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Monday, August 27, 2018

Mini Chocolate Banana Muffins - #MuffinMonday



I am the proud owner of a mini muffin pan. I've wanted one for a while but figured that I just wouldn't use it much and it would just use up valuable kitchen space. Plus, and this is key, I was convinced that I'd hate using it. Scooping tiny amounts of batter into one million little cups? Did not sound like fun. However, I was doing some baking for a baby shower and had to admit that standard size muffins just wouldn't cut it. They needed to be mini.

Hours before the baby shower, I mixed up a batch of mini chocolate muffins. As expected, I don't like scooping tiny bits of batter into one million cups. However, mini muffins have that cute factor so I'm just going to have to get over it and get myself a cookie scoop. I also used the pan to bake mini cinnamon rolls and I loved those more than the mini muffins. 


Pumpkin bar, mini cinnamon rolls, mini cheesecake (I didn't make this), and mini chocolate muffin

To further justify my new purchase, I need to make lots and lots of mini muffins.  I have visions of mini cupcakes and pastries down the road but we will see how that goes. First up are these chocolate banana muffins.

Muffin Monday
Mini Chocolate Banana Muffins 
Yield: ~ 42 mini muffins 

Ingredients 
340 grams banana
200 grams brown sugar
2 eggs
120 ml oil
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
225 grams flour
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 24 cup capacity mini muffin pan.

Mix together the banana and sugar. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg, and oil and then add to the banana mixture along with the almond extract. Whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.

Gently combine the banana mixture and the flour mixture. Mix only until just incorporated. Scoop into the wells of the mini muffin pan filling each just a bit more than half.

Bake 10-11 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out mostly clean. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Notes 
Mini muffins bake quickly so check a bit earlier just in case your oven is hotter than mine.
Adapted from I'm Just Here for More Food.


#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Jamaican Fritters with Lime Caper Dip - Crazy Ingredient Challenge



Five years ago, a friend mentioned that she had joined a blogging group named Crazy Ingredient Challenge. It was their second month and the challenge was to create a dish using avocado and caramel. I quickly made a dish but didn't want to post it on my other blog so in August of 2013, this blog was born. I never dreamed that I would have eventually been given the reins of the challenge. But eventually, our founders needed to move on and Lori and I were handed the reins. 

It's been a good five years but a feweeks ago, I decided it was time to end it. It felt like a rash decision but it's something that has been on my mind for several months. Participation just is not what it used to be. And I'm talking about myself here too. The 20th of the month seemed to always sneak up on me. CIC  - and this blog - was to be stress relief - an escape. But lately, I was barely finding the time to escape. Maybe we'll start again with renewed energy and a renewed focus. Maybe. It's hard to let go. 

So I'm saying farewell - see you later, maybe - to the Crazy Ingredient Challenge. Our final ingredients were limes and capers. I first used capers in a Crazy Ingredient Challenge. And let me tell you, I am still not sure what they are. Little tiny berries? I really need to google that. 

Be sure to scroll down to see how others are saying goodbye to the Crazy Ingredient Challenge.





Jamaican Saltfish Fritters and a Lime Caper Dip

Ingredients 

200 grams saltfish
240 grams flour
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1 teaspoon thyme
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper 
1/2 teaspoon fish seasoning 
1 medium onion, diced 
1 medium tomato, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 scotch bonnet pepper, minced
water

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and minced
1 tablespoon mustard
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
3 tablespoons olive oil
pepper, to taste

Directions 

Rinse the saltfish twice under running water. Pour enough hot water over the saltfish to cover it. Leave it for several hours or overnight. The fish needs to rehydrate. You could also boil it but I prefer to cover it and leave it. when the fish is ready, remove the skin and bones and flake the fish into small pieces. 

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, thyme, salt, cayenne, black pepper, and fish seasoning. Stir in the saltfish, onion, tomato, garlic, and scotch bonnet pepper. Add enough water to make a batter that's slightly thicker than pancake batter. I used just over a cup. 

Heat oil over medium heat in a frying pan. when the oil is hot, scoop about a quarter cup of batter into the hot oil. Use a spoon the spread it out a bit. Fry on each side for about three minutes. 

For the dip, mix together the garlic, capers, mustard, and lime juice. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, mixing as you go. when it's all mixed in, taste and season as desired.

Notes
I've mentioned saltfish before. It's a staple in Jamaican cooking. It's cod (though you'll find pollock in the US) dried and preserved in salt. That means you need to rinse and rehydrate before using. Lots of ways to use it. It's in our national dish - ackee and saltfish and of course, fritters. we also sauté with vegetables like callaloo or cabbage or mixed vegetables.
A recipe for fritters seems weird. The standard is usually - throw things in a bowl, it will work out. I didn't have escallion and I think most Jamaicans might tell you that you need escallion in fritters. I didn't have any but feel free to add some if you wish. 


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Monday, June 25, 2018

Oreo Muffins - #MuffinMonday



Perhaps I should rename these muffins "The Little Muffins that Almost Couldn't".  I wanted to make these for May's Muffin Monday but my time management sucks. I'd like to pretend that I was just extremely busy and it just didn't happen. But it was just bad time management. I thought I had another week to make them for June and didn't have them on my to-do list. I realised my mistake yesterday morning. I contemplated sitting out again but realised that I could do it along with some cinnamon rolls. I got everything ready, preheated the oven, and mixed up my batter while the rolls proofed. 

My oven beeps when it hits the desired temperature and before that you don't knowhat temperature it is at. The oven never beeped. I never left the kitchen because I'm paranoid about missing that beep. I was talking to myself but not that loudly. I waited and waited and waited. Eventually, I decided to throw half the muffins in the oven along with some rolls and half the muffins in the toaster oven. The toaster oven isn't ideal but I wanted to guarantee that I had something. 

watched them like a hawk and to my surprise they rose and baked like regular. So maybe I did miss the beep? Or am I low on gas but the oven is hot enough to make the muffins but not yet 350 F hot. I have no idea. But I need to resolve this before next weekend when I have a TON of baking to do. I need an oven thermometer but that would have to be ordered online and won't get here in time. Perhaps, I'll order a back-up cylinder of gas. 

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board. Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page

Muffin Monday
Oreo Muffins
Yield: 12 muffins

Ingredients 

2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
10 Oreos, chopped

Directions 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease or line a  muffin pan.
Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder,  and salt. In a separate container, mix milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Give it about 5 strokes and With most of the flour still dry, add in the chopped Oreos. Stir until just combined. Full the prepared muffin wells almost full.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean.

Notes
I tried this with only half cup of sugar and found it wasn't sweet enough. It felt like it needed a glaze.


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