Grain-Free Birthday Cake Muffins

Hi, Culinary Couture readers! Thanks so much to you guys and Meriem for having me here today to share some one of my favorite recent addictions, er, treats. My name is Nora and I write the blog A Clean Bake. Since Meriem is focusing on other things this month, I am thrilled and honored to step in for her, especially today of all days. Why today? I hope she doesn't mind me sharing this but today is Meriem's birthday! Let's pause for a group "Happy Birthday Meriem!" Ready? 1...2...3 HAPPY BIRTHDAY MERIEM!

Um, well, I am going to trust that you said it with me, because otherwise thaaaaaat's embarrassing.

So, let's talk about these muffins instead! My "claim to fame" (or at least that's what I tell myself) is creating better-for-you versions of your favorite sweets and treats that don't taste "healthy". You know all of those recipes that are called things like "skinny"? That's not what these are. Things that are low-cal are usually full of chemicals and empty calories. I cook with real, healthy, whole, unprocessed foods and I make them taste great! No cardboard cookies and styrofoam cakes here, friends.

These muffins are a perfect example. I make a point to force, ahem enlist, taste testers who are used to conventional sweets, and if they don't have a reaction like "I can't believe this is grain-free! Are you sure??" then it's not ready. Let's just say I blinked and all of these muffins were gone...and I didn't get a single one.

So, now that I have done my dog and pony show, I'll bet you must be wondering what the heck could be left to make a sweet, rich, moist and festive cupcake worthy of a birthday breakfast for a cake connoisseur like Meriem. Sure, these could be frosted and passed off as cupcakes, but in the presence of such a master like her, I would never in a million years even try to compare. So, muffins it is. Also, sprinkles for breakfast are part of a complete breakfast. (Cereal is so five minutes ago).


Roasted Strawberry Crumb Muffins

Hello! Nice to meet all you, Culinary Couture readers! :D  I`m Lynna and I regularly blog at Hearts In My Oven. As you all know by now, Meriem has asked some of her blogger buddies to guest post for her this month. I couldn`t be happier to guest post for her!

A few months back, I discovered Meriem's Apple Peanut Butter Muffins post for her Mystery Dish Challenge. I thought it was such a cool and interesting concept! When she emailed me to ask if I was interesting in joining, I was ecstatic! I dreamt up this Puff Pastry Apple Pie with Frosted Flakes Crumble for the challenge. I`ve been following Meriem since her muffin post. I mean, how can I not when she continuously post delicious recipes, like tiramisu macarons, or gorgeous cakes!

Today, I'm happy to share with you all this wonderful roasted strawberry muffin recipe. Strawberries are in season during the Summer months. Aside from stuffing yourself silly with all sorts of fruits this summer, baking with them is a must!

If you`ve never tried roasting strawberries, I highly recommend you try it at least once. It`s really simple. The smell when they come out of the oven is indescribable! I know muffin recipes should be quick and fast, so you might be discouraged to try this recipe with the extra steps. Why would you add an extra step to roast strawberries? Why smash the roasted strawberries to get their juice? Because it enhances the strawberry flavor! Oh, it totally does. I wanted to really get the strawberry taste, so I decided to smash the strawberry juice and add it to the batter ;)


Summer Naan-wiches with Feta White Bean Hummus

Howdy y'all! Miss me yet? No worries, I'll be back in two weeks! Aren't my guest posters doing just the greatest jobs ever though? So much talent, I can't handle it! First was Natalie's patriotic sugar cookie cake, then Jessica's raw brownie bites, and finally Allie's blueberry mascarpone macarons! These ladies definitely know how to do up their desserts. But today, we're going to take a break from the sweet and dabble with some savory. And who better for the job, than Joanne of Eats Well With Others! Take it away girl!

If there's one thing I've learned from this winter --> summer transition (or should I call it the great migration from the Alaskan tundra to the African savanna), it's to be careful what you wish for.

All those weeks when we cursed the water cycle because SNOW! ICE! HAIL!?

Well, now we're still cursing them. Because HUMIDITY.

I've largely entered too-hot-to-function mode, which means turning on an oven to make dinner every night is a no-go.

Having access to a grill would be ideal, but I live in NYC where having enough personal outdoor space to house a grill is tantamount to a small miracle.

So, sandwiches. My summertime best friends.


Blueberry Mascarpone Macarons

Hello, Culinary Couture readers! I’m Allie and I usually blog over at Baking a Moment. But today, I’m here filling in for our good friend Meriem. It’s Ramadan all month and Meriem is very busy honoring her faith, family, and culture, so she asked me to pop over and offer you guys a yummy treat!

One of the things that I love about Meriem and Culinary Couture is that she doesn’t shy away from recipes that might be a little challenging. Macarons are notorious for being fussy, but when you get them right, it’s the best feeling ever!!! I’ve made many batches over the last few years, and most of the time they come out great, but every now and again I get a pesky batch that cracks, or refuses to grow feet. Those failures can be so frustrating, but it always makes the successes that much sweeter and more rewarding!

I know that Meriem feels me here. She struggled at the beginning, but she’s since mastered macaron-making and I’ve been drooling ever since. Did you see her Chocolate Macarons with Nutella Ganache? Perfection. How about the Tiramisu Macarons she made a few months back? What??? And these Strawberry Shortcake Macarons? I died.

And after reading about her method I just had to try it. The recipe I had been using myself wasn’t all that different, but some of her other tips and tricks sounded really intriguing. So, for these Blueberry Mascarpone babies, I used Meriem’s Strawberry Shortcake Macaron recipe, and just switched up the filling a bit.


Raw Brownie Bites

Hey everyone! My name is Jessica of Jessiker Bakes and I'm here helping Meriem with posts while she is celebrating Ramadan.

Today I decided to bring you some raw brownie bites. I'm a definite dessert lover but as we know, sometimes they can get a bit fattening! I’ve been trying to find options that are not only lower in added sugar, but are honest-to-goodness better for you. I’m on a whole health kick right now and have been experimenting with vegan recipes and I’ve been loving dates. If you’ve never tried them, dates are naturally sweet, and remind me of like a chewier, sweeter raisin loaded with tons of nutrients, vitamins and minerals. That’s why they had to be the prime ingredient in these bites next to chocolate.

Enough about health stuff, back to these brownie bites. The ingredients are so simple - cocoa powder, dates, almonds and walnuts. That’s it! The result is a bite that really does taste like a brownie bite, really! The texture is there, the chewiness, and most important of all, THE CHOCOLATE. I am trying so hard not to devour these babies but it’s really hard! They are also made in a much shorter time than regular brownies which are also a plus :). As a synopsis these bites are:

Cute and