Thursday, November 6, 2014

Browned Butter Banana Blondies

Yesterday was the last day of after school sewing classes at our elementary school.  The last day to have to think of a good nut free bit of baking to bring in for the kids before the lessons started.  This time I was interested by a recipe over at Cookies and Cups and decided to give it a try. I did brown the butter as was suggested as an option to try and substituted a bit of the vanilla flavouring for rum. The browned butter gave it more adult appeal I think.  Just be cautious when browning the butter to do it slowly and not burn it.  When browning the butter you are browning the milk solids in the butter.  You'll want them to be browned...but not blackened. The recipe was quite nice and not overly banana...I think the browned butter icing (I also browned the butter on that as well) distracted from the banana flavour and increased the butter flavour quite a bit..  It is well worth a try and quite easy to prepare.  If you are looking for a nut free school option, you might like to give this a go.

Banana Blondies

1/2 cup butter, melted and brown if you like
1 cup golden sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp rum flavouring
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 medium banana mashed (about 1/2 cup)

Brown Sugar Frosting

1/4 cup butter, melted and browned if you like
1/2 cup golden sugar
2 Tbsp milk
1 cup powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350F.  Line a 8X8 inch pan with foil and grease foil.  In mixing bowl, cream the melted butter and golden sugar until combined.  Add in egg and flavourings and mix to combine.  Mix in mashed banana and mix to combine.  Add in flour and mix to combine.

Spread batter evenly into foil lined pan and pop into oven for 25-30 minutes or until center is set.  My oven is convection and set it to 350F and checked at 15 minutes and it was already firm in the center and done.  Remove pan from oven and set to cool.

For frosting, melt butter in pan and continue to swirl while browning if you are going to brown the butter.  If not, once melted, add in sugar and milk and heat while stirring until it reaches a boil.  If browning butter, add the sugar and milk once you have browned the butter to the amount you want.  Remove from heat to cool for 5 minutes before adding the icing sugar.  You'll want the butter and golden sugar and milk to be still quite warm when you add the icing stick to the 5 minute guideline and do not let it cool completely.  Stir in the icing sugar with a whisk to get it nice and smooth and immediately pour over the blondie and spread evenly.  The icing will start to set up and crust on the surface shortly.  Allow to cool completely before cutting or you may run the risk of your frosting running away on you.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Buns

This month the Daring Bakers kept our creativity rolling with cinnamon bun inspired treats. Shelley from C Mom Cook dared us to create our own dough and fill it with any filling we wanted to craft tasty rolled treats, cinnamon not required!

I've been making a  few different variations  on the cinnamon roll theme in the last month.  We loved, and have made quite a few times now....the Huckleberry and lemon sweet rolls, and more recently a batch filled with a jam of peach, pear and orange brandy.  Today....since it's been a while since we've done actual cinnamon that's what I did.  Only slightly modified with the addition of poudre douce, and chocolate chips.  Over all pretty happy with the outcome.

Over time, I've modified the dough recipe I use and have upped the liquid amount and moved away from the use of melted shortening to using vegetable oil.  The dough is very moist and easy to work with  due to the added oil and rises to a nice airy bun once baked.  We've also made some savoury options and presented the rolls as a twisted loaf rather than buns like with this Cheddar and Thai Chilli twisted loaf .  Other good savoury combinations are Cheddar and Marmite, and Spinach and feta.

1 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vinegar
4 cups flour
2 tsp instant yeast
I add all of the above to my bread machine and let it make the dough for me.  once the dough is ready I roll it out to a rectangle 30 inches by 12 inches and spread with filling,.

This batch is filled with 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp poudre douce, 1/3 cup chocolate chips and a pinch of salt.

Rollup to make a 30 inch long log and slice into 24 equal pieces placing 12 in a 9X 13 pan.  Let rise in a warm draft free place until double in size.  Bake at 350F for about 20 minutes until rolls are nicely browned and near 200F internal temp.

While rolls are still hot from the oven mix a glaze of 1 1/2 cup icing sugar, 2 Tbsp melted butter, 1 tsp vanilla and enough milk (3-6 Tbsp) to make a pourable glaze.  Mix until smooth and pour over still hot rolls.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tenderize beef with baking soda

Normally I only buy sirloin to make stir fry.  This week it was on at such a good price that I decided to try baking soda tenderizing on them before grilling them.  It turned out to be a pretty good option and I'll be sure to do it again.  Before marinating the steak in a recipe from all claimed to be the best...who am I to argue?......I treated the steaks with some baking soda in water for 15- 20 minutes.  If you have sirloin sliced across the grain ready for stir fry....marinating with baking soda and rinsing as outlined below, will give even better tenderizing result since the cut is much thinner.  Want to give it a on.

Tenderizing Steaks
Before marinating your steaks...treat them with a bit of baking soda to help tenderize the meat a bit.

1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup water

Dissolve the baking soda in water and pour over steaks in a ziplok bag.  Set aside for 15-20 minutes.  Rinse well and proceed with marinade .

Adapted from All Recipes

3 Tbsp soy sauce
4 Tbsp vegetable oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp worchestershire sauce
2 tsp garlic, granulated
4 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp  black pepper

Combine all and pour over steaks in ziplok bag and marinate in fridge over night or for an hour or two if you have lest time.  Remove from marinade and grill to your liking.