Posts tagged ‘sweet’

November 14, 2011

Banana Bread, sans Egg

Banana bread is a tricky, slippery, mysterious enigma. I’ve basically kept with the same “recipe” for several years now, but because it isn’t perfect yet, I keep tweaking slightly to discover entirely new worlds when it comes to banana bread. It’s an exciting endeavor, unless I don’t use enough butter or forget an ingredient. This time, I didn’t forget anything (except the fact that I didn’t have any eggs in my house); I adventured into the world of banana bread with an open mouth and ready heart; and I was greatly rewarded for my experimentation. I give you They’ll Never Know You Were Out of Eggs but Wanted to Bake Anyway Banana Bread.

Going into this attempt, I thought my house contained eggs. Those elusive scrambleable necessities for breakfast and baking went for all they were worth, apparently. And more quickly than I anticipated. So, I did a bit of research. Dear internet, what is a good egg substitute other than Egg Substitute? You know, internet, something I can use from my cabinet or fridge, so I don’t actually have to leave my house or my pre-heating oven?

Banana Bread, sans eggs
Inspired by Mark Bittman

1 stick butter, softened
1 c A-P flour (I used white wheat.)
1 c cake flour
1 t salt
1 1/2 t baking powder
3/4 c light brown sugar
5 banananananananas, smushed (Did you know bananas act as a perfectly acceptable and delicious egg substitute? Isn’t that perfect for banana bread??? I added a little bit of yogurt just ’cause and was thankful for the baking powder in this recipe to help the leavening.)
1/8 c plain yogurt
2 t vanilla yogurt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Ready a dozen muffin cups and a small loaf pan.

Whisk dry ingredients together. Cream brown sugar and butter together. Beat in bananas. Add yogurt. Mix until incorporated. Add vanilla extract.

Pour batter into tins. I did it six at a time then the loaf. The muffins took about 12 minutes each. The loaf took a bit longer. Just bake until golden brown and they pass the toothpick test. Really, a good measure is to watch until the edges of the muffins begin pulling away from the tin. But not any longer than that. They’ll get dry.


Cool on rack or whatever (see above for my very and professional cooling method) before removing. Enjoy. Share. Love.

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September 25, 2011

Pie Top Cookies

I made cookies. They looked like pie tops. What to call them? Well, the most obvious answer, of course. I like learning new techniques. I adore cute things. I can’t help it usually. I just get really excited when something is adorable, feel exuberant around the sorts of creatures or crafty or cookery things that make people talk in a slightly higher pitched voice or at a faster pace than typical.

It just so happened that I had two pie’s worth of dough in my freezer. Not in as much luck?? You can whip up a fresh batch. Here‘s a perfectly useful link in a time like this.

So that’s the actual recipe. This is a tutorial, a run-down if you will, of how to make the cookies themselves so as not to needlessly repeat myself on how to make awesome pie crust. The important step for this bit (if you’re making from frozen and not from fresh) is to defrost overnight in the refrigerator. I apologize, as this recipe does call for forethought. Unless you make from scratch! There are always loopholes to stumble through and around!

First step is to make sure your surfaces are well-floured. You can wear an apron if you don’t like flour handprints. I always seem to leave traces wherever I work.

Flatten your pie crusts out, rolling evenly from the middle out in all directions.

Cut strips of the equal width. Leave intact. Begin lattice work work by folding every other strip of one pie crust down to the middle. See picture.

See? Easy. Now take the middle strip from the other pie crust and lay it across your opening. Fold up the ones folded down. Fold down the ones that were previously up and you’re ready to lay down your next longest strop of pie crust from that other one.

Once you have gone all the way to the top. Start from folding up from the bottom again starting from the middle then working down this time until you finish your latticing work.

Now you may get a biscuit or cookie cutter or whatever you might have on hand. I used a tiny mug.

I liked the shape, and with the help of a butter knife, it was perfect. Make sure you pull the dough away from the cookies and don’t try to move the cookies just yet.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

I found that I easily got four cookies at a time. I took the whole sheet of wax paper, carried it like a tray to the fridge and let the cookies hang out in there while I balled up the left over dough, stuck it in the freezer for a couple of minutes (in a plastic bag or plastic wrap) to rechill, so that I could make a new lattice and make four more cookies, pull the dough away, take the four new cookies on their wax paper tray to the fridge to chill, take the left over dough to the freezer for a couple of minutes, then lattice up my third and last batch of pie crust to get my final four cookies, put those in the fridge on their wax paper tray while I mixed up my sugary topping and egg wash.

I simply mixed a tablespoon of raw sugar with a teaspoon of cinnamon in one bowl (or cute, tiny mug) and one egg with one tablespoon of water in another bowl.

First brush the tops of each cookie with the egg wash then top with a pinch or two of cinnamony sugary goodness. Bake six at a time for 15 minutes then turn on the broiler to high for a nice, golden brown top. While the first six bake, keep the others in the fridge.

Top the cooled cookies with local honey for added sweetness. Although alone gives them a nice savory/sweet flavor that might be up or alley. I highly recommend playing with toppings or fillings. But alone is absolutely devine. My favorite topping was the honey though.

This recipe was inspired largely by not martha. Check her out. I’m just learning about her.

September 4, 2011

Chocolate + Pear Cake

I wasn’t sure how this combination would work or if it would or if it could. I love the individual ingredients. So much. Juicy pear. Dark chocolate chips. They’ve never even crossed my mind as a combination. Never. And that is saying a lot.

So, of course, when I read about this cake over here at a LOVELY blog written by an incredibly witty and inspiring lady named Deb, I had to have it.

Chocolate and Pear Cake
inspired by smitten kitchen

1 c white whole wheat flour
1 T baking powder
1/4 t salt
3 eggs, room temperature
8 T (1 stick) butter
3/4 c brown sugar
1 lb (about 3 medium or 2 large) pears, peeled and diced
3/4 c bittersweet chocolate chunks or chips

Preheat the oven to 35o degrees F.

Prepare pan (I used a 9 in round cake pan. The original recipe called for a springform pan.) by swiping butter all over the bottom and sides. Then, sprinkle a little flour and powdered sugar into the pan, tipping, turning, and tapping to cover the entirety of the pan.

In a small bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together.

Beat the three eggs with the whisk attachment on high for a really long time. But have no fear, during this time, I’ll give you something exciting to do! Ten minutes should get the eggs to go from eggs…

… to lightly colored and pretty thick froth.

Then, beat a little longer until it’s custard consistency.

(Next time, I’ll actually use the whisk attachment instead of my regular beaters. It turned out fine. So you should be relieved to know that this is a forgiving recipe.)

As promised, something exciting:: Browning butter!!

What’s better than butter? Browned butter. And even though I was pretty frightened of this process when I first heard of it, I love it. It adds a richness, nuttiness, and depth of deliciousness. Oh, man. Okay. So. Put your stick of butter in a medium sauce pan and leave it on medium-ish heat for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally especially a lot in the last couple of minutes so the browning happens all over not just for the first bits to be browned. And yes, those bits are okay. They’re good and welcome, even. Once the butter’s browned, take it off the heat, but keep it in a pretty warm place.

Now, that your eggs are fluffed and your butter browned, add the brown sugar to your egg mixture. Mix until incorporated.

Add flour mixture to egg fluff mixture. Now, get a spatula and fold the flour into the eggs to try to maintain the fluffiness. Add browned butter; fold.

Pour into prepared pan.

Add peeled and diced pears and chocolate chips.

Bake for about 40 minutes. Don’t take the cake out of the oven until your doneness tester comes out completely batter-free. I used my Doneness Tester (butter knife) to go around the edge of the cake just inside the pan to make sure it was separated before turning it out on a cooling rack.

Let it cool for at least 15 minutes.

If I can wait that long, you can, too. It’s possible.

And enjoy.

Every single bite.

July 4, 2011

Happy. Go Forth.

This flag cake stands the test of tradition and time. I hope you enjoyed a fourth of July that stood up to such things as well.

May 17, 2011

Easter Cupcakes

If you give a nine-year-old, six-year-old, and four-year-old a lot of pretty sprinkles and a lot of very tasty frosting, after letting them help make the frosting and therefore taste the frosting (a lot of it), you might have a good time. I did. I love my nieces.

Easter Cupcakes

This part I made aforehand, so that we, as a group, didn’t have to wait around while the cupcakes baked. We started with the fun stuff. So, here’s the “aforehand” stuff for you.

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Inspired by: Smitten Kitchen

2 c + 2 T cake flour
2 c whole white wheat flour
2 t baking powder
1 1/2 t baking soda
1 t salt, small grained
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 c sugar (I used demerara sugar and pulsed it in a spice grinder until finely grained.)
2 t vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract)
4 eggs, large, at room temperature
2 c buttermilk (which I didn’t have, so I used milk + lemon juice. Because I used too much lemon juice, these cupcakes tasted a little bit like lemon, but not in a bad way.)

Preheat oven to 35o degrees F.

Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.

In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time. Beat until incorporated.

Add buttermilk or milk mixture. Mix. Incorporate.

Then, add the flour mixture.

There it is. The flour mixture. Now, add it in three batches to the batter. Mixing after each addition. Pour the batter into the prepared cupcake cups.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then, transfer to a cooling rack.

Use your favorite frosting recipe. Go to town. Have at it.

Why, yes, I did put plastic wrap on the counter to ease in clean-up. What’s that? Applause? Applause for brilliance? Oh, thanks. Thanks.

We washed our hands a bunch of times.

A lot of sprinkles were used in the making of these Easter Cupcakes.

Tada.

February 9, 2011

Gingery Molasses Cookies

These ginger cookies are incredible!!! Yes, I must be in the cookie spirit, because I can’t turn down a good cookie recipe right now. I’m not sure what it is– random cravings, the time of year, butter, sweet, delicious, soft, chewy, warm out of the oven, magnificent. I love cookies lately. And not all, mind you. I’ve still retained my sense of standard and decorum. I don’t jump onto every cookie I see. I consider it carefully before I tell the good ones how much I love them.

These are some mighty good ones. Let me tell you. Actually, allow me to show you. And encourage you to make these right this very moment. Yes. Now.

Gingery Molasses Cookies
Inspired by Rosie at Sweetapolita

2 1/4 c unbleached white-wheat flour
1/2 t ground ginger
1 t cinnamon
2 t baking soda
1/2 t sea salt
3/4 c unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c dark brown sugar
1/4 c molasses
1 large egg
1 pkg crystalized ginger
Demerara sugar for coating

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Sift all dry ingredients together. Set bowl aside.

Cream butter and brown sugar until fluffy and much lighter. At least beat for 2 minutes. Add egg, mix; add molasses, mix for another minute.

Blend. Add dry ingredients and mix until incorporated.

Chop up crystalized ginger.

Add and mix in on low.

Make balls of dough then roll in demerara sugar to completely coat. Place on Silpated cookie sheet.

Lightly flatten cookie. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or as soon as cookies begin to crack. Let cookies cool on sheet then on a cooling rack.

These are incredibly chewy and absolutely perfect.

January 10, 2011

Review

At the end of the year, a lot happened. A lot.

Successes in baking::

Cookies for Christmas.

Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Successes in craftery::

Felt Flowers.

I’ve also had some failures::

Ugh. I worked so hard on these!!! I froze the butter, made the dough, formed the dough into a ball, refrigerated it for a long time, formed into crackers, refrigerated it for longer, and finally got to bake them. Then. THEN baked them too long. Ugh. What a mess.

 

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September 7, 2010

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons

I really like fig newtons. I forgot how much I do until I made these from scratch.

They remind me of my childhood and visiting my grandparents. I knew the difference between kid bread (white)  and grown up bread (multi-nutty-grain), but I never considered these as grown up cookies. Lucky me.

I adjusted this recipe since I made it. I used all whole wheat flour, but next time, I will most certainly use a mix.

Figgy Netwon

Whole Wheat Fig Newtons
Inspired by CatesWorldKitchen.com

for filling:
6 ounces dried black mission figs, chopped
1/2 c boiling water
1/4 c evaporated cane juice (or granulated sugar)

newton dough:
1/2 c softened butter
1 T milk
1 egg
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t cinnamon
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c A-P flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Soak the figs in the boiling water for about 20 minutes.

Stir in the sugar then cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about 20 minutes, or until it has a jam-like consistency. Set aside to cool.

Cream the butter in a stand mixer, then beat in the egg, vanilla, and milk. Gradually add the sugar and mix well. Add the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and stir just until combined. Divide the dough in half.

Working on a sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, pat half the dough into a long, thin 18″ x 3″ rectangle. Spread the fig filling down the center. On a separate sheet of wax paper or plastic wrap, make a similar rectangle and carefully place this on top of the dough with the fig filling. Press the edges together, then cut crosswise into 1″ lengths.

Place the cookies on a cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes, or until just beginning to brown.