Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Banana Snacking Cake...banana cake w/o all the oil and butter

I love banana bread, but sometimes all that oil and butter makes me feel a little sick after (maybe it has to do with eating half the loaf... hehehe). Anyways, I wanted to create a simple banana cake without all the added fat. So, thanks to the internet I found a super healthy, yet amazingly tasty banana cake. And, since it has no butter or oil, I called it a "Banana Snacking Cake". Adding the snacking part makes it seem like I can eat it more often without feeling sick!

Banana Snacking Cake
Adapted from Shabbott's Habits
1 Banana
1/2 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce)
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3 Tbs white sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

1.  Mash ripe banana and applesauce together until the mixture is uniform.
2.  Add eggs, milk and vanilla extract to fruit mixture.
3.  Add flour, sugar, baking powder and spices to wet ingredients.  Mix until just combined.
4.  Pour batter in a 8 x 8 pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
5.  Bake at 350°F for 25-30 minutes or until center is just cooked through.
6. Sprinkle with powdered sugar just before serving.

*I halved the recipe and baked it in a smaller pan. This is the full recipe

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Daring Bakers Make Candy!

The August 2011 Daring Bakers’ Challenge was hosted by Lisa of Parsley, Sage, Desserts and Line Drive and Mandy of What the Fruitcake?!. These two sugar mavens challenged us to make sinfully delicious candies! This was a special challenge for the Daring Bakers because the good folks at offered an amazing prize for the winner of the most creative and delicious candy!

So my for my candies, I attempted to make caramel pops from Sugar Baby. I didn't think the caramel would set so I tried cooking the caramel longer and adding some chocolate chips. This time it did set but it was rock hard, like the chocolate pops at See's Candy. The first pops which I didn't think would set sort of set, but turned into complete blobs of caramel the next day (hence the absence of a picture). (Btw, sorry for the bad photos, it's kind of hard taking pictures on crutches :( ) Anyways, the chocolate pops on the other hand were pretty good though, especially dipped in some more chocolate!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

What I've been doing lately...

Wow, it's almost the end of August! And do you guys know what that means? Ugh, I bet everyone :( Anyways, I've been a very busy gal lately. Actually it's quite the opposite. I spend my last summer days with my feet propped up on a pillow while watching tv. Yea, I'm a lazy bum. Why are my feet propped up? Well...let's just say I had a little accident over a certain little curb while running.....

Do you know how hard it is to take a picture while balancing on only one foot?! Maybe I should've sat down....

What else have I done lately besides totally injure myself and make it hard to walk around the kitchen with a hot pan? Well, I made macarons (FINALLY!!!) and it's all thanks to the Italian meringue method and the cooking class I took in Paris :)

Chocolate Macaron with Raspberry Filling

Fillings: Salted caramel (from Trader Joes), Raspberry Jam, Speculoo Spread, Marshmallow fluff

I bought blue (er Indigo) coloring powder in France and wow, that is a pretty blue. Maybe I should've bought the other colors...oh well, I can always improvise! For the recipe, I used the one they gave us during our cooking course (which I'm pretty sure is Pierre Herme's recipe). I have to so say I loved the class. The teacher was helpful (and spoke English!!) and I was able to finally make a successful batch of macarons...all by myself!

Macaron Shell
300 g ground almonds
300 g powdered sugar
110 g egg whites
powdered food coloring
300 g sugar
75 g mineral water
110 g egg whites

1. Sift together almonds and powdered sugar in a large bowl
2. Add egg whties and food coloring and mix until uniform (mix well)
3. Prepare the italian meringue (bottom ingredients list)
4. Bring the sugar and water to a boil and cook to 118˚C (244.4˚F). When the mixture reaches 112˚C (233.6˚F) begin beating the eggs with a whisk fitted to a stand mixer. When the sugar reaches 118˚C pour into the egg whites . Whisk until not hot anymore (50˚C or 122˚F)
5. Carefully fold the meringue into the dry mixture (a little at a time). When you pick the mixture up with a spoon and drop it back into the bowl it should slowly blend back in (about 10 sec) but still see lines
6. Put parchment paper on a baking sheet and pipe small uniform (or as uniform as possible!) circles
7. Let stand for 15-30 minutes
8. Bake at 160˚C or 320˚F for 12 minutes

Variation: for a chocolate shell I added 30 grams of cocoa powder

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Caramel cuts...again, but better!

New caramel cut recipe on top and previous recipe on the bottom
 Do you guys remember these caramel cuts? They were dense, chewy, and had quite a strong caramel flavor. While they were tasty, I occasionally had a problem baking the bars. Sometimes they wouldn't fully cook. Even after baking them for at least 15 more minutes!

Adapted from here
1/2 cup melted butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Combine butter and sugar.  Add other ingredients and mix well.
3. Bake in greased 11 x 11 x 1 inch pan for 25 minutes.  Cool and cut into bars.

Friday, August 19, 2011

London and Paris Part 3

The citrus tart was so yummy!

Sadaharu Aoki is a genius!!! His sweets were probably my favorite!

This sesame eclair was THE BEST ECLAIR and dessert I've ever far!

Three desserts....all for me!

The sesame eclair did not have an overpowering sesame taste, rather a mild subtle sesame flavor. Plus, I loved the look!

Isn't the yellow dome so cute?!

The vanilla cream on the top didn't seem to match the yuzu base. Separately they tasted amazing, but together, well I just didn't enjoy it as much.

I love these shell things! I have to learn how to make them!!

Aw, this pink dome has tiny macarons!

It wasn't as flaky as the millefeuille from Pierre Herme, but it was still yummy!

I'm not much of a matcha person, but I loved the look!!

Hall of Mirrors


Where should we go?

Don't judge! I had no fork and we were just walking around for what seemed like forever!

I ate both desserts in about 10 minutes! And the millefeuille was actually pretty big!!

St. Chapelle stained glass

Eclairs from Eric Kayser...I think his normal chocolate one is the best

Cereales or cerales or something bread...the one with all the seeds and nuts! (from eric kayser)

And that's the end of my trip...

Monday, August 15, 2011

London and Paris Part 2

Supposedly the best falafel in Paris

The gourmet part of galleries du lafayette was amazing! It was like a smaller version of the base of a Japanese department store. Also, it had stands from several famous patisseries (Sadaharu Aoki, Jean Paul Hevin, Eric Kayser, Dalloyau, etc)

Huge mosquito

Thomas Paris?

Giant chocolate gorilla, awww

Candy bars from the UK. One of our favorites was the double decker