Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blueberry Muffins with Orange streusel and Eggless too

Summer means berries, berries & more berries. This Sunday when he got few packs of fresh blueberries, he told me to make blueberry muffins. I have made these quite a few times & we all love these over the regular kind of blueberry muffins. First time when I ate these on one of our road trip I absolutely loved these....moist & nice crumb with lots of blueberry flavor & nice crunch on the top, to me it's perfect. I will prefer these over any other kind of muffins. I have used Orange zest for topping one can easily change it to lemon zest if they like, also if you wish store bought jam(chunkier kind) can be used but I really recommend sparing 10 minutes & making a small batch of jam. Recipe below is for 12 regular size muffins.
What U need :
for muffins
2 cups + 1 Tblsp. unbleached all purpose flour
2 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 & 1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 Tblsp.(1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
4 Tblsp. veg. oil
1 cup buttermilk(I use 3/4 cup plain dahi/yogurt + 1/4 cup water)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup blueberries rolled in 1 Tblsp. of flour

for jam
1 cup blueberries
3-4 Tblsp. regular sugar

for streusel topping
2 Tblsp. regular sugar
zest of 1 orange

What U do :
1. Make jam
  • Cook blueberries with sugar on med. heat for about 7-10 minutes till u get the jam like consistency. Mash the berries with the back side of the spoon. Use more or less sugar as per your taste & tartness of berries. Let it cool.

2. To make streusel topping mix sugar & zest, keep aside.

3. Make muffins
  • Heat oven to 425 degree F. Prepare muffin tin with non-stick spray or line muffin tin with paper liners.
  • In a large bowl whisk flour+baking powder+salt.
  • In another bowl mix sugar with oil & melted butter. Add buttermilk & vanilla, whisk everything together.
  • Now add wet mix to dry mix & gently mix everything, using a hand whisk. Batter will be thick & might have some lumps, BUT DO NOT OVER MIX.
  • Using a spatula fold in the berries coated with flour.
  • Spoon the batter into muffin tins. Now using a small spoon add some jam to the center of the tin & with the back side of the spoon swirl the batter in the muffin.

  • Lastly sprinkle the streusel topping on the top of muffins & bake them for around 15-18 minutes(mine were done in 15 minutes).

Enjoy these muffins when they are still hot or keep them in the fridge for next morning breakfast or late night snack, warm them in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds or enjoy it cold if you like it that way.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Orange Biscotti almost Eggless

Biscotti - twice baked Italian cookies, to get that extra crunch so that biscotti become hard enough to be dipped into coffee, milk or sweet wine & not crumble. But they should never be so hard to crack a tooth. It was on my "to do list" from a long time or I should say it was on His list for me to do. Past sunday for Father's day brunch I decided to surprise him with home made biscotti along with fresh home made pizza(DD's request).

Now before moving to the recipe I would like to mention that source of this recipe is the book called "the Cake mix Doctor" which I got from Champa of VersatileKitchen back in the month of may. Around that time only I also bought a cake mix box for the first time in my life, thinking that I'll try a cake with that, but whenever I bake I'm so use to of all purpose flour/maida that cake mix box kept waiting in the pantry for it's turn. Finally night before father's day I sat with this book to find out some recipe for the cake but when I saw recipe for Lemon Pecan Biscotti, I decided that's it. I had Orange supreme cake mix so I used that & I was out of almonds otherwise I would have used that so  instead I used mini choc. chips. Also I decided to go eggless with this recipe so used  two frozen bananas which were left after making eggless choc. banana cake, but while making the dough I felt it was too tight so I ended up using one egg yolk(as I had no more ripe bananas & was not sure about using milk). Finally here goes the recipe :

What U need :
  • parchment paper for the pan
  • 1 package(18.25 oz.) orange cake mix(I used Duncan Hines)
  • 8 tablespoons(1 stick) butter, melted
  • 2 large ripe bananas(might need half extra banana if bananas are med. size)
  • 1 egg yolk(my bananas were toward the smaller size that's why I added egg)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts(I used mini choc. chips)

What U do :
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, preheat to 350 degree F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper & set aside.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl & blend on low speed for 3-4 minutes. Dough should come together into a ball. Transfer it to the prepared baking sheet. With lightly floured hands, shape the dough into a rectangle about 14 inches long by 4 inches wide by 1/2 inch thick. Mound the dough so it is slightly higher in the center.
  3. Bake the biscotti rectangle for around 30-35 minutes, do the toothpick test(like u do it for cakes). Remove the baking sheet from the oven & let the biscotti cool for 10 minutes. Leave the oven on.
  4. Using a sharp serrated knife slice the rectangle on the diagonal into 1 inch-thick slices. You should get 14 slices. Carefully turn these slices onto their sides, on the same baking sheet. Return the baking sheet to the oven.
  5. Bake for another 10 minutes. Turn the oven off, and let the biscotti remain in the oven until they are crisp, 30 to 40 min. more. Remove the baking sheet from the oven, transfer the biscotti to a rack, and allow them to cool completely,.
  6. Enjoy it with your fav. drink milk, tea or coffee & store leftover biscotti in an air tight container at room temp. for up to several weeks.

receipe source : the Cake mix Doctor by Anne Byrn

Notes : though I had baked them for the minimum specified time, still mine were little overdone, but still tasted good. I did checked them little before the mentioned time but they were not done at that time so I guess for next time I'll reduce the temp. from 350 degree to may be 340 degree. so that they don't get too brown from outside so quickly.

I'm happy that I tried these, not only because everybody loved it but also because it tasted quite similar to our very own Indian cake rusk, a very popular tea snack in Delhi. We love those &  I usually get those from Indian grocery store, please don't get confused with plain rusk here, as plain rusk are not sweet & they are kind of a hard toast but cake rusk are buttery & very much similar to biscotti. Now I feel no need to buy those as this was really a easy procedure & I'm surely gonna make it on a regular basis but with different flavors.

Biscotti is off to Champa  for her weekly Bake-off & also to  Suma of Veggie Platter, who's hosting this month's Baking from the book  event started by Champa.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Eggless Chocolate Banana Cake with Toffee Bits

As the name say it's a Chocolate Banana Cake, but believe me it taste like chocolate cake only...moist & chocolaty. If you are like me who's not a big fan of baking with banana(b'coz they over power all other flavors) than this cake is for you. Even after eating 2 slices each DH & DD didn't noticed that cake has banana in it. You might be thinking if I don't like baking with banana than why did I baked this cake.........I froze 4 bananas couple of weeks back, as the whole family was under the attack of cough & cold & no one was eating took out two to make banana oat muffin & then came the sweet request "can U make chocolate cake instead, so that we can eat like cake slice". So here comes the cake......

What U need :
  • 1 & 3/4 cup Cake flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tap. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tblsp. cocoa powder
  • 3 Tblsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 cup + 1 Tblsp. milk
  • 4 Tblsp. vegetable oil
  • 4 Tblsp. semi sweet choc. chips
  • 2 large ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

optional for filling & decoration :
  • handful of semi sweet choc. chips
  • handful of toffe bits

  • 4 Tblsp. cocoa powder
  • 5 Tblsp. icing sugar
  • approx. 4-6 spoons of warm water

What U do:
  • Sift all the dry ingredients. Add sugar to it & mix it.
  • Using microwave melt 4 Tblsp. of chco. chips along with 1 Tblsp. of milk. Stir it to make sure all the chips are melted. Let it cool.
  • Add all the wet ingredients to the above melted chocolate.
  • Now mix wet ingredients into dry ones & mix them gently, until well combined.
  • Pour the batter into prepared deep round 8 in. cake tin or into two smaller cake tins(I used two 6 in. round pan).
  • Bake at 325 degree F for about 1 hr.(do the toothpick test to check the doneness) if using deep pan. In case of smaller pans check around 22 min. or so, mine were done in 24 minutes.
After cake is cool, mix cocoa & icing sugar with warm water to make thick or thin icing as u like. Use less water for thick consistency.
Spread half of the icing on one layer of cake, spread it, spread  choc. chips & half of the toffee bits.
Stack the second layer on it & pour the icing on top of it & decorate with remaining toffee bits.

Note : 1) Cake is not very sweet as the amount of sugar used is very less but if U are planning to use icing than it's perfect.
2) Quantity of icing is not too much, it won't cover the whole cake(i mean all sides) but for our taste it was good enough, just to give you that little extra sweetness.
Needless to say half of the cake was vanished quickly, it was still warm when we ate it....yes I didn't had patience to wait for it to cool down completely, so I pour the icing when it was still warm & once it's ready it's hard not to eat...... so we had dessert before lunch......and we all loved it. Most important of all, other than me no body noticed(from the smell & taste) that it's a BANANA cake. And those two bananas in the picture are still waiting in the freezer for their turn, they only came out for the picture shoot.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

All dressed up Eggless Carrot Cupcakes- A Thank You gift

It's officially summer here, with DD's school closed for the school year. For this year when I asked her what she wants for her teacher as a thank you gift, she asked me to bake carrot cupcakes for her with little carrot decorations on top....she remembered from one of her conversations, that her teacher loves carrot cake. So we baked these goodies for her second grade teacher & other staff, which they really liked.

But I really like to share one of her classmates opinion on those cupcakes(they didn't get to eat district policy no home made goodies for students).....a compliment given by an 8 yr. old(her best friend), which she told me about after coming back from school.........S said  " I want your mom to bake cake for my next b'day as I think she's a professional"......wooohhhoooo, she made my day......these cupcakes are not the prettiest one but I was amazed that how an 8 yr. old can get so happy by just looking at simple things....isn't being child a greatest thing in this world.

For cupcakes I used my old trusted eggless carrot cupcake recipe & for icing :
  1. 4 Tblsp. butter
  2. 4 Tblsp. veg. shortening
  3. 4 oz. cream cheese
  4. 1 tsp. clear vanilla extract
  5. 2 cups confetioner sugar
Cream first 4 ingredients, slowly add sugar & mix till everything gets together & smooth. I was left with almost a cup of icing after frosting dozen cupcakes. So one can easily half this recipe if making for dozen cupcakes. Carrots for decorations were made using fondant & for leaves tinted little icing with green color & piped it using leaf tip.

Note : I used veg. shortening because it was very hot day....temperature reaching almost 93 degree on that day & was not sure that if cupcakes will get a chance to sit in the fridge or not in the school before they are consumed. Only butter & cheese would have made frosting little runny consistency I guess, but you can totally leave shortening out & increase the amount of butter or cream chesse acc. to your taste.

Also made a little shell bookmark using crochet, as DD told me that my teacher loves reading so much that sometime she stays up late in the night just to read her fav. books.