I am guilty every now and then of not eating the bananas on purpose… there they sit on the counter top – ready to jump into my cereal bowl, top a peanut butter and honey sandwich, or talk me into a little bowl of ice cream. I let them get those nice brown sweet spots, those great little brown spots of goodness… spots that mean banana bread, banana cake, banana stuffed french toast…. all kinds of banana yummies. Because with those bananas come some pretty endless possibilities.
And I am very happy I let those little suckers sit. (Now, I will admit, that once my husband tried to throw my sweet sweet brown skinned babies away! But I stopped him and baked them very quickly into a tasty loaf of bread before he complained of the “whole apartment” smelling of banana.”)
You see… its been a very busy busy couple of months. And some sweet friends had a very very precious little Olivia. And for having the said Olivia I promised a wonderfully baked treat. And it took me a little longer to bake up a treat than originally planned — but I don’t think the sweet new parents cared when I delivered a box of freshly baked goodies… with one of new Dad’s favorite things… coffee.
You see, John likes coffee a lot… I mean a lot a lot… like, borderline too much. (And yes, his is on the extreme side of that line.) So how perfect is a little espresso in a little muffin action? Especially when paired with two of my favorite things, banana and chocolate.
So enjoy… and just a note, I’m posting the original recipe, but I may have had a little extra banana in that batter, and trust me, it was not a bad thing.
Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe courtesy of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
1-1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk, and egg. In another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir just until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.
Fill each cup about 3/4 full. Bake in the center of the oven for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack. Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.
Yield: 12 muffins (I got 16)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4tbs cup melted butter
1 cup whole milk
Remember the song/chant from way back when…
“The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire…”
Well tonight we had a little fire experience of our own. Its funny and scary and emotional sometimes when accidents happen, when you accidentally start a kitchen fire and your pan is actually sustaining a very tall flame right in front of you. Its at those moments that you think – “Oh crap… this is actually happening, oh man, now what do I do? I can’t believe that this is actually happening.” Luckily Ryan had gotten home minutes before and in our loss for sane thought and our stupid bravery, Ryan carried the flaming pan outside of the apartment, put it down on the pavement, and I followed with a Brita pitcher full of filtered water that we doused the flames in.
It was after we got back inside that Ryan said, “Aren’t you supposed put out grease fires with baking soda?” So after thinking about it and thinking… yes, I believe so…. I did what every person in this day and age would do… I googled it. And the two biggest things the instructions say are to NOT carry the fire outside and to NOT use water. Oops. Well, it worked out for us this time.
However, after a monumental fire oopsie in the kitchen I continued fixing dinner, little steaks, steamed asparagus, and a psta in a cream sauce. And let me tell you, the fire was only a foreshadowing of what was to come. The steaks were well seasoned but super tough and chewy, the pasta was undercooked, the asparagus was fine, but not phenomenal. So tonight’s dinner was a massive kitchen FAIL.
So to make up for the fail, we ate pie for dinner. And Ryan sat there laughing and consoling me at the same time saying… “Its okay, you normally have all successes… its bound to happen every now and then…”
All of this to say… I have a lot practice to get to in the kitchen. My pie making skills have improved exponentially over the years, but my savory entrees are still needing some help.
But don’t worry, give me a few years, we’ll see what happens.
I know it has been too long since a new post… but life over here has been very crazy and very busy lately, and those two deprive me of much time to sleep or bake. (Both of which are important.) But that is okay… because I get a nice little mini break from a little bit of the craziness this week. So this weekend we went out and had fun. Especially Saturday night, when Denton’s NX35 had a FREE Flaming Lips concert! Which was way fun. It was colder out than we expected, but it was fun. So while waiting for the band to start we were sitting on the blanket with friends when I realized I would have a little time today to make something yummy. So I started to ask… what would you like for me to bake tomorrow? And Ryan, without missing a beat, replied “I would like an apple pie. Please.” And so that is what we have today. It took me awhile to remember the last time I made a true apple pie. And I can’t honestly remember making one… now, I have tried apple tarts, apple crumbles, apple cake, apple bread, all kinds of apple-y goodness, but I’m not sure I’ve ever just made an honest to God true American apple pie. So here it is… and let me tell you… I like apple pie. Why haven’t I been baking these babies more often? I mean.. you go apple pie. You hit the spot. And you know what I like about the apple pie? Its not too hard, and it is so rewarding. Watching that thing bake up all nice and golden brown and bubbly… what is not to love about it? And I have to say, yummy. Yummy. Really yummy… especially topped with a little bit of fresh whipped cream and vanilla bean caramel. Really, a great way to end such a great weekend.
3 pounds baking apples (I used granny smith) peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 in thick slices
1/4c all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbs fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp unsalted butter
For the top of the crust:
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp heavy whipping cream
Fine sanding sugar (for sprinkling)
For the toppings:
Make the Pate Brise according to recipe, and you will need both discs – one for the top, one for the bottom. While the discs are chilling, make the filling. In a large mixing bowl combine all filling ingredients except for the butter. Take out your chilled pie dough discs and roll out to 1/8 inch thick (at least 13″ in diameter) and press into a 9″ glass pie plate. Put filling into the pie plate over the dough and dot with the butter. Place the second dough round over the pie. Trim the crust overhang to an inch, press to seal, then fold under and crimp edges. Make several 3″ slits in the top of the crust. Refrigerate pie for 20 min. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Whisk egg yolk and heavy cream together, brush over top crust. Sprinkle with sanding sugar. Place in the oven. Bake for 10 min and and reduce to 375. Continue baking until bottom and top crusts are golden and juices are bubbling in center, 70-85 min. Tent pie with foil if browning too quickly.
To cool; transfer pan to a wire rack, let cool completely, at least 4 hours. Store pie at room temperature, do not refrigerate, which makes crust soggy.
I have a small problem to admit to you… I love food – I mean, I really really love food. I start to get really excited when I talk about it – sometimes there is a loss for words, or I might start talking too quickly, and there is almost always blushing and my hands covering my face. I don’t know a lot of people that just get so dang excited about something covered in butter and sugar. So today I bring you a new something to continue feeding the addiction – vanilla bean caramel sauce.
Now, this sauce is ah-mazing. I mean really – there is that caramel sauce that people make with melted caramel candies, the stuff that comes in a packet, the stuff that comes in a tub by the apples… but this is a perfect something to drizzle over… well I will drizzle it over anything, well, everything. And lets be honest, I pretty much don’t even make it to the drizzle stage – I enjoy it by the spoonful straight out of the jar… oh my Lord… I have a problem.
Luckily for me, the 5:45am spin classes I take everyday fix that problem.
So, please, make this, drizzle if you so choose, but try a truly delicious, buttery, smooth caramel sauce, you won’t regret it.
Vanilla Bean Caramel Sauce
Makes 1 1/4 cups
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup light corn syrup
3/4 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 a vanilla bean
1 tbsp fleur de sel
Heat 3/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water, and 1/4 cup light corn syrup in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves, 3 to 4 minutes. Bring to a boil, and cook, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming, until medium amber, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and add 3/4 cup heavy cream. Return to heat. Cook, stirring, until combined. Remove from heat, and stir in 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, vanilla bean, and fleur de sel. Let stand for 15 minutes. Strain.