E’s Maple-Walnut Loaf

Remember brother E who came over a couple of weekends ago because he wanted to learn how to bake a loaf?  Well, he’s a fast learner and now he has baked his own Maple Walnut Loaf.

The recipe is (still) a variant of the (now quite popular) basic loaf recipe.  A few minor adjustments and a new flavor appears!

The recipe, adjusted

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar (reduced from the original 3/4 cup)

1/2 cup neutral cooking oil or melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup heavy cream

First, preheat the oven to 325F. Grease, line and re-grease a medium loaf pan.

Mix all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Spoon batter into the prepare loaf pan and bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cover with foil if the top gets too browned. Cool in the pan for about 15 minutes then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.




THE Best Waffles, Ever!

The little girl woke me up. I was rather surprised to discover that I had, in fact, overslept.

Anyway, the little girl had not eaten breakfast yet and was (apparently) hungry (which is why, presumably, she woke me up); moreover, she had something in mind…

Nope, not her (usual) favorite pancakes. Instead, she wanted waffles.

She was under the impression that pancakes and waffles were the same, except in form. I explained that they were somewhat similar but really quite different.

The recipe I used is a good one, producing waffles which were crunchy on the outside but fluffy in the middle. But it is unlikely that I will make waffles again.

Why? you may ask.

Well because it took me 2 hours to make 10 waffles! And seriously! I don’t recall waffles taking THAT much time before. Maybe it has something to do with the waffle iron? I used to have a waffle iron that was a large round (which I was told was Belgian-style, but I don’t really know). That one (a wedding gift) drowned in the big flood almost a decade ago and I was not inclined to buy another one (a single use appliance that uses a lot of space…). But I recently received a 3-in-1 waffle-sandwich-mini donut maker so when the young one asked for waffles I said why not (it was another recipe to try using buttermilk…)

Could it be that the round waffler cooked faster than the squarish one (which I was told was American style?)

Anyway, here is the recipe I used –

1 cup cake flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs, separated

Begin by preheating the waffle iron.

Place all ingredients except egg whites in a bowl and stir using a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix until just combined. Set aside.

Beat egg whites until stiff. Fold the batter into the egg whites.

Pour about 1/3 cup of batter in each waffle square and close the cover.  Wait until the steam is gone before opening the cover again.  (I like to brush butter on the iron.)

Keep the cooked waffles warm in an oven while you finish the rest.

Enjoy with butter and syrup!  And coffee!

E’s Baking Day!

My brother E was intrigued when I told him about BFF’s baking day.  He knows BFF and decided that if BFF could bake then so could he!  So he came over and boom!  We baked Mango Loaf and Coffee Milk Loaf using the versatile loaf base (flavors were his choice).

To make the mango loaf, add 1/3 cup pureed mango and 3 tablespoons half and half.  If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon mango extract.  Fold in 1/4 chop finely diced dried mangoes.

To make coffee milk loaf, add 1/4 cup strong coffee (cooled), and 1/4 teaspoon coffee extract.  Add 1/4 cup heavy cream.

The coffee milk loaf was good but the mango loaf was fantastic!!!

B’s Banana Loaf

The little girl (though I think I should stop calling her little…) was so inspired by last weekend’s baking session that she wanted to bake her own banana loaf.  So I handed her the recipe and told her that she was on her own, except for the preheating of the oven and putting/removing the loaf pan in or out of the hot oven.

Of course I stayed nearby to keep an eye on her.  As it turned out, I shouldn’t have worried – in fact, I was quite impressed!  Apparently all those times when she showed an interest while I was in the kitchen and/or helped out as I cooked and/or baked, she was really paying attention.

She did everything by herself.  She got out all the ingredients, measured and mixed.  I was amazed that she could handle the hand mixer – one hand holding the bowl, the other hand on the mixer…she was great!

I was only called to help when she realized the mixing bowl with the batter was too heavy for her to lift with a single while the other hand held the spatula to coax the batter into the loaf pan.  And of course, to put the loaf pan into the hot oven.

She watched the oven and checked the progress of her banana loaf every 5 to 10 minutes.  When the timer dinged, I got summoned to take the pan out of the oven and she tested finished product with a cake tester.  The tester did not come out quite clean so she told me – 5 more minutes mommy!

Her banana loaf was beautiful!  And super yummy!!!

At the end of the day, hubby was impressed as well.  And he loved the banana loaf!

I was not surprised that there were none left the next day… a bit disappointed perhaps – simply because I thought I could enjoy a slice with my favorite coffee for breakfast!!!

For the recipe, see the blog entry Baking Day with BFF.


Baking Day with BFF

I always have a great time with BFF.  Today was no different, but what’s special is that today we… yes, WE, were baking!

But since BFF is a beginner and she wants something easy and doable, I gave her an easy, versatile recipe for a basic loaf base that can be made into several kinds.  For today it was banana chocolate chip loaf and carrot walnut loaf.

The recipe for the base –

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup neutral cooking oil or melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

First, preheat the oven to 325F.  Grease, line and re-grease a loaf pan (1 8×4 or 2 mini loaf pans – we used the 8×4 for the carrot walnut loaf and the 2 smaller loaf pans for the banana choco chip loaf).  Get everything ready – tools, bowls, ingredients…

We tackled 2 ways of mixing the batter – one bowl, dump style and creaming.

For the one bowl, dump style – Mix all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.  Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients.  Mix until just combined.  The batter will look like cookie dough.

For the creaming method – Stir the dry ingredients (except sugar) together; set aside.  Beat the oil/butter with the sugar for a couple of minutes.  Add the egg and vanilla; mix well.

Then add your main components –

for banana choco chip cake, mix in 2 to 3 mashed, over-ripe bananas.  Fold in 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we overdid it with the chips… it was a tad too much.  1/3 cup is reasonable. 1/2 cup is pushing it… but the 2/3 cup we used – well, it was abusive!!! *smile*)

for carrot walnut loaf, mix in 1 cup shredded carrot.  Fold in 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped (toasted) walnuts.  (sorry I forgot to take a picture!!!)

Bake the larger loaf about 45 to 55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.  Rotate the pan midway; cover with foil if the top gets too browned.  Bake the smaller loaves about 30 minutes or so.

Leave in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding and letting it cool on a rack completely.

(a bit of a lesson here… for some crazy reason I decided not to use greaseproof paper to line the pan – maybe because my smaller loaf pans were non-stick?  bad idea. though!  It is really easier and more convenient with greaseproof paper!!! our banana cake got a bit stuck and we had a crazy time trying to get it out.)

Anyway… for other variations –

butter loaf – use butter instead of oil.  Add 1/2 cup milk.  Increase vanilla to 1/2 tablespoon.  Optional but recommended – add 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange extract.

chocolate loaf –  Add 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (sifted) to the dry ingredients, and 1/2 cup milk to the wet ingredients.  Optional but delicious – add 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.

cocomia loaf – use coconut oil, if desired (but optional), Add 1/2 cup coconut cream (coconut milk is ok too), and 1/2 cup desiccated coconut.  Fold in 1/3 cup coarsely chopped macadamias (lightly toasted) or sprinkle the macadamias on top of the batter (press lightly).

We had a great time (of course we chatted all the while…) but what I am happy about is that BFF did everything… I only offered guidance!

My proud moment?  I was going to show BFF how to fold the choco chips into the batter when B volunteered to demonstrate.  B folded the chips into the batter perfectly!!!  wooo hooooo!  I am ssoooooo happy that not only was she paying attention when we baked together, she actually remembered to do it right!  (super proud momma here!)

PS – she also made macaroons but more on that in the next post…




Lemon Cream Muffin

On a whim, and because our lemon plant has been busy, I thought of baking some lemon muffins.  But I knew the little girl would not want a “plain” muffin, I thought of adding her favorite (of the moment) blueberry jam to top the muffins.

The recipe:

2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1-1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup soft cream cheese
1/2 cup 70$ blueberry jam

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 12 muffin cups with baking paper cups.

Mix wet ingredients together; set aside.  Mix dry ingredients together.  Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add the wet ingredients.  Stir until just about mixed.

Divide the batter and spoon into the baking cups.  Spoon a scant tablespoon of cream cheese on the center of the muffin batter, followed by a scant tablespoon of jam.  If desired, sprinkle a pinch of turbinado sugar on top for some crunch

Bake about 12 minutes or so until a tester comes out clean.

The muffins were a hit with the little girl, but not so much her 2 playmates.  The playmates’ parents, however, were quite impressed!!!


Banana-Choco Chip Muffins

I don’t get to bake often these days and when I do, I just use the small electric oven. The big gas oven seems overkill when all I want is half a dozen of muffins!

So anyway, I have been craving muffins for a while now. And finally, finally, I have some spare time! I dusted off my handy dandy mixer and scrounged up my measuring cups and spoons, and mixing bowl and spatula…

To begin, preheat the oven to 375*F. Line a 6-cup muffin tin with paper cups.

Mix together:

1 large egg
1/4 cup canola oil
1 tablespoon yogurt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients:

1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons muscovado sugar **
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt

Mix until just incorporated.

Stir in mashed bananas (2 large pieces very ripe bananas). Portion the batter into the 6 muffin cups. Add 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of mini chocolate chips in each muffin cup. Use a toothpick to stir and distribute the chips in the batter.

Bake about 20 minutes.

Muffins in an hour! Yum!

Honey Corn Muffins

These muffins are dense and moist.  If you are looking for corn muffins such as those at Kenny Rogers, these are not it.  It does not mean, though, that these muffins are not delicious because they are!  The proof is that the little girl loves them!

The recipe:

3/4 cup cornmeal
1-1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup each corn oil and melted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup drained corn “juice” (or milk if using fresh corn)
1/2 cup yogurt
1 cup corn kernels, drained
1/2 cup diced red bell peppers, optional

Preheat oven to 375F.  Brush oil or melted butter in about 24 mini-muffin cups.

Combine the dry ingredients.  Make a well in the center and add honey, oil, melted butter, eggs, corn juice, and yogurt.  Stir until just combined.  Fold in corn kernels and diced peppers, if using.

Fill the muffin tin to almost full.  Bake 22 to 28 minutes, or until the edges of the muffins are lightly browned.

The muffins are best right out of the oven!