Monday, August 31, 2015

Carrot Oat Banana Chunk Muffins - #MuffinMonday

Muffin Monday
Have you seen the Muffin Man
The Muffin Man, the Muffin Man?
Have you seen the Muffin Man 
Who lives on Drury Lane?

That song has been stuck in my head since Stacy invited us to join her for Muffin Monday. Stacy has been baking muffins weekly for the last THREE years. I may or may not have gone through 150 of her Muffin Monday posts. (Definitely went through them and you should too.) I love muffins! For some odd reason, I dislike baking cupcakes but love baking muffins. I'd try to explain it but it's one of those "Kelly things" that gets me the "nod and smile" from friends while they pat me on the head and quickly change the subject. While I love muffins, I don't bake them very often. I usually bake them for my favourite toddler but I don't see him often enough. This affects both my muffin baking and overall happiness. But with Muffin Mondays happening the last Monday of every month, my cupcake pans will be seeing more action.

I'm starting off Muffin Mondays with a pretty simple muffin - oats + carrots + diced bananas. Bananas are always a go-to muffin ingredient for me but I didn't want the bananas all through the muffin. I thought I'd try something different and dice them. I liked having little banana surprises in my muffin and may have eaten 6 muffins just so I could "hunt for them". (Definitely ate 6 muffins yesterday.) I first baked the oats + carrot version of this for my little toddler friend some months ago. They were a bit bland to me. Maybe it's because I used a different sugar from the original recipe. Or maybe it needed the dried fruit that I skipped. Who knows. But I knew that this time I needed to double the sugar. Great decision. They are far from sweet - definitely not cupcake territory. Next time I will also increase the spices.  Some ginger would have been wonderful.

There are more muffins for you below the recipe. Be sure to visit them all!

Carrot Oat Banana Chunk Muffins
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Brown Eggs and Jam Jars
Yield: 12 small muffins

1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup milk 
1 teaspoon vinegar
1 egg, room temperature
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup + 2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
3/4 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup diced bananas


Pour the oats, milk, and vinegar into a large bowl. Let sit at room temperature for an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease a muffin tin or line a 12-cup muffin pan
Whisk the egg, oil and sugar into the oat mixture. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 
Carefully fold the dry mixture into the wet ingredients. Then gently fold in the carrots and banana pieces.
Don't over mix!

Divide batter equally among the 12 muffin wells.
Bake for ~ 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out clean. Cool for a few minutes in the pan then remove and cool completely on a wire rack.
  • Be gentle! Don't over-mix. If you've watched Good Eats, I'm sure you have heard Alton Brown shout "Walk away!". Just give the batter no more than 10 gentle stirs and walk away. Don't let the lumps bother you.
  • "Walk away!"  

#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
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Vanilla Mini Bundts - #BundtBakers

I had two very different Bundt plans for this post. One was inspired by a special childhood memory and the other was a virtual celebration for a friend who has spent the last nine and a half months battling breast cancer. However, I am the most indecisive person and spent much too much time hemming and hawing. Would my batter be thick enough for the special ingredient required for the "memory" Bundt? What would be the pink element in J's Bundt? It needed to be extra special. This summer she had a mastectomy, a devastating setback and went back in for a radical mastectomy that finally left us with good news - benign margins. Mere drops of food colouring just would not do.

Alas, life had other plans for me this month. Things got a little extra topsy turvy and there was just no time to experiment with all the ideas in my head. I decided to keep it simple with these mini vanilla chiffon Bundts. Vanilla barely gets any love from me. But I am glad that I got to take a moment away from all the chaos and bake these little vanilla cakes. They are light, moist and flavourful. This is definitely one of those recipes that I will go back to again and again. A friend's birthday is next week and if life calms down just enough, she'll get her birthday cake on time. Hopefully, I can find a chocolate version of this. She's one of my chocoholic friends who likes nothing but chocolate in her chocolate so this vanilla just will not do. I may sneak in a vanilla chiffon layer though. Don't tell her - she'll just be surprised when she cuts the cake.

All our Bundts this month are a bit dressy and ready for a celebration. Thanks to our host, Terri for choosing this sprinkles theme!

Vanilla Chiffon Mini Bundts
Barely Adapted from: Cook's Country
Yield: 10 one-cup capacity mini Bundts

5 eggs, separated
10.5 oz sugar, divided use
5.35 oz cake flour 
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup oil
1 tablespoon vanilla
 2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease 10 mini Bundt pans or a 10-12 cup capacity Bundt pan. 

Beat the 5 egg whites on medium speed until soft peaks form. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff and glossy. 

Whisk the remaining sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In separate bowl, whisk together the 5 yolks, water, oil and vanilla. 

Whisk the egg mixture into the flour mixture until smooth. Whisk a third of the beaten egg whites into the batter then gently fold in the remaining egg whites one scoop at a time.

Scrape into prepared pans. 

Bake for 18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the mini Bundts comes out clean. Cool completely before removing from the pans. 

Whisk together confectioner's sugar and vanilla then add just enough milk to reach your desired consistency. Pour over cooled cake.
  • Sorry about the mix of weights and volumes. Cook's Country's weights and volumes are always a bit different from what I normally use. For example, they use 5 oz for 1 cup of all purpose flour while I use  4.25 oz.  It's a lot easier to just find the weights they used and use that instead of volume for flour and sugar. 
  • For a chiffon cake baked in an angel food pan, do not grease the pan. 
  • Be gentle! Don't overmix.   


Here are this month's "Sprinkles" Bundts:

#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving Bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. You can see all of our lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest Board. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme or ingredient.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about BundtBakers can be found on our homepage.
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Coffee Spiked Banana Cashew Bread

I was lucky enough to be home one year when some of my favourite fruits were in season. My brother got me a bounty of fruit including mangoes from our trees and some from friends. Among the fruit, were cashews. It had been several years since I had had cashew banana and I devoured them with glee, setting aside the nuts to be roasted at a later date. I related this to a friend and he was confused. What in the world is a "cashew banana"? Now it was my turn to be confused. What did he mean? Then it hit me that it could just be that some parts of the island may have a different name for the fruit. "Cashew apple," I offered. That rang no bells.To him, a cashew is just a nut. He had no idea that this was actually a seed attached to delicious fruit. I declared him a horrible Jamaican and sent him the picture above. He accused me of making things up.

Cashew Fruit
Cashew Fruit aka Cashew Apple or Cashew Banana

I remembered this story when cashews and coffee won the vote for this month's Crazy Ingredient Challenge. I briefly thought of getting my hands on some cashew bananas. But even if the stars aligned, and cashews were in season and I miraculously got my hand on some, I had no clue how I would pair it with coffee. I guess it would have had to be a drink. I tossed that idea aside and retreated to my comfort zone - the almighty flour.

It's always exciting every month to see how we used the two ingredients. Look for what others made in the links below! We'd love to see you join us for CIC so be sure to check out information on how to join also.

Coffee Spiked Banana Cashew Bread
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Alton Brown
Yield: 1 loaf

1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon hot water. 
340 grams banana 
210 grams sugar
100 grams oil
2 large eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
220 grams all purpose flour
35 grams oats, ground to oat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt 
1 cup cashews, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan.
In a small bowl, mix the coffee, sugar and hot water until the coffee and sugar have dissolved. Set aside.
Mash the bananas and the sugar until smooth. Mix in the oil, beaten eggs and vanilla. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, oat flour, baking soda and salt. 

Gently fold the flour mixture into the banana mixture. Add small amounts of flour at at time and be careful not to overmix. Gently fold in the chopped cashews. 
Next, transfer half of the batter to another container. Gently mix the coffee mixture into this half. 

Pour the batters into the prepared loaf pan. You can alternate adding scoops the batters then swirling for a marbled effect or you add the batter in multiple layers. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the loaf comes out with just a few moist crumbs.
  • I used about 2 1/2 large bananas. 
  • Be gentle! Don't overmix.   

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Peach & Blueberry Meringue Pull-Apart Bread - #BreadBakers

When you grow up in the tropics, seasons have nothing to do with the tilt of the Earth's axis. Seasons are multitudinous and overlapping and are described by crops and events. In late December it's Christmastime, certainly not winter. March/April is Easter and that leads right into mango season. There are songs about this great season (the best season, really). They instruct you to put away all your pots. You don't need them. We'll only be feasting on mangoes for a while. If you're lucky, you probably had an early crop of mangoes in January so you've been practising for the main event.

It's hard to break away from this mindset so I am always a bit thrown when I need to make something that represents one of the traditional seasons. Living in South Florida does not help. Sure, it gets a tad nippy and Floridians put on all their winter gear and cry about the freezing 60 F weather. However, for the most part, it's really hot or not as hot. While those in the north are oohing and aahing at their overflowing farmer's markets during the summer, the farmer's markets down here are closed. Yes, closed. It's the growing season so it will be another few months before they open again.

I tried to find some inspiration in what was still available around here at this time, but nothing appealed to me. I asked my mother what fruits were currently in season in Jamaica. She was too busy lamenting the end of mango season (she didn't eat enough) to give me a clear answer. Additionally, drought conditions meant that quite a few crops have been delayed. That meant looking to the north to see what people were into. Zucchinis, stone fruits and berries seemed to be standard.

(Side note that has absolutely nothing to do with this post - I'm watching an old season of America's Test Kitchen and they just visited a bakery to watch them make brioche. The total dough weight is 19 pounds. FOUR pounds of that is butter. FOUR. *makes shopping list*).

I adapted this from a recipe used by the Daring Bakers some years ago. I was curious about the use of the meringue in lieu of butter in the filling. They used their dough for tea ring style coffee cakes but I have wanted to (successfully) make a pull-apart bread for years so I thought I'd give it a go. I'm happy that the meringue worked well, here. The meringue sandwiched between dough and fruit simply melted into the dough. But the bits that were peeking out at the top were toasted and delicious. That was my favourite part. I kept looking for slices that had toasted meringue that I could nibble on. I made a few changes to the dough and it is really easy to work with. The Daring Bakers promised that the original version is pretty easy to work with as well. I am a huge fan of sweet rolls and the like so this is a recipe that I will be using a lot.

Be sure to scroll down to see how the other Bread Bakers used summer fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Thanks for hosting, Pavani!

Peach & Blueberry Meringue Pull-Apart Bread
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Daring Bakers
Yield: 1 loaf

300 grams all purpose flour
28 grams sugar
7 grams yeast
3 grams salt
115 grams milk
56 grams oil
2 egg yolks, beaten (save whites for filling)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ginger 3 small peaches thinly sliced
scant 1/2 cup blueberries
2 egg whites, room temperature
pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup confectioner's sugar
splash of vanilla or rum

In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, yeast and salt. In a separate container, mix together milk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. Pour the milk mixture into the flour and knead until the dough is soft, smooth and elastic. If the dough seems dry add a teaspoon or two of water at a time. It should not be sticky.  Place dough in a greased bowl and cover and let rise until doubled. Dough may also be refrigerated.

While the dough is rising, mix together the 2 tablespoons of sugar and ginger. Toss the fruit with the sugar mixture. You can increase the sugar if your fruit isn't very sweet. 

Grease a 9" x 5" loaf pan. 

Once the dough has doubled, make the meringue. In a clean metal or plastic mixing bowl, place the egg whites and salt. Beat on low speed to break up the eggs and beat until egg whites are foamy. When you have reached the soft peak stage, add the vanilla and increase the speed to high. Slowly add the sugar and beat until you have stiff, glossy peaks. 

Roll out the dough to a 16" x 10" rectangle. Spread the meringue evenly over the entire surface. 

Cut into four 10" x 4" strips then cut each strip into five 4" x 2" rectangles. 

Prop up the loaf pan on it's short end. Place a layer of sliced peaches on each of the dough rectangles. Stack as many as you can handle and then place the stack in the loaf tin. Stick blueberries in between the layers after you have placed them in the loaf pan. Continue until you have used all your dough. Cover and let rise until almost doubled. 

While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350 F. 

Bake the loaf for 35 - 45 minutes or until it registers ~190F. If the loaf is browning too quickly, cover with foil. Be sure to check the temperature of stick a skewer deep into the dough to test if it is ready. With all the filling, the dough can still be doughy inside after the time has elapsed. 

Mix the confectioner's sugar and vanilla with just enough milk to reach your desired consistency. Pour over slightly cooled loaf.
  • I found it easier to add the peaches after I had sliced the dough into squares. You may prefer to add the peaches and then slice. I didn't want to deal with runaway blueberries so sticking them in between the layers when the dough was in the pan was definitely easier. 


#BreadBakers is a group of bread loving bakers who get together once a month to bake bread with a common ingredient or theme. Follow our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated each month on this home page. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. If you are a food blogger and would like to join us, just send Stacy an email with your blog URL to
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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed - Foodie Extravaganza

Do not, I repeat, do not do a Google image search for "naked ladies with their legs crossed" if your safe search filter is off. In fact, I don't even think the safe search search filter will help you. Just do yourself a favour and add "recipe" to the search terms. I may or may not have done such a search. Let's talk about these particular naked ladies and not the ones that Google showed me.

I came across this recipe in a 2007 Cook's Country magazine.  It's nearly impossible to see such a title and walk away. I had to find out what it was about. It turns out that the magazine made a call for long lost recipes and this is one of the recipes that they received. These naked ladies (maybe I should stop typing that, the Google hits are not going to be pretty) are basically potato crullers with a German heritage. They were particularly popular on Shrove Tuesday (Fastnacht) when people tried to use up all the fat and sugar before Lent began. In fact, potato donuts are called fasnacht by the Pennsylvania Dutch.

All the Google hits seem to point back to the Cook's Country recipe so I couldn't find more information about the specific shape of these crullers. Most of the potato crullers I found were shaped like circular crullers. Other potato donuts had traditional donut shapes. However, I did find one that had a slit in the center and then the dough was pulled through that slit. My best guess is that these ladies are related to those.

When I first saved this recipe, I had no intention of making them. I simply do not fry. Well, that's not true, I make an exception for breadfruit. I'm not some health nut* avoiding fried foods. Far from it. Fried food is up there with ice cream and chocolate on my favourite foods list. I just don't have the patience for frying. My oil is never hot enough and whenever I get it to the right temperature, I get distracted, leave the kitchen and suddenly things are burning.

The recipe was just going to languish in my collection until Kathleen chose potato as the theme for this month's Foodie Extravaganza. I did a search of my collection and the ladies popped up. I went back and forth between this and another dish for weeks. But there was no way that I could seriously pass up sharing the naked ladies. I knew that there would never be a perfect time to make them again.

I am so glad that I did! Rolling them out was not as troublesome as I thought it would be (the dough is a bit sticky - make sure the surface is well floured). I grabbed my thermometer and made sure my oil's temperature was correct and set a timer so that if I left the kitchen, there'd be a timer summoning me back in. All so very worth it. I used nutmeg instead of cinnamon and loved the taste of nutmeg in the dough. It was so hard to not eat them all before taking pictures for this post. Those are the only three that survived, actually. I can definitely say that I will be heating up some oil to fry these again. If you love donuts, you will love these.

Be sure to scroll down to check out how everyone else used potatoes this month!

*My apologies to anyone avoiding fried foods but doesn't consider themselves a health nut.

Naked Ladies with Their Legs Crossed
Recipe by: Kelly   Adapted from: Cook's Country
Yield: 12

1/2 cup mashed potatoes, unseasoned
1 egg
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup sugar, divided
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
 Oil for deep frying


Beat the mashed potato, egg, milk, 1/2 cup sugar, and vanilla until well combined. Whisk flour, baking powder, salt, and nutmeg in a large bowl. Add the potato mixture and stir to form a moist and sticky dough. 

On a heavily floured surface, roll the dough out to 14" x 9" x 1/4". Cut the dough in half to make two 9" x 7" rectangles. Cut each rectangle into six 7" x 1.5" strips. 

Make a slit in each strip for the legs and twist to form crossed legs. Refrigerate until ready to fry. 

Heat oil in a pot large enough to fit the strips. Oil should be heated to 350F. Carefully lower each strip into the oil - do not crowd the pot. Fry until crisp and brown on both sides - about two minutes per side. 

Transfer to a paper towel lined plate to drain for about 30 seconds then toss with the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar. 

Best eaten immediately. 
Do not use mash potatoes that contain any other ingredients - no milk, salt or butter. Ensure that there are no lumps. I used a russet potato.
The crullers can be refrigerated up to 24 hours before frying. I actually refrigerated the dough before rolling it out. That made it much easier to roll out. 
The original recipe calls for rolling out to 18" x 14" x 1/4".  There's no way there was enough dough to do this. I would have needed to roll it about 1/8" thick. Maybe you will fare better. 
Check your oil's temperature periodically. Maintain between 325F and 350 F.
You could toss the crullers in cinnamon sugar or a glaze, if that's your preference.  

Foodie Extravaganza is where bloggers come together and celebrate food holidays. Did you know there is at least one food assigned to each day of the year to celebrate that food? Kathleen from Fearlessly Creative Mammas is our host this month and since she is from Idaho, she picked potatoes. All of the recipes will feature potatoes in one form or another. Posting day is always the first Wednesday of the month. If you are a blogger and you're interested in joining in the fun, visit us at our Facebook Foodie Extravaganza page. You can also visit our past party submissions on our Pinterest Foodie Extravaganza board . We hope you will enjoy the recipes we are sharing this month. The potato is so versatile that we've come up with a huge variety of recipes for you to try.  

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