Category: banana

Enter the Tiki Room- a Sourpuss giveaway!

************ COMMENTS CLOSED! GIVEAWAY IS OVER 5/28/13! ************

*** Thanks so much to everyone who entered! I hope to do tons more of these! ***

*** AND THE WINNER IS… ***

tikimugwinner

tikimugwinner2

______________________________________________

When I say that I’ve been excited to post this, I’m not kidding. I really have been. Crazy excited. And I know, it’s not quite warm enough yet to imagine yourself lying on a beach sipping a cocktail, but try. Because today I’m giving away a set of TWO limited edition Sourpuss Clothing Tiki mugs, and giving you a recipe for banana daquiri’s to put in those mugs.

See those mugs? Yep. That’s what one lucky winner will get. TWO OF THOSE MUGS! Namely, the two on the left. Sold separately, they’re $26.00 each. YOU COULD WIN THEM. FOR FREE. If you win, you’ll get one mug each of the first two shown in the photo above (listed from left to right as shown): one May I Be Frank tiki mug & one Aloha Zombie tiki mug.

Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.
Sourpuss Clothing LIMITED EDITION Tiki mugs! Enter the giveaway now... ends May 27th 2013.(Shown in my photos are the Headhunter tiki mug & the Tai One On tiki mug; you’ll be entering to win the other two)

Do you have an outdoor Tiki bar in the summer? Do you love Polynesian masks? Are you big into 1950’s & 1960’s Tiki culture? Do you have a wicked sense of humor? Do you love horror movies & zombies as much as the beach & the sun? Is your dream guy a weird conglomeration of Don Draper going to Hawaii with Johnny Cash & ending up with bolts in his neck à la Frankenstein? Well then, my friend, you’ve hit the jackpot today. Because you could possibly win these totally awesome mugs. Even if you aren’t into those things, you could win. But I’d hope that whoever enters actually likes the mugs, and doesn’t just like getting free shit. ‘Cause that’d suck.

See, I happen to have very weird & eclectic tastes. For example, I have a skull/sugar skull obsession (as you probably noticed back during my last Sourpuss giveaway in October). I have skulls on everything from oven mitts to plates. But then I go and buy pretty pastel pink striped tea towels, polka dot cake stands & vintage flowered tea cups. I don’t know, I’ve given up on trying to label myself. I love both vintage horror movie posters and vintage enamelware, both early 1900’s vintage mason jars and retro 1950’s kitchen stuff. It can’t be explained.

But either way, I’m totally in love with these tiki mugs!

Enter the Sourpuss Clothing & Cupcake Rehab tiki mug giveaway! Ends May 27th.

They’re awesome quality, beautifully painted & they hold almost 20 ounces of liquor drink! Specifically… banana daiquiris!

TIKI ZOMBIE BANANA DAQUIRI

Ingredients:

  • 6 oz. dark rum (I use Myer’s)
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • Juice of 1/2 lime
  • 2 oz. banana liqueur
  • 2 oz. coconut milk
  • 2 very ripe bananas, peeled

Directions:

  1. Put rum, sugar, lime juice, banana liqueur, water, bananas, and plenty of ice into an electric blender, then purée until smooth and thick.
  2. Pour into two tall Tiki mugs, add a pineapple slice, a straw & umbrella, and sit in the sun.

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mug giveaway! Enter now... ends May 27th.

So at this point, you’re wondering what you’ve gotta do to win. Well, it’s pretty easy: there’s only ONE mandatory entry. All the others are purely bonus entries. Here’s what you’ve gotta do:

  • First, and most important, for the one mandatory entry you have to tell me something: if you were to win, what cocktail (or “mocktail”) would you drink out of them? Polynesian or Tiki cocktails would be the most obvious, but any and all ideas are welcome! And virgin cocktails are fine, too. Hell, frozen hot chocolate or Coke is fine. Whatever YOU like… tell me!
  • Secondly (the first optional entry), follow @CupcakeRehab & @SourpussBrand on Twitter. Then come on back here & comment again letting me know (giving me your Twitter name helps, but isn’t mandatory)
  • Third, pin one of these pictures from this entry on Pinterest! Any one you want, as long as you write about the giveaway in the caption. Then come on back here & tell me (again, your Pinterest names will help)
  • Finally (the last optional entry)… tell everyone in your social network about this giveaway! Copy and paste the following into a tweet or post about it on your Facebook page for an extra entry (then come back & let me know, in a separate comment)-

Aloha! I just entered to win a set of TWO limited edition tiki mugs from @SourpussBrand at @CupcakeRehab. You can too: http://cupcakerehab.com/2013/05/enter-the-tiki-room-a-sourpuss-tiki-mug-giveaway

Each comment is an entry, so obviously the more comments you have, the more entries you have, and the more chances of winning you have.

But there’s only one that’s 100% mandatory, so you’re under no obligation to complete the other three. The giveaway ends at 11:59 p.m. EST on May 27th, which is exactly one week from today. At 12:00 a.m. EST on May 28th, the comments will be closed & I’ll choose a winner randomly (thanks to random.org). I’ll e-mail the winner right away, and if I don’t hear back within 24 hours, the prize goes to another randomly chosen person. Anyone & everyone is open to entering!

I’m off to go sit & sip my daiquiri while imagining that summer isn’t too far away… let the commenting begin!

Sourpuss Clothing tiki mugs: The Headhunter & Tai One On.

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!

And if you’re interested (or maybe if you win), Sourpuss has a ton of awesome Tiki-related stuff. Bottle openersmagnetstoothpick holdervotive candles & candle setsvalancesmini-candlesbeach towels… you can transform your entire house or patio into an island getaway. They even have dresses & heels with a Tiki theme. You can go tiki crazy!

I’m going bananas.

I hope all you Americans had a lovely Thanksgiving, and also that you remembered not only our troops who couldn’t be home for the holiday but also remembered the real Americans, the Native Americans, that were treated so poorly & unfairly by our original settlers (& their ancestors). And not to be a total wet blanket, I hope you enjoyed your families (& food, too). I had an absolutely lovely day & ate (& drank) way more than any human my size possibly should. Thanks to my cousin Tommy & his girlfriend Dawn for an amazing day- I hope you enjoy the goodies I left with you as much as we enjoyed all that food & excellent company!

So am I going bananas? Not really. Well, kinda. I guess I’m sorta going bananas. Between the holidays, blogging & getting myself together “in real life” I’m kinda pulled in a million directions lately. And truth be told, it’d be nice if this horrendous cold/flu/whatever it is I have went away for good, & took the lingering cough/malaise with it. Not only all that- but where has the time gone?! I feel like Sleeping Beauty; as if I fell asleep in July, after canning fresh fruit & veggies & sweating my ass off… & woke up to Thanksgiving being over & the temperature dipping down to the 30’s at night. Strange. But my saving grace in life is staying busy, enjoying the little things & the sad truth that food rules my life; put those together & no matter what happens you’ve got a broad who’s cookin’ something up. So this blog will never see a lull in posts, hah.

And of course, I like to try unique things. And banana jam sounded pretty unique. Not only that, but bananas are good for ya (thanks, Wikipedia!):

Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6 and contain moderate amounts of vitamin C, manganese and potassium.

Along with other fruits and vegetables, consumption of bananas may be associated with a reduced risk of colorectal cancer and in women, breast cancer and renal cell carcinoma.

This particular recipe was something I stumbled on coincidentally after realizing my bananas had once again turned dark brown & spotty. My mind started to click through recipe ideas. See, I hate throwing good food or fruit away, especially when it still has delicious potential. Yet I didn’t feel like banana bread, I couldn’t even fathom banana ice cream & I was too tired for making muffins, so luckily this recipe found its way onto my laptop screen one dark, chilly, quite frozen evening at about 11 p.m. However, I didn’t actually open it to use it until the next day. In case you’re wondering, that’s Pepperidge Farm cinnamon swirl bread, toasted, accompanying it. But I guarantee you it will be equally stellar on whole wheat or white toast, pancakes, or vanilla ice cream. Or now that I think about it, bran muffins, too… or a spoonful on top of oatmeal.


BANANA BROWN SUGAR BUTTER/JAM (adapted very slightly from Neo-Homesteading)

Makes 1 8-oz. jar

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, the riper the better
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt

Directions:

  1. In a small pot combine banana, cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, lime juice and butter.
  2. Whisk over medium heat for 5-8 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the the banana has softened. Adjust the heat as necessary to prevent burning. Using the whisk thoroughly smoosh the banana.
  3. Once the mixture is smooth-ish, you are simply thickening without burning. The mixture will bubble 3-4 minutes over medium heat and it should be about ready at this stage. Refrigerate and use within one to two weeks.

Note: I did indeed say this recipe makes ONE 8-ounce jar. You may halve it to make a 4-ounce jar, or double it, but being I’ve done neither I can’t vouch.

AMAZEBALLS. Super rich, buttery & caramel-y ’cause of the brown sugar. Holy crap. If you like bananas, this is a must-make for you. The only downside? Banana can’t be canned safely (unless you’ve got a pressure canner), so it has to be eaten pretty quick. But if you make a small batch, 4-8 ounces, that should be fine. Especially for a brunch date or something, where more than just one person will be having it. Maybe for a Christmas morning brunch, maybe even for an afternoon tea. Speaking of Christmas, it seems it’ll be here before we know it! Jeez, seriously, is it just me or does it seem like just last week it was June?

This has a very home-y flavor, sweet & kinda rustic. Reminds me of a fall morning, a fireplace going at a nice blaze & old family photos.

t…

That photo is so important to me because it’s the only photo that I have of my great-grandmother as a young woman. She’s all the way on the right, holding my grandmother in her lap, and the woman next to her is my great-great-grandmother. I’m lucky to have pictures like this, and I know that. This time of year especially it’s important to remember family & the generations before you, even if it’s only by doing a holiday tradition that’s been passed down through the years. As my Christmas tree goes up this week, & I start to put up my lights & garlands, I’m struck by that. How each generation of my family has done the same thing before me. I can trace parts of my family back to the 1100’s & that’s the one thing that can humanize them & make them relatable to me when they’re just names/dates on paper- that they all celebrated Christmas, albeit in very different ways, & loved their families. So time goes on and the generations go on… and at some point, we’re all just special, cherished photographs on a wall.

Well that was fucking cheerful. Sorry. Have some banana jam & you’ll cheer right up. Anyway, like I said- I personally can’t believe it’s almost December, let alone almost 2012, can you?

..

“My family is bananas” Bananas Foster cupcakes.

My cousin Mike & his lovely wife Heather live in New Orleans, Louisiana, where Mike is a police officer. Mike’s dad Tom is my mom’s cousin, but they share the exact same DNA since they both have the same family on both sides; you see, my mom’s father Clarence’s (nicknamed Butch) sister Eleanor married my mom’s mother Agnes’ brother (Frank)! They’re doubly related, so me & Mike are doubly related as well. Got it? If you didn’t follow any of that, I apologize, here’s a picture that can hopefully help:

That photo is from Eleanor & Frank’s wedding in the late 1940’s. As you can see, my grandfather & Mike’s grandmother were siblings, and my grandmother & Mike’s grandfather were also siblings. So Eleanor & Frank are the grandparents of my aforementioned cousin Mike, and in turn are the parents of my mother’s cousin Tom. Agnes & Butch are my grandparents, a.k.a. the parents of my mother. Make sense now? I hope so, because I really don’t want to break out the pie charts & graphs. Either way, our family tree only has one branch on this particular side, haha.

Anyway, Mike & Heather sent a care package to me & my mom a few weeks back from a (seemingly) awesome store down there called Roux Royale. We each got a mug, a pair of adorable salt & pepper shakers and this awesome cake plate!

Can you tell I’m a bit in love with the photography apps on my iPhone?

Because I’m inspired by everything, this beautiful cake plate gave me the urge to bake something fantastic to put on it. Although I kept looking at it and rethinking what I was going to do. I’ve made King’s Cake cupcakes before, so I didn’t want to do that. Even though that’s where the natural progression of thoughts went, it’s taboo to bake it before Jan. 6th or after Mardi Gras. I’ve also made beignets, and as good as they are, I recently had a gigantic serving of them from the Grand Lux Cafe which satisfied my craving, plus I wasn’t sure they were really appropriate for display on this cake plate.

Mmm… Grand Lux beignets… *sigh* …. anyway back to reality…

And I could’ve done a Cherries Jubilee-type cupcake, especially since the plate mentions cherries, but I’ve done enough cherry stuff lately. So I kept on thinkin’…

Then I remembered that famous New Orleans dessert, Bananas Foster. Ahh, the lovely Bananas Foster. It originated down there in NOLA at a famous place called Brennan’s, so what better dessert to display on that New Orleans cake plate!?

Bananas Foster is a dessert made from bananas and vanilla ice cream, with the sauce made from butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, dark rum, and banana liqueur. The butter, sugar and bananas are cooked, and then the alcohol is added and ignited. The bananas and sauce are then served over the ice cream. Preparation of the dish is often made into a tableside performance as a flambé.

The dish was created in 1951 by Paul Blangé at Brennan’s Restaurant in New Orleans, Louisiana.[2] It was named for Richard Foster, a friend of Owen Brennan‘s who was then New Orleans Crime Commission chairman. It is still served at a number of fine restaurants in New Orleans as well as in many restaurants around the world.

-Wikipedia

Brennan’s is really, really famous. It’s in the French Quarter. The head chef, Lazone Randolph, has been featured on more TV shows than Rachael Ray. Well not quite, but almost. Along with Cafe Du Monde, it’s seemingly one of those tourist places that screams New Orleans.

So yeah, I figured Bananas Foster was a perfect idea. Besides, my family is a bit bananas, so it’s even more appropriate! I love them, don’t get me wrong. I love them & they’re pretty much wonderful, but they’re mostly insane. Which helps to make them wonderful. If everyone was sane, wouldn’t the world be a boring place? I’m sure this concept has been done to death, but this is my version of Bananas Foster cupcakes. Easy, not a lot of drama, and no tableside fire action… but the end result does look & taste far more complicated. And it doesn’t melt, unlike the ice cream in the traditional, original version. I even had some cupcake liners left over from last year that were very similar to the cake plate’s design. How do you like them apples bananas?

To avoid the dense, heavy cupcakes that using real bananas cause, I used banana extract. I don’t care if Florian Bellanger would disapprove. They came out amazing, so he can suck an egg. I mean that in the most respectful way, of course. They’re moist, fluffy, but not dense & thick. I’m including a recipe for a gorgeous, thick, creamy caramel made from condensed milk as well. If you’d like to use that (I didn’t) you could spoon it over the frosting, over the caramelized bananas or even on the cupcakes before you frost them. I thought the flavor of the bananas themselves was enough… but if you want a really decadent over the top cupcake… go for it.

BANANAS FOSTER CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • Caramelized bananas (recipe below), cooled
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk caramel (optional, see here for recipe)
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted
  • 1 ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon pure banana extract
  • ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, room temperature
  • few drops yellow food coloring (if desired)

Directions:

  1. Set oven to 375° F to preheat. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with cupcake liners.
  2. Sift together, into a deep mixing bowl, the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add butter, ¼ cup of the milk and flavorings. Beat on low until blended, then beat on high for another minute or two.
  3. Scrape the sides of the bowl, add the remaining ¼ cup milk, egg, and food coloring (if using) and beat ½ minute longer on high. Scoop into muffin tins to fill them about ¼ or ½ way because they rise a lot. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick/cake tester comes out almost totally clean. Cool completely.
  4. Frost with evaporated milk buttercream frosting (recipe below), then drizzle condensed milk caramel on top with the tines of a fork or a small teaspoon. Top each cupcake with one or two caramelized bananas, and if desired, a bit more caramel.

Confession time. Okay, my confession here is this: as you can see below, I did not use pure banana extract like I recommended. I used Watkins‘ imitation banana extract. However, unless you use Watkins, I’d go with pure. The Watkins flavor is really good & not overly fake or sweet, I know sometimes supermarket extracts can be a bit strong at times, in a bad way.


EVAPORATED MILK FROSTING

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup butter, softened
  • 4 ¼ cups powdered sugar
  • 2 ½ ounces evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together the butter, vanilla and 2 cups of the powdered sugar.
  2. Once well incorporated, add evaporated milk alternating with a cup of sugar at a time until all ingredients have been added. Beat on high for 5 minutes until light and fluffy. Spread or pipe on completely cooled cupcakes.
Gotta have some cafe au lait with them, of course…

CARAMELIZED BANANAS

Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas, sliced
  • 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Spray a non-stick frying pan and a ceramic plate with cooking spray (or waxed paper or parchment on the plate instead), and heat the pan up over medium heat.
  2. Mix sugar & cinnamon together in a shallow dish. Dip each banana slice in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Make sure they’re completely coated.
  3. Using a fork or small tongs, place bananas in pan as they’re ready. Cook until golden-brown, then flip. The first side will take a few minutes, the second side a bit less. Do not let them burn! If you see them getting too dark, sticking to the pan or smell a burning smell- flip them immediately! Keep an eye on them.
  4. When finished, place on coated plate (bananas will be sticky). Let cool before topping cupcakes.

If you choose to use it, you may need to soften the condensed milk caramel a bit before drizzling it, depending how warm your kitchen is, etc. In that case, place the can, open side up (obviously) in a small saucepan of simmering water (only about one inch- don’t get the caramel wet!) for a few minutes, stirring fairly constantly, until it softens enough.  I didn’t feel as if I needed it, but it would make a lovely addition. You could even fill them with it- that would be divine.

Proper “Nu Awlins” cupcakes for a proper “Nu Awlins” cake platter. Thanks again, Mike & Heather, for my newest additions! They’ll be well used around here, as there’s always some kind of baked goods out for display.

Happy pupiversary pupcakes.

What a mug…

..

Saturday (January 30th) was Indy’s first anniversary with us. Exactly a year ago on that day, we went and adopted him from North Shore Animal League.  He was a little 5 month old, squiggly, squirmy ball of cuteness. He is now 3 times the size he was back then (he was 35 pounds, you do the math!), but he’s still a squiggly, squirmy ball of cuteness. Just a bigger and stronger one. We went on to find out he was not a German Shepherd mix as they told us at North Shore, but a  mix of Labrador Retriever, Staffordshire Bull Terrier and English Coonhound. Which explains a lot, really- the powerful chewing, the tendency to carry things in his mouth, the “tracking” he does on walks… yeah, he’s definitely a mix of those three. He’s totally a genius. He’s got his own blog now, did you know that?

The past year has been a total learning experience for both me & Jay- I never had a puppy, when I was a little girl and got my dog Casey he was a year old and fully housetrained and came with a whole set of tricks already. And Jay never had his own dog at all. So we went through housetraining, teaching him tricks (sit, lay down, paw, high five, play dead, and so on), and the other training that comes with having a puppy: not to chew shoes/bags/etc, no begging at the dinner table (which to be honest, Indy never did to begin with), getting them to alert you when they need to be taken out, and all the other things, both banal & exciting.

We learned a lot of things too. That not every dog needs a crate, that no crate can contain certain dogs (at the mere size of 35 pounds Indy demolished not one, but two crates made for dogs more than twice his size), some toys that claim to be indestructible are certainly not, some food isn’t as good as others, and the list goes on. Indy has a very sensitive stomach & digestive system, so most of the treats that other dogs get to have lots of don’t agree with him, like Jumbones, or Pup-peroni, or Snausages. He can really only eat Milkbones, or biscuits, or all natural treats. We only let him eat treats made in the U.S.A. and most of it is 100% natural so there are no additives or by-products. His dry food has to be high quality (Solid Gold, Blue Buffalo, EVO, Innova, etc) and he can only tolerate Halo wet food (we just use it as a “gravy”- one tablespoon mixed with his dry food). The non-dog owners or people who dislike or don’t have pets may think this is slightly insane; but we don’t. For many reasons, not the least of which because he may as well be considered my son, but the one reason you’ll relate to the best is this- what would you prefer, a 95 pound dog you feed garbage to with diarrhea who whines, barks and cries incessantly and tries to chew your fingers off out of frustration because he’s uncomfortable and has to constantly go out (the result of which is quite messy)… or a happy, comfortable, healthy 95 pound dog who contently enjoys his organic food & homemade treats? Thought so. Now tell me I’m crazy.

So anyway I like making him treats, because I know what goes into them, and I know he’ll be able to eat them, enjoy them, and not suffer later.  I can tailor them to his likes (many things) or dislikes (very few things) or things I know he can tolerate. The first thing I ever made for him were these pupcakes. He was crazy about them, and he especially loved the frosting, so I added a similar frosting on these. If you wanna do the same go here to get the frosting recipe. I also topped these with peanut butter chips, because he loves peanut butter.

While these were in the oven, I gave Arwyn catnip & a good brushing, because she can’t stand it when the dog gets more attention when clearly cats are superior animals.

BANANA, HONEY & CINNAMON PUPCAKES

First you get:

  • 2 ¾ cups of water
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp honey
  • 2 med bananas (mashed)
  • 3 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • ¼ cup dry milk powder (*I used ¼ cup fat free milk)
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp baking powder

Then you:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Spray muffin pans with Pam to keep the cakes from sticking.
  3. Mix water, egg, honey, and mashed banana together. (I add the milk here too).
  4. Combine flour, dry milk powder, cinnamon and baking powder to the wet mixture.
  5. Mixture should have a cake batter consistency.
  6. Bake at 350 for approximately 30 minutes.
  7. Pupcakes are done when they turn a golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Indy adored them, I’m sure your pup will too. I have quite a few dog treat recipes, to see more of them go to the dog biscuit category. Actually, humans might enjoy these cakes as well. They certainly smell fantastic, and this time there’s no random ingredient like cheese to make them a bit off-putting. A tip from me to you: feed them to your dog on tile floor or wood, otherwise you’ll be cleaning cream cheese & honey frosting off your carpet. Indy has a thing where he will not eat anything off the tile, and he won’t eat anything but his food out of his bowl… so I speak from experience.

Look at that face… haha..

..

And remember, if your dog is a senior, or has any kind of health issues or food intolerance, please ask a veterinarian first before making them any homemade treats. And do your research before feeding anything to your dog. Grapes, garlic and onion are all included in a list of foods that can make your dog seriously ill.

And thanks to Brianne for coming up with “pupiversary.” Why didn’t I think of that!?

Chocolate covered Easter cupcakes, with banana flavored Italian meringue.

For Easter this year, I decided to make a cupcake I’ve been wanting to try for years and never did. Mainly because they seemed slightly time consuming (and I’m lazy), but also because I never have all the ingredients on hand; corn syrup, cream of tartar and 14 oz. bittersweet chocolate are rarely here all at once. Plus the 7 eggs required for these seemed a bit much. But coincedentally, recently they were all on hand, and because of Easter we had tons of eggs anyway, and I remembered this delicious recipe I found at the Barmy Baker’s website. I did something really cutesy and Easter-themed last year, and I didn’t want to do something like that again this year, but the chocolate covered meringue  on these did remind me of chocolate covered marshmallow Easter eggs and bunnies, so I thought they’d be a good choice. I don’t really do the religious thing, but I can’t resist a chocolate bunny. Or a real bunny, for that matter.

So these Hi-Hat cupcakes consist of a “frosting” made with meringue that is piped in circles. Each coil gets smaller as you go up, creating the look of a very high spiral. You can go up to 2″ high with this, if you have the patience. Then that is hardened in the fridge, and coated with a chocolate coating  that also hardens in the fridge, creating a hard “bonnet.” I made my meringue banana flavored, because I can. If you want banana extract, go get it. Banana + chocolate = yum.

My cupcake liners and toppers are by Wilton, because again… I’m lazy and making my own toppers is sometimes just too much for my lazy-ass self.

CHOCOLATE BLACKOUT CUPCAKES

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup cocoa powder (natural, not dutch-processed)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 4 ounces melted butter
  • 1 cup brewed coffee (I used instant espresso powder in one cup boiling water)
  • 3 large eggs

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Prepare 2 muffin tins by lining with 20 or 21 muffin liners.
  3. This is just like making a quick bread. Sift the dry ingredients together into a mixing bowl.
  4. Mix together the wet ingredients, Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until combined. This will be a fairly wet batter.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins, filling until about a quarter of an inch from the top of the liner.
  6. Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes spring back when lightly pressed with a finger.
  7. Remove from oven, let cool in pan about 10 minutes and then finish cooling on a rack. Place the room temperature cupcakes in the refrigerator while you make the Italian meringue. These cupcakes (or cake if you make one from this recipe) do tend to taste better the next day after the flavors have all come together.

ITALIAN MERINGUE (adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours)

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup (4 egg’s worth) egg whites
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp corn syrup
  • ¾ tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer.
  2. Place the sugar, water and cream of tartar in a heavy bottomed saucepan with a candy thermometer placed on the side of the pan dipping into the mixture. Bring the mixture to 238F. When the sugar syrup is about 10 degrees away from 238F, begin whipping the egg whites to firm shiny peaks. If the whites get to this state before the syrup is at 235, turn your mixer to low speed and just let them keep moving.
  3. Once the syrup is at 235 and your egg whites are firm and pretty, Carefully and slowly pour the syrup into the egg whites with the mixer running on high speed. Don’t worry about any spatter on the sides of the bowl, it happens and won’t effect the final product.
  4. Add the vanilla extract and continue whipping the egg whites until they cool to room temperature (I also add about ½ tsp  salt, as I like my icing a bit salty with the sweet). Once the mixture is cool, scoop it into a pastry bag fitted with a large piping tip (or you can just use a plastic baggie with the corner cut off to pipe).
  5. Pipe coil mounds on top of the chilled cupcakes, mounding each high to form the marshmallow “hat”. Place the cupcakes in the refrigerator and make your chocolate coating.

CHOCOLATE COATING

Ingredients:

  • 14 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used a 72%)
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Place chocolate and oil in the top of a double boiler (I just use a stainless steel bowl) and place over just simmering water and let sit about 5 minutes, then stir until chocolate is melted and you have a nice smooth dipping chocolate.
  2. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into a deep container (one that is narrow and deep enough to dip the “hats” in). Dip your cupcakes in one at a time, allow excess to drip off and place the cupcakes on a rack over a sheet of parchment to catch the extra drips.

The worst part of these were letting them “set”, or harden in between steps. I’m an impatient person by nature, so that killed me. But otherwise it was much easier than I anticipated, and truly delicious. Actually… I had a problem with the meringue, but I worked it out. If this meringue doesn’t work for you, try looking around the internet, there may be a better one. Or use buttercream and tell everyone its meringue. Most people won’t know the friggin’ difference anyway.

That said, I wish you all a…

HAPPY

EASTER

&

HAPPY

PASSOVER!

Banana bread.

Jay’s working until 9:00 tonight doing some crazy policeman holiday overtime nonsense, and I already promised him cookies, so I figured while I had time and was already in the kitchen I’d make something else simple and quick and kill two birds with one stone.  I’m feeling a bit under the weather, its freezing cold today and while most of the snow that fell last night is gone, its still bitter cold. While I was thinking about what would be an easy yet cozy and warm  and comforting thing to make, I noticed I (once again) have three mushy overripe bananas. And then it came to me- banana bread.

As the great and all-knowing Wikipedia says:

Banana bread first became a standard feature of American cookbooks with the popularization of baking soda and baking powder in the 1930s (and appears in Pillsbury‘s 1933 Balanced Recipes cookbook). The origin of the first banana bread recipe is unknown. The home baking revival of the 1960s and the simplicity of its recipe led to an explosion in banana bread’s popularity. The cookbooks of the 1960s added to its popularity because they commonly listed multiple variations of bread that added fruits and nuts.

This one doesn’t have nuts in it, though there are recipes for banana nut bread out there. It doesn’t use buttermilk, or whole wheat flour either. This is just a simple, old school, straightforward banana bread recipe. Nothing complicated, and perfect for a 1-2-3 snack. Well, it takes roughly an hour to bake, but its so easy otherwise that that time can just be considered free time to do something else.

BANANA BREAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.*
  2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.
  3. In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  4. Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.
  6. Spread slices with honey or serve with ice cream.

*My pan was like 8.4 x 4.5 x 2.7 or something… it wasn’t quite the measurements given, yet it did the job just fine. It took a bit longer to bake, thats all.

See? I told you I’d have more recipes for you! And could it get any easier than this?

Its such an quick and simple and brainless recipe it’d be really cool to give as gifts. Anything handmade or hime baked is always welcomed and people would assume tons of effort went into it. Just make a few loaves of it, wrap them in fancy cellophane (red, green or the kind thats printed with stars or holly) and tie with a pretty bow. Add a gift tag and some instructions for how to serve it, and there you go. Much better than a fruitcake.

Halloweenie “malevolent muffins.”

Sorta.

Okay, really they’re just muffins in Halloween liners and topped with some vintage toppers. They’re not malevolent at all. I have about 500 Halloween cupcake liners and 3 overripe bananas, so I figured might as well use ‘em.

Recipe can be found here. Stay tuned this week for 2, count ‘em 2 batches of Halloween cupcakes plus some birthday cupcakes. Yeah- I’m doing a buttload of baking this week.