4.  Switch to a hand-held mixer.  Mix on high speed until the mixture thickens and turns a very pale yellow.

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5.  Fold the dry ingredients into the thickened egg mixture.

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6.  Drizzle the cooled melted butter down the side of the bowl.  Gently FOLD the butter into the batter.  Do NOT overmix; the batter will be very airy and light.

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7.  Line a large baking pan (a jelly-roll pan works well) with parchment paper.  Pour the batter onto the lined pan.  Gently and evenly spread batter out over the pan (be careful not to over-handle the batter as you spread it out; you do NOT want to deflate the air bubbles).

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8.  Bake at 450 degrees for 7 minutes.

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9.  While the cake is still warm, flip it out onto a clean dish cloth that’s been dusted with cocoa powder.  Peel the parchment paper off the cake.

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10.  Sprinkle more cocoa powder over the cake.  Roll the cake — including the dish cloth — starting at the short edge.  Set aside until the cake is completely cooled.

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11.  After the cake is completely cooled, carefully unroll it.

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12.  Make the ganache for the filling.  In a small microwave-safe bowl, heat the 1/2 cup of half-and-half for about a minute.  Add the milk chocolate chips to the heated half-and-half,  whisking until the chocolate melts and the mixture is smooth.

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13.  Spread the ganache over the cake, staying about 1 inch from the edge.

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14.  Spread the ice cream over the cake.  I found it easier to use a spatula to “slice” pieces of ice cream, then I placed the slices of ice cream over the cake, staying about 1 1/2 inches from the edge.

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15.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of toffee bits over the ice cream.

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16.  Re-roll the cake, jell-roll style, starting from the short edge.  Be careful not to squeeze too tightly or all of the ice cream and chocolate ganache will ooze out of the cake.

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17.  Tightly wrap the rolled cake with plastic wrap.  Place in the freezer and freeze until the ice cream firms up.

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18.  To finish the cake, prepare more ganache using the remaining half-and-half and semisweet chocolate chips.  Once again, heat the half-and-half in the microwave for a minute.  Add the semisweet chocolate chips to the hot half-and-half, whisking until smooth and creamy.  Pour the ganache over the cake.  Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of toffee bits.

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19.  Slice the cake, serve and ENJOY! 😀

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Månha Pie

This has got to be my most favorite Chamorro dessert!  For non-Chamorro-speaking friends, månha means the sweet, tender meat of the young, green coconut.

My recipe makes 6 — yes, SIX — pies, but in my family, we eat one or two when they’re done, save another two for breakfast, then give two to family members.  So, really, six is NOT ENOUGH.  😉

If you make this for a party, then six pies really won’t be enough!  Two might end up on the dessert table and the rest will be “set aside” for påtte (sharing or distributing amongst family) later! 🙂

My recipe uses “regular” pie crusts, not the deep-dish ones.  If you use ready-made deep-dish pie shells/crusts, you can probably make this into four pies instead of six.

I usually only make månha pie when I’m visiting Guam, and that’s because I prefer to use fresh månha.  You can used canned månha and juice, however.

It takes a while to make these pies, but the end result is worth every minute you spend slaving over the hot stove.

Give my recipe a try.  I know you’ll love it! 🙂

Månha Pie

Manha Pie

 

Ingredients:

  Filling:
  • 3 cups månha juice
  • 2 cups chopped månha
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 cans (12 oz) evaporated milk
  • 2 cans (12 oz) water (use the milk cans)
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • ½ box cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ cup water
  Meringue:
  • 6 large egg whites
  • 1 1/2 cups superfine or granulated sugar
  Additional ingredients for making Meringue in High Altitude areas: (see NOTE below)
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup water
  Other ingredients:
  • 6 “regular” 9-inch pie crusts (or 4 deep dish pie crusts), pre-baked
  • 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water, beaten together

Directions:

1.  Pre-bake the pie crusts; this is also called “blind baking”:

If your pie crusts are frozen, remove all packaging material and place the crusts at room temperature until they are completely thawed.

Heat your oven to 400 degrees.

Pierce the bottom and sides of each crust with a fork.  This keeps air pockets or bubbles from forming during baking.

Line each crust with heavy-duty aluminum foil.  If you don’t have heavy-duty foil, just double regular foil.  Make sure the foil covers the entire bottom of the crust and up the sides.

Fill the foil with pie weights (I just use dried beans).  Use enough dried beans to fill the pie crust at least halfway up the sides.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The pie crust should be a pale brown.  Remove from the oven.

To prevent your crusts from getting soggy after baking the pies, brush with egg wash (the egg mixed with water) and return to the oven to bake for an additional 3 minutes.  Remove from the oven; set aside.

Save the dried beans for the next time you blind-bake pie crusts.

2.  Make the Meringue (low-altitude areas):

TIP:  Make the meringue first then prepare the filling. Place meringue on the HOT filling (the hot filling will start cooking the meringue, keeping it from shrinking too much during baking). When topping the filling, ensure you push the meringue all the way to the edge of the pie crust; this “seals” the meringue to the edge of the pie.  Using a stainless steel or glass bowl (ensure the bowl is completely dry before putting in the egg whites), beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until soft peaks form.

Once soft peaks have formed, gradually add the sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time, beating the entire time.  Keep beating on high speed until stiff peaks form.  The peaks are stiff enough when the tips stand straight (don’t droop over) when the beaters are lifted.  Once you start beating the egg whites, do not stop in the middle of the process or your meringue won’t form properly.

Spoon the meringue over the hot pie filling.

Make the Meringue (high-altitude areas):

*NOTE:  I live in a very high altitude area (approximately 6,300 feet above sea level).  If you live in an area with high elevation, prepare your meringue as follows in order for the meringue not to turn out weepy after baking.

In a microwave-safe bowl, mix together the sugar, cornstarch, salt and water.  Microwave for two minutes on max power.  Stir once more then set the mixture aside to cool.

Beat the egg whites as directed above, until soft peaks form.  Gradually pour the cooled cornstarch mixture into the bowl of egg whites, beating on high speed as you pour.  Continue to beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.  Cover the pie filling as directed above.

3.  Make the Filling:

Place juice, månha, butter, and sugar in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the evaporated milk and water; stir and bring to a boil.

Mix the egg yolks, cornstarch, vanilla extract, and ½ cup water in a bowl. Add the egg yolk mixture to the månha mixture and cook until the mixture thickens, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. The combined ingredients should thicken before it begins to boil. Cook a few minutes more then remove from the heat.

Pour two cups of the mixture into each prepared (baked) pie crust (or three cups if you are using deep dish pie shells).

4.  Bake the meringue and serve:

Top the hot filling with meringue, making sure to cover the pie filling all the way to the edge of the crust. Use a small spoon to make decorative meringue swirls before baking.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes or until the meringue is golden brown.  If you’re in a hurry, bake at 450 degrees for 7-8 minutes, but then the meringue won’t turn out as “dry” as when you bake it longer at a lower temperature (it’ll still turn out delicious, though).

Let the pies cool then serve and ENJOY!

TIP: To make clean slices through the meringue, dip your knife in cold water before slicing the pie.

Refrigerate any uneaten pie (WHAAAT??? — uneaten pie???  Trust me, this pie will get eaten). 😉

Manha Pie

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Chamorro Potu (Sweet Rice Cake)

Chamorro rice cakes, or Potu, are rice cakes that are made by soaking grains of rice in tuba, or a sweet fermented coconut sap.  The soaked rice is then ground and sweetened then steamed into a light and fluffy cake.

Living in the mainland U.S., I’ve had to learn to make substitutions for those ingredients not commonly found or sold here.  A key ingredient for potu as I mentioned above is tuba.  Since coconut trees don’t grow where I live, I’ve had to figure out a substitute for this potent potable.

I use a combination of palm or coconut vinegar and coconut water when I make my potu.  I also use non-glutinous rice flour for ease in preparation.  I’ll post my easy-peasy shortcut potu recipe soon, but until then, this post features my good friend, Rose Camacho’s recipe.

Rose doesn’t use rice flour when she makes her potu.  Instead, she soaks grains of jasmine rice then grinds it.  She also uses palm vinegar in her recipe.

Rose’s recipe is “tried and true” and loved by many.

Her original post is below.  Give it a try.  I know you’ll like it. 🙂

 

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Rose’s original post and recipe for Chamorro Potu (Sweet Rice Cake):

Hmmm? How does one describe these pure white puff pillows of steamed ground rice?  Light, soft, sweet, and sticky!  Growing up, this has been many a childhood’s favorite.  Although the ingredients are simple, this recipe is pretty prized amongst the native Chamorro women and no one would share theirs.  It was a guarded secret recipe, and some have literally taken it to their grave!!

In my quest to find a GOOD recipe, because it is one of my husband’s favorite desserts, I’ve tweaked and wasted, and tweaked and wasted countless ingredients trying to perfect this recipe. I remember my sister-in-law, Mona and I, and mind you, she’s an EXCELLENT cook, I remember us mixing, beating, steaming and without any close results, have failed trying to perfect it.  I gave up! I just prayed that a passer by relative who’s flying in, stops and delivers some of these cakes, made all the way from the islands, to us.  I’d freeze them, steam them as we needed, and then one day our stash of sweet rice potu was G-O-N-E, gone!

With this recipe, I believe I’ve come close to, as close to can get, especially since one of the “main” ingredients is TUBA, which is not available in my area.  Because I have no access to this sweet “drink”,  I’ve had to improvise and use store bought jarred “Coconut vinegar OR Palm vinegar”.  Their flavor “ALMOST” mimics the taste of sweet Tuba, but of course, if you can get sweet Tuba, please use it.  This is how “I” make Chamorro Potu.  Please Please, pass on your comments and POSITIVE critiques, I would love to hear from you.  Until then, HAPPY COOKING, BAKING, and STEAMING! 😉

Ingredients:

1 cup Jasmine rice  (pictured below)
1 cup water
3 to 4  tablespoons Palm Vinegar (pictured below)
1/4 to 1/3 cup Sugar (I prefer less sweet)
2 teaspoons baking powder

Directions:

Because the rice kernels HAVE TO soak,  you need to start the night before you’re planning on serving it.  The brand of rice I use is pictured below.  If you decide to use another brand or type of rice, I will not be held responsible if you fail with this recipe.   I’ve only used this brand whenever I make my recipe.  The palm vinegar I used is also pictured below.  I’m sure other brands can be used.  I’ve also tried using coconut vinegar and it works fine.

  

Measure out 1 cup of the dry rice.  Wash the rice in water until the water runs clear!  Drain well.  Place into a container, add the  1 cup of water and cover.  Set this aside and allow to soak for a minimum of 8 hours but preferably overnight.

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When you’re ready to prepare the recipe, start heating up the water in your steamer.  In the container that your rice is in, there may still be some water left from the soaking.  DO NOT drain this water.  Place the rice into a heavy duty blender container (I use my Vitamix Professional 750) for this process since it’s pretty heavy duty.  Add the sugar and palm vinegar to the rice and water.  NOTE:  If you do not have a heavy duty mixer, you may have to do this step in smaller increments.  Just process the rice in batches, rather than one whole time.  Although, I’ve never done it this way, if you have a heavy duty food processor, such as a KitchenAid,  I’m sure you could also use that.  The key is to grind the rice FINE!

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Process this in your blender, until the rice kernels are finely ground.  Shut the blender off and add the baking powder.  Now process again for a minute or 2 being careful that the mixture doesn’t heat up.

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While the mixture is still processing, line up your silicon cups in the steamer basket.   For easier handling, pour the batter into a smaller container and pour  3/4 of the way into each baking cup.  This mixture makes about 12 potu cakes OR more if you use smaller silicon cups.

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Place the steamer basket into the steamer pot, which should already be producing heavy steam.  Place a CLEAN kitchen towel over the top of the steamer basket to catch any condensation that will occur during the steaming process.  Place the lid onto the pot.  The lid will also hold the towel taught so that it doesn’t fall onto the potu.  Steam this for a minimum of 20 minutes and up to 30 minutes, depending on the heat that’s produced.

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After about 20 minutes, CAREFULLY lift the lid and towel away, to see how the process is going.  I get excited when I see that little “crack” in the center of my potu.  It tells me it’s gonna be PERFECT!  When done, the potu should spring back a bit, with a slight stickiness to the tops.

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Remove from the steamer pot and allow them to cool before removing them from the basket.  Set them aside to cool completely before removing them from the silicon cups.

SERVE!  Place the leftovers in a plastic bag to keep them fresh.

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Thank you, Rose Camacho (aka Chamorita Momma) for allowing me to repost and share your Tried and True Potu recipe!

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Baklava Truffles

Baklava is one of my favorite desserts.  I’ve seen many variations of this rich, sweet dessert, from chocolate drizzled to baklava cheesecake, and believe me, they all taste incredible!

I’m usually pressed for time, and lately I’ve been creating healthier meals for my family. When it comes to healthy eating, I will admit that Baklava doesn’t immediately come to mind.  Why would it?  Traditional baklava is made with a syrup or honey, and lots and lots of butter.  This recipe, while not right up there in the health-food category, does cut back on a lot of the calories from butter, phyllo dough, and sugar.  It’s a good energy snack, and the thing I love best about it is that it’s a no-bake (aka quick and easy) recipe.

If you look at my list of ingredients below, you’ll notice an ingredient not common in traditional baklava recipes…almond butter.  I use almond butter partially to add another type of nut to this recipe, but it also serves as a way to bind everything together without using too much honey.

If you’re not familiar with almond butter, all it is are almonds ground until creamy, like peanut butter.  You can make your own almond butter — it’s really quite easy, if you have some patience and a good food processor, that is.  It’s more economical to make it yourself, as a small jar of almond butter sells for about $12.00!  I like adding pure maple syrup or honey to my almond butter to sweeten it up a bit.  To make your own almond butter, all you need are 3 cups of raw almonds and 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey (that’s if you want it sweet — the maple syrup and honey are completely optional).  Process only the almonds in your food processor — here’s where your patience comes into play as it takes a good 30 minutes of processing before the almonds turn into a creamy consistency.  Add the maple syrup or honey at the end, just so you can blend it with the almond butter.  Place in a resealable container (I use a mason jar or an empty peanut butter jar).

gheeSince you’ve just perused my list of ingredients, you’ll also notice I use ghee in my recipe.  Ghee is clarified butter — butter that’s been melted so that the milk solids separate from the butter fat, then cooked to boil out the moisture (butter has 15% to 20% moisture content while ghee has nearly 100% butter fat). Several traditional baklava recipes use ghee, lots and lots of it. You can find ghee in the international aisle of your grocery store, or you can make it yourself.

To make ghee, melt 1 pound (or 4 sticks) of butter in a medium-sized sauce pan over medium heat.  When the butter starts frothing, turn down the heat to low.  Keep cooking the butter until it starts to turn a dark golden color; the curds on the bottom of the pan will start to brown.  Use a clean, dry spoon to scoop away the frothy stuff on top.  When the melted butter looks clear, it’s done.  Remove it from the heat.  Strain the liquid through a cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer.  Place in a clean container.  You can store ghee at room temperature (no refrigeration needed).

Make up a batch of these delicious truffles to take along with you for road trip snacks, snacks at work, or when you’re planning an outdoor trek and need some snacks for a quick energy boost.

Give my recipe a try.  I think you’ll like it. 🙂

No-Bake Baklava Truffles

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Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup pistachios
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup almond butter
  • 1/4 cup good quality honey
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

1.  Place the pistachios, walnuts, cinnamon and salt into a food processor.  Pulse it on high speed until the nuts are chopped into small pieces.

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2.  In a separate microwave-safe mixing bowl, place the honey and ghee (you can use regular butter instead of ghee).  Heat for about 30-60 seconds or until the ghee melts.  Add the almond butter and vanilla extract to the bowl.  Stir to combine.

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3.  Add the chopped nut mixture to the almond butter mixture.  Use a spatula to mix it all together.

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4.  Use a small cookie scoop to form small balls.  Place on a plate, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow the truffles to set.

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Optional:  Roll the truffles in chopped nuts before refrigerating.

ENJOY!

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Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

I love blueberry muffins, but I absolutely hate the packaged blueberry muffin mix which turns the batter a bluish-purple after you add canned (and tiny) blueberries.

Blueberries are my favorite when it comes to fruit muffins, but you can easily make this into a loaded berry muffin by mixing you favorite berries — a combination of raspberries, cranberries, and of course, blueberries are delicious too.

I use frozen berries for this recipe. While fresh berries are delicious, frozen sweet berries are always available and “in season.”

I also top these muffins with a sweet mixture of lemon zest and sugar. The perfumy, aromatic oils in the lemon zest gives these muffins a hint of lemon flavor that compliments the berries so well.

This recipe makes a little more than a dozen muffins. You’ll have just a bit of batter leftover after filing the muffin tin. Make mini loaves or use a second muffin tin to use up the extra batter.

Berry-licious Blueberry Muffins

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Ingredients for the Muffins:

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dry Buttermilk Powder (you can find this in the baking section of your grocery store)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons white, granulated sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Ingredients for the Topping:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries plus 1 teaspoon white, granulated sugar
  • The zest of one large lemon plus 1/2 cup white, granulated sugar

Directions:

Make the toppings:

1. Make a blueberry sauce by placing 1 cup of frozen blueberries with 1 teaspoon sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring the berries to a simmer. As the berries begin to soften, use the back of a cooking spoon to slightly mash the berries. Cook the mixture for about 5-8 minutes, or until the sauce reduces and thickens. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside.

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2. In a small bowl, mix the lemon zest and 1/2 cup sugar together. Set aside.

When you zest the lemon, make sure to get only the yellow lemon rind, not the white pith. After zesting the lemon, chop the zest into smaller pieces then mix with the sugar.

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Mix the batter:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a muffin tin with baking spray or non-stick (butter flavored) cooking spray. Or, line each cup with a muffin liner.

2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, buttermilk powder).

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3. In another mixing bowl, place the eggs and sugar. Using a hand mixer on medium speed, beat the eggs and sugar until creamy. Mix in the butter, oil, water and vanilla extract.

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4. Mix the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients, mixing only until the batter is moistened (a few lumps are okay). Do not overmix.

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5. Fold in the blueberries.

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6. Fill each muffin cup 3/4 full. These muffins really rise high, so don’t overfill each muffin cup.

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7. Place a heaping teaspoonful of the blueberry sauce on top of the batter in each muffin cup.

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8. Using the handle of a spoon (a chopstick works really well here), swirl the blueberry sauce into the batter.

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9. Evenly sprinkle the lemon-sugar mixture over each muffin.

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10. Bake at 425 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until golden brown. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out clean (a few crumbs sticking to the toothpick is okay). Let the muffins cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

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If you have a mini loaf pan, you can make mini loaves with the extra muffin batter. You should have enough batter left (after filling the muffin tin) to make 3 mini loaves. I doubled this recipe so I made 6 mini loaves with the extra batter (after filling 2 muffin tins).

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Serve and ENJOY!

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