March 27, 2011

Banana Muffin

IMG_2977.2


Bananas are the cheapest fruit and the most ubiquitous fruit here so it's no surprise that our house is stocked with it all the time. My younger brother loves it so much that when I want to make banana bread there's always none left.

When I saw that there's a bunch of bananas on our table today, I asked my brother to pick out three and don't eat them so I can make banana bread. He loves anything banana so he was ecstatic and gladly did as he was told.


IMG_2968.2


Personally, I don't like bananas very much. I'd take one occasionally and eat half and give the other half to my brother. But I'd happily eat this. It's sweet and moist with just the right amount of banana flavor. It also doesn't have this weird after taste that I don't like about the actual fruit.


IMG_2967.2


Elise’s Banana Bread
Makes 12 muffins

This recipe calls for 3 or 4 bananas but I like to use 3. Four makes it taste too banana-ey. If you're into that, use four. I was also out of butter *gasp* so I used oil.

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 cup sugar (can be reduced to 3/4 cup)
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon (optional)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter a muffin pan. Mix the bananas and butter with a wooden spoon in a large bowl. Mix in the sugar, egg, and vanilla until combined, then the baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Gently add the flour, being careful not to overmix. Pour into the pan. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the banana bread cool 10 minutes in the pan before turning out onto a rack and cooling completely.

March 17, 2011

Mocha Chiffon Cake a la Goldilocks

12


Goldilocks is the most popular bakeshop chain here in the Philippines. When I was younger, birthdays were not complete if a Goldilocks cake was not present. Their cakes were soft and the frosting was just really good. But these past years their cakes became dry and the frosting greasy. They probably replaced the butter with shortening to reduce costs and keep it affordable.

You can imagine my excitement when I saw the Goldilocks mocha cake recipe on Gourmeted. It took me two tries but finally the cake turned out fluffy and soft. But my favorite part was the frosting. I used my favorite vanilla frosting and added almond extract, cocoa powder and instant coffee granules.

I don't know why my first cake turned hard but here's what I did differently:
- the pans were lined with parchment but the sides were ungreased
- oven temperature at 350F
- folded (is that a word?) the eggwhites more carefully as to not deflate it

I'm not sure how this compares to a Goldilocks cake since it's been years since I last ate one. But my family and friends enjoyed eating this very much. That's good enough for me.


IMG_2664.2


There was leftover frosting and I already ate unhealthy amounts of it so I just tried to practice piping. It's okay, you can laugh at my piping attempts. Haha.


Mocha Cake ala Goldilocks
Makes 1 9-inch cake

6 large egg yolks, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon coffee/espresso granules [Nescafe instant coffee recommended]
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon water
½ cup canola oil
1 cup cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 egg whites, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1. Preheat oven to 350°F with racks in the upper middle and lower middle positions. Spray two 9”x2” round cake pans with baking spray, and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
2. Whisk together egg yolks and sugar in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer) over low, then medium speed, until creamy and light yellow in color.
3. Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and vanilla in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Pour into the egg-sugar mixture, along with canola oil, and beat until well combined.
4. Remove large bowl from stand mixer (if using one) and sift cake flour and baking powder over it. Stir with a wooden spoon until well blended, scraping the sides of the bowl once.
5. Whisk egg whites and cream of tartar into stiff peaks in a medium bowl, and fold into the mocha batter, a dollop or two first to liquefy the thick batter, and then in thirds.
6. Divide the batter between two cake pans and place each pan on a baking sheet. Bake on two racks for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pans and exchanging the pans between racks halfway through. The cake is done when the tops become golden brown and the cake tester comes out clean when inserted in the middle.
7. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then carefully turn over on the wire rack, right side up. Cool completely before icing.


That’s the Best Frosting I’ve Ever Had
Adapted From Tasty Kitchen

5 Tablespoons Flour
1 cup Milk
1 cup Butter
1 cup Granulated Sugar (not Powdered Sugar!)
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon coffee granules
1 teaspoon water
1/4-1/2 teaspoon almond extract (I use 1/2 but this could be too strong for some people so taste before adding more)

In a small saucepan, whisk flour into milk and heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens. You want it to be very thick, thicker than cake mix, more like a brownie mix is. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature. It must be completely cool before you use it in the next step.
While the mixture is cooling, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. You don’t want any sugar graininess left. Then add the completely cooled milk/flour/vanilla mixture and beat the living daylights out of it. If it looks separated, you haven’t beaten it enough! Beat it until it all combines and resembles whipped cream.
Dissolve espresso or coffee granules and cocoa powder in water and almond extract in a small bowl, getting rid of lumps while stirring. Add to the frosting and beat until blended.

March 7, 2011

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

IMG_2644.2


I love cookies. I love making them and I love eating them. When a batch is baking in the oven and I'm scooping cookies for the next, I always feel like I'm on a mission or something. I have to do it fast enough that when the cookies are finished baking the next batch is ready to go in. If not, I feel like everything in my life will go wrong. Does anyone else to this?

Anyway, among all the cookies I've baked, this is the favorite of my friends. They're always asking me to bring Oatmeal Cookies. It's chewy and soft plus all the brown sugar just makes it so tasty. Annnd if you make it with half whole wheat flour it's kinda healthy.


IMG_2648.2


We're out of whole wheat flour and I used quick-cooking oats instead of rolled and the cookies are still wonderful. I made about 5 dozen cookies.

Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookies
Makes 4 1/2 dozen cookies

1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups old-fashioned oats

Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, beat brown sugar and butter with electric mixer on medium speed, scraping bowl occasionally, until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla and eggs until well blended.

On low speed, beat in all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour and baking powder, scraping bowl occasionally, until well combined. Stir in oats.

On ungreased cookie sheets, drop dough by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart. Flatten cookies to about 1/2-inch thickness.

Bake 12 to 14 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets to cooling racks.

March 1, 2011

Blueberry Cheesecake

IMG_2269.2


It was my grandmother's 67th birthday yesterday. Instead of making a layer cake, I made cheesecake for her. Since last year she had been asking me to make it. But I kept procrastinating since I'm such a lazy busy person.

My grandmother was so cute when she saw me baking it yesterday morning. She thought that I forgot to make it because when she returned home I was out buying ingredients. She had the impression that I was already at school. When I returned with the ingredients, she got so excited that she was getting her cheesecake after all.


IMG_2292.2


Random: Mama, I love you so much. I know I don't tell you this enough. I'm really thankful for having you in my life, I know that sometimes we get on each other's nerves but that doesn't mean that that changes how much you mean to me. Happy birthday!


IMG_2302.2


This cheesecake recipe couldn't be easier. Just combine the ingredients and you're ready to go. Just make sure that all ingredients are at room temperature so there are no lumps.

For a recipe so simple, the results are amazing. And with the blueberry topping, it just takes it to a whole new level of amazing-ness.

I used canned blueberry topping for these since blueberries are hard to come by in this country.


IMG_2311.2


Simply Sinful Cheesecake
Makes 24 mini cheesecakes

2 cups crushed graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar (I used brown sugar. I was out of white.)
1/2 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 (8-oz.) packages cream cheese, softened
1 (325 ml) can condensed milk
3 eggs
juice of 2 calamansi or 2 tsps. lemon juice (if available)

Preheat oven to 300ยบF. Combine crumbs, sugar and margarine; press firmly on bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Bake for 10 minutes. Set aside.
With mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Gradually beat in condensed milk until smooth. Add eggs and calamansi or lemon juice. Mix well.
Pour into prepared pan — it doesn’t matter if crust is still warm. Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until center is slightly jiggly but perimeter is set. (It took 20 mins. for these mini ones)
Cool 1 hour. Chill at least 4 hours to let flavors develop. Will keep in refrigerator for two weeks (but do you really think it will last that long?)


IMG_2304.2