Thursday, September 30, 2010

Recipe Box Fun #2

I usually try to make treats to bring for call but this month has just been so busy and tiring that I didn't do it many times.  However, one of the recipes that I got from my Granny's recipe box seemed like a fun one to try.  It intrigued me because I've tried to make banana blondies but just wasn't pleased. 

And I must admit, when I finished these, I wasn't sure either.  However, the nurses in the PICU stated differently!  They all thoroughly enjoyed them...and they helped us get through another busy night taking care of our kiddos.  I did make some slight changes to dress up the blondies.  I added coconut and macadamia nuts to the top, which I think really added to the flavor. Be aware, these are not your typical dense, rich blondies but do have a wonderful taste and a moist texture.  I enjoyed them and they have been approved by PICU take a stab at them!

Banana Blondies
1/2 cup butter/margarine
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 t baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup mashed banana (about 2)
3/4 cup coconut + 1/4 cup
1 1/4 cup flour
1 small bag macadamia nuts, chopped

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Cream together margarine, sugar, egg, and vanilla.  Add baking powder and salt.  Mix well.  Add the banana and 3/4 cup coconut.  Blend in flour.  Pour into greased 13 X 9 pan.  In a small bowl mix the 1/4 cup coconut, 1 T melted butter and 1T sugar and nuts.  Spoon across the top of the batter.  Bake for 45 minutes.  Cool 15 minutes prior to cutting.  Enjoy!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Batson Cookies

So sorry for my absence.  This has been a long, hard month in the pediatric ICU.  The past 5 times I've been on call I have slept less than an hour, with NO sleep for the past three.  We've had several tragic cases with too many children passing away...but I still love what I do.  Someone needs to be there to take care of not only the kids but their families as well.  And so many times, kids DO get better...and can even surprise you with how well they do!  That is why, when we were charged as Daring Bakers to decorate sugar cookies to represent what September means to us I decided to do the logo of the children's hospital where I work,
Blair Batson Children's Hospital.  The September 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Mandy of “What the Fruitcake?!” Mandy challenged everyone to make Decorated Sugar Cookies based on recipes from Peggy Porschen and The Joy of Baking. This was a fun challenge as sugar cookies are one of my favorite cookies but I've never been elaborate in my decorating.
 At first, I wasn't really pleased with how these turned out...the kite didn't really look like a kite and it just wasn't "clean."  However, once the icing firmed I thought they turned out great!  I took them to work and as soon as people pulled them out they would say "Aw!  These are BATSON cookies!  Did you make these?!" 
It was quite fun to show them off. :-)  Thank you, Mandy, for this simple but delightful challenge!!!  I thoroughly enjoyed it this month.

Basic Sugar Cookies:
Makes Approximately 36x 10cm / 4" Cookies
200g / 7oz / ½ cup + 6 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
400g / 14oz / 3 cups + 3 Tbsp All Purpose / Plain Flour
200g / 7oz / 1 cup Caster Sugar / Superfine Sugar
1 Large Egg, lightly beaten
5ml / 1 tsp Vanilla Extract / Or seeds from 1 vanilla bean
 Cream together the butter, sugar and any flavourings you’re using. Beat until just becoming
creamy in texture.Beat in the egg until well combined, make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Add the sifted flour and mix on low until a non sticky dough forms.  Knead into a ball and divide into 2 or 3 pieces.  Roll out each portion between parchment paper or saran wrap to a thickness of about 5mm/1/5 inch (0.2 inch) Refrigerate for a minimum of 30mins.

Tip: Recipes commonly just wrap the whole ball of dough in clingwrap and then refrigerate it for an
hour or overnight, but by rolling the dough between parchment, this shortens the chilling time and
then it’s also been rolled out while still soft making it easier and quicker.
  I LOVED this tip!!!!!

Once chilled, peel off parchment and place dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut out shapes with cookie cutters or a sharp knife. Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C Fan Assisted) / 350°F / Gas Mark 4. Bake until golden around the edges, about 8-15mins depending on the size of the cookies.

Tip: Bake same sized cookies together otherwise mixing smaller with larger cookies could result in
some cookies being baked before others are done.
  Another good tip!

  Leave to cool on cooling racks. Once completely cooled, decorate as desired.

Royal Icing: This is not the icing I used but I can't remember what I did...maybe used corn startch instead of egg whites?
315g – 375g / 11oz – 13oz / 2½ - 3 cups Icing / Confectioner’s / Powdered Sugar, unsifted
2 Large Egg Whites
10ml / 2 tsp Lemon Juice
5ml / 1 tsp Almond Extract, optional
• Beat egg whites with lemon juice until combined.
Tip: It’s important that the bowls/spoons/spatulas and beaters you use are thoroughly cleaned and
grease free.

• Sift the icing sugar to remove lumps and add it to the egg whites.
Tip: I’ve listed 2 amounts of icing sugar, the lesser amount is good for a flooding consistency, and the larger amount is for outlining, but you can add even more for a much thicker consistency good for writing. If you add too much icing sugar or would like to make a thinner consistency, add very small amounts of water, a few drops at a time, until you reach the consistency you need.
• Beat on low until combined and smooth.
• Use immediately or keep in an airtight container.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Fun in a Recipe Box

When I was home at the end of the month, I asked my mom for a specific recipe.  Well, she pulled out my grandmother's metal recipe box...a box FULL of her recipes.  It contains some gems...and some things we questioned.  Yes...she had for CARROTS, in a section titled "Carrots"!  ??????  We asked my dad if they ate carrots a lot and he didn't seem to remember that.  Who knows!  Anyway, I pulled out several recipes that interested me, one of which was banana pound cake.
This was one of about 20 pound cake recipes.  Seems that was a popular thing back in the day.  :-)  The reason I wanted to try this cake was that it reminded me of the chocolate chip pound cake that my mom makes.
I made it a couple of weeks ago and took it to Sunday School and then the remainder to work.  It got many compliments, and though it's not the lightest thing you could have, it's definitely not too bad for a cake!  Unlike the traditional pound cake, which can be heavier in texture, this cake is nice and light.  Perfect for breakfast or "tea!"  So, have a try of my Granny's banana pound cake...which she got from the Ft. Worth Star Teligram!  :-)

4 Banana Pound Cake
1 yellow cake mix
4 eggs, room temp
1/3 cup oil
1/2 cup water
4 medium, ripe bananas, mashed
1 pkg. vanilla pudding (I used sugar free)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until well blended.  Then beat for 4 minutes on medium speed.  Pour into greased 10 inch Bundt or tube pan.  Bake for 1 hour.  Cool for 10 minutes and then turn onto a plate to complete cooling.  Dust with powdered sugar or a light glaze.  Enjoy!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Joyous Blueberry Muffins

When one of my friends got married, my mom brought me a recipe for a blueberry muffin.  It's name...Joyous Blueberry Muffins.  Who can resist a name like that!?  I waited a while to make them but finally did soon after my brother got married.  These are really good muffins!!! 
 It uses a slightly different technique for mixing in the berries.  Instead of stirring them into the batter, you layer the batter and berries into the pan.  This prevents any extra juice from the berries from staining the batter, which in and of itself is delicious.
 I decreased the sugar and butter slight and still ended up with a tender muffin.  The flavor is slightly less sweet than a typical "American breakfast muffin" but more sweet than a "tea muffin".....if any of that makes sense! 

Joyous Blueberry Muffins adapted from Jane's Sweets and Baking
1 1/2 cups (recipe called fro 2 1/2 cups) granulated sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
5 tablesppoons melted butter
4 eggs
1 T vanilla extract
5 cups All-purpose flour
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup buttermilk (I used milk)
1/2 cup Greek yogurt (originally sour cream)
2 1/4 cups frozen or fresh blueberries
coarse sugar for topping the muffins

Preheat oven to 425.  Blend oil, butter, sugar together.  Add eggs and vanilla and blend well.  Mix flour, powder, soda together.  Fold into butter mixture.  Blend in buttermilk/milk and yogurt.  This will be thick!

Prepare your muffin pans with cooking spray or liners.  Fill tins 1/3 full of batter.  Then add a layer of berries.  Spoon more batter on top of this.  If you have room, add more berries and a dab more of batter.  Bake for 7 minutes and then turn oven to 350 and bake for 6-8 minutes more.  If using Jumbo tins, bake for twice the time at each temp.  Remove from oven when a toothpick comes out mostly clean and they spring back when lightly pressed with your finger.  Let cool for 5 minutes in pan.  Makes 24 regular muffins and 12 Jumbo.  Enjoy!!!