I am back in Austin after a short trip with my family to Fort Davis, Texas. What’s left of the bananas we took on the trip turned black, so of course that means it’s time to bake some of “those rotten banana muffins,” as my husband likes to call them.
So here’s the thing about banana muffins (or bread) — it’s best made with bananas that look like this:
Why? Overripe fruit is the sweetest. These bananas are too ripe to eat out of hand, but they are perfect for baking. Next time you have some bananas that have gone bad, don’t throw them out. Bake something with them. (Or peel them, cut them up, and freeze them for smoothies.)
Sunday night I went to the roller derby for the first time in my life. My cousin skates for the Hellcats; this is her second season, but I have only recently learned about her new activity. She is 12 years younger than me and may be my new hero. Here she is with me (she’s on the left); isn’t she lovely? (But don’t be fooled by this beautiful exterior — she’s a badass blocker.)
Here they are coming onto the track at the beginning.
I’ve wanted to go to the derby for years to feed my inner rollergirl fantasy, so imagine my delight when I learned that my cousin is an honest-to-God rollergirl. Roller derby is so the opposite of our family background — it’s awesome!
The bout (that’s a derby term) had everything you look for in a sporting event — tight competition, speed, action, fighting. What better way to spend a Sunday evening? To top if off, the Hellcats won. I was so invigorated by the event that I decided to bake some Hellcat-inspired treats.
I baked Cocoa-Vanilla Chocolate Chip Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream. I took Martha Stewart’s white cupcake recipe from the Martha Stewart Baking Handbook and replaced two tablespoons of flour with two tablespoons of cocoa powder. I also added 3/4 cup chocolate chips. I made some hot pink buttercream and sprinkled the finished cakes with chocolate crunch sprinkles. The idea being that the chips and sprinkles would mimic animal spots and the cocoa would make it seem more like the color of a leopard print. The hot pink frosting was for the hot pink that the team wears.
Thanks Sindra Dee for the inspiration!
(I really must get a better camera — sorry for the focusing issues!)
Happy New Year, everyone! I baked corn muffins today to go with our New Year’s meal of black-eyed peas and greens (in this case spinach because there were no frozen collards at my HEB and I was not in the mood to bother with fresh).
It is traditional on New Year’s Day in Texas and the South to eat the peas for good luck and the greens for prosperity. When I was a kid, I hated black-eyed peas. My parents put so much pressure on me to eat them or risk bad luck all year long that I would swallow a few peas whole with milk, like taking a pill, just to get them to leave me alone. But now I like black-eyed peas, especially when there’s good cornbread and some kind of greens to go with them. I try to guard against putting pressure on my own kids to eat them, although I have taught them about the superstition.
Here is the corn muffin recipe I used, but I cut it in half. It is from one of my chef school textbooks.
Source: On Cooking
Recipe yield: 30 muffins
12 oz yellow cornmeal
12 oz all-purpose flour
7 -1/2 oz sugar (optional – I DON’T use sugar in mine)
1 TB baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
24 fl oz (3 c) buttermilk
6 oz unsalted butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 375° F.
2. Sift dry ingredients in large bowl.
3. Beat eggs; combine in bowl with other wet ingredients.
4. Make a well in the dry ingredients. Pour wet ingredients into dry; mix until just combined (overmixing will make the muffins tough).
5. Portion into very well-greased muffin tin, filling about 2/3 full.
6. Bake until done, approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
My daughter is really into Red Velvet Cake, so this year I decided to make one for our Christmas dessert. I used Paula Deen’s Grandmother Paul’s recipe, which called for 2 bottles of red food coloring, making “red” the operative word in this dessert. I made a cream cheese frosting and did a Blitzkrieg piping job. It was not my best work, but it was acceptable.
Everything was going just fine until I decided to try something I saw on YouTube…
Aahh! Little red aliens have landed on my cake! On the Internet, I saw a demo of crumbling your cake scraps and putting them on the outside of the cake. My family said they liked the way it looked, but I think it was better plain.
It didn’t stop anyone from eating it, so I guess overall it was a success.
Posted in Cake
Tagged Cake, Christmas
I sense a theme emerging for this month. I made applesauce with the kids tonight because there were huge Jonagold apples on sale at HEB yesterday. And while making applesauce isn’t baking, it shares some similarities. I guess it’s almost the same as making a pie filling, and the kitchen is certainly filled with an apple pie aroma. When I used to make applesauce for my baby daughter (who is now eight years old), I just used apples and water. But tonight, I followed a recipe in the Joy of Cooking. Not only does it include sugar, but it calls for apple juice instead of water. The end result was definitely sweeter than my babyfood version, but not overly so, which was my fear. Joy’s recipe also called for a cinnamon stick, ground ginger and ground nutmeg, which gives it a very nice fall flavor.
The finished product (chunky style)
I made applesauce cake this afternoon to finish off a very autumnal dinner menu of pork tenderloin and roasted root vegetables. It is a very simple and comforting dessert, perfect with a dollop of whipped cream. I got the recipe from the Martha Stewart Cookbook, which I don’t use very often because sometimes her baking recipes just don’t work for me, but this recipe was very easy and produced good results. The original recipe called for raisins and nuts, but I left those out because I prefer these types of cakes to have a smooth texture. The leftovers will be great as lunchbox treats for my kiddos.