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Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Icing

22 Nov

I could lie right now and try selling you on these doughnuts by talking about how they’re baked doughnuts.

I won’t.

They’re baked…that is a cold hard fact.

The fact that they’re baked, however, should not completely cancel out any guilt or shame post consumption.

It’s the icing.

There’s some hardcore icing on these guys…

Browned butter: have you ever smelled anything better than that? It makes me want to live in it. Bathe in it.

Hey, it could be worse. They COULD also be deep fried.

There’s also a healthy dose of grated milk chocolate on top.

I ate one and my head exploded. Ok that’s a lie. The truth is I ate one and my mind was blown.

These are so good.

These are addictive.

These are dangerous.

So without further ado, here’s the recipe.

You’ll thank me. Or hate me. But you can’t lie and tell me they’re not mind bogglingly good.

If you don’t have a doughnut pan, these will easily work in muffin tins! You’re welcome.

Banana Doughnuts with Brown Butter Icing.

adapted from Shutterbean

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

3/4 cup granulated sugar

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3ish bananas)

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup vegetable oil

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, mashed bananas, vanilla and the oil. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined. Spoon the batter about three-quarters full into two greased doughnut pans. Bake at 350F until golden and a toothpick inserted comes out dry, 14 to 16 minutes; let cool completely on a rack.

Brown Butter Icing

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) salted butter
2 cups icing sugar
4 to 5 teaspoons boiling hot water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat and stir for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the butter is lightly browned (you will see little flecks of brown throughout the melted butter when it is properly browned). Remove it from the stove and pour it into a bowl. Whisk in 1 cup of the powdered sugar. Add 3 teaspoons of the water and the vanilla. Whisk in more powdered sugar a little at a time until it thick but still pourable (add a teaspoon or two of additional water, if needed). Place paper towels under the cooling rack and proceed to dip the cooled doughnuts into the glaze. Let the excess drip off and place back on the cooling rack. Be sure to grate milk chocolate on top for good measure

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Cranberry Pound Cake

9 Nov

This one time, I decided I was going to be true to the origin of pound cakes and make a pound cake:

A pound each of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. No leavening agents (bakers relied on the air incorporated into the batter for rising).

If you do a little research into the history of pound cakes, you will discover that pound cakes were geared towards making a recipe easy to remember. Equal parts of each ingredient? Yes, easy to make!

Traditional pound cakes were also very large and dense…enough to share with several families.

I didn’t have to read anything to acquire that information. There was a lot of cake. It was very large. It was very dense. Did I mention there was a lot of cake? I ate cake for a long time. I thrust containers of cake into the arms of everyone I knew.

That was years ago. I’ve since learned, that modern day pound cakes are the way to go. Modern day pound cake for modern day people.

I used brown sugar goodness in this particular recipe, along with almond extract and cranberries for good measure….what with the season being appropriate for cranberries and all things winter related.

You should make this pound cake. And then eat said pound cake. That’s what I did, anyway.

Cranberry Pound Cake

1 cup butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups brown sugar

1 tsp almond extract

8 eggs

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 1/2 cups cranberries , fresh or frozen

Cream together butter and sugar. Add almond extract. Add eggs one at a time, then slowly add dry ingredients. Carefully fold in cranberries.Pour batter into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350F for approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Pumpkin Scones

23 Oct

Here’s where I confess that I have an addiction to Starbucks. I’m not a coffee drinker….ew. Just tea. The thing about Starbucks is that going in there just makes me happy! They make your drink exactly how you want it; you get a killer speech workout ordering your drink, free wifi, yummy and healthy food options and there are free apps and music downloads for the taking.

So what does this have to do with anything aside from confessing to one of my weaknesses (along with Timbits, chocolate covered pretzels and men with pretty singing voices) ?

Starbucks always has decadent treats on display. Naturally. However, I can’t bring myself to buy them. Why? Because I’ve always had the idea that if you want to treat yourself to something, make it yourself. That’s what keeps you from taking a treat for granted and indulging too often if it’s so easily accessible. (Unless it’s a Timbit; I make exceptions…)

The pumpkin scones on display drive me crazy.

I made my own pumpkin scones: a treat that tastes much better when you made it yourself and know exactly what went into it (including love and lots of excitement).

They’re actually a little too easy to make. You may find that realizing this will lead to making them too often. Don’t worry. This is a common occurrence and there may even be some local support groups for people like you (and me).

Happy baking!

Pumpkin Scones

adapted from here

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
7 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tsp pumpkin spice (or as much as you like. I’m a big fan so I use lots)
1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
3 Tablespoons half & half
1 egg
6 Tablespoons cold butter, cubed

Glaze:
1 cup + 1 Tablespoon powdered sugar

Dash of cinnamon

2 Tablespoons half & half

Preheat oven to 425 degrees then line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In the bowl of a large food processor (or in a large bowl) combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Pulse or whisk to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until well incorporated and mixture is the texture of cornmeal. Alternatively, use your fingertips or a pastry butter to blend butter in.

In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin puree, half & half, and egg. Add to flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Alternatively, stir until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 4 or 5 times to bring the dough together, then flatten into a circle 1″ thick. Cut the dough in half, then cut each half into thirds.
Place the wedges onto the prepared baking sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes, or until just starting to turn golden brown. Remove to a cooling rack to cool completely.

When scones are cool, whisk together the glaze ingredients, then drizzle on top. Store in an air-tight container for 1 day.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

23 Oct

You know what really sucks? Disappointment. It’s not the end of the world of course. It’s not the worst thing. But when someone says to you “I’m sorry miss, we don’t carry that brand of hair product anymore.” (It’s not like I considered it liquid gold or anything, no biggie. I’m not freaking out right now and drowning my sorrows in a giant bowl of sweet and salty popcorn).

When you’re waiting to meet the guy your friends set you up with who comes highly recommended and then you see him in real life…

That, my friends, is disappointment. It just plain sucks.

I find that baking leads to disappointment sometimes…you try out a new recipe..it sounds good….you start to imagine what it’ll look like in your head…

I had GREAT expectations for this recipe. For some reason, I was hoping it would turn out like a moist oatmeal cookie except in bar form. I should have known better.

Don’t get me wrong, the outcome was more than delicious. I ate more than what I should have…these squares are moist and and perfect for a breakfast or midday snack if you’re looking for a chocolate fix as well. They just disappointed me a little…I really REALLY wanted a chewy oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness. These are more of a cakey oatmeal ridden mouthful of baked goodness.

Oh well, make these anyway. They have great flavour and ’tis the season for pumpkin!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Squares

6 oz. canned pumpkin
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup whole wheat or 50/50 flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup whole oats
1/2 – 3/4 cup of chocolate chips (or pecans if you prefer)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and butter.
Beat in egg and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, & salt.
Mix in oats and chocolate chips.
Add the dry mixture to the pumpkin mixture. Mix well.
Spray an 8″ square pan with non stick cooking spray.
Spread evening into bottom of the pan.
Bake for 20 minutes or until brown on top.

Peachy Earl Pockets

29 Aug

There is nothing quite like a pocket of peachy goodness…am I right? Especially when that pocket is made of butter and sugar and all that fun stuff. Let’s be real: any kind of food item that relies on butter and sugar is good in my books.

The awesome thing about pie pockets is that you don’t have to worry about the messy awkwardness of sharing. Grab your own, fool! A personal pie. Portable, at that. Although…funny story about these pies and being portable…I don’t recommend trying to bring them along to work if you’re riding a bicycle. I baked them fresh one morning and proudly rode to work. I was strutting around (cycling around) just knowing what was inside my carry bag. Or did I know? Upon my arrival, I discovered that they had been crushed. Crushed peach pie morsels! At that point…sharing was indeed a little awkward. Most people never ventured into the container of pie rubble. Their loss. I gobbled most of it up myself.

What I’m trying to say is…make these…just don’t pull a Fabi. Keep them flat and safe. I do recommend eating them fresh though, as the dough is delicate and smooth, but it tends to lose it’s texture as the days go by.

Oh…and I did indeed throw a few generous teaspoons of ground loose leaf Earl Grey tea in there. How could I not?

Peachy Earl Pockets

Dough

adapted from the Loveless Cafe

2 cups all purpose flour

1/2 icing sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

3/4 cup butter (6oz)

2 egg yolks

2 tbsp cold milk

Place the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse briefly to mix.

Add the butter and pulse until it is cut in and resembles coarse meal.

Add the egg yolks and milk and process until the dough is smooth and evenly moistened. Remove from processor and form into two disks, wrap well and chill for at least 30 minutes before working with it.

Filling

2 large peaches, diced

1 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tsp chopped loose leaf Earl Grey tea (optional)

Roll out the dough, and cut into 6 rounds per disk. Place a spoonful of filling in the middle and fold the dough over, pressing the edges with a fork. Place on a baking sheet and poke a fork in the top to allow air to escape. Brush with milk and sprinkle with sugar, then bake at 375 F until they are golden brown.

Plum Crazy Cake

13 Aug

I’ll admit, I may be addicted to plums. More specifically, those tiny yellow ones that come out near the end of summer. I buy lots, and shove them in my mouth like popcorn. Lord, I wish I was joking. The addiction continues as I fill up on plums when the different varieties appear at the farmer’s market. By the end of plum season I’m usually sick of them and never set eyes on another plum for approximately a year, until those sinfully delicious plums make their appearance all over again. It’s a vicious cycle. You should see my fruit drawer right now; so many plums.

This week’s market visit yielded a mixed basket that the wonderful lady at Warner’s Orchards offered to put together for me: purple, yellow, peachy, big, small, and a new variety apparently developed in Vineland: the vampire plum.

How utterly appropriate that while I baked this plum cake I was watching True Blood…my secret shame in the form of a television show addiction.

What about this cake, you ask? Well, I’m only one person; my manfriend does not share the same silly hunger for fruit that I do unless you include bananas. But who doesn’t like bananas? Bananas are generally adored by all…no? There is just too high a ratio of plums to Fabi.

Ok, back to plums. This cake is a very simple way to use up fruit….any fruit, really. I grabbed a handful of plums and nestled halves into a simple cake batter. The excitement of the process is mainly in making your plum cake look all artsy and delicious at the same time.

Baking for 40 (ish) minutes and waiting for it to cool are the only things standing in your way of eating this cake. Perhaps the fact that it’s cake will save me from putting too many plums into my belly. Wish me luck. I wish you the same.

Plum Crazy Cake

adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Pinch of pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut oil (or any mild oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
5-8 Plums, halved and pitted (depending on size)

Mix the flour, baking powder, salt and spices together.

Beat the butter until it’s soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for approximately 3 minutes, then add the eggs, one at a time, and beat for a minute after each egg goes in. Beat in the oil and vanilla. Stir in the dry ingredients but mix only until incorporated.

Make sure there are no dry spots, then scrape the batter into a 8 inch square pan and smooth the top. Arrange the plums cut side up in the batter.

Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is honey brown and puffed around the plums and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 15 minutes during which time the plums juices will seep back into the cake then run a knife around the sides of the pan and unmold the cake. Invert and cool right side up.

Once cool, I dusted mine with powdered sugar. No biggie.

You can wrap the cake and keep it at room temperature for up to 2 days, during which time it will get softer and moister.

Peach Streusel Tart

9 Aug

Peach season is upon us.

This makes me feel shame; shame because the summer of 2012 was not the summer of Fab. Fab went through some rough patches, a move, a severely drastic lifestyle change, and several other super fun events that I like to categorize as “real life.”

Baking hasn’t really happened. I frequent the local farmer’s market (which, golly gee, is a mere hop skip and a jump from my new humble abode) every week and I do purchase many things that lead to yummy goodness for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Baked yummy goodness, on the other hand, has not made an appearance. Shame.

These peaches were sitting at the farmer’s market last Thursday. I said hello; they blushed and smiled back. It made me realize that summer is almost over and I have barely taken advantage…and I have let you down. I purchased said peaches, and took them home with baking on the brain.

I have a smaller sized oven and a smaller kitchen in general. It was a slight adjustment to my last apartment. Counter space has been challenging…pantry space: an improvement (thank the kitchen gods). It shall take me some time to get accustomed to this new kitchen dance but I feel that this tart was a good place to start.

The tart just kinda happened. I just happened to make a simple pie crust and just happened to slice up those beautiful niagara peaches and throw in some sugar and spices for good measure.

This tart can happen to you too. The streusel topping is optional….but encouraged. Ice cream is a requirement. Sharing…..permitted.

Peach Streusel Tart

Crust:

adapted from Joy the Baker

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, cold, cut into cubes

5 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons ice cold water

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Combine all the dry ingredients and butter into a food processor. Pulse until butter has been incorporated. Slowly drizzle the water and cider vinegar just until dough comes together.

Chill.

When chilled, roll out dough and press into a tart shell. You can also use a pie plate if you so desire.

Filling:

3-4 large peaches, sliced

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 cup minute tapioca

Combine all ingredients together. Boom.

Streusel:

1/2 cup butter, cold

1 cup sugar

2/3 cup flour

Combine in a food processor.

Pour the peaches into the tart shell, top with streusel and bake at 375F until streusel is just starting to get colour, and filling is bubbling slightly.