Baked, Occasionally – Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby

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2016 is a new year and a new collaboration with Shannon over at A Periodic Table. Last year, we spun our way through the Jeni’s books and this year we have something new in store. We will be baking our way through the Baked Occasions book month by month in our new series Baked, Occasionally. Each month we will select one recipe (the same recipe) from the book and bake it together word-for-word from the book. Then, we’ll compare our results and, if we see room for improvement, we’ll tweak the recipe and make it again until it’s just right!

This month’s recipe was the Kitchen Sink Dutch Baby.

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dominique ansel’s banana bread

ansel banana bread

As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

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After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

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Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.

Notes

This recipe was found on Tasting Table

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/18/dominique-ansels-banana-bread/

whole wheat roasted banana muffins

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I first made these muffins on a whim, I had two super-ripe (on the verge of garbage-can-ripe) bananas sitting in my fruit bowl begging not to be thrown away. I stared at them for a long time, thinking,  relatively certain that every banana bread recipe in the world requires more than two bananas. I could have made some banana pancakes, but at 7:00 PM on a weeknight (after we had just eaten dinner) it might have seemed just a touch odd to start making pancakes.

So, I pondered a moment and decided in a moment of genius to ROAST the bananas. In my big dinosaur brain I figured with SAT-style math equations that two ripe bananas plus the roasting power of the oven (divided by the square root of the deliciousness of regular banana bread) should equal the flavor of at LEAST three bananas… Then I decided to amp up the flavor with a bit of whole wheat flour and tweaked the moisture content just a bit to make sure the texture doesn’t go bananas on me (ha- get it? BANANAS).

Et, voila!

Banana bread was had. Well, banana MUFFINS, to be more exact. But in my world banana “muffins” are really just banana bread poured into a muffin tin.

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They ended up being FRIGGIN DELICIOUS and I couldn’t wait to share them with you guys… except that I didn’t have any to share. Because instead of sharing them with you I shared them with my belly. So I had to buy some more bananas and play that dreadful game we all play when we want to  make banana bread: The Waiting Game.

Buy bananas now, eat banana bread in 5 to 10 days.

Must not consume all of the bananas before said day arrives.

I also fully intended, now that I had purchased a surplus of bananas specifically to make these muffins, to do that thing where you bake a slice of banana on top of the muffin and it looks super pretty.  Unfortunately, due to a fierce smoothie addiction that is apparently contagious (since FH caught it), I ended up with the same issue as last time – only two bananas.

No extra banana fanciness. Maybe next time. For now, make the bananas, maybe press a piece of sliced banana in the top and let me know what kind of magic happens. Throw on some streusel while you’re at it, or stir in some chocolate chips… Or, if you’re evil like me, trick your Future Husband (or person of your choice) by whispering to them menacingly after they’ve raved about how good the muffins are, “Psst – they have whole grain flour in them…” and watch the color drain from their face as they stare at you in horror for making them eat something (almost) a teeny bit healthful.

You monster.

roasted banana muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 to 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 (or 3) ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup regular all purpose + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up) and roast about 20 to 30 minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, mash roasted bananas. Once the bananas close to room temperature, whisk in the sugars and oil until incorporated.
  5. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  6. Add the flour in two additions, and gently fold until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Notes

*If you would like to top these with streusel or just a bit of crumbled brown sugar, it will yield a slightly sweeter muffin.

*You can still see little chunks of banana in my muffin - if you don't want chunks just mash your bananas to be chunk-free!

*These were great with 2 bananas (which was all I had on hand) but if you want to add a third banana (mashed or chopped) I would keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/03/11/whole-wheat-roasted-banana-muffins/

healthy choco-nana protein muffins

 

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Since I’ve been working on my fitness lately, I’ve been trying to work more nutritious items into my life.  So I’ve been reworking some recipes that would normally cause me to feel guilt, and finding a way to make myself feel less guilty after eating them.  So, I got some vanilla protein powder, and I’ve been pretty much putting it into everything with reckless abandon.  You know, for science.

It’s basically the recipe-equivalent of throwing everything against the wall and “seeing what sticks,” so to speak.  I’ve been mixing it with granola bars, shakes, my morning oatmeal, and even rice krispy treats.  Seriously.

So far, pretty much everything has been a success.

So when I saw these “skinny chocolate banana muffins” on Sally’s Baking Addiction, clearly my first thought was to add protein (since they’re already “skinny,” part of the work has already been done for me!

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Of course I modified the recipe a bit, I was worried that the extra protein from the protein powder would make them gummy or dry.  If you’ve ever eaten a packaged protein snack, you probably know exactly what texture I’m talking about here.  I was torn between using some cake flour or additional oil (since the oil would add fat), but ended up going with a little bit of vegetable oil, which should help with both the crumb and the density of the finished product.

I swear you wouldn’t even know that these were healthy.  I took the leftovers to work and left them in the break room for my unsuspecting coworkers…  and I waited.  Everyone was raving about how good the muffins were, none the wiser that they were actually “healthy*”

*Note, by “healthy” I mean “healthier than your average muffin”

Chocolate Banana Protein Muffins

Makes 12 muffins

Printable Recipe

  • 3 large over-ripe bananas
  • 2 scoops protein powder (I used vanilla ViShake mix)
  • ⅔ granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 3 Tablespoons applesauce
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 cup + ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, separated

1. Preheat oven to 375F and line a muffin tin with liners.

2. In a medium bowl whisk the flour, protein powder, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder; set aside.

3. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with sugar and applesauce until smooth.  Stir in egg and vanilla. Fold in dry ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  When the batter is almost fully mixed, fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.

4. Divide batter evenly between 12 muffin cups, filling them almost to the top.  Sprinkle with additional ½ cup of chocolate chips (if desired).  Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs sticking to it.

5.  When done baking, cool in pan 5 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.  Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

[ Recipe adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction ]
protein-muffin pin

 

fruit smoothie with a secret

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I’m no beacon of health or anything, but it is a new year, and I know some of you may have health-related resolutions, or still have a bit of a sugar hangover from the holidays, and maybe you don’t want to stare at pictures of pie all day.  I understand that.  I get it.  I’m sensitive to your needs (for today, at least).  Besides, I’ve got resolutions too, ya know.

Well, probably more “goals” than “resolutions”.  I’ve never really been known for my strong will.

My main goal is pretty simple: eat more fruits and veggies.  I noticed that the majority of my vegetable-eating occurs at dinner, and is mostly just whatever side vegetable I have selected for our meal, or perhaps some sad, hastily assembled salad.  As for my fruit consumption, that can be described as abysmal at best.

That means not only more veggies at the dinner table, but packing (and remembering to grab) healthy snacks for work, and maybe even sneaking in a vegetarian meal or two (if I can find a way to do that without the BF noticing)… but the easiest way I could think of to get more fruits and veggies into my diet?  Putting a whole bunch into a blender and pulverizing them into oblivion.  Plus, I got this shiny new blender for Christmas and this seemed like the perfect excuse to use it.  At least until margarita season arrives (yes, there is such thing as a margarita season).

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The verdict?  Success!  Great success, even!

Not only did my blender perform beautifully, but I had a breakfast consisting of purely fruits and vegetables!  AND IT WAS FILLING!  I could drink these things all day long.  This particular smoothie tastes like your typical berry smoothie, but it has a secret ingredient:  Spinach!  It might sound weird putting spinach in a fruit smoothie, but you don’t even taste it.  Honest, I swear you wouldn’t even know the spinach was in there if you didn’t put it in there with your own two hands!

Oh, and remember guys and gals, this is a smoothie, not a chemistry experiment, so approximation and experimentation are OK here.  Use any fruit or leafy green you like!

Sneaky Fruit & Veggie Smoothie

[ Printable Recipe ]

  • 1 cup water or fruit juice (apple or orange juice might be a good touch)
  • 1 cup pineapple, cut into even chunks
  • 2 handfuls baby spinach, about 2 cups loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup sliced banana (about 1/2 medium banana or 1 small banana)
  • 1/2 cup fresh berries (I used some blackberries and blueberries that I had in the freezer)
  • Bonus: 1 oz B12 liquid for an energy boost (since drinking this AND my morning coffee would be too much)

Put water or juice in the blender, and pile everything else on top of it.  Blend at low-speed (1 on my blender) for one minute, then at medium speed (3 on my blender) for another minute. 

Makes about two 10-oz servings

*Note – the smoothie had darkened significantly by day two, so I couldn’t bring myself to drink the rest of it.  I think I will try adding a tablespoon or two of lemon juice to it next time to see if that helps to keep the smoothie nice and bright.