Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.

Archive for the ‘Muffins and Quickbreads’ Category

I recently made the biggest leap of my life–giving up job, friends and Asia–for love. Traumatic, sad and teary-eyed, I boarded a plane for San Francisco and haven’t looked back since. But, that isn’t the point of this post.

The point is what happened after–how my life has transformed; how I have grown and learned all over again what real love is. I thought life was going to stop, but it didn’t. Despite everything, life has continued and so have I. Here in San Francisco, I have been able to build a new life for myself. I’m working again, I have a good, safe home with kind roommates, and I am completely and utterly surrounded by love. It’s as if I were meant to come here. From the moment I arrived, I have been cradled and taken care of. And somehow, I have been able to heal.

This banana bread recipe comes from my adopted mom and sister here in the Bay area. Like any good banana bread, it is moist, spongey and–best of all–is completely adaptable. So for people like me who can’t help but want to mix in as many dried fruit-nut-chocolate combinations, this recipe is ideal.

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Mrs. Zuehlke’s Banana Bread (recipe from Martha)

INGREDIENTS

2 C flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 C sugar

1/2 C butter

1 C mashed ripe banana (= 2 long or 3 short)

1 C nuts or candied nuts if desired

1/2 C buttermilk (yogurt, sour cream and milk work too)

1 tsp. baking soda

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla or extract of your choosing

1 tsp. salt

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Combine wet ingredients and whirl in blender.

2. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl. (If you want to add any nuts, dried fruit and/or grated chocolate, do so now.)

3. Pour the whirled wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix for as little time as possible.

4. Pour batter into a greased pan and bake in a 350F oven for 45 – 60 minutes until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.  (One may need more minutes for a smaller, deeper pan than for a larger, shallower one.)

5. Frost if desired.

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It’s been 2 months since I moved into my new place, and finally I can say it feels like home.

I’m still missing parts of my standmixer and am in the process of stocking shelves with all the usual baking necessities, but I couldn’t wait any longer. I needed to BAKE! To christen the oven and my new baking space, I chose a simple cake recipe that I found on Smitten Kitchen‘s website. The only tweaking I did was to add chopped pecans; otherwise, though, I pretty much stuck to the recipe. Also, as with any recipe where berries are called for, I totally upped the amount–I couldn’t help myself.

So here’s the recipe. I actually baked mine in a loaf pan which turned out fine.

Raspberry Buttermilk Cake (adapted from Smitten Kitchen and Gourmet, 2009)

INGREDIENTS
1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp (2g) baking powder

1/2 tsp (2g) baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 stick (56g) unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup (146g), plus 1 1/2 tbsp (22g) sugar, divided

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)

1 large (57g) egg, room temp.

1/2 cup buttermilk, well-shaken

1 cup fresh raspberries (I used about 1 1/2)

1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 400°F with rack in middle. Butter and flour a 9-inch round cake pan.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and set aside. In a larger bowl, beat butter and 2/3 cup (146 grams) sugar with an electric mixer at medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about two minutes, then beat in vanilla and zest, if using. Add egg and beat well.

At low speed, mix in flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing until just combined.Spoon batter into cake pan, smoothing top. Scatter (see Note) raspberries and pecans evenly over top and sprinkle with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons (22 grams) sugar.

Bake until cake is golden and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack and cool to warm, 10 to 15 minutes more. Invert onto a plate.

I am moving to San Francisco! Left Singapore this last Tuesday and am visiting with the parents for a week before driving down to the foodie mecca that is SF! 

It’s only been 4 days, but I find myself gritting my teeth and wanting to pull my hair out sometimes what with all the constant ‘catch up’ chatting I’ve been doing. Don’t get me wrong–I missed them terribly while I was a world away in Asia. (Singapore is just too far away.)–I am just so ready to start my new life in SF and couldn’t be more excited about all the adventures that are coming my way!

Anyhow, to fill my time, I decided to do a little baking. Mind you, I have none of my supplies, no scale,  don’t have the kind of ingredients I’m used to having…and it’s not my kitchen! After a quick inventory and raid of my mom’s pantry, freezer and fridge, I came up with the idea of making  citrusy blueberry banana muffins of sorts. Not surprisingly, there are tons of recipes for just such a craving.

The recipe I chose to test out this time is from a great, little website called “Dragon’s Kitchen”. I followed the recipe (to the best of my ability anyway), though left out the sugar-lemon zest topping, and produced these:

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Upon first glance, they look more cake-y/quickbread than muffin. And upon first taste, that is what they turned out to be! Alas, this is what happens when I bake without my almighty scale! 

Here are the issues I encountered:

1) My mom only had jumbo eggs. Though I know that a large egg weighs roughly 60+g, without my scale, I had to guess (gasp!!)

2) I had to use a measuring cup to measure out the flour, which I think led to my adding too much flour. And to think–I used to SCORN metric-based recipes. It was not until I really started getting into baking that I realized how scientific baking really is and how helpful a scale is in maintaining exactness.

3) I only had 1 banana.

In any case, the resulting batter was a bit thick. Though I tried to remedy this by adding a little banana yogurt, I’m not sure it did any good in the end. 

All in all, I’d say it’s unfair of me to judge this recipe based on my results. The muffins themselves are tasty–mildly sweet and moist–however, they’re a bit too dense for me and texture-wise feel more like a quickbread than muffins.

Oh, well. Once I settle in SF and get my kitchen back in order, I definitely plan on trying the recipe again. If you decide to try it, do let me know how it goes for you!

Lemony Blueberry Banana Muffins (from Dragon’s Kitchen)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
2/3 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons grated lemon rind
3 tablespoons sugar

 

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease muffin tin.

2. Combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the lemon rind.

3. Beat together bananas, eggs, brown sugar, butter, lemon juice and vanilla until blended.

4. Stir in dry ingredients until blended. Stir in blueberries just until combined. Spoon into prepared muffin cups, dividing batter equally.

5. For the topping, combine sugar and remaining lemon rind in small dish. Sprinkle evenly over the muffins.

6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden.

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  • Fudgy Brownies for a BBQ « Cook.Bake.Eat.Write.: [...] I had originally planned on using my stand-by recipe from Martha Stewart, I ended up having to try a new one—one that doesn’t requir
  • Mama Leah: Well, my darling, I am extremely impressed and inspired. I, of course, don't have one iota of the culinary skills that you have (except for baking, b
  • saffronandbasil: Thanks for the recipe. By the way, LOVE LOVE your site.