The baking

Month: May, 2013

Chocolate-chocolate chip banana muffins

Banana bread again – and I’ll keep it short.

These are chocolate-chocolate chip banana muffins:

chocolate chocolate chip muffins

And they were delicious.

I based the batter on the same ingredients that I used to make banana bread cupcake cones in a previous post. But I added about two tablespoons of cocoa powder to the batter and used a bit less spice.

I also sprinkled the tops of the muffins with semi-sweet chocolate chips before baking.

Banana and chocolate work well together. And this recipe would work to make muffins or banana bread. Or cupcake cones. Or whatever banana bread-like baking you may want to make.

And, yes, that is indeed a heart-shape muffin tray.

Frosted cinnamon buns

Over the weekend, I made cinnamon buns.

And here’s a close-up:

cinnamon buns 2

I used pretty much the same recipe that I used to make the apple cinnamon buns that I baked and wrote about in a previous post.

The only modifications to my recipe? No apples. And I used about half a cup more sugar for the filling. I also added about two teaspoons of ground cloves along with the cinnamon. And, of course, there was the icing. Or frosting. Or whatever you want to call it. I explained my icing/frosting making process in a previous post. Click on that hyperlink – blue and underlined – text for more. I used plain, white icing flavoured with liquid vanilla extract.

When I was making the batter, I decided to – as an experiment – use water that had been used to boil sweet potatoes. This was my own modified version of the procedure used to make potato bread. I thought it’d be interesting to try. I chilled the sweet potato cooking water in the fridge before using it. I’m not sure if the sweet potato water really added any flavour to the bread. But the bread was delicious, so the experiment was definitely not a failure.

Cinnamon bun win.

And one more photo, just because:

cinnamon buns

Double chocolate cookies with sprinkles

chocolate chocolate sprinkles peanuts

These are chocolate chip cookies with chocolate batter and sprinkles.

The recipe is pretty much the same as the one I used for these other cookies. But I added about one tablespoon more cocoa powder. And about half a cup of large, semi-sweet chocolate chips. And about half a cup of chopped roasted peanuts.

I rolled pieces of the cookie dough in sprinkles before baking them.

Randomly using sprinkles can be good times.

 

Banana bread cake cones

This is fresh banana bread, baked in ice cream cones:

banana bread cake cones

You could, of course, make banana bread in loaf form. Or muffin form. But I thought that banana bread cones would be fun. And, well, they were.

To make the banana bread batter, I started off by preparing three bananas using the freezer trick I described in a previous post. I also pre-heated the oven to 375 degrees.

Then, in a bowl, I mixed:

-three peeled and mashed bananas, prep with the freezer trick and mash with a fork or spoon

-1 tablespoon of liquid vanilla extract – or, use cold coffee or another edible liquid instead

– approximately 1 cup of cold coffee – or water or another edible liquid of your choice

-1 teaspoon salt – adjust this amount up or down to your taste

-1 tablespoon cornstarch –  you can also use arrowroot or another starch powder

-1-2 teaspoons each of ground cinnamon and nutmeg – adjust this amount as you see fit, I used a little bit more cinnamon and also added about half a teaspoon of ground cloves

-1 to 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – I used unbleached flour, add the flour to the mixture last and adjust the amount of flour and liquid until you have a thick, not runny, and slightly lumpy batter.

Pour or spoon the batter into cones until the cones are about 3/4 of the way full. Carefully transfer the cones to a tray  or cookie sheet and then – also carefully – move the tray into the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for about 15 or so minutes or until the batter at the tops of the cones is firm and golden brown and looks somewhat like what’s going on in the picture at the beginning of this post.

Remove the cones from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.

I decided to top the banana bread cones I made with chocolate and decorate with coloured sprinkles:

melted chocolate frosting

This is actual chocolate spread on top of the cones, not chocolate frosting.

The cool thing about using chocolate is that the chocolate will cool to a nice, hard and crunchy, texture that works well with the soft and moist banana bread goodness underneath.

To achieve this chocolate topping goodness you could melt the chocolate in a double-boiler and, then, transfer and spread it onto the tops of the cones. Or you could do what I did and carefully sprinkle chocolate chips on top of the cones when they are still cooling, wait a few minutes for the chocolate chips to melt and soften, and, then, spread the melted chocolate with a butter knife.

If you want to use sprinkles, make sure to put the sprinkles on while the chocolate is still melted – or they probably won’t stick.

You could also decorate with icing. Or nothing at all.

Lavender cookies

 

These are chocolate and lavender cookies.

That’s right, cookies with chocolate and lavender:

lavender cookies

The lavender I used was dried, organic lavender that I bought on a winery visit with some friends.

This is what the lavender looked like before going into the cookies:

organic lavender

To make the cookies, I used my basic cookie procedure with vanilla extract and water as the liquid ingredients. And I added about a tablespoon of cocoa powder.

I added the lavender after all of the other ingredients were mixed together. I prepared the lavender by breaking and pulling the purple flower pods of the lavender away from the stalks. I used about 1/4 of a cup of lavender flower pods.

I liked the way these cookies tasted. And I think the chocolate worked well with the lavender.

I took these cookies to a party at a friend’s house. Most people seemed to really like them. Some people weren’t fans.  A friend of a friend at the party asked me for the recipe and said that they were going to make the cookies. The next time I saw said friend of a friend, they told me that they had indeed made the cookies and that the cookies had been well-received.

If you’re at all curious about experimenting with baking with lavender, I recommend it.

Just make sure that you’re using lavender suitable for eating.

Chocolate chip cookies

I like chocolate chip cookies.

Other people seem to like chocolate chip cookies.

So, I like to make chocolate chip cookies.

Chocolate seems to work with a lot of different flavours – which makes it a fun ingredient to experiment with.

All of these cookies are made with a base dough made from my basic cookie dough formula.

These cookies are chocolate chip, pecan, and peanut:

chocolate chip cookies with peanuts and pecans

I used cold, brewed coffee and vanilla extract as the liquid ingredients in the dough and added about 1/3 of a cup each of semi-sweet chocolate chips, chopped pecans, and roasted, shelled peanuts.

These cookies are very similar to the ones above, but baked into square form and with double amounts of chopped pecans and chocolate chips instead of peanuts:

pecan cookie squares

With square cookies, it’s especially important not to over-bake the cookies. And, it’s also important to remember that it’s easier to cut the cookies into squares when they’re fresh out of the oven. I’d suggest using a butter knife – and that oven mitts or some kind of pot holder be used. I took these particular cookie squares along with me on an out-of-town trip: they disappeared pretty fast.

Next up, chocolate chip and coffee cookies:

Coffee cookies 1

Again, I used cold, brewed coffee and vanilla extract as the liquid ingredients. And I added about 1/3 of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. Just before forming the dough into pieces for baking, I added about two tablespoons of instant coffee crystals to the dough and mixed them in. Adding the instant coffee at the last minute kept the crystals from dissolving into the dough – which left little chunks of coffee-flavour goodness all over the cookies. Delicious.

And pretzel time:

cookies on pretzels

These are chocolate-chocolate chip cookies baked into salted pretzel twists. I added about two tablespoons of cocoa powder to the dough base and added a bit of extra liquid to make the dough extra gooey and soft. I used about 1/3 of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. To bake the cookies into the pretzels, I broke off pieces of dough and, then, pressed them into individual pretzels before baking. Because of the extra liquid in the dough, these cookies turned out crispy on the outside and soft and chocolate-y on the inside.

These cookies, were pretty much the same idea, but I added very fine-grind coffee and used a bit less liquid:

cookies on pretzels 2

I also used waffle shape pretzels instead of pretzel twists for some of the cookies.

These chocolate chip cookies baked in pretzels had a vanilla and coffee dough base:

cookies on pretzels 1

And last up:

salted chocolate chip cookies

These are chocolate chip and coffee-base cookies with chunky Celtic sea salt on top. I used chilled, brewed coffee and vanilla extract as the liquid ingredients. And I used about 1/3 of a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips. After breaking the dough into pieces, I rolled each piece on a small plate full of Celtic sea salt. Then, into the oven. The sweetness of the chocolate – along with the sugar in the dough – worked well in contrast to the salt.