Banana Bread (of the Marvellously Moist Variety)

Back in the summer I temporarily relocated to London: the city that has everything. Authentic baklava? Done. Vietnamese so delicious you’re mentally transported to the Mekong? Easy. Cuban food that practically plays conga rhythms on your taste buds? No problem. But what if you want something relatively quickly? What if you don’t want to go on a 30 minute trek just to find a large supermarket? What if ALL YOU WANT TO DO is go to your neighbourhood Tesco or Sainsbos for a few key ingredients? Well, if that is the case, allow me to let you in on a tiny list on things you CANNOT find:

apple sauce
chocolate chips
brown sugar

IN LONDON! How is it possible that I can get a million and one pre-made meals for my leisure, pleasure, and convenience, but I CAN’T get apple sauce!?!?!? I feel like a pioneer woman, because YES, I am going to make my own godsbedarnedalltheflippingwaytoheck apple sauce. (A rare and exotic variety.) I’m also going to cut my own chocolate “chips” out of a bar of chocolate. Am I being a tad melodramatic? Perhaps I am. But really. All of this boils down to one. Simple. Question.

Why is godlike domesticity so difficult to achieve in a city with everything?

Warning: these photos are pretty awful. They were taken on my phone. But when it comes down to it: this banana bread is TOO good not to share with the world, regardless of shabby photo quality. It’s one of those friend-of-the-family recipes that I altered a tad.

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Pre-heat the oven to 155 C fan (175 C non-fan)

Ingredients:
156 g plain flour
1 tsp baking soda
200 g brown sugar*

3 bananas
60 ml oil
60 ml apple sauce
2 eggs
45 g chocolate chips (optional)

*optional substitute: 250 g raw sugar

Sift plain flour (156 g) and baking soda (1 tsp) together in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas (3), then add the oil (60 ml), apple sauce (60 ml), and eggs (2). Mix the wet ingredients all together then add the dry mixture.

Banana Bread MixtureStir together and, just before it’s completely combined, add in the chocolate chips. Finish stirring until just mixed. Don’t over stir!

Banana Bread Mixture with Chocolate chips

Pour the batter into a greased and floured loaf pan. I often use parchment paper (along the bottom and the two long sides) to prevent sticking, although I didn’t have any this time.

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Bake 60 minutes — a knife or toothpick should come out clean. Oh ya, and ENJOY!

You can double or quadruple this recipe if you want to make 2 or 4 loaves. I’ve put the recipes below both in UK grams and Celcius, as well as good ol’ Canadian cups and Fahrenheit.

Banana Bread Grams and C

Banana Bread Cups and F

 

Almond Madeleines Dipped in Chocolate

As it turns out, my interest in this whole ‘blogification of baking‘ thing is pretty dependant on having nice photos. Thus, summer came and went bloglessly. I baked many things — even took some photos with blogging intent — but the Culinary Klepto spark had gone the moment I moved away from my (ex)flatmate’s fancy camera. And tripod. Ye gads, I loved that tripod.

But now it would seem I’m back. I’ve got access to another lovely camera (albeit, not >as< lovely) and am ready to get blogging again! To celebrate, I’m posting one of my summer bakes: almond madeleines dipped in chocolate. These tiny French delights were worth every bit of effort it took to make them.

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Ingredients:
4 eggs
180 g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
130 g flour
50 g almonds, ground
112.5 g butter, melted and cooled (approximately, har har)

Extra butter, soft and nearly melted, to grease the pan.

Use a pastry brush to coat your madeleine pan with butter, then dust it with flour (over a sink). Shake and tap it to spread the flour evenly, then invert and tap to get rid of any extra.

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Sift your flour (130 g) into a bowl and stir in your ground almonds. Set aside. (left photo below)

In a large bowl, mix together your eggs (4), sugar (180 g), and salt (1/2 tsp) on a medium speed until light and thick, somewhat like mousse, approximately 5 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract (1 tsp).

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Gradually sprinkle the flour/ground almonds on top of the wet mixture and stir. (photos below) You don’t want to just dump it on or it sinks to the bottom and clumps. Think snowshoes rather than stilettos. *hahaha…Canadian humour…*

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Gently fold in the melted butter (112.5 g) then chill for one hour.

Heat the oven to 170 C fan (190 non fan)

Put a tablespoon of batter in each mould (see below) and bake for 8-9 minutes. Makes 24 madeleines.

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Make sure to completely cool and grease your pan before cooking the second batch. I just turned my pan upside down, ran cold water over it, then wiped out the moulds with paper towel before re-greasing/flouring.

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Once all your madeleines are cooked, melt some chocolate, dip them in, then lay them to cool on a sheet of parchment paper. I made a double batch and did half of mine in dark chocolate and half in milk chocolate.

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Madeleines are best enjoyed within a day or two, so it’s your duty to eat them up quickly!

Better late than never!
TCK

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Chocolate Caramel Cupcakes

Ever decided to bake from your own blog? I sure have. Result? Frustration! Why, oh why, did I not list the amount of each ingredient in the step-by-step instructions, as well as in the list at the beginning. WHY?! Because I wanted people to spend all their time scrolling up and down???? *ahem* Apologies all round. I am going to fix all previous posts as soon as this one is published! Klepto’s honour 😀

Rant done. Onto the matter at hand: OMG DE-FREAKING-LICIOUS CUPCAKES

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What was that a photo of? Oh, only THE BEST caramel frosting I have had in my life, lovingly settled in a swirly fashion atop those indescribably delightful chocolate cupcakes I wrote about in my VERY FIRST BLOG POST.

As such, I won’t be reposting the chocolate cupcake process. Refer back to my previous chocolate cupcake recipe, but cut the cook time to 16 minutes if you are making mini cupcakes like I decided to do. I also put a secret treat in the centre of these mini ones. So, once you’ve mixed up your batter, jump back here before you start spooning them into your muffin tray!

MMmmm. I’m having flavour flashbacks. They were just so light and so fluffy and definitely delectable enough to lure Hansel and Gretel right into my oven.

Caramel Frosting Ingredients:
114 g salted butter
220 g dark brown sugar
80 ml milk
360 g confectioner’s sugar
an extra few tablespoons of milk

With one batch of frosting, I had enough to decorate 80 mini cupcakes!

Melt the butter (114 g) in a small saucepan over low heat. Add brown sugar (220 g) and milk (80 ml). Stir continuously over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved then allow to bubble for another 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat.

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Pour your caramel into a large bowl and allow to cool. Using an electrical mixer, beat in the confectioners sugar (360 g total) in three equal parts. Before turning the hand mixer on, I stirred in the icing sugar a bit, then covered both the bowl and the mixer with a towel for beating. This, combined with turning on my extractor fan, helped me avoid the light coating of icing sugar that so often covers my kitchen and my lungs.

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Once your confectioner’s sugar is all beat in, tightly cover the frosting with cling film until you are ready to decorate, as contact with air quickly dries it out.

Just before you are ready to use it, beat in some milk, one tablespoon at a time, until it is soft enough to pipe but still firm enough to hold its shape. (I used 3 tbsp, but this will vary.)

Now back to CUPCAKES!

You’ve just finished mixing up your cupcake batter and are ready to spoon it into adorable mini muffin trays. But first, these little scrumpties (I tried to make scrumptious into a noun… Def: scrumptious and adorable baked goods) were filled with a tiny secret: Cadbury Nibbles hidden in the centre!

One batch of batter makes 40 mini cupcakes, so cut 40 Nibbles in half.

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The first method I tried just led to sunken Nibbles at the bottom of my cupcakes, but as I found out in my second batch (I was making 80 cupcakes and one batch is only 40, hence the second. Sadly, by then, I wasn’t being as vigilant with my photo-documentation) the best thing to do is to put two teaspoons of batter into each cup, then press the two half Nibbles together, side by side, and push them gently into the top of the batter. You want to be able to see the tops of the Nibbles.

The following picture doesn’t showcase the peeking out Nibbles, but it does show how much room the cupcakes need to expand. These little babies rise, so give them a good 1/3 of growing room!

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Pop them in the oven (160 C fan) for 16 minutes and the Nibbles-ified cupcakes will look like:

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Transfer the cupcakes to a rack and leave them until they are completely cool.

Now, as mentioned before, make your icing soft enough to pipe, transfer it to a piping bag, select your preferred nib, and get piping!

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