Banana Cinnamon Muffins

28 Jan

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This is just a little muffin. Nothing fancy. It has some bananas and some cinnamon. Actually, for the common person, probably a lot of cinnamon.

I had extra bananas because as much as I like bananas I never seem to finish them. Typically I freeze the bananas and make a banana cinnamon smoothie. I guess I was feeling adventurous.

Anyway within an hour, I made these and ate them with a cup of coffee. Simple times are good times.🙂
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Banana Cinnamon Muffins:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (more or less)
  • 3 bananas, mashed
  • 2/3 cup white sugar (I use less sugar because ripe bananas are plenty sweet for me)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup canola oil (I know butter has more flavor but I was trying to cut down on fat)

For the streusel:

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the dry ingredients (don’t include sugar). In a separate bowl, beat all of the wet ingredients (including sugar) with either a mixer or wooden spoon (I use a wooden spoon because it’s old-fashioned and I feel like I get a workout). In another bowl, combine the streusel ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs…like cornmeal. Scoop the batter into a muffin pan, top with streusel mixture and bake for about 18- 20 minutes.

I’m pretty sure you can’t mess these up….

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes

26 Dec

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So these are peppermint mocha cupcakes that I made for a little Christmas Eve party.  Peppermint mocha….sound familiar? Of course it does. Just about every beverage place has a version of peppermint mocha. Yes, i’m talking to you Starbucks, Panera, and even McDonalds.  What’s weird is that from January-November, I don’t even like peppermint mocha beverages.  It just sounds gross.  But then here comes December, with all of the lights, music, the color red and all of a sudden i’m on a mission to drink every damn artificially flavored peppermint mocha out there.  It’s weird.

Anyway, this year, I decided to own it and I decided to bid adieu to the drink with making a cupcake in its honor.

The cake: mocha

The frosting: whipped cream

The garnish: crushed candy canes

Farewell, peppermint mocha combination…until we meet again, next December.

20111226-134040.jpgA sneak peek into what my life is like during the holidays. Beer, check. Coffee, check. Sugar, check.

20111226-134011.jpgThe batter is almost unusually and suspiciously liquidy but comes out very light and fluffy.

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Here’s the sitch: I used the recipe from the back of the Hershey’s Cocoa powder tin. I was too lazy to research chocolate cake recipes and really, when has Hershey’s let us down??? (They sure didn’t with this recipe)

Peppermint Mocha Cupcakes (adapted from Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Cake)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (half granulated sugar, half dark brown sugar)
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder (I use aluminum free)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup melted butter (I used half melted butter for the flavor)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup hot, hot strongly brewed coffee (This is the mocha part)
Whipped Cream:
  • Whip heavy whipping cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks form.

Directions

  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Prepare cupcake pan.
  2. Wisk together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl (This is my method of sifting).  In a separate bowl, wisk eggs, milk and vanilla (Keep wisking in air, it adds fluffiness) .Add oil and butter to liquid ingredients then add all liquid to dry ingredients. Stir in boiling water until all of it is incorporated (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with whipped cream frosting and garnish with crushed candy canes. Makes about 30 cupcakes.

Thanksgiving

1 Dec

 

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This was my Thanksgiving……

 

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garlic, olive oil & crushed red pepper

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It wasn’t anything too fancy.  Eye of round roast, some sauces and some roasted vegetables. No there wasn’t turkey. Yes there were pumpkin pies and sweet potato pies.

3 of them.

And 2 of us.

That’s what Thanksgiving is about, right?

Anyway, also at our Thanksgiving table were (not pictured) macaroni & cheese, mulled bourbon and Hawaiian rolls.

I know, I know,   I totally could have made my own rolls, or biscuits or cornbread. What would Martha, say? Well, some people can’t let go of canned cranberry  but here’s my truth: I can’t quit those delicious King’s Hawaiian rolls. So sweet, so good.

 

P.S. Can you believe Thanksgiving was only a week ago????

Pumpkin bread with walnuts

15 Nov
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pumpkin, nutty, goodness

Hello, Autumn! I told you that I would see you again!

Pumpkin bread, what do you guys think? Yum, right? Damn right, yum!

I don’t really have some witty and/or existential reason for baking this ’cause the thing is, I just bake.  It’s what I do.  I do it when i’m happy, sad, overwhelmed, and all of those other adjectives.  This isn’t your typical pumpkin bread that you get at Generic Store X (no offense Starbucks, I love your wifi and accessibility but your baked goods are eh). This pumpkin bread is special because it has whole wheat flour and a few splashes of Kahlua.  The whole wheat flour added nuttiness and texture which I absolutely adore and appreciate.  The Kahlua added that X-factor through vanilla-ness and caramel-ness.  It was just good.  So, good. Like, really, REALLY good!

Unfortunately, I now have to return back to reality where I can’t write essays on how good autumn flavors and baked goods are so lets all take a deep breath and savor all of the autumness up in here right now.

P.S. I apologize to all classmates and friends whom I told about this pumpkin bread but didn’t give a piece too.  Oops!

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This organic pumpkin was much lighter than Libby's pumpkin.

Spicy-nutty pumpkin bread (adapted from epicurious.com)

    • 1 1/2 cups dark brown sugar
    • 1 cup vegetable oil
    • 3 large eggs
    • 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
    • 3 cups  flour (2 cups all purpose, 1 cup whole wheat)
    • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    • 1 teaspoon baking soda
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder
    • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.

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I took this picture before it was demolished. By demolished, I mean eaten.

Apple Spice Upside Down Cake

21 Oct
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Apple Spice Upside Down Cake

So this is it. This is my apple spice upside down cake. And yes, that is gooey, caramelness. Let me tell you what this tasted like…..It all began with some tart apples. Since it is autumn, cloves, cinnamon and brown sugar were all thrown in. Oh yeah, did I mention butter? Not only did I get to smell melted and brown sugar together but I got to taste it. Target should make a candle with this scent. So then there was the eating of this cake. It was sweet-ish but not overload. Definitely the type of cake that requires a hot cup of Earl Grey tea or a cup of delicious coffee.

This cake saved my life. You may think i’m being dramatic again but i’m not. In the midst of midterms, paper, reading and homework assignments this cake was made. It grounded me. It made me stop and appreciate the leaves changing color and all of the new fruits and vegetables in season. Life just seemed to slow down. This was emotional eating in the good way.

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apple goodness

So go and make this cake. It doesn’t have to be for any special celebration. Just make it. If you’re nice, give a piece of it to a co-worker or neighbor. Cheers to autumn!

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brown sugar caramel goodness

Apple Cardamom Upside-Down Cake
Makes one 9-inch cake. Adapted from Canal House Cooking No. 5. (I found this recipe via TheKitchn)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 medium-sized firm apples
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, plus extra for the apples
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Melt 4 tablespoons of the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Add the brown sugar and stir until well-combined. Let it bubble for about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and spread in the bottom of a 9-inch round cake pan (I used an 8×8 because that’s all I have in the midst of settling into a new place). Set aside.

Peel the apples and core them. Cut them in thick slices, and cut each slice in half. Arrange the apples cut-side up in the prepared pan. Sprinkle them lightly with cinnamon.

Whisk together the flour, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and cardamom, as well as 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Warm the milk in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and keep warm until the butter melts completely.

While the milk is warming, beat the eggs for 3 to 5 minutes, or until they are very thick and pale. Gradually add the sugar and beat for 5 minutes. Add the flour mixture, and then the hot milk. Stir until the batter is smooth, and pour it over the apple.

Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the cake is golden. Let the cake cool for a full 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the inside of the pan to help release the cake, and invert onto a serving plate.

Cranberry-orange sour cream coffee cake

16 Sep

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Im starting to get into an autumn state of mind. Well, trying to. I’m definitely ready but I’m not sure if the weather or mother nature is. So this is me forcing autumn upon all around me. This coffee cake is perfect for cooler weather, the color burgundy, wool, and scarves. Oh yeah, and coffee. Or tea. Whichever you prefer.

Anyway, this coffee cake has got it goin’ on. It’s moist, warm, fruity, and surprisingly light.

However, I do find myself in the age old philosophical debate over when is really the “right” time to eat this. Is it dessert? Breakfast? A pretty accompaniment to brunch? What happens if I eat it at the wrong time? Does this happen to you or have I just exposed my crazy all up and through the Internet???

Anyway, grab some grey colored tights and feast!

P.S. Truth: I ate this for dessert and breakfast

Recipe adapted from Williams-Sonoma

Ingredients
For the streusel topping:
8 Tbs. (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into 8pieces
1/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. all-purpose flour

1 1/4 cups sour cream
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. fine sea salt
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at roomtemperature
1 brown cups sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder (I used aluminum free)
Orange Zest (as much as you like)
1/2 cup dried cranberries, soaked in orange juice for 15 minutes, drained and squeezed dry

Directions
To make the streusel topping, in a chilled bowl, combine the butter, sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture is the consistency of fine, moist bread crumbs. Work the mixture with your hands until it will hold together when compressed, then squeeze it between your hands into several firm pieces. Cover and refrigerate until the cake is ready to go into the oven.

Preheat an oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch or similar-size baking dish with butter.

Place the sour cream in a bowl and sift the baking soda and salt into it. Stir to blend evenly and set aside.

In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed or a wooden spoon, beat together the butter, sugar and eggs until fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Sift the flour and baking powder over the top and mix in, then beat in the sour cream mixture. Scatter the orange zest and the drained cranberries over the top. Blend in with just a few turns of a rubber spatula.

Scoop the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the surface. Scatter the streusel mixture evenly over the top, breaking it up into large crouton-size pieces (some of the streusel mixture may be small crumbs).

Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean but not completely dry, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool. Serve warm or at room temperature, cut into squares. Serves 10.

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What’s for dinner….???

7 Aug

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Veracruz style shrimp over quinoa is/was for dinner! Yum, right?

First things first…what or where is Veracruz? It’s a coastal state in Mexico. Naturally cuisine from coastal areas involve seafood. I used jumbo shrimp. Then add all of those delicious Mexican flavors like dried oregano, cilantro, and jalapeños. That’s not all folks! Add some bell pepper, tomatoes, lemon (of course), spicy paprika, salt and pepper and done! It’s a somewhat spicy dish balanced by sweetness from the slowly softened bell pepper and shrimp goodness. Then there’s the tart acid from lemon zest and juice and tomatoes. Drool. Oh yeah, I served it on top of quinoa with a side of crusty wheat French bread. Why quinoa? Well I usually serve it on white rice but quinoa is healthier and more complex. Other options? I thought about cous-cous or brown rice. All worthy options! Drool again.

I know this is lengthy but let me tell you very quickly why I made this. I made this because I’m currently operating on one and a half legs. Figuratively not literally. Aaand, my dear dear Justin has waited on me hand and foot for these past two weeks(again figuratively). I was operating on one leg for awhile so I asked him, “when I can actually move again, what do you want me to cook for you?”
“Veracruz style shrimp!” he responded without hesitation

This was the first meal I ever cooked him about 6 and a half years ago. Ah, memories. Anyway, thank you for everything Justin. I love you more than I love this meal.

Ingredients:
Raw shrimp
No salt added Diced tomatoes
No salt added Tomato sauce
Variety of bell peppers
Garlic
Onion
Cilantro for garnish
Paprika
Dried oregano
Crushed chili
Salt and pepper

Soften bell peppers, onions, garlic and crushes chili. Season with all spices to taste. Add lemon zest, juice, tomato sauce and dices tomatoes. Bring to boil, reduce to simmer. After about 20 minutes nestle in shrimp for about 5-10 minutes with heat on low.

Serve on fluffy quinoa with some cilantro on top, and crusty bread on side!

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