August 23, 2011

Fudgy Banana Brownies

Posted in Make tagged , , at 7:18 pm by onetinyacorn

So, I had two very brown bananas hanging out on top of my freezer, but I was sick of banana bread. I did have a hankering for brownies, though. And thus this recipe was born. It resulted in a wonderful fudgy brownie with a distinct banana flavor. I didn’t take photos—they disappeared too quickly—but, well, they look like brownies. Use your imagination.

One word of caution: I created this recipe at high altitude (7,200 feet). I believe that it should work at lower elevations, but I haven’t tested it there yet. Let me know if things go awry.

Ingredients

1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
3/4 cup sugar
2 very ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt butter. At the last minute, add applesauce in order to heat it. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar and vanilla.
  3. In a small bowl, beat the bananas until they’re a mostly smooth, puddinglike consistency. Add to the above mixture.
  4. Stir in the cocoa, flour, salt, and baking powder into the mixture, being careful not to overmix. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.
  6. Scarf down, remembering to salvage one square for the person who you originally intended these brownies to be for in the first place.
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April 4, 2011

Dulce de Leche Brownies

Posted in Make tagged , at 4:23 am by onetinyacorn

I found myself with 2 gallons of milk recently, and an excellent way to consume some: make dulce de leche. Here’s the recipe, from Krystina Castella’s fun book, A World of Cake:

Vanilla Dulce de Leche

  • 2 vanilla beans
  • 8 cups milk
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Slice the vanilla beans and scrape the seeds into a large saucepan. Add the milk, sugar, and salt to the saucepan. Whisk the mixture over medium heat until it comes to a full boil [note: watch it very carefully as it’s about to boil, or it will run over and create a very sticky mess]. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, until reduced to 2 to 3 cups, with a caramel thickness. Remove from the heat and let cool.

Combined with David Lebovitz’s recipe for dulce de leche brownies, and you have the greatest sweet treat ever. The rich brownie has two layers of dulce de leche: a gooey center one, and a crispy lattice on the top. And he’s right: they are better the second day.

dulce de leche

batter

dulce de leche brownies

November 8, 2010

Pumpkin Orange Cranberry Muffins

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 11:53 am by onetinyacorn

I couldn’t decide between making pumpkin spice muffins or cranberry orange ones yesterday, so I decided to combine the two into one palate-pleasing dynamo. In the process, I took a delicious recipe and made it a bit healthier as well. My friend Liz is an expert at making very delicious, often healthy foods, so you should check out her blog, too. You won’t be sorry.

I modified the recipe for “The Best Pumpkin Muffins,” found in Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance thusly*:

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 cup pureed pumpkin
1/4 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon or so grated orange peel
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon molasses
1 cup fresh cranberries

* Note: this is the lowlander recipe. High-altitude friends, make the appropriate modifications for your altitude. You know what to do.

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease a twelve-muffin tin.

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. In a separate bowl, whisk together pumpkin, OJ, orange peel, milk, oils, and molasses. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and mix. Fold in cranberries.

Fill the muffin cups 2/3 full. Bake for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Keep away from cats, as they will eat these up if given a chance.

August 22, 2010

Rainbow Cupcakes

Posted in Look, Make tagged , , , at 8:09 pm by onetinyacorn

It’s no secret that I love rainbows, and I love baking. I’ve been wanting to make these rainbow cupcakes for a while now, and found the perfect excuse when we had guests stop by on their way to San Francisco.

Rainbow Cupcakes

I used the recipe found at Baking Bites, but I modified a few things:

1. I only used 2-3 drops of food coloring per color instead of the 1/2 teaspoon.

2. I added 1/4 teaspoon of almond extract to the batter (in addition to the vanilla).

3. Instead of buttermilk, which I didn’t have on hand, I combined 1/2 cup of milk and a tablespoon of vinegar in a glass cup and let it curdle for a few minutes.

4. I only got 9 cupcakes, instead of the stated 10. But the baking time remained 15 minutes.

I almost always halve frosting amounts; I just find giant towers of buttercream to be rather excessive (that’s not fat-conscientiousness talking–I ate a large slab of brie yesterday without remorse). So in lieu of their frosting recipe, I used:

2 tablespoons butter, room temperature

1 tablespoon milk

few drops of vanilla extract

approximately 1 cup of powdered sugar

Mix all together to a consistency and taste that you like.

August 18, 2009

Maple Butter Crispies!

Posted in Make tagged , , at 6:43 pm by onetinyacorn

Living at high altitude, one of the modifications that I’ve been instructed to make is to reduce the amount of sugar in baked goods–it keeps the structure more rigid that way. What I’ve come to realize is that there’s way too much sugar in everything. I’m a lady who loves her sugar, so believe me when I tell you that reducing each cup of sugar by 1/4 cup has not had any negative impact on my treats. I devised this recipe for a delicious, light-tasting cookie one night:

Ingredients

2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (softened)
3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2-4 tablespoons  milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon maple extract

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two cookie sheets.

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the first five ingredients (through the salt). Everyone says to sift dry ingredients. I almost never do this, and nothing horrible has ever happened. But if it makes you feel like more of a pro, knock yourself out.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar together. Toss in the rest of the wet ingredients, and mix.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing after each addition.
  4. Cover dough with plastic or glass, and refrigerate for an hour or so.
  5. Roll out dough on a lightly floured surface, about 1/8-1/4 inch. Cut out with awesome cookie cutters, and transfer to cookie sheets. Leave an inch of space between cookies.

Bake until lightly browned at edges, approximately 10 minutes.

After allowing to cool, you could decorate with icing. I ate them plain, and loved them.

Om nom nom

Om nom nom

June 17, 2009

Raspberry-Orange Pancakes with Banana-Pear Topping

Posted in Make tagged , , at 1:41 pm by onetinyacorn

When I think of the weekends I spent as a child, what comes to mind are pancakes, cartoons, and PBS. It was a common occurrence on Sundays to be treated to a mighty stack of delectable flapjacks, then settle in for an afternoon of The Woodwright’s Shop. While my abilities to use a lathe remain untested, I’ve definitely inherited a love for pancakes. This is a recipe I invented last Saturday morning.

Begin the topping first, so that the simmering allows it to thicken while you’re making the pancakes.

Banana-Pear Topping

2 firm but ripe pears, diced

1 banana, sliced

1/2 cup orange juice or so (could be more–I didn’t measure)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ginger

1/4 teaspoon cardamom

1/8 teaspoon allspice

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Mix all liquid ingredients and spices in a medium bowl, until the maple syrup is well-incorporated. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the diced pears, then pour the liquid mixture over them. Allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid is thickened (right before serving, add the sliced banana). Meanwhile, start making the pancakes:

Pancakes

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cup whole wheat flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg, beaten

1 cup buttermilk (if you don’t have buttermilk, you can mix milk with a few tablespoons of yogurt together, or 1 cup milk and a teaspoon or so of vinegar or lemon juice. Let sit for a few minutes to coagulate).

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon grated orange zest

1 cup raspberries

In a large bowl, mix together all dry ingredients. In a medium bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture, and stir just until moistened. Add in the raspberries, and fold gently.

In a medium skillet over medium-high heat, add a tablespoon or so of oil to the pan to coat the bottom. I used about 1/2 cup of batter per pancake, but you can make them as big or as small as you dare. You’ll want to flip them when the outer edges start to look a bit cooked, and the batter is bubbling.

When golden-colored, remove and add the banana-pear topping, which should be thickened by now.

Yields: 6 large-ish pancakes.

Would you like some paaaancakes?

February 22, 2009

Green Tea Cupcakes

Posted in Make tagged , , , , at 7:41 pm by onetinyacorn

Every time I make these, at least three people ask me for the recipe. They’re my favorite cupcake recipe, with a moist crumb, and a delightful medley of almond and  green tea flavors. As cupcakes go, this is a fairly innocuous recipe, health-wise. You could even substitute half of the oil with applesauce, although that creates a slightly rubbery texture. This is the original vegan recipe, although you can substitute non-vegan ingredients and everything works out just fine.

Matcha powder  is simply green tea, ground to a silky consistency. It can be found in any pan-Asian grocery store (such as Lotus in the Strip district here in Pittsburgh). It is a little pricey, but it goes a really long way.

greenteacupcakes

Green Tea Cupcakes (from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World, by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line muffin tins (or grease them with a tiny bit of oil).

The Cupcakes

In a large bowl, whisk together:

½ cup soy yogurt
2/3 cup rice milk (soy milk works well, too)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
½ teaspoon almond extract

Beat well to blend in yogurt.
In a separate large bowl, sift together:

1 ¼ cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3-4 teaspoons matcha powder
¼ teaspoon salt
¾  cup sugar

Add the dry ingredients to the wet in two batches, mixing after each addition. Beat a little longer to break up any large lumps.
Fill liners 2/3 full and bake 20 min.

Green Tea Glaze

2 tablespoons  margarine (I use butter, as a non-vegan. If you are a vegan, I like Earth Balance brand)
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/8-1/4 teaspoon matcha powder
1-2 tablespoons rice milk
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
a few drops of vanilla extract

With a fork, beat butter or margarine to a fluff. Mix in confectioners’ sugar and matcha powder to form a crumbly texture. Slowly beat in 1 tablespoon rice milk, almond extract, and vanilla extract. If icing is too thick, pour in an additional teaspoon of rice milk.

Marzipan Flowers (optional)

I tend to skip this step, unless I’m making these for special occasions, simply because it’s a bit time-consuming. They are quite pretty, though. This recipe does not come from the cookbook, but from my head:

3/4 cup almonds, blanched (buying them pre-blanched will save you quite a bit of time)
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 drop red food coloring
few drops of water, if necessary

Toss the almonds and confectioners’ sugar into a food processor and process away! The goal is to grind those almonds into a fine powder–or as close to a powder as you can get them. Otherwise, your marzipan will be grainy. Toss in the wet ingredients, except for the water, and process again. You’ll want a dough-like substance to form–something resembling cookie dough, except maybe a bit dryer. If a dough is not forming, add a few drops of water at a time.

When you get the right consistency, spread out your marzipan on a countertop that has been lightly dusted with confectioners’ sugar. You can use either a small cookie cutter (1-2 inches in diameter), or a knife to create your flowers. You might want to try cutting out individual petals, then pressing five petals together to form a flower.

To Assemble

Once the cupcakes are completely cooled, use a tablespoon to pour green tea glaze into the center of each cupcake. Spread out a bit with the back of the spoon. Gently place marzipan flowers on top of the glaze. Let glaze set before serving.

December 18, 2008

Rumnog Pecan Cookies

Posted in Make tagged , , at 4:45 pm by onetinyacorn

These are incredible! Everyone commented on them–due to the strong presence of the nutmeg, they really are reminiscent of eggnog. The pecans and rum impart a wonderful flavor as well. Mine did not end up puffy, as the recipe states–instead, they had a wonderful chewy center, with crispy edges. I also left them unfrosted, since I didn’t think that they could be improved upon.

Rumnog Pecan Cookies

from “Veganomicon: The Ultimate Vegan Cookbook,” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romero (Marlowe, 2007).

Makes approximately 24 cookies

Ingredients:

For the cookies

  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/4 cup soy or rice milk
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg, plus more for garnish (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups coarsely chopped pecans

For the icing

  • 2 tablespoons nonhydrogenated vegan margarine, at room temperature
  • 2 cups confectioners’ sugar, plus more as needed
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk, soy creamer or rice milk
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Colored sugar sprinkles, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

Position an oven rack in the middle of the oven; preheat to 350 degrees. Grease 2 baking sheets.

For the cookies: Combine the oil, soy or rice milk, sugar, molasses, rum and vanilla extract in a large mixing bowl. Sift in the flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda, spices and salt. Mix until a soft dough forms.

Place the chopped pecans on a flat plate or piece of wax paper on a work surface. Roll the dough into walnut-size balls (about 1 heaping tablespoon) and then roll them in the nuts; if the dough is a little too soft to roll, drop the balls one at a time onto the nuts and then roll (the dough will firm up slightly as it sits). Place the balls 2 inches apart on the baking sheets; bake 1 sheet at a time for about 10 to 14 minutes or until the cookies have puffed a bit and do not look raw. Let the cookies cool on the sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

For the icing: Beat the margarine at medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer for 3 minutes, until it is smooth and creamy. Stop the motor and add the confectioners’ sugar; use a fork to combine. On low speed, add the soy milk, soy creamer or rice milk, the rum and the vanilla extract; increase the speed to medium or medium-high and beat until the consistency of buttercream frosting is achieved. Spread 1 teaspoon or more of icing on each cooled cookie; sprinkle with nutmeg or colored sprinkles, if desired. Allow the icing to become firm before storing the cookies.

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