Archive for March, 2007

Mad about Banana Muffins

Monday, March 19th, 2007

Banana Muffin with Walnuts

Banana muffins are, in my opinion, the easiest muffins to make - all you need are some bananas, eggs, butter, sugar and flour. I’ve made this classic muffin a little more interesting with coarsely chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon.

Banana Muffin with Walnuts

Banana Muffin Recipe (makes 12 large muffins)

2 cups plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

4 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 egg & 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 190 degrees C. Line a 12 cup muffin tray with muffin cups or grease lightly with butter.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon into a large bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat the mashed bananas, sugar, eggs and melted butter together.
4. Stir the banana mixture and walnuts into the flour mixture until just combined.
5. Divide the batter into the muffin tray.
6. Bake in preheated oven on the middle rack for 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Mad about Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Macarons

Sunday, March 18th, 2007

Chocolate Macarons

It’s been a while since my phase of macaron madness. I was recently inspired to revisit a recipe I’d seen on the eGullet forums.

Chocolate Macarons

I went for chocolate macarons with a twist on the ganache. The heavy cream was infused with a bag of Earl Grey tea before being gently stirred into the finely chopped chocolate.

Two important lessons I learnt rather painfully this time are:
1. Always use good quality baking paper
2. Always check my baking supplies before embarking on a baking project in the middle of the night.

I had to discard a third of this batch of macarons. While preparing the trays for the macarons, I ran out of baking paper. Since I didn’t want to run out to the closest 24-hour supermarket that late at night, I decided to use “tracing paper” instead. Normally, this works fine for cakes and cookies, but apparently not for macarons. On one tray, the paper stuck stubbornly to the bottom of the macarons after they’d baked. On another two trays, the paper puckered beneath the macaron batter, resulting in horribly deformed macaron shells - I pulled these out of the oven and chucked them before they were even done.

This only makes my current stash of these finicky french “cookies” all the more precious. I’ll be sure to savour them slowly.

Mad about Hot Chocolate

Friday, March 16th, 2007

Hot Chocolate

All right, I confess. I don’t drink coffee. Not in any form - not hot, not cold, not blended. Whenever the waiter or waitress at a restaurant asks if I’d like a coffee or a tea to go with my dessert, it’s a no-brainer decision. There are days, however, when I crave something richer and a cup of tea just doesn’t suffice.

Those are the times when I’d ask for a cup of hot chocolate. There’s just one problem with that. Most of the time (in Singapore anyway), the “hot chocolate” is made using cocoa powder and some hot milk or worse - Hersey’s chocolate syrup stirred into tepid milk warmed in a microwave oven. Enough said.

Hot Chocolate

My remedy for that - homemade hot chocolate. The hot chocolate you see here is made with real melted chocolate (I used Valrhona Manjari 64%), whole milk, some sugar and water. It’s rich, smooth and deeply satisfying. Most definitely worth the extra 20 minutes I’ll have to spend on the treadmill working it off!