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.

Baking Experiment – Cookies and Cream Cheesecake

At the end of some days, you feel totally satisfied. Happy. Today is one such day. A day when I am entirely exhausted, but which was also amazingly productive. Productive, as in, I managed to pack in quite a bit.

We had planned a play date with one of daughter’s friends’ from school. Yesterday, we discussed and decided to meet at our place for lunch, let the children play for a bit, and then go to watch ‘Mirror Mirror’. I had another friend coming over in the evening after we got back as well. So I decided to bake a cheesecake – which has been on my  ‘to-do’ list for ages. I try to bake only when I have company, can’t really afford to eat it all up by myself, can I?

I had come across this Cookies and Cream Cheesecake on one of my food blog hops. Food bloggers, I tell you – they single-handedly contribute to more that 75% of my weight gain. How on earth can one resist trying out the delicious things they put up? Even worse when the recipes seem so easy and oh so delicious! I’ve loved cheesecakes, for like forever! And this recipe seemed made for me!  Ever since I had seen the recipe, I have, been dreaming about it. I had even picked up a massive pack of Oreos from Costco. It was a cake waiting to be made. What better time that when you have guinea pigs over 🙂

And here is how it turned out!

Not the greatest looker, but I only have myself to blame for it. Not the kind of picture that any self-respecting food blogger would showcase -but then, I am no food blogger, am I? Just a blogger who also likes to write about food 🙂

I tried to follow the recipe perfectly, but got distracted somewhere and ended up with an extra 1 oz of cream. The cream I used was reduced fat single cream, and I think, the batter was too runny. Then I ended up whipping it a bit too much resulting in bubbles. I did not cop on to the fact the bubbles need to burst, by tapping the pan, or physically bursting it with a pin – until it was already in the oven. So the surface was not as smooth and lovely as I would have liked.

To add to it all, I took the cake out of the oven, instead of letting it cool slowly in the oven – I realized too late that would make it crack – a small crack, but a crack never-the-less.

That was about the looks, now for the taste – it was perfect! We all loved it, and as proof of the pudding, all I have left is one tiny wedge which I saved for husband to taste. I did not even get to take more pictures of the sliced cake. I suspect he would love it too -just his taste in cheesecakes. The perfect combination of crust and cream – yum!

Next time, I plan to follow the instructions better, hopefully.  I have to make it again very soon. Daughter wants me to make it for her birthday, which is just around the corner. She couldn’t have enough of it!

So do you have a cheesecake story? Any tips for me? Anything else to make it even better?

Baking disasters of all sorts..

I’ve been having a bad baking week.

One Monday, I was in the full mood to bake. But I did not want to bake a cake, so settled on an easy focaccia instead. It was easy – and everything went as per plan except that I think the temperature was a little too high – for my oven, and the top browned while the bottom was not completely cooked, so I had to turn it over, in an effort to get it sorted. It did turn out fine in the end, but it is a little annoying things don’t turn out as perfectly as you expect. Especially when the aroma filled the house, and it made me totally drool! Only to realize that it is not perfectly cooked! Next time I have to try this with a lower temperature setting. It was tasty, esp with olive oil and a little salt. But it was not perfect, so I was  disappointed.

Edited to add: The recipe is from here. It is very easy and simple -just that I will bake it at a lower temperature, and maybe add the cheese on the top midway. I might even skip the cheese the next time..

And then we had a baking session with friends lined up – which I had to cancel when Poohi fell ill. So so so disappointing!

Yesterday, to make up for it, I decided to bake a whole wheat chocolate banana bread. It felt like a great recipe, with only 1 tbsp of oil! What brilliance. But then when I am in the mood to spoil a recipe – I can do it – very well. I replaced buttermilk with yogurt and then realized as I was spooning the mixture into the pan, that the batter felt too thick. Too lazy to do anything about it, I let it bake as is. Thankfully, it was not too bad. It is quite delicious, and we have already polished off a few slices- guilt-free. Low fat, you see 🙂 I even had a slice for breakfast.

It would have looked prettier if I were able to smooth the batter better 😦 But it wasn’t too bad – infact it was great to eat!

Next time I might bake them as muffins. With some nuts thrown in.. I should stop talking now, before I end up baking some more and eating it all up (:

Edited to add: Recipe from here

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.

Matters that weigh on my mind – Post 8

Desperate for some ideas on what to post, I went to the NaBloPoMo website to see today’s prompt.

‘What decision is currently weighing on your mind?’

The only decision that is weighing on my mind is, ‘What do I post today?’ And this prompt is of no help whatsoever!

Do you know what I have been doing, while weighing such weighty matters on my mind? I have been drooling at this delicious olive oil cake. Believe me, it is totally droolworthy. I know. I’ve tasted it 🙂

I haven’t been baking as much as I used to. Given that I end up gobbling up most of what I bake, I decided to lay off. Spring and summer here, are full of parties. Birthdays and general get-togethers, holidays, you name it. I think the weather makes us all chirpy and excited and it also means a lot of eating. So in-between parties, I try not to over-eat or over indulge.

Some months back, I had come across this cake, and baked it for a get-together at a friend’s place. It was a huge hit. A friend of mine, who had never baked before asked me to teach her to bake this cake. I did, and she baked it for some other friends of hers. Another friend tried it last week and loved it.

And daughter loves it too. She has been asking me to bake it. I have been staying away from baking it just because we have too many sweets at home. Today, I chanced upon it again. I so want to bake it, but am trying not to. Very hard. Will let you know if I do/or don’t. But in case you are interested, do follow the link and try it out. It is gorgeous, melt in the mouth delicious!

And if you do bake it, can I have a teeny-weeny slice? Pretty please?

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.