Tuesday, May 26, 2009

blackberry banana bread

Last week I took a glorious four day weekend to Seattle, but in order to get there I baked this bread up to swap for airport transportation services. This bread is gorgeous with the red and purple of the berries and green flecks of pumpkin seeds. The blackberries give a nice tart bite to the richness of banana bread, and couldn't be easier to mix up.

Blackberry Banana Bread

8 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup plain yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg

1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (2-3 bananas)
½ cup toasted pumpkin seeds
1 cup blackberries

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a loaf pan.

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beating well. Mix in yogurt.

In another bowl, mix dry ingredients together and add to butter mixture. Blend well. Add bananas. Mix, mix, mix. Stir in the pumpkin seeds. Gently fold in blackberries and pour into the pan.

Bake 45-60 minutes, until the middle springs back when you push down on it. If it's getting too brown and it's not done, cover the loaf with foil and keep baking.


Monday, May 4, 2009

basic brownies

I know brownie baking is very much a practice of personal preference, and there's no pleasing everyone. I'm a corner piece gal myself. We made a double batch for the Food Championship aftermath lunch, and they were just the right amount of fudgy and cakey to please most palates. I suppose the palate also adapts in the face of free brownies, but I think they were pretty solid by any standard.

This recipe uses one of my favorite baking with chocolate tricks by incorporating coffee into the batter. Nevermind that I've never worked a coffeemaker before and had to ask one of my cohorts to do it for me. Grad school is about discovery, right? The astringency of the brew balances the richness of the chocolate and adds a nice warm undertone of something good you can't quite put your finger on. The use of brown sugar instead of the standard white is a nice touch. This recipe happens to be vegan, too.

The brownies are fairly sticky, so I highly recommend lining your pan with parchment paper, and maybe spraying it, too.

Basic Brownies
Adapted from a source I can no longer find

1 1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
1 1/2 c brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

3/4 c coffee
3/4 c soy milk (I use unsweetened)
1/2 c canola oil

3/4 c semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven 350 F.

Mix all the dry ingredients (brown sugar included) together. Combine the coffee, soy milk, and canola oil. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients while stirring. Throw in the chocolate chips or any other brownie flair of your choice.

Pour into parchment lined 9x9-in pan. Bake for about 25 minutes, or to the fudginess of your liking.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

rice krispy treats

Rice Krispy treats are possibly one of the few retro childhood pleasures that taste just as good when you're older. I will admit I still drink Nesquik.

Follow the directions straight off the box, and you'll have puffed sticky goodness in 10 minutes flat. For a slightly gooier, sticky treat, throw in an extra handful of marshmallows. A handy (ha ha!) trick I learned from my baking maven classmate is to wet your hands before patting down the melted marshmallowy cereal mix in a pan. It's allll sugar, so wet hands won't stick.

P.S. 10 oz marshmallows = 4 cups