aspen & pine

a journey in creativity and mindful living

Category: Breakfast

banana chocolate chip muffins

chocolate chip banana muffins

This recipe was given to me when I was 14 by a friend in Australia. My family and I returned to America that year after living 4 wonderful years there. The friend was a pastor’s wife at our church, and one time when we were at her home she made us these muffins. I loved them so much (and baking was one of my favorite pastimes) she gave me the recipe before we left. They are still my favorite muffins.


Makes: 1 dozen

1/2 cup caster sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup mashed banana (about 2 bananas)
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until combined. Spoon into a greased muffin tin and bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.



valentine’s day donuts


“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” – Charles M. Schulz

Happy Valentine’s day everyone! I think today is a good day to splurge a little, and having donuts for breakfast is the perfect way to do it. These are actually called sufganiyot (soof-gone-YOT), a ball-shaped, jelly-filled donut that is popular in Israel. The dough can be made a day ahead and stored in the refrigerator to fry up in the morning.



Recipe modified from Bon Appetit magazine

Makes: about 16

2 1/4 tsp. yeast, or 1 envelope
2 Tbsp. warm water
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. + 1/4 cup sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 large egg
1/2 cup whole milk, warmed
2 Tbsp. water (original recipe called for orange juice)
1 tsp. fine sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
6 Tbsp. butter, room temperature

Frying + Assembly
Vegetable oil for frying
1/2 cup jam
1 recipe chocolate cream (below)
1 recipe glaze (below)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Put Yeast, 1 Tbsp. flour, 1 Tbsp. sugar, and 2 Tbsp. warm water into a large mixing bowl and combine. Let sit 5 min. or until foamy. Whisk egg yolks, milk, water, salt, vanilla, 2 cups of the flour, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar into the yeast mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon about 2 minutes.

Add the butter 1 Tbsp. at a time, stirring between each addition to incorporate butter into dough. Gradually add the rest of the flour a little at a time until dough is no longer sticky, but still soft and shiny.

Turn dough onto a floured counter and knead 5 min. until it no longer sticks to your hands or work surface. Wash the mixing bowl and coat with a layer of butter. Place dough into buttered bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl with a clean dish towel and let rise in a warm, still area of the kitchen for 1 hour or until doubled in size. (If your house is cold, put your dough into a slightly warmed oven to rise.)

Roll the dough out on a floured counter till 3/4″ thick. Using a floured round cutter, cut donuts, twisting cutter at the end (this helps the dough puff up more during frying). Re-roll the scraps and repeat. Place donuts on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a towel, and let rise 40-50 minutes.

While waiting for the second rise it is a good time to prepare your filling (recipe below). Pour vegetable oil into a heavy saucepan until about 4″ deep. Line a second baking sheet with paper towels to put the cooked donuts. Heat oil to 350 degrees F. and fry each donut for 1 minute on each side or until golden.

Cool slightly, then fill and dust with powdered sugar or glaze them. To fill use a pipping bag, fill bag with either jam or pastry cream, then insert piping tip into top of donut and fill. I made some only glazed (for Jordan), some with chocolate filling dusted with powdered sugar (for me), and some with strawberry jam dusted with powdered sugar (not pictured).


1 cup whole milk
2 large egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. natural cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
2 oz. semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used chocolate chips)

Pour milk into a small saucepan and heat over medium until steaming. Whisk egg yolks, sugar, cocoa powder, cornstarch, and salt together in a separate bowl. Add milk slowly, whisking the whole time. Return mixture to saucepan and cook, whisking constantly over medium-low heat until thickened. Remove from heat and add the chocolate, stirring until melted and the cream is smooth. If there are any lumps in your pastry cream, you can press it through a sieve. Transfer to a bowl and press plastic wrap onto the surface of the cream, then refrigerate until set.


1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. water

Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl until smooth. Dip one side of sufganiyot into glaze. Then fill with jam or pastry cream if desired.



blueberry apricot granola

apricot blueberry granola

I love to have granola on hand for breakfast, and it is super easy to make yourself. It’s also way cheaper than purchasing at the store, and you can personalize it to your taste by adding different dried fruits, nuts, and flavorings. I like to try a different combination every time. Today we had some blueberries on hand that were given to us in a gift basket.

apricot blueberry granola


Makes: 16 servings

2/3 cup pure maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp vanilla
3 1/2 cups regular rolled oats
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1/3 cup flax seed meal
1/4 cup sesame seeds
1/2 cup snipped dried apricots
1/2 cup dried blueberries

      Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Bring maple syrup and olive oil to a simmer in a small saucepan over high heat. Remove mixture from heat and add vanilla.  Mix together oats, coconut, almonds, flax seed meal, and sesame seeds in a large bowl. Add syrup mixture to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Pour granola onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours, stirring twice during baking time. Granola should be lightly toasted. When done stir in dried fruit, cool completely, and store in an airtight container.

apricot blueberry granola

Eat over a plain cereal like cornflakes or just by itself with milk.