Banana Cinnamon Bun Coffee Cake

Some things just call out your name. Sometimes it’s books that you can’t stop talking about, or clothes, that you just have to buy. And sometimes, it is all about recipes that you have to try out. You can actually imagine the way it would taste, the way it would smell, and you can’t rest, unless you’ve given it a try.

I cam across a recipe like this yesterday. It just called out to me. Banana Cinnamon Bun Coffee Cake. While I love baking breads, it gets difficult to fit it in my schedule. Especially these days when the moment daughter is out of the door, I have loads of work that I have to do. This recipe called for yeast, but not as much waiting time. And that made all the difference. Plus the flavours – banana and cinnamon – perfect combination of flavours. The recipe called for nutmeg, which I did not have at home, and was too lazy to buy, so I just made it without, and it’s absolutely perfect! The aroma flooded the kitchen while it was being baked, and what a gorgeous, gorgeous combination it was!

And yes, I had another reason to bake this cake. I hadn’t baked for ages, absolutely ages, you see. This recipe called for a 9 inch pan, of which I had a brand new one, sitting unused since it was bought over a year ago. What better excuse to use it, yes?

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The recipe calls for the cake to cook for 30 minutes before cutting it. That, I have to say was the most difficult part. Daughter would not let me wait. She had to get a slice of it as soon as possible. She’s taken a slice to school. I normally do not pack cakes or biscuits for snack time. I try to keep it as healthy as possible. But today, she just so wanted it, that I could not say a ‘no’ 🙂

So here’s the recipe that I followed. I made a few(very few changes), amd a few mistakes.

Ingredients

For the Dough
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
4 tsp active dry or rapid rise yeast
1/4 cup warm milk (100-110F; low fat is fine)
2 medium bananas mashed up
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg

For the filling
3 tbsp butter, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 170 C.
Lightly grease and flour a 9 inch pan. I did not have parchment paper, so just greased and floured it.
In a mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients
Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk and wait for it to froth.
Once the yeast is foamy, add the yeast, mashed bananas, eggs, vanilla and the oil to the flour mixture and combine well until smooth.
Pour the dough into the prepared pan, and let it rest for 15 minutes.
In the meanwhile, mix the ingredients for the topping, with a fork, until it is a crumbly mixture.
Sprinkle the mixture on top of the dough, and run a spatula or a fork to distribute it through.
Let the dough rise for about 20 minutes. (I let it rise for longer, I had to run out for an errand, and it rose for almost 40 minutes, and I think that made all the topping sink)
Bake for around 30 minutes, until golden brown at the edges and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Let it cool for about 30 minutes, which I tell you, is the most difficult part. If you can’t wait, just dig in, as soon as it is cool enough to cut 🙂 It still tastes great 🙂 And next time, I might try adding some pecans to the topping.

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Paneer Pinwheels – Recipe Variation

As I had promised, I did try to make Paneer pinwheels with wholemeal flour – atta. I only had multigrain atta, so I just used it, but I am sure even the regular flour should be fine.

Here’s how it turned out.

The taste – it was different, but nice different. The pastry was crisp, not flaky. More like Bhakarwadi rather than puff pastry- but that was to be expected. For me, I might use this method more as it is far healthier than the puff pastry. And it tasted just as delicious on the whole. And easier to rustle up. Just use chappathi atta!

I had planned to make a stiffer dough, but ended up with softer dough. I was too lazy to correct it, so went ahead and made it. Thankfully, it still turned out delicious! It was a little more delicate to handle, but a few minutes in the fridge was enough to sort that out.

Ingredients

For the pastry

Whole meal flour – I cup( I tried with scaled down ingredients)

Water – to knead- I did not measure, I’m afraid

salt to taste

For the mixture. I used the same amounts as I used for the earlier version. Just made stuffed paranthas with the remaining mixture.

Paneer – One store bought block- 9oz approximately

Oil – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/4 tsp

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp or to taste

Chat Masala – 1/2 tsp

Amchoor – 1/4 tsp

Salt – as per taste

Corainder leaves – a handful, chopped

Green chutney – Enough to spread lightly on the pastry.

For the pastry, combine the flour, water and salt and knead well until it comes together in a nice firm dough. Mine went a little softer than I wanted it, but it did not really matter much in the end.

In a little oil, lightly saute the paneer with all the ingredients mentioned. This time, I just added the green chutney to the mixture – laziness, that is me! Keep aside for to cool down.

Roll out the dough. Brush a tiny amount of oil, fold it and roll it out again. I used very little oil, but I am sure a little more oil would taste better. I did this about 3 times. Had my dough been stiffer, I could created more layers. Once the layers were done, spread the paneer mixture evenly, and roll it up, firmly but gently. Seal the ends with a little water.

I had to put mine in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes before cutting the roll into equal sized pieces, Place them on a greased baking tray and bake them for about 15 minutes at 400 deg F or until golden.

Paneer Pinwheels

That is what this was supposed to be. Paneer Pinwheels. And since so many of you have asked me for it, I have to write out the recipe.

I had planned to make this ever since I saw the recipe on showmethecurry.com. I wanted a large enough gathering to feed, because I did not want to be scoffing all of them myself, you see. Daughter’s birthday party seemed perfect – loads of guinea pigs to be experimented on.

I made one batch on saturday evening to check if it were doable. I followed the recipe with a few changes of my own.

Ingredients

Puff Pastry sheet –  392 gms. There was one sheet in the pack. I used the chilled variety, so did not need to thaw it out. Just used it directly.

Paneer – One store bought block- 9oz approximately

Oil – 1 tsp

Turmeric – 1/4 tsp

Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp or to taste

Chat Masala – 1/2 tsp

Amchoor – 1/4 tsp

Salt – as per taste

Corainder leaves – a handful, chopped

Green chutney – I had some on hand and decided to use it.

Grate/crumble the paneer. I grated it. Mix everything together except the oil.

Heat a pan, and stir fry the mixture in the oil, for about a minute, until all the masalas are well combined. Remove from heat.

Roll out the pastry sheet a bit, after dusting the surface with a little all purpose flour.

Spread the chutney, a very thin layer to avoid making the pastry sheet soggy.

Spread the entire paneer mixture over the whole pastry sheet.

Roll the pastry sheet gently, but firmly until you have a nice firm log. Use a little water to seal the end of the sheet firmly. I popped the prepared log into the freezer for a few minutes before cutting it up into equal sized slices, and baked them for about 15 minutes at 400 deg F. You need to keep checking it. Remove once nice and golden.

Let it cool, and bite in 🙂

Tips:

I made the first batch with puff pastry block, instead of sheets, and while the taste was just as good, it was more labor intensive. Sheets were much easier.

You could also use other stuffings, although I haven’t tried it yet. Do let me know if you guys try it with other stuffings.

The Basic Cookie/Biscuit Recipe

CR asked me to share the recipe of the cookies that I put up yesterday. That made me realize that it has been ages since I put up recipes here. Also, I realized today as I prepared some snacks for my friend and her kids who came over this afternoon that I seem to have forgetten some tried and tested recipes, so much so that I haven’t made some of my favourite dishes for almost 2 years now! Now that needs to be remedied, doesn’t it?

So remedying happened. I baked a pineapple upside down cake today, and it is almost over 🙂 *Picture me with a wide grin, showing off the crumbs*  Nothing makes me happier than if my food is polished off, because it hardly ever happens to me 😦 I always, always have extra. Especially when I have guests over. Husband claims that I cook for an army – and then force him to eat it till it gets over. So when everything gets polished off, I can’t help but beam with happiness 🙂 Of course, it might just mean that I cooked just enough, but then we don’t want to face that possible fact, do we 🙂

Let me tell you about the cookie recipe before I ramble on and on. On Sunday, Poohi wanted to bake heart shaped cookies, to ‘celebrate’ Valentine’s day before Husband went away on work. It was Sunday evening, and I wanted a fuss free, with minimal ingredients, an easy to make cookie recipe. So I began searching the internet. Although I have to admit, that if I went with the first recipe I landed with, I might have still managed to make it in the same time that I finally made them(the added search time certainly adds to it, doesn’t it?), but that did not cross my mind then. You see, I spend a lot of time reading the comments too. A recipe without comments, I don’t normally try – I don’t want to be the first one taking a risk, you see. Also the comments give you a fair idea about how effective the recipe is. Another thing I have realized while doing my research is how much my personal baking style has changed. Earlier I used to go by the recipe completely. I remember watching a Nigella Lawson programme on TV, where she mentioned that baking is a very exact science – and I totally took it to heart. Now however, I seem to have figured out what I can play around with, and what I can’t. So if I don’t have a particular ingredient, I find a substitute, or might even omit it, if I feel that it will not hamper the final results.

So finally I settled on this recipe from allrecipes.co.uk. Simple, with just three ingredients and the comments sounded like people had given it a shot and were happy. CR, I’m sure you will agree that it is simple enough 🙂

I stuck to the recipe, apart from minor variations(thanks to running out of essential ingredients).

  • 225g butter, softened(I used about 200 gms)
  • 110g caster sugar(I used about 90 gms)
  • 275g plain flour

1. Preheat the oven to 180 C/Gas mark 4

2. Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy and pale.

3. Sift in the flour and bring the mixture together to form a dough.

Roll out the dough and cut out the shapes, if using cookie cutters. For the teddy bear cookies, shape the dough into the shapes, stick them together(the dough holds quite well), stick a ice cream stick into it, or just leave them  as is. Daughter wanted to make some teapot ones, and star shaped ones, but I did not have the time(or the patience, if I am honest), so we shelved those to the next time 🙂

Apparently we could add different flavours by different substitutions. The website lists out the possible variations – and they certainly look interesting. The only variation I tried was adding some salt to see if I can replicate the sweet and salty cookies from husband’s childhood memories. And that worked. Next time, I plan to try the same recipe with wholemeal flour to see it works as well.

With the half term on, I seem to be cooking a lot more ‘interesting’ recipes. Leaving you with what we feasted on today 🙂 The picture of the cake did not come out well – I took it in a hurry, and by the time I realized how bad the pictures were, I only had crumbs left 😦

If anybody is interested in the cake recipe, I followed the recipe from here. I had to use soft, dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar in the toppings, because I realized too late that I did not have have light brown sugar. This gave my cake a darker, more caramelized look and flavour – which was still delicious! I also added about 4 tablespoons of pineapple juice instead of the two mentioned in the recipe. Other wise I followed the recipe completely.

The search for the perfect chewy cookie recipe…

.. has not ended yet, but it sure does throw up some delicious results.

On our weekly shopping trips, if husband happens to be with me, he gets pulled magically to the bakery section loaded with delicious, chewy American cookies. While I lust after the delicious cream cakes and cheesecakes, husband can’t have enough of cookies.   He loves them.  And I would love nothing more than be able to bake them at home. And you guys know how much I love to bake 🙂

So I have been searching, and searching, but have never been able to replicate them to make them as delicious and chewy as the ones in the store. After much searching and researching, I decided to try this recipe. Well, they did not turn out as chewy as I would have liked, but I cannot complain because both husband and daughter loved it. And I have enough to share, so they go with us to the dance class this evening 🙂 See, my clever ways of ensuring that they don’t end up on my hips 😉

The cookie dough – I added white and dark chocolate chips – instead of just dark chocolate chips as mentioned in the recipe. I thought it looks prettier that way.

And here they are ready to go into the oven

And finally out of the oven! Don’t they look lovely?

So who’s joining me for tea?

The recipe – is from Allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.
  4. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

The only thing I did differently was to add both white and dark chocolate chips.

Love at first bite

I don’t have much to say about love at first sight, but I can sure tell you about love at first bite – that happens – happens to me all the time!

One of the many things that I fallen in love with – at first bite is the brownie. The first time I came across brownies was during my first trip to the US. Needless to say, this love for brownies did result in a huge increase in my own weight, but that never deterred me from gobbling them down.

There is something about brownies that I love – the chewy, fudgy chocolatey taste. And what tastes better than a warm brownie served with vanilla ice-cream, topped with nuts and chocolate sauce? That is what I plan to serve to my guests tomorrow. And may I present to you, my first successful attempt at brownies?

I had tried making them a long time back, in Bangalore, when we had bought our first microwave cum conventional oven. Those days, no matter what I did, my brownies turned out more like biscottis. Although that never stopped my team from gobbling it all up – which was a huge relief for me. Somehow I never tried making them since. I have no idea why I never made them before.  Today, I was racking my brains trying to figure out what to make for dessert for dinner tomorrow, when I remembered brownies! So anybody care to share? Daughter has already QA’ed it for me and given her stamp of approval.

In case any of you are interested, the recipe from here. The only change that I made was to include pecans instead of the chocolate chips. You could add walnuts too – we just happen to prefer pecans.

Tuesday Treats – Chocolate Orange Muffins

Since so many of you asked for it, here is the recipe for the Chocolate Orange Muffins from the previous post.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I love the combination of chocolate and orange, and am forever looking to bake both into a cake(or muffins). I go around browsing for interesting recipes and reach all sorts of pages, and sometimes the recipes are absolutely wonderful. So when I came across this, I was delighted! I used the base recipe, and made a few modifications based on the comments at the recipe, and we loved the end result.

Chocolate Orange Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ounce chocolate chips
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup fat free yogurt
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lightly grease a 12 cup muffin pan, or line with paper liners(I use paper liners – the ready made ones we get at supermarkets).
  2. In a medium bowl, mix flour, chocolate chips, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, cream together margarine and sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs one at a time then stir in the orange zest, orange juice, and yogurt. Pour into the flour mixture, and mix just until evenly moist. Spoon batter into muffin cups.
  4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Let muffins cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.

I used the zest of 2 oranges because some of the comments said that the orange flavour was not strong with the amount mentioned in the original recipe. I had two oranges, so decided to use both. So you could probably vary the amount based on how strong an ‘orange’ flavour you want. I used yogurt instead of buttermilk, because I did not have any at home. And chocolate chips, because I was too lazy to grate chocolates as the original recipe demands.

Fresh from the oven

Care for some muffins?

Do let me know if you guys do try it at home. I want to try replacing all-purpose flour with wholemeal next, and then the margarine with oil.

This and that and a recipe.

You know what, when I started the NaBloPoMo, my worry had been that I would have nothing to post. Funnily, the more I write, the more ideas I get. Even if I do end up boring you guys to death.

The bigger problem I have been having is that I have no time to blog-hop or to reply to comments. And that is killing me. I just hate it that the time just flies. Add to that, with the BPL contest, I have come across some more wonderful blogs and more to read, and no time to do it. Unfair, don’t you think? Anyway, I do think that NaBloPoMo, is not for me, and this is probably the last time that I do it.

To make life easier for all you guys, who have been groaning about the number of posts clogging the reader, let me post a recipe today.

I have a morbid fear of oily things. Not that I don’t eat them. I do, and then I feel horribly guilty. But one thing I draw a line at , is making them myself. I go to ridiculous heights to avoid frying things. I bake just about everything I can and whatever cannot be baked, does not get made in my kitchen.  So here is my version of baked Sabudana vadas/cutlets. Easy-Peasy, as Poohi says and delicious too – certified by husband. Just so that you know, most of the things I make, do not pass his certification process.

Baked Sabudana Vadas

Ingredients

1 cup sabudana – soaked – I soak it for around 6 hours – but even 3 hours should be good enough
2 medium potatoes – boiled
3-4 green chillies – as per taste
1 cup peanuts – roasted and coarsely ground
1/2 inch grated ginger
salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice – or as per taste. You can also use amchur powder, if you prefer that.
chopped coriander- optional
Method
Mash the potatoes, add the rest of the ingredients and mix them well.
Shape into vadas.
Grease a baking sheet or tray with oil and place the vadas on it. Spray the top of the vadas with cooking oil spray or simply brush with some oil.
Bake until golden brown at 400 deg for around 20 mins or until golden brown, turning over midway through the process.

How to make a princess cake

I have been asked this by several people after seeing the cake that I made for my daughter, and I am so delighted to say that it was simpler than I thought. Here is the step by step methodology.

Here is the cake I made.

And here’s what I did.  I found this video on Youtube, which was very comprehensive by itself.

They recommend using 2 8 inch cakes and one cake made in a mixing bowl using cake mixes. Now, I have never used cake mixes, so was not really sure if I wanted to start now.  And I had also picked up a princess cake mould, from a local specialty cake store. It is available on ebay and on Amazon, I think. And if you don’t want to buy, you could always use a glass mixing bowl. If you don’t want to use the mixing bowl, you could just bake 2 more 8 inch cakes and simple shape it to look like a skirt.

Now the next step to decide was what cake to make. I researched and found that for cakes like this, madeira cakes are the best to use. I experimented once and found my cakes turning out rather dry. After a lot of research, I chanced upon this blog –   which has several recommendations to make a moist madeira cake and mine did turn out moist. It was not perfectly leveled, but that was not too difficult to handle. I just leveled it off.

I made one 8 inch cake based on this recipe. I made another 7 inch cake, because the base of my princess mold was 7 inches based on another recipe – simply because I was too lazy to do the calculations to modify the first recipe to suit a 7 inch tin. I did incorporate all the tips that Lindy’s blog has recommended like using glycerine and lining the cake tins. One of the tips, that I can certainly recommend, is to go by the size of tin mentioned in the recipe. Using a different size tin may cause problems. If you do want to use a different size, it is important to scale down/up the ingredients accordingly.

And my final barbie/princess cake was made using the first recipe mentioned. I made all these cakes in advance as these cakes are supposed to get better after a few days. After the cakes were completely cooled down, I wrapped them in 2 layers on cling film and a couple of layers of aluminium foil and stored them. The night before the cake was to be assembled, I took them out, leveled the cakes, cut them out, using a cake leveler, and then wrapped them as mentioned before and popped them into the freezer.

Just before preparing the frosting, I took the cakes out and let them thaw.

Now for the frosting. This was what was giving me nightmares. I had never decorated for a party before. And I was terrified of making a mess. I was also confused between which type of frosting to use. I prefer buttercream as it tastes better, but fondant frosting looks better. Finally, I decided to go with buttercream. I had bought some ready to roll fondant, to experiment with, in case I felt like it.

Buttercream frosting recipe.

There are loads of recipes for buttercream frosting. Most of them use shortening. I was not able to lay my hands on shortening, so decided to go with butter. Here is the recipe I used. If you can get shortening where you are, apparently, it is better.

Ingredients

140g/5oz butter, softened
280g/10oz icing sugar
1-2 tbsp milk
few drops food colouring

Method

1. Beat the butter in a large bowl until soft. Add half of the icing sugar and beat until smooth.
2. Add the remaining icing sugar and one tablespoon of the milk and beat the mixture until creamy and smooth. Beat in the milk, if necessary, to loosen the mixture.
3. Stir in the food colouring until well combined.

The method of frosting that I used is the one demonstrated in the video. I started with a crumb coat. The one thing I did not do was pop it into the freezer after the crumb coat. My freezer was not big enough. I just left it out for about 0 minutes before applying the next coat. And after the final coat was done, I smoothed it out, as was demonstrated in the video. Mine was not half as smooth – but am sure we can get there with practice. My next dilemma was about what to do next. I found making twirls on the icing was not as easy as she made it look. So I just went ahead and smoothed it all out. And then decided to give fondant a go. So I cut out triangles to look like flounces on the skirt and just layered it around her waist. and decorated with white icing flowers that I found in a supermarket.  And that was it. It still took me around 5 hours in all, to assemble the cake. But it was simpler than I thought. I had planned to pipe decorations on it, but I had no energy left at the end of it.I used fondant to make the top part of the princess’ dress. It was not very neat, but as I said, I was too tired to do more 🙂 I put the fondant dress on her before putting her into the cake.

If you need more inspiration. Do check out these sites. I spent hours on the internet checking out stuff.

http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com/barbie-cake.html. Some of the cakes are absolutely out of the world.

And if you don’t want such a big cake – I had lots of guests , so wanted to make sure that everybody gets a piece, you could use a miniature doll and just use on 7 inch cake and shape it like a skirt. There are so many ways of playing around with it 🙂

And do let me know if you do make one 🙂 I think I had as much fun making it as my daughter had on seeing it 🙂

Come join me for tea..

and help yourself to some banana bread 🙂

Don’t worry – it is a low fat one and I am so delighted with it that I have even had a slice for breakfast 🙂 I am normally, never modify cake recipes unless others who have made the cake suggest modifications. This time, however, I took a chance and experiemented. You see, I was keeping away from baking after all the holiday weight I had put on. Yesterday however, in order to keep Poohi entertained, I made a rather rash promise that we would bake a cake – and she ensured that I did not break my promise- try as I might. So if I had to bake, I decided to bake something low-fat and guilt-free( or atleast less guilty).  And here is the recipe in case any of you are interested. I got the recipe from here, but made the following modifications.

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spoon flour gently into measuring cups and level with a knife. Stir flour, baking soda and salt together in a medium bowl. Put aside. Place sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat at low speed with a mixer until well blended. Add one egg at a time and blend well after each one. Add in mashed banana, yogurt and vanilla extract, beat until blended. Add flour mixture and blend until just moist. Do not over-mix. Spray an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Pour batter into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). Remove from pan after 10 minutes or so and cool on a wire rack.