I’m always on the lookout for new things to try and am subscribed to several food blogs so I can be inundated with ideas. Been thinking of what to make on pancake day when I saw the overtime cook’s post on chocolate cheesecake pancake. What’s better than chocolate? ….. Exactly. If you want the recipe, go to http://overtimecook.com/2013/01/30/healthy-chocolate-cheesecake-pancakes/. The only change I made is I used all purpose flour because I don’t have the wheat one. Enjoy.
It’s been a while since I last baked, and I sorely miss it. So after the longest time, I tried my hand at scones. Just because I’m craving for something that goes with whipped cream. And I thought scones are a must know in a country addicted to tea and scones. I thought I was gonna fail, especially when the pastry kept on sticking to my hand ugh. And when the prescribed cooking time was up, I was near panic mode when I saw my scones looking pasty white. So, I adjusted my oven to fan assisted and cooked the scones for 10-15 minutes. To be honest, I sat in front of the oven and looked as the scones turned a golden color, to make sure I don’t burn it this time. Guess I got scared as I’ve been burning things left and right and was blaming it on my Teflon. As usual my source is joyofbaking.com.
Cream Scone Recipe:
2 cups (260 grams) all-purpose flour
1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar
2 teaspoons (10 grams) baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup (75 grams) cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk, half-and-half, or heavy cream
Cream or Milk
My only alteration is the cooking time. I put pecan sugar and butter topping mixed with whipped cream and tucked in. All I can say is, I have a happy tummy.
Before getting into a debate on whether banana bread is cake or bread, breakfast or dessert, let me post another success story. Besides it is really besides the point as (1) any use for over ripe mushy bananas is always a good thing and (2) as long as I can get my 1 of 5-a day from it, then it’s excuse enough to eat it. And my son loves it too.
After extensive research (I.e. google), I decided to go with The Guardian’s perfect banana bread. “perfect” being the key word which won me over. I never knew the choices could be endless, oil or butter, hand mash or food processor, caster or brown sugar, softened butter or melted? After having a go on it, I even felt brave enough to add chocolate chips on the second attempt!
So here are the ingredients (from http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2012/aug/30/how-to-cook-perfect-banana-bread)
350g ripe bananas (peeled weight)
180g plain flour, plus extra for the tin
2½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
160g soft, light brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
4 tbsp melted butter, plus extra to grease, slightly cooled
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Put two-thirds of the peeled banana chunks into a bowl and mash until smooth. Roughly mash the remainder and stir in gently.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt into a bowl, and grease and lightly flour a baking tin about 21x9x7cm.
3. Put the sugar, eggs and melted butter in a large bowl and use an electric mixer to whisk them until pale and slightly increased in volume. Fold in the bananas and the dry ingredients until you can see no more flour, then fold in the walnuts.
4. Spoon into the tin and bake for about an hour until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out on to a rack to cool completely.
My modifications on this recipe are I added a tsp of vanilla essence (as most other recipes do) and substituted half the plain flour with wholemeal, spelt one in an attempt to put a more healthy twist on it. Based on the results (meaning the loaf was eaten in a day) I’d say it’s a winner. So put this one on your repertoire because if an amateur like me can do it then anyone can wouldn’t you agree?
Staying in at home during cold rainy days is one of my Favorite things to do. Add to that a cup of hot coffee (Colombian, kenco, nothing fancy mind you) and cassava cake equals I’m in heaven. Or any cake would do probably. Before I digress and tell you that my idea of heaven is eating anything you like without gaining weight or thinking of cleaning up, let me espouse the many attributes of cassava. Courtesy of Wikipedia, also called tapioca, yuca, mogo, manioc and (my Favorite) kamoting kahoy, Cassava is a woody shrub native to South America. It is the third largest source of carbohydrates in the tropics, and a poor source of protein so dieters beware. Mainly used for dessert, it can be used in cakes, fried as chips, boiled and dipped in sugar as a snack or made into bibingka, a sort of thick and chunky pancake cooked on a clay pot with smoked wood in the traditional way. Cassava cake is a Filipino dessert but do not ask me where it originated from as my lazy fingers are not inclined to google more. Anyway, it is made with coconut milk, condensed milk, sugar and of course grated cassava, hence the name. It’s similar to rice cakes in consistency, soft, sticky and chewy are good adjectives that come to mind. I’m no fancy food critic so please bear with my limited vocabulary. I myself do not make this, as my mother in law already makes the perfect cassava cake. So on lazy days like today, I have nothing to do but enjoy my cake and coffee… Hope your day is as good as mine.
It’s a bit weird doing a barbecue when summer has ended and the weather is noticeably cooler, but people in our house never do things by the book. After all, spring cleaning got done just last week. Lol. Anyway, I was once again struck with home sickness and so I thought I’d make the classic “liempo”, grilled pork belly marinated in soy sauce, sugar, ketchup and garlic. I’m never good with measuring stuff as I go by taste. Add a a splash of this and that, at most I think for about 500 gms pork belly, I used maybe 1/2 cup of soy sauce, 2-3 T brown sugar, same amount of ketchup (banana is best to get that pinoy taste), maybe 2 T vinegar. Aaaah to be honest I’m hopeless, just mix everything together with half a head of garlic. Taste it then marinade the pork for at least an hour. Really good with steamed white rice. So yes I vacillate between attacks of healthy eating and just going with my gut.
A few notes on muffins:
1. Some recipes call for making a well in the Center of the dry ingredients then adding the wet. I myself find it easier to mix the wet first before adding them onto the dry and folding them. Not sure if both techniques will turn out nicely, but with the latter method, I always find my muffins turned out soft and fluffy. Although to think of it, how do you know when you are already over mixing?
2. Another useful tip I found was to check the muffins about 5 minutes before the prescribed baking time, as ovens vary. I have found myself with rock hard muffins a couple of times, to my regret.
3. There’s another tip which says to preheat about 100 degrees F more than what is said then turn it back down to the prescribed right before putting the muffins in. Apparently it will do something to the top of the muffins. As I have not tried this before, I cannot vouch for this one.
Hope this helps. So anyway, I was on a baking spree before another two week work period. Still trying to find my elusive healthy muffin. First one I baked was the double chocolate muffin, which was not as sweet since I used dark chocolate. To be honest, I’m thinking I should have used the milk chocolate, as the muffins were a bit strong after I made them. The other muffin I baked was blueberry oatmeal, a healthy muffin, which I think could do with a bit more sugar. I am never sure whether the reason why the muffins were not as sweet is because I use the soft brown sugar, as opposed to Demerara. Still on the quest to baking perfection…
For the recipes, I got them from joy of baking website and my recipes.com or something like that.
Blueberry oatmeal muffins
1 2/3 cups quick-cooking oats
3 ounces all-purpose flour (about 2/3 cup)
2.33 ounces whole-wheat flour (about 1/2 cup)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/4 cup canola oil
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 large eggs
2 cups frozen blueberries
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar $
Preheat oven to 400°.
Place oats in a food processor; pulse 5 to 6 times or until oats resemble coarse meal. Place in a large bowl.
Weigh or lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Add flours and next 5 ingredients (through salt) to oats; stir well. Make a well in center of mixture.
Combine buttermilk and next 3 ingredients (through eggs). Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.
Toss berries with 2 tablespoons flour, and gently fold into batter. Spoon batter into 16 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle 2 tablespoons granulated sugar evenly over batter. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (60 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups (265 grams) light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (170 grams) milk or semisweet chocolate chips
[Chocolate Fudge Frosting: (optional)]
4 ounces (120 grams) unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup (150 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cups (160 grams) confectioners (powdered or icing) sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/muffins/ChocolateMuffins.html#
Chocolate Muffins: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Position rack in center of oven. Butter, or line with paper liners, 12 – 2 3/4 x 1 1/2 inch muffin cups.
In a large measuring cup or bowl whisk together the melted butter, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla extract.
In another large bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the chocolate chips. With a rubber spatula fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir only until the ingredients are combined. Do not over mix the batter or tough muffins will result.
Evenly fill the muffin cups with the batter (the muffin cups will be full), using two spoons or an ice cream scoop. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool for about 5 minutes before removing from pan.
Chocolate Frosting: Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar and beat until it is light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the chocolate and beat on low speed until incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until frosting is smooth and glossy (about 2 -3 minutes). Spread a little frosting on each muffin with a knife or offset spatula.
Makes 12 – 14 regular sized muffins.
King Arthur Flour, The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion. The Countryman Press. Woodstock: 2003.
Read more: http://www.joyofbaking.com/muffins/ChocolateMuffins.html#ixzz25icFwCqh