Sunday Baking:Coconut-Almond Bread!

Baking on Sundays is starting to become a routine.  This Sunday, I used baking to get rid of a terrible migraine.  You know what though, it worked (weird as it may sound).  I bought a new loaf pan as an addition to my bakeware so I’ve been wanting to try it out, just never figured out what type of bread to bake.  I flipped through recipe books and stuff but I was missing ingredients for everything so I just ended up winging it with a little inspiration from Looneyspoons Collection called “A Grateful Bread”.

“A Grateful Bread” is supposed to have grated apples and grated carrots and grated coconuts (aka coconut shreds) but I didn’t have any apples left at home.  I really didn’t think coconuts and carrots would’ve been a very awesome match without apples to balance things out.  Thats just a feeling I get, if you’ve done it and it turned out tasting good, I’d love to hear about it.

So with that being said, I changed some ingredients around and made a Coconut-Almond Bread instead.

Here’s the recipe (modified from original recipe in The Looneyspoons Collection by Janet & Greta Podleski):

COCONUT ALMOND BREAD

Makes 1 Loaf, 12 slices

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup quick-cooking rolled oats

1 cup granulated sugar

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1 cup sweetened shredded coconut

1/3 cup chopped almonds

1/2 cup water

2 eggs

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp vanilla

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with cooking spray and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg.  Add coconut and almonds. Mix well.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk together water, eggs, oil and vanilla.

4.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients.  Mix just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Pour batter into pan.  Spread evenly.  Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until wooden pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in pan.  Remove bread from pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.  Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.

I gave you the modified version as I had changed so many of the ingredients and eliminated.  The only issue I had was why the bread didn’t become fluffier.  I’m guessing its because I took away some of the other grated ingredients but didn’t change the quantity other than the chopped almonds and grated coconut.  All in all though, it did taste pretty good.  I might have changed the balance of the coconut shreds and chopped almonds.  This bread is perfect as a dessert as it has a nice sweet coconut taste.  On the other hand, the almonds helped it give it the chewy crunchy taste.

I’ll definitely be doing more bread! Hopefully next weekend I”ll do another one!

Any suggestions for what bread to make? Any suggestions to make it fluffier? Will you try this out?

Apple and Oat Scones

Today I had my monthly brunch with two of my girl friends.  Its always nice to sit around and chat over food and drinks about whats happened over the last while.  This time we were hosted by one of my friends and I had contributed some baked goods.  After some long thought and debate, I came to the decision that I’d make some scones.  Please note that I haven’t made any scones since I was 15 or something like that.  It was a long time ago.  And let me tell you, finding a recipe was hard because there are just so many choices nowadays.

After flipping through my cookbooks and then looking through Martha Stewart‘s recipes, I came to two choices: Apple and Oats Scones with Cinnamon and Nutmeg *breathes* (why the need for such a long name?)  or Cranberry Scones.  I’m pretty sure you know which one won.

Thats right! Apple and Oat Scones!

Here’s the link: http://www.marthastewart.com/874312/apple-and-oat-scones-cinnamon-and-nutmeg?czone=food/brunch-center/brunch-baked-sweets&center=276953&gallery=275051&slide=874312

 

I had actually forgotten how easy and fun making scones were.  These actually have a really nice texture to them.  The apples add a nice moist taste.  Thats pretty good because I feel sometimes scones tend to be on the dry side and its hard to control that.  As for the oats, I really like it as a little decoration on the top as well as being in the dough because it makes it a little chewy.

 

These scones were loaded with apples on the bottom.  I think the only thing was that I could have cut it in smaller pieces.  In the end, it still worked out decently.  This recipe made exactly 12 scones.

 

Other than the wonderful texture of the scones, it was pretty good because the apples gave it the little light sour taste and it offsets the sweetness of the scones.  The scones are moderately sweet (just enough for me) so it was perfect.

Just try to not misread (as I did) the quantities for flour and oats.  Its funny because I didn’t see the 1 in front of the 2/3 so it turned out crazy little ingredients and I had to add it in after the apples.  Still, I think it didn’t make much of a difference.  It still looked great and tasted fantastic.

Give it a shot if you like it! How did it turn out? Are there other type of scones that you like? Give me some suggestions as to what other baked goods I could make.

Banana Cupcakes!!

I told you that I had a lot of bananas! Last Monday, I had a day off for Labour Day (sorry for being so late) and decided to kick it into gear and bake some more.  After thinking a long time, I decided on making Banana Cupcakes.  I’m really not good with cupcakes and this time, I think I was just really tired and half asleep doing this because I mixed up the recipe and misunderstood it all over the place.

I can tell you which recipe inspired me but in reality, it turned more into my little experiment than actually following the actual recipe.  Part of me still believes that the recipe wasn’t clear anyways, but did teach me to read through ALL the recipe before actually starting it.

So, I found these recipes here:

http://www.marthastewart.com/314362/banana-cupcakes-with-caramel-buttercream

http://www.marthastewart.com/328102/yellow-butter-cupcakes

My confusion was based on using two recipes to make it.  So This was modified in the way that I was making the cupcake for the 2nd recipe and realized when I reached the point of adding the wet ingredients that I was sure something was definitely wrong with the recipe and I had already made some modifications that ended up being similar to the actual recipe that was to be done.  I just didn’t understand why it wasn’t just written out instead of referring to another recipe.  Anyways, I’m not here to tell you how unhappy I am with the confusing setup of the site.

So here’s what I did instead:

Ingredients:

4 1/2 cups flour (I don’t own cake flour, if you do, then use 3 cups of cake flour and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour)

2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

9 ounces margarine or unsalted butter, softened

2 1/4 cup sugar + another 1/4 cup sugar

3 large eggs

4 very large ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)

3/4 cup milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Line muffin tin with paper liners.

2. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, baking soda and 2 1/4 cup sugar together in a large bowl.

3. Cream butter and 1/4 cup sugar. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each one.

4. Using another bowl, mix bananas, water and vanilla extract together.

5. Add dry mixture to butter mixture, in 3 batches alternating with wet mixture.

6. Scrap the sides of the bowl.  Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each to full.

7. Bake cupcakes for about 20 minutes.  After, let cool on wire rack.

Here you go! This was the morphed version a la Tranquil Dreams.  I also didn’t decorate it with anything as you can see.  Decorations will be coming shortly for future recipes though because I finally bought a pastry bag set.  Despite all the changes and confusions, it turned out pretty decent.  My boyfriend actually made a weird comment which he said was a compliment about how it didn’t taste too much like bananas and had a good texture type of thing.  I found that it had a bit of a flour-y taste and I think its because of the omitting of cake flour  (but its probably also because of the misinterpretation on my part).  I found instructions to make homemade cake flour in a way.  So I’ll probably experiment with that next time in hopes of improving the taste.

You’ll be seeing more cupcakes probably as it seems like I’m having a little cupcakes and pastries type of phase.  We’ll see how things go.  Not a bad recipe though but my suggestion is maybe not to use mine but use the ingredient portions of the first but follow the instructions of the second.  Dry ingredients mixture DOES NOT include sugar..that was a mistake I made also.  Although I don’t think it made a whole lot of difference except making it a bit sweeter maybe.  I have no comparison so who knows.  Over sweetness was not an issue with how I made it.

Trial and error, right? I’m learning day by day.  Hits and misses help me improve and I definitely have, I can tell you that!

Healthy Oatmeal Cookies

This weekend was a big one full of baking.  The first recipe I did was one that I had planned on making for my boyfriend for a long time. I’ve been looking for a perfect recipe for oatmeal cookies and I had got this email on my gym’s newsletters a few months back.  This recipe is really easy to make and it tastes pretty delicious.

 

I only have the recipe in French so I will translate it below.  This recipe is from Nautilus Plus for Oatmeal and Raisin Cookies and makes 24.

Ingredients:

– 1/3 cup margarine

– 1/2 cup sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1 1/4 cups flour

– 1 1/4 cups instant oatmeal

– 3/4 cups of dried raisins

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 4 tbsp skimmed milk

 

Preparation:

1) Preheat the oven at 350F (180C)

2) In a big bowl, beat together margarine, sugar and eggs

3) Mix the remaining dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.

4) Combine the dry mix with the margarine mix alternating it with the milk

5) Put the dough in small balls on cooking tray

6) Bake for 20 minutes and then cool on wire rack.

As usual, I gave it a bit of my own twist.  I am lactose-intolerant so I had to replace the milk with water.  Also, my boyfriend only wanted oatmeal cookies so I omitted the raisins from the mixture.  During the preparing process, the oatmeal really smelled like cooked oatmeal while mixing the ingredients together.  Also, I made bigger cookies so I only ended up with 12 cookies instead of 24.

Other than that, the recipe was right on with everything.  The cookies were extremely fluffy so was amazing texture.  The taste was very good as well, it wasn’t too sweet which was also a plus. It looked and tasted healthier than normal oatmeal cookies.  Definitely worth a try!

If you do give it a shot, tell me how it turned out!

 

Banana Muffin

I finally managed to find time to bake again! We had a few ripe bananas sitting on the counter so I decided to make something with them. My mom is a muffin person so I ended up doing that.  Note that I haven’t made muffins before, at least not from scratch, and even that was 10 years ago or something.  Anyways, this was a fun experience although the muffins turned out a bit pale.  Being the experimenter I am, I decided to add some jam on the top.  So the muffins looked weird because the jam melted a tad bit and it made it look a bit flooded on some of the muffins.

 

Right out of the oven, appearance-wise was not too great but still, I gave it a bit time to cool down before I went to try one.  It tasted really good.  The texture was moist.  I added some dried cranberries instead of raisins (since I don’t have those at home) and it added a bit of more chewy taste and gave the banana taste something more. As much as the jam doesn’t look appealing, it also did its job in giving it just a little more fruity taste.  It was pretty much like a fruit explosion muffin.  I have a few ideas as to how to put the jam and not make it look so “messy”.

While eating I snapped a few pictures to show you what it looked like on the inside of the muffin, the consistency, etc.  Not too bad, eh?

I actually found this recipe in one of my books.  Apparently when making cookies, I had to change some of the ingredient quantities but with muffins, they were right on.  I’ll probably give muffins another shot when I skim through more recipes.

Here is the recipe extracted from “Cookies Biscuits & Bakes 500” by Catherine Atkinson for BANANA MUFFINS:

MAKES 12

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

pinch of salt

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3 large ripe bananas

1 egg

1/4 cup soft dark brown sugar

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/3 cup raisins (if you want banana chocolate muffins, then replace with chocolate chips)

HOW TO MAKE THEM:

1. Preheat oven to 190C/375F.  Arrange 12 paper cases in a muffin tin (pan).

2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

3. Using a fork, mash the peeled bananas to a smooth consistency in a large bowl.

4.  Beat the egg, sugar and oil into the mashed bananas until fully combined.

5. Add the dry ingredients and beat in gradually, using an electric whisk set at low speed.  Mix until just blended.  With a wooden spoon, stir in the raisins until just combined.  Spoon the mixture into the muffin tins, filling them two-thirds full.

6. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the tops spring back when touched lightly with your finger.  Transfer the muffins to a wire race to cool completely before serving.

SOME CHANGES!

It took me less than an hour to do from prep work to pulling them out of the oven.  Easy and quick! Some of the changes I did do. One was mentioned before was dried cranberries instead of raisins.  I just realized as I was typing up the recipe that I had added a bit more nutmeg than it said, but it didn’t do anything to the taste.  I also don’t like using electric mixers or anything of that sort but for this recipe, it didn’t make a difference or cause any problems because everything was already pretty soft in consistency.  If it was to become something more like dough, then electric mixer would’ve been recommended as they said.  Even by hand, this one was easy to mix.

It may not have turned out as the pictures in the book showed.  Mine was more pale but it still tasted great.  Now for more work on appearance, could it be affected by the ingredients?  For example, soft dark brown sugar would’ve been better, or maybe adding more of it.  I just used normal brown sugar, and perhaps there is another type.  Any suggestions?