Saturday, April 21, 2012

Easy Brownies with Almond Nibs

My ex student called up saying she was coming over with a friend of hers. I had only just arrived from KL at that time and was not feeling too well. I went to the kitchen and took out the butter and left it on the counter. I needed a nap before I can start anything. I thought of baking a marble cake since the ingedients are all available in the kitchen. But after my nap,I decided to make brownies instead. And as usual, I seldom make 1 recipe twice. And after recipe-hunting for a while I chose this recipe.
Seems easy. And I always check the reviews first for any recipe I try. And this has good credits to it.
Lets check out the ingrdients first without any further delay.

1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup self-rising flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)- I used almond nibs


1.Preheat oven to 175 C.
2.Grease and flour an 8x8 or 9x9 inch baking pan.
3.In a medium bowl, beat together the butter and sugar.
4.Add eggs, and mix well.
5.Combine the flour, cocoa and salt; stir into the sugar mixture.
6.Mix in the vanilla and stir in walnuts if desired. Spread evenly into the prepared pan.
7.Bake for 25 to 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are firm. Cool before cutting into squares.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Chocolate-Almond Upside-Down Cake - My Stress Reliever Today

Juma'ah Mubarakah everyone! How are you guys feeling today?

I'm in a baking mood. This time I'm baking not because Tasnim my ex student is coming over, nor is it because when I opened my fridge this morning I saw half a packet of sliced almonds that was screaming for me to use it. But I'm baking today as a stress therapy. And why do I feel stressed you might ask?
Well... I can't help feeling a bit hurt that some people never feel satisfied that they're taking what is ours that they want to take and take and take any chance the can. I can't voice it out.
But I can bake... So here it is!
I've made this once before but I've learnt my lesson not to put it in one one those baking pans with a loose bottom( dunno what its called ).Its a Martha Stewart recipe so it works well.

For The Caramel Topping
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for pan
3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1 1/4 cups sliced or slivered almonds, lightly toasted

For The Cake
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self rising)-I used all purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder,
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt-I ommitted this since my butter was already salty
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened-I used Buttercup which is salty
1 1/2 cups sugar-I only put 1 1/4 cups
3 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk- I used 1 tbsp of vinegar and added up fresh milk to measure 1 cup.Leave it to stand for 10 minutes
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Prepare the topping: Generously butter a 10-inch round nonstick cake pan. Pour 6 tablespoons melted butter into the cake pan and swirl to coat the bottom; sprinkle in brown sugar. Drizzle honey over sugar and sprinkle evenly with almonds.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3. Prepare the cake: Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt together three times to make the cake extra light.
4. Place butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and beat until smooth and fluffy. Add sugar and continue mixing. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Continue beating until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
5. With the mixer running on low speed, add a third of the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Add half the buttermilk and continue mixing. Add another third of the dry ingredients, mix, and add remaining buttermilk and vanilla. Add remaining dry ingredients and mix until smooth. Pour the batter into the pan.
6. Bake until set in the center and springy, 45 to 55 minutes. Run a knife around the edge of the pan and immediately invert the pan onto a serving platter. Let it sit with the pan still on top for 5 minutes so the caramel can soak into the cake a bit, before removing the pan.
7. If the topping is sticking to the pan, warm the pan surface over a low burner to loosen the caramel and then pour it over the cake. Let cool completely. Cut into wedges with a serrated knife.
Just lovely and delicious too.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Banana Bread

I was kinda upset today over a few things...a few people.I dunno why but I get extra sensitive with people I love and care.I was in such a bitter mood.Just felt like getting in a fight with somebody.But of course that is totally a 'no-no'.So I diverted the bitter mood I was in into something productive.What is better than bakin?Hahaha.
I had 3 over riped bananas that had been screaming so that I do something with it.I've tried so many banana cake and banana muffins recipes before so I thought I'd try a banana bread recipe this time around.Went through a few recipes and chose this one.It had a video so that made it mush easier.

1 cup walnuts or pecans toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)-I omitted this since I didn't have any
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup  granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled-I used Buttercup which is obviously salted
3 ripe large bananas  mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C and place oven rack to middle position. 
2. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of a 9 x 5 x 3 inch (23 x 13 x 8 cm) loaf pan. Set aside.

3. Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.  
4. In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.
5. In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. 
6. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) 
7. Scrape batter into prepared pan. 
8. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to60 minutes. 
9. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature. 
10.This bread can be frozen.
Left to cool.
The cinnamon gives a nice taste to it.And coming inside a house baking this bread is just totally awesome!