Monthly Archives: March 2009

Chocolate Banana Brownies

This recipe originally comes from Metro newspaper. I believe one of Caroline’s co-workers made this recipe and Caroline recommended it to me. So the other week I was heading over to a friend’s house for dinner and I brought these along. The recipe is originally called “Heart Healthier Fudgy Brownies” and it was featured in February , which is heart month. However I thought the name might scare people away so I re-named it! I have tried various lower fat and lower calorie recipes and generally tend to be disappointed so when Caroline recommended these I was a little wary. However, these were quite yummy and the left-overs didn’t last long in my house!

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Chocolate Banana Brownies (adapted from Metro)

• 1 oz  good quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
• 2 tbsp  butter
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (1 large banana)
• 1 egg
• 1 tsp vanilla
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
• 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease sides of an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom and two sides with parchment paper .

Combine chocolate and butter in medium glass bowl. Microwave at Medium for 1 minute or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar, then mashed banana until blended. Beat in egg and vanilla until smooth.

In a smaller bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt; stir into chocolate mixture until dry ingredients are completely moistened. Spread evenly in prepared pan. Bake 25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.

Cool pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Run spatula around edges, carefully lift parchment paper sling of brownies to wire rack to cool completely.  Cut into 16 squares.

Nutritional information per square: Calories: 106; Fat: 2.8 g; Carbohydrate: 20 g; Protein: 1.25 g; Fibre: 1 g.

TWD Blueberry Crumb Cake

This weeks Tuesdays with Dorie was chosen by Sihan of Befuddlement. I was happy to do this recipe because my mum loves blueberries and I figured she would enjoy it. Lastnight I made the cake and let’s say the night didn’t go well. Baking while tired is never a good combination for me. I managed to over-process the crumbs, which my boyfriend had quite a chuckle about, and had to do it again. Then the frozen blueberries made a mess because they started thawing (yes I know they aren’t supposed to be thawed). However, the rest of the cake making went as planned and out came the cake, minus walnuts, looking pretty good.

So tonight we tested the final product. Unfortunately, my blueberry-loving mum didn’t love it so that was a bummer. I thought the cake was ok, perhaps not sweet enough for my dessert-loving tastebuds, but my dad enjoyed it! My dad also made a good point that it would be lovely with a scoop of ice-cream.

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Better late than never…Guinness Chocolate Cake

This post is a little late as St. Patrick’s Day was last week but Tuesdays with Dorie was posted that day and then I forgot to put this up until tonight. Traditional Irish meals are not a very common occurrence in our house anymore. After many grumbles over Irish Stew and the like, my mum has stopped making them for dinner. So last Tuesday, when my dad called home to see what was for dinner he was a little upset (though I don’t think he should have been surprised) that my mum was planning a spaghetti dinner. I had a little chuckle to myself over this as my dad loves his potatoes while some other members of the family (me) do not share his love. He loves potatoes so much that he will often suggest that meals that are traditionally served with rice should have potatoes instead ie. Asian-inspired menus. So to make up for the lack of traditional Irish food at dinner, I made this cake.

Chocolate Guinness Cake

Guinness Chocolate Cake

This recipe comes for Annie’s Eats and I had been waiting for St. Patrick’s Day to give it a try. I halved the recipe because there is just the three of us at home and my dad has been complaining that since I have been home his waistline has paid the price! This cake was moist and delicious plus I love cream cheese icing!

Traditional Irish Scones

Growing up we would have a traditional Sunday dinner at lunch time after arriving in from church. Often it would be roast beef dinner with Yorkshire puddings. Later in the afternoon my mom would sometimes whip up scones for evening tea. It would be a real treat to have warm scones and strawberry jam. Here is my mom’s recipe.

tea time

1 lb (2 3/4 cup) all purpose flour
8 tsp baking powder
2 pinches salt
4 oz (1/2 cup minus 2 tbsp) margarine or butter
4 oz (1/2 cup) sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 420. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. Rub in margarine and add sugar. Mix together the eggs and milk then add slowly to flour mixture. Mix to a light elastic dough. Place on floured surface. Lightly knead and form into 2 inch thick disk.

Cut out scones with a 2 1/2 inch pastry cutter (or a similarly sized glass).

cutting scones

Place on lightly floured baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until just browned. Serve warm with butter and jam.

scones

TWD French Yogurt Cake

Yeah for French Yogurt Cake I say! This week’s TWD was the first one that I have made that I REALLY liked. Claire seems to have had some real winners but me, not so much. This week was the TSN turning point, thanks to Liliana of My Cookbook Additction, check out her website for the full recipe.

lemony

While making this I was really wishing I had a nice microplane type zester. I tried to avoid grating my fingers into the bread with the old stand up grater. It did the trick but I think a new zester may be my next kitchen type purchase.

What I really liked about this cake/loaf was that it was super easy and super delicious. I love all things lemon, which remind me that I need to tell you about my favorite lemon squares in the not too distant future! This was a nice, dense loaf that I enjoyed with fresh raspberries. The only change that I made as that I didn’t do the marmalade glaze. Being as I am not a marmalade fan I used this as an opportunity to make my own glaze. Here’s what I did.

1/2 cup icing sugar
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1 tbsp of orange juice

Mix together ingredients to make a liquid glaze. (I didn’t measure so well when I did this so if you need to, add more icing sugar or more juice depending on how this works for you!) Pour over loaf immediately after you remove from oven. Use a knife to separate the loaf from the sides of the pan in order to avoid the pooling of the glaze. Remove from pan after 5 minutes.

lemon loaf

Many thanks to Dorie for introducing us to this French treat, I think this will be making an appearance at our Easter festivities. This cake just makes my ever increasing desire to go to Paris even stronger!

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Irish Soda Bread

There is nothing that makes me happier than bread, well good bread anyways. Part of my penchant for bakeries is about the sweets and part of it is about the bread. I love to check out the variations and permutations of one of my favorite foods. A carb avoider, I am not.

Baked bread

This weekend my mom and I had a bit of a bake fest and on the agenda was soda bread. This is a family favorite that makes our Irish hearts happy. Soda bread is a go-to kind of a food. You can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It is also perfect for afternoon tea or mid-morning tea for that matter. So take a few moments and whip yourself up a Stewart family favorite, you won’t be disappointed. Given that St. Patrick’s Day is almost upon us, perhaps you’ll use that as an excuse to treat yourself.

6 cups all purpose flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup sugar
4 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Measure and sift flour into a large bowl. Sift the baking powder and baking soda into the flour. Add salt. Stir the flour mixture well with a wooden spoon. Add sugar and mix well. Add buttermilk one cup at a time and stir until just mixed. The dough will be sticky.

Sifting
Flour your work surface. Divide dough in two sections. Place one section on the floured surface. Sprinkle a small amount of flour on the dough. Gently knead it into a round disc.

The rounded dough

Try not to over-handle the dough. Transfer the dough to prepared baking tin (lightly greased and floured). Flour a knife and cut a cross into the tops of each. Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Cutting

Variations:  Add 2 cups of raisins.
Caraway seeds to taste (usually 1/8 cup)