29 Buttery Vanilla Muffins, Truvia Baking Blend & A Giveaway!**CLOSED**

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Truvia® Natural Sweetener for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Congratulations to Stacy, comment #7 who said she would make Peanut Butter Blossoms!  Enjoy your $25 gift card, courtesy of IZEA! 

Have you tried some of the newest muffins at Costco?  I am especially enamored with their Vanilla Chocolate Chunk muffins, so when I got an opportunity to try Truvia® Baking Blend, this is the recipe I wanted to copy!

I first heard of Truvia ® at the Evo Conference and baked their chocolate chip cookies and raspberry bars.  Truvia ® is a natural sweetener made from the leaves of the stevia plant, blended with sugar and erythritol that is perfect for baking while saying goodbye to 75% of calories from sugar!

Sugar is an important element in baking.  It contributes color, flavor and texture, but also calories. Did you know that any excess sugar that your body consumes is stored as fat?  Our family has a sweet tooth, especially around the holidays, so experimenting with Truvia ® Baking Blend has been fun!

When you bake with Truvia ® Baking Blend, you only use half the amount of sugar called for in a recipe.  In my baking experience, I know that when adjusting a recipe, you need to keep the proportions of wet ingredients and dry ingredients the same.  Throw it off balance and you may get a flat, dense or overly wet, soggy product.

Fortunately, Truvia has many recipes to choose from.  I choose to bake a muffin for its simplicity, ease of ingredients and adaptability. As this was an experimental recipe,  a hybrid of a classic muffin and one from Truvia ® , I chose to cut it in half, just in case it didn't work out...

In making muffins, the first step is to gather all your dry ingredients.  Truvia ® Baking Blend (with its own closeable, easy to use pour spout!) is combined with all purpose flour, baking powder and salt.

In a separate bowl or container, combine all your wet ingredients: milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter.  Break up the egg using a fork.

Do you want to know how professional bakeries get their goodies to taste so buttery and vanill-y?

It's this.

Buttery Sweet Dough Bakery Emulsion.  You use this in place of your extract in recipes and because it is made with no alcohol, the flavor will not bake out.  Sweet!

Just pour a teaspoon or so of the bakery emulsion into the milk/butter/egg mixture.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and be careful not to over mix the batter.

If you over mix the batter, you will create a lot of holes, tunnels, and a pretty dense muffin.  It is okay if you see lumps in your batter.

I love to use a large ice cream scoop to fill my muffin liners.  It puts the exact amount of batter I need without creating a big mess!

I filled a couple of muffin liners and thought, "Why not add some chocolate chips to the batter?"

Here's what the muffins look like before baking.

Here they are, fresh out of the oven!

They are perfectly domed, golden color, and just the right size...

Let's crack one open and take a peek inside...

Taste? Soft, moist, and slightly sweet. Just the way a muffin should be. Texture is just like a muffin should be. Not light and fluffy like a cupcake.

I remembered seeing a chocolate frosting recipe on the Truvia® site and decided to try it.  I cut the recipe into fourths as I was planning to use this frosting as a decoration on top of the muffin, much like the Costco ones.

First, Truvia Baking ® Blend is blended with cornstarch in a coffee or spice grinder. I thought about using my food processor, but knew that it would not grind the sugar fine enough.

The recipe calls for baking chocolate, which I subbed 3 T. cocoa + 1 T. vegetable oil (for every 1 oz of baking chocolate), then added softened butter, salt and vanilla.

Give it a stir and hooray!  It looks like chocolate frosting, but does it taste like chocolate frosting?

It does taste like chocolate frosting, although the texture is not as creamy...there were still bits of grainy sugar and that could be due to my spice grinder not blending the sugar very well.  There is a very slight aftertaste from the Truvia, but it is not as strong as other low calorie sweeteners I've tried. This is still a good low calorie chocolate frosting!

Spoon the frosting into a plastic baggie lined cup and made a small snip in the corner.

Pipe the frosting onto the muffin...

Mmmmm.... this is one dang good muffin! While my family enjoyed the large chocolate chips, I would prefer the regular or even the mini chocolate chips next time.

Truvia Baking ® Blend comes in a 1.5 pound bag that will sweeten up to 7 cups of your holiday baking!
That's 9 batches of cookies, 6 batches of brownies or 28 batches of these muffins!

Buttery Vanilla Muffins
makes 6-7 regular size muffins

1/4 c. Truvia ® Baking Blend
1 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
1/8 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 egg
1 1/4 t. vanilla (or butter baking emulsion)
1/3 c. chocolate chips, optional

In a medium bowl, combine Truvia ® Baking Blend, flour, baking powder and salt.  In a separate bowl, combine milk, melted butter, egg and vanilla.  Whisk egg with a fork.

Pour the milk mixture over the dry ingredients. Stir till just combined; do not over mix, lumps are okay. Fill paper lined or greased muffin tins 3/4 full with batter.

Bake at 375°F for 15-20 minutes.  Let muffins cool for 5 minutes in pan, then turn out onto cooling rack. Top with Truvia Baking Blend chocolate frosting, if desired.

Truvia ® Baking Blend Chocolate Frosting (1/4 recipe)
1/4 c. Truvia® Baking Blend
1/4 t. cornstarch
1/8 t. salt
1 oz. baking chocolate, melted (I used 3T. cocoa + 1 T. vegetable oil)
3 T. butter, softened
1/2 t. vanilla extract

Combine Truvia ® Baking Blend with cornstarch in a coffee or spice grinder and grind till very fine.
Pour into a medium bowl, add salt and cocoa (if not using baking chocolate).  Mix in butter and vanilla.

Would you like to try Truvia ® Baking Blend?  I'm sure you do!


All you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me what holiday cookie/dessert you are most excited to try re-creating using Truvia ® Baking Blend and IZEA will choose a winner for a $25 gift card to the grocery store of their choice on December 17, 2012!

If your profile does not include an email address, please include it in your comments (ex: friedalovesbread[at]gmail[dot]com) so IZEA can get a hold of you if you win!

Good luck and enjoy your holiday baking!

Visit the Truvia® website for more tips and information on Truvia® Baking Blend
Contest Rules

Visit Sponsor's Site


5 Pressure Cook Mashed Potatoes in a Hurry!

Need to make creamy mashed potatoes FAST?

Dust off your pressure cooker and your potatoes will be cooked in under 10 minutes!

You can view my step-by-step post over HERE!...

Happy Thanksgiving!


45 Cafe Zupas Now Open in Sugarhouse & A Giveaway!

I was lucky enough to attend a sneak preview of the new Zupas in Sugarhouse a couple of days ago.

They are now open at 2236 S. 1300 E., just west of the Michael's craft store in the shopping center.

Their Grand Opening begins Thursday, Nov. 15-16, 2012 with free food, discounts and giveaways:

     FREE dessert with every meal!
     First 50 people (doors open at 11 AM) get 50% their entire order!
     Enter to win a catered meal for your office (or group of friends)
               They'll be giving away a catered lunch every day during the grand opening!
Saturday, Nov. 17 is their Grand Opening party ~ you won't want to miss it!
     Along with FREE dessert with every meal and first 50 people receiving 50% off, here are the awesome giveaways ...

     Win free food for a year! One very lucky person will win a $520 gift certificate!
     A $25 gift card will be given away every 15 minutes!

You will LOVE your Cafe Zupas experience!  Here's what I experienced:

At the door, you will be handed a paper menu, with lots of choices ~

I love how you can individualize your meal (no tomatoes, please) and that they have a kid-friendly menu. 

This sign speaks to the great service at Zupas ... their staff was very friendly and courteous!

Not only does Zupas have crunchy salads and hot soups, they have many decadent desserts to choose from ...

Every meal comes with a complimentary crust slice of bread and a chocolate dipped strawberry!

I ordered the Honey Bacon Club grilled panini sandwich with a Shanghai Chicken salad.

I loved the sandwich salty/sweet flavor combo of turkey, bacon, ham, Muenster cheese and honey mustard dressing.

Zupa's salads are always perfect.  I hate it when my salad has way too much dressing, overpowering the taste of the other ingredients, and leaving a soupy, watery mess in the bottom of my bowl.  At Zupas, they mix the right amount of dressing with the salad greens in a separate bowl, return the mix to your serving bowl and top it with your requested ingredients.

Hubby ordered the Thai Lobster Curry soup and  the California Turkey sandwich.

The soup was a unique blend of lobster, Thai spices and coconut milk, lending a not-too-spicy, yet exotic taste.  The sandwich was perfect for my husband, who loves avocados and Ranch dressing on a hearty roll.

No meal is complete without trying dessert!

My husband picked out his favorite rich and creamy cheesecake.

 Me? My eyes were fixed on this Million Dollar Bar....reminiscent of the seven layer bars that I grew up with ... only much larger in size!

Is your mouth watering yet?  I'm getting hungry!

How about a giveaway?  I'm giving away one lucky reader the following:

The Cafe Zupas Blogger's Cookbook, a hard back spiral bound cookbook filled with over 50 seasonal recipes from Utah bloggers that have contributed to Cafe Zupas.

A $25 gift card to enjoy a meal with a friend a Cafe Zupas!
All you need to do to enter is leave a comment (what is your favorite Cafe Zupas menu item) on this post AND say you did on the Rafflecopter form.

UPDATE:  Many of my readers are saying that the Rafflecopter form is not appearing on this blog.  It could be that Rafflecopter is experiencing a surge/overload and has shut down temporarily. It could be the browser you are using. Readers using Internet Explorer cannot see the form; however, I have tested this post on Fire Fox, Safari, and on my mobile devices, Kindle Fire and Android phone, with no problems.  If you experience a problem, let me know in the comments below and I will make sure you are entered!  I have extended this giveaway by an additional week!

For additional entries: follow

Cafe Zupas on Facebook

Cafe Zupas on Twitter

Tweet about the giveaway: Enter to win a $25 Zupas GC and a Cookbook on Frieda Loves Bread!

and leave a separate comment for each additional entry.  Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway is open to all US readers and will end November 28.  Cafe Zupas generously let me and my husband try a meal, gave us the cookbook and gift card to give away.  No other compensation was given to write this post; as always, the opinions expressed are 100% mine.


4 Southern Pecan Pie & 6 Professional Pie Baking Tips

I have never been a fan of Pecan pie. Until now.

Why?  The filling is usually a lumpy, gelatinous mess, which to a texture eater like me, just doesn't settle well in my mouth.

It took a professional baker, who introduced me to this REAL Southern Pecan pie: a rich, buttery, silky and sweet filling with pecans and a crunchy cookie-like topping.

I just had to have the recipe ... and she gave it to me!

In a bowl, combine granulated sugar, light brown sugar and a couple tablespoons of flour (don't worry, the full recipe link is at the bottom of the page)...

Next, eggs, melted butter (not hot), evaporated milk and some coarsely chopped nuts.

Tip: Pan roast the nuts to bring out even more flavor!

Tip: Stir this with a spoon.  Why?  If you use beaters, it will cause too much of the sugar to dissolve and the top of your pie will burn while baking in the oven. (I did not know that!)

Tip: Next, create a 4" strip of foil that will fit around your pie.  It took three strips, ends pinched together, to go around this pie.  This will be your pie "shield" or "fence" that will prevent your crust from getting too brown while in the oven.  (I always thought the shield had to go on top of the crust)

Tip: This professional baker prefers to use glass pie pans.  Pour the filling in a premade, uncooked pie crust.

This is as full as I dared ~ this recipe will fill a deep pie dish. Luckily, I had two smaller 4" pie crusts in the freezer and pulled those out to hold the extra filling.

Tip:  Yes, you can freeze pie crusts!

Put the pie in a preheated 350°F oven and wrap the foil around the pie, pinching the ends and creating your pie "fence." Bake the pie until the middle no longer jiggles when you try to shake it.  During the last five minutes, remove the foil to allow the pie crust to brown nicely.

It is better to overbake than underbake, to make sure the pie crust gets cooked.

Tip:  Remove the pie from the oven, but DO NOT CUT INTO THE PIE WHILE WARM OR HOT!  The pie must be completely cooled before cutting or the filling will run ...

This pecan pie will be puffy and brown, but will settle a little bit during the cooling process.

I was thrilled that this pie had set ~ no runny, goopy mess!

Ohhhh .... look at that flaky pie crust ... I know you want a piece!

This is an extremely rich pie ~ you will want to cut it into much smaller pieces than you would normally cut a pie.

This recipe is a keeper ~ pin, share and made it for your next holiday meal!

Southern Pecan Pie

(4x6 recipe card download)     (full page printable recipe)

Five Pies to Try for Thanksgiving

Prebaked Pie Crust: Blind Baking

Double Pie Crust

Perfect Single Pie Crust


2 Freezing Rosemary & Other Herbs

My rosemary plant did really well on its own this year ~ I cut off the branches and covered the "stump" with dry leaves.  It helped that it was a mild winter in Utah last year.  I'm hoping for another mild winter...

But just in case my rosemary plant dies, I want to have fresh rosemary this winter and throughout next spring.  I love using it in my Herbed Turkey Breast and Prime Rib recipes during the winter holidays.

Freezing fresh herbs is very simple.  I wash and dry the herbs in my OXO salad spinner.  You can also dry your herbs between sheets of paper towels.

Removing the leaves from its woody stem is really easy.  Hold the rosemary branch in one hand and hold the top with the other hand... (my right hand is taking the pic)

Pull the leaves in the opposite direction that they are growing in....the leaves come off very quickly and easily.

 Pinch off the top bunch of leaves and viola ~ you have a pile of fresh, clean herbs!

I blotted these herbs with a paper towel and bagged them in a freezer safe bag.  These herbs should last me up to a year.  To use these herbs, take out what you need directly from the freezer and chop or use according to your recipe.

The temperatures will be dropping to the freezing zone soon .... I better go see what other herbs I can rescue in my garden and freeze for the winter!

Some Favorite Recipes Using Rosemary:

Roasted Baby Red Potatoes

Roasted Turkey Stew (close to Chuck A Rama's Kettle Roasted Turkey)


Potato Rosemary Rolls

Company Pot Roast

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