February 25, 2015

8 | 52 Monkey Squares

It happens a couple of times per year. The search for recipes that involve ripe bananas.
Because for some reason, the poor bananas already turned brown because nobody ate them...
Sound familiar?

This brown-banana-time around, I decided to try Monkey Squares.
Because there is a browned butter frosting involved. How can you say no to that?!

Monkey Squares

For the Banana Bread Bars:
300 g (1 1/2 cups) sugar
200 g (1 cup) sour cream
113 g (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons vanilla
250 g (2 cups) flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

For the Browned Butter Frosting:
113 g (1/2 cup) butter
440 g (4 cups) powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons milk

  • Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). Beat sugar, sour cream, butter, and eggs until creamy. Add bananas and vanilla. Blend in dry ingredients. Spread into prepared pan (about 25x35 cm / 10x15 in) and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly.
  • For the frosting, heat butter over medium heat until it is boiling and a delicate brown. Remove from heat and stir in remaining ingredients immediately. Frost the still warm banana bread bars right away.
My modifications:

The taste:
Good. And that frosting is as good as it sounds but VERY sweet! No wonder with that amount of powdered sugar... I would also reduce the amount of vanilla in the frosting to 1/2 teaspoon next time. The taste was a bit overpowering in the frosting.

What's your favorite Banana Bread recipe? I'd love to know!

February 18, 2015

7 | 52 Heart-filled Loaf Cake (based on Marble Cake)

I hope you had a nice Valentine's Day (if you 'celebrated' it at all...).

In case you are looking for a baking recipe for next V-Day (or any other day of the year) to show your love in the shape of a heart, baked inside a loaf cake, here it is:

Marble Cake (separated but filled with heart)

Basic batter (you need two of these)
250 g (2.2 sticks of) butter, soft
4 eggs
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
pinch of salt
300 g (2 1/4 cups) flour
4 teaspoons baking powder

For the chocolate cake:
3-4 tablespoons milk
For the 'white' cake:
2 tablespoons milk

For the chocolate batter add:
5 tablespoons cocoa powder, unsweetened
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (360°F). 
  • Cream together butter and eggs. Add sugar, vanilla (sugar), and salt.
  • Combine flour, baking powder, cocoa (only for the chocolate cake) and sift into the butter-mix, alternating with the milk.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes.
  • Let cool completely, take out of the form, cut into big slices and use a cookie cutter to cut out the 'filling' for the final cake (in my case a heart).
  • Prepare second batch of batter for the 'outside' cake (remember to use less milk to get a thicker batter). Pour a bit of batter onto the bottom of your loaf pan. Arrange cut-outs in a row, as tightly together as possible. Pour remaining batter around your 'filling' and bake for 60 minutes.
  • Let cool and dust with powdered sugar or frosting of your choice.

My modifications:
I used butter instead of margarine (I just always do so I also changed that in the recipe above). Since my hubby likes chocolate cake, I made the outside cake chocolate. I colored the 'filling' cake with a bit of red food coloring to get a pink heart (even though I could have used more color, it came out very pastel...). Oh, and I only used half the recipes to make a small loaf.

The taste:
Okay. It could have been more dense or moist, for my taste. So next time I would try to find a more dense cake because I think it might make it easier with the cutting out, etc.

What did you bake for Valentine's Day?

February 11, 2015

6 | 52 Apple Cinnamon Streusel Bars

Quick & easy. But still yummy.
Sometimes that's just what I need. And I'm sure you do, too.

I know, I know... This is the time to present you with a Valetine's Day recipe. 
You'll get it next week - I promise. V-Day will be over then but it will come around again next year. 
And isn't it nicer to surprise your special someone on a different day anyway?

So, for right now: a recipe that couldn't be any quicker & easier. But yummy nonetheless.

Apple Cinnamon Streusel Bars

256 g (2 cups) flour
200 g (1 cup) sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 small or 2 big apples (peeled, cored, and diced)
125 g (4oz) butter, melted
1 egg
powdered sugar for dusting
  • Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
  • Combine flour, sugar, and cinnamon in a bowl. Add diced apples. Add melted butter and stir to combine. Add egg and combine.
  • Put crumbled dough into prepared pan and bake for 50 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Dust with powedered sugar, if you wish.

My modifications:
But next time I would reduce the sugar by half, maybe add a bit more apple dices and about 60 g (2 oz) butter. It would be less sweet (obviously) and a bit more moist/less dense. I think I'd like it even better then.

The taste:
Very yummy! Comfort food category, I would say. And you can never go wrong with Streusel. Or apple. Or cinnamon. Right?
But - it was a bit too sweet (any a tiny bit too dense) for my taste - hence my suggestions above.

What's your favorite quick & easy (baking) recipe?

February 4, 2015

5 | 52 Beef and Barley Buns

Beautiful pictures & great recipes. 
I've never been disappointed by any of Jamie Oliver's cook books.
The latest one, Jamie Oliver's Comfort Food is no exception.

The recipe I tried this week, Jamie's Beef and Barley Buns, turned out perfectly. 
These rolls sure are comforting and as versatile as you can imagine: serve them any time of the day, warm or cold, by yourself or with a gathering of friends, inside or outside - you name it.

So this week I'm gonna leave you with a link to the recipe (plus video!).

Beef and Barley Buns
You can find the recipe (+ video) here.

from left to right: before filling, while filling, view of the bottom after filling
My modifications:
None.  But I left out the pickled walnuts because I didn't have any.
And I used up about 3/4 of the filling and got 12 rolls.
I added the rest of the filling to a brussel sprout stew I made and it was perfect in that, too.

The taste:
Pure comfort. 
The filling has such a great, intense flavor from the long cooking time.
The rolls themselves are very fluffy and moist.
The horseradish sauce is also good but I felt that it 'drowns' the taste of the filling so I used it very sparsely.

What is your favorite comfort food?