R and I took a short trip to San Antonio for a couple of days and we had a really good time. Our last trip to San Antonio included visiting the Alamo, Missions, and the Japanese gardens. That was great fun! This time we decided to do something a little different. We went horseback riding! Continue reading
My local HEB here in Laredo, had a sale on bananas last week so I went wild and bought much more than the both of us could eat. So finding myself with a bunch of browning bananas, I did the only thing I could – I made banana bread. Personally, I am not a big fan of cake, but I love banana bread. Considered a “quick bread”, which are breads that usually use baking powder instead of yeast. My banana bread baked up moist, sweet and just a little cake-y.
I changed the original recipe just a little using more bananas, less sugar and I don’t toast the walnuts.
Banana Nut Bread
(Original from joyofbaking.com)
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 ripe large bananas (about 1.5 to 2 cups)
1 cup (115 grams) walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.
In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. This bread can be frozen.
Food Processor Directions
I sometimes use my food processor to make my banana bread. With the food processor, there is no need to melt the butter, but it mixes easier if it is cut into smaller pieces.
Pulse banana 5 or 6 times until banana is mashed but still a little lumpy. Set aside banana in a bowl. Mix eggs, butter, vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients mixture. Add bananas. Don’t process to much, just until all ingredients are mixed together. Scrape into prepared pan. Bake.
Makes 1 – 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf.
Pound cakes have been around since the 18th century. Originally, they were made from a simple recipe – one pound of each main ingredient – butter, flour, sugar and eggs. This combination, gave a much heavier version of the pound cakes that we know. Today, because we are more health conscious, the ingredients have been changed to use less flour, butter, sugar and eggs.
I remember when my mom and older sister would bake pound cakes, the days before electric hand mixers and KitchenAid, we would take turns helping to mix the sugar and the butter (the creaming method) until it became a smooth and light batter. My mom would be so worried that her cake would “fall” or deflate in the oven, if the batter wasn’t just right.
When I decided to bake this cake (my first), I was very intimidated because I remember all the things my mom said could go wrong when baking a cake. But my using this simple recipe, I baked my first pound cake yesterday and it baked up moist, light and delicious!
(Recipe from Joyofbaking.com)
3 large eggs, room temperature
3 tablespoons milk, room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups (150 grams) sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar
13 tablespoons (1/2 cup + 1/3 cup) (185 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter or spray the paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and vanilla extract.
In the bowl of your electric mixer, with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar) and mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for about one minute to aerate and develop the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Gradually add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the egg and strengthen the cake’s structure.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for about 55 to 65 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. If you find the cake browning too much as it bakes, cover with a piece of lightly buttered aluminum foil after about 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a lightly buttered wire rack.
The Pound Cake can be covered and stored for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months.
In an effort to create my version of the drumstick, I started out with guidance from one of my favorite blogs Baking Bites. The drumsticks themselves are rather simple to make however, my first time out I made a few mistakes that wont be repeated the second time around. So what I learned:
First thing – after making ganache WAIT FOR IT TO COOL (I know duh!)
Second thing – better to use a spoon or your hand to put the nuts on (nuts optional)
Third thing – when slightly defrosting ice cream (maybe about 3-5 minutes), don’t forget it, take a nap and let it defrost all the way (lol)!
Last thing – when they say finely chopped nuts, they mean it
So here are my drumsticks. I made
five, oh four, one cone broke! Even with my little mishaps, they were fun to make, and yummy to eat!
- 6 waffle cones
- 3 oz semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 gallon vanilla (or any flavor) ice cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup roasted nuts, finely chopped
Set 6 tall glasses on a baking sheet and put a cone in each. Chop 3 bars of semi-sweet chocolate into two pieces (you can also use chocolate chips or as the original recipe suggest malt balls). Place 1 piece of chocolate into the bottom of each of the sugar cones.
Using a spoon, press ice cream into each cone. Top off with a rounded scoop of ice cream. Place each ice cream cone in the glasses and freeze until firm, about 2 hours.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining chocolate and butter in a heat proof bowl, set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth. Remove bowl from saucepan and let sit until the chocolate is cool but still pourable, about 10 minutes.
Working with one ice cream cone at a time, remove from the glass and dip the ice cream into the chocolate, swirling to coat. If using nuts, immediately sprinkle the cones, and place the cones upright in the glasses until the chocolate shell is set, at least 1 hour or overnight.
Store in airtight bags. Makes 6 drumsticks.
As I continue to experiment with my baking, my biggest challenge so far as everyone knows, has been creating beautiful looking bread. It is simpler to bake white or whole wheat bread. However, when making grain bread, you need a little extra help because the grains tend to make the bread heavier. This week I have made a 3-grain whole wheat bread with Flax seed, Wheat Germ, Rye and Whole Wheat. As I mentioned in my post couple weeks ago, with the help of Vital Wheat Gluten, it baked up just beautifully! As a foundation for all of my breads, I use the recipe that came with my food processor, and tweak it as I go along. (Ignore my slicing skills)…
3-Grain Whole Wheat Bread
1 package active dry yeast
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/3 cup warm water
1 1/2 cup unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup flax seed (ground)
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
2 tbsps Vital Wheat Gluten
3 tbsps unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt (I use sea salt or kosher)
1 cup warm water
Vegetable oil or cooking spray (to prepare baking pan)
In a 2-cup liquid measure dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water. Let sit until foamy (about 5-7 minutes).
Insert dough blade into food processor. Add flours, butter and salt and process until combined (about 10 to 15 seconds).
Add cold water to yeast mixture
With machine running, add liquid through feed tube until absorbed by flour. (You may need to stop and clean the sides of the container). Dough will clean the sides of the bowl and form a ball. When this happens, process for about 45 seconds to knead dough. Turn dough out on to a lightly floured, clean surface. Knead dough for about 3 to 5 minutes. This activates the gluten in the flour.
Place dough into a slightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Allow to sit in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. (I usually place it in the oven, in the off position).
Spray or flour an 8×4 inch loaf pans. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and punch down. Knead dough for about 1 minute, roll into a rectangle and beginning with the short end, roll up the dough jelly-roll fashion. pinch the seam and ends tightly to seal. Place dough into greased pan and cover with plastic wrap or towel. Let rise until dough is just above the tops of the pans, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F for about 15 minutes before baking.
Bake until tops are browned and loaf sounds hollow when tapped, about 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.
Makes 1 loaf (can make 2 loaves if dough is divided in half)
I love red velvet cake and cheesecake. Putting them together is like heaven in my eyes. I found this recipe on Baking Bites and decided to try this lovely brownie. It came out perfectly! They are easy to make, bake up moist, not too sweet and delicious to eat!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownies
(originally from Baking Bites)
1/2 cup butter
2-oz dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp red food coloring
2/3 cup all purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
8-oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line an 8- or 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil andlightly grease.
- In a small, heatproof bowl, melt butter and chocolate together. Stir with a fork until very smooth. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, vanilla extract and red food coloring. Add in the chocolate mixture and stir until smooth. Batter should be red. If a brighter red is desired, add an additional 1/2 tsp food coloring. Add flour and salt into the bowl and stir until everything is just combined and no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
- Pour into prepared pan and spread into an even layer.
- Prepare cheesecake mixture. In a medium bowl, beat cream cheese, sugar, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Drop in dollops onto prepared brownie batter. Gently swirl two batters with a butter knife.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes, until brownies and cheesecake are set. A knife inserted into the cheesecake mixture should come out clean and the edges will be lightly browned.
- Cool in the pan completely before slicing and serving, either at room temperature or chilled.
- Brownies can be refrigerated, covered, for several days.
Makes 16 large brownies or 24 smaller brownies
I am so psyched today because I had a great baking success last night.
So, for the last couple of weeks I haven’t baked any bread because my last attempt was somewhat of a big FLOP! Every week instead of getting better my homemade bread was getting heavier and denser. Plus, it wasn’t rising as it should, so my loaves were much smaller than expected. Anyway, about three weeks ago, I baked and this was the result:
My bread hadn’t risen and I could use it to bat for the NY Yankees! Just horrible. It was all inedible. This failure inspired me to start researching homemade whole grain bread. The more I read, the more I realized that I was missing a key ingredient to making my homemade grain bread rise and be lighter. The answer to my problems Vital Wheat Gluten flour (yes the same thing used to make seitan)! Just a few tablespoons of gluten flour made my bread rise beautifully and my loaves are light and moist. YAY!