When in Doubt…Leave it at 350

baking, cooking, and other adventures

Daring Bakers: Quick Bread February 28, 2012

Filed under: Quick Breads,The Daring Bakers' — pastrybrush @ 12:28 am
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The Daring Bakers’ February 2012 host was – Lis! Lis stepped in last minute and challenged us to create a quick bread we could call our own. She supplied us with a base recipe and shared some recipes she loves from various websites and encouraged us to build upon them and create new flavor profiles.

As it happens, I actually made my go to Banana Walnut Bread recipe just a couple of days ago. So this worked out perfectly πŸ™‚

Mike had randomly hinted last week that banana bread would be yummy, especially since there were two very ripe bananas hanging out on the counter. One day when Mike was at work, I put Emma in her highchair and went about throwing all the ingredients for the bread together.

The greatest thing about quick breads is that they are quick πŸ™‚

I didn’t want to have to wait all day for the bread to bake up. Well sometimes one hour feels like all day when you are hungry and just want one piece. So I decided to scoop these into a standard size muffin pan, made 11 muffins, and sprinkled them with a little sugar and baked them for 20 minutes.

Banana Bread
Source: Better Homes and Gardens: New Cook Book page 114

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (I used 1/2 tsp because I love cinnamon)
1 egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cooking oil (I used vegetable oil)
1 tsp finely shredded lemon peel (aka lemon zest)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Grease the bottom and 1/2 inch up the sides of an 8x4x2 inch loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp salt. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine the egg, bananas, sugar, cooking oil, and lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture. Stir until just moistened (batter should be lumpy). Fold in nuts.
3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degree F oven for 50 to 55 minutes or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Remove loaf from pan, cool on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing. Makes 1 loaf (16 servings).



Tuesdays With Dorie: Chocolate Truffle Tartlets February 21, 2012

Filed under: Baking,Baking With Julia,Tarts,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 7:00 am
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This weeks Tuesdays With Dorie is being hosted by Steph, Spike, Jaime and Jessica.  They picked the Chocolate Truffle Tartlets, which are located on pages 382-383 in Baking With Julia.

This recipe makes 6 individual tarts, and since Mike and I have worked our way through my birthday cake pie and a Black Tie Mousse Cake (which I will hopefully post about soon), I didn’t think it would be wise to make a full recipe.  So I decided to make half a recipe which incidentally makes 4 tarts.  I ate one, Mike ate one, one went to my father-in-law, and the last lonely tart is hanging out in the fridge with the last piece of Black Tie Mousse Cake πŸ™‚

This recipe actually wasn’t very hard, it just took some time to make the crust and then chill, roll, chill, and bake.  So I did it in stages while M was taking a nap.  I decided not to put biscotti in mine because I really didn’t want the crunch.  I was completely satisfied with a creamy interior with random bits of chocolate.  I really enjoyed the one tart I had.  It was the perfect size and very rich in chocolately flavor.

Now I give you my last lonely tart, and the puppy that wishes he could have some.


Birthday Surprise February 15, 2012

Filed under: Life — pastrybrush @ 12:59 am

A few days after I had my daughter, I got a phone call from my best friend saying that she was pregnant. After Lynnette went to the doctor and found out her due date, February 27, 2012, I joked with her that it would be funny if she had her baby on my 30th Birthday.

Lynnette and Eduardo decided they did not want to know the sex of the baby.
A couple of months ago, I had a dream that she was having a little boy. I always had a 50/50 chance, so you never know.

Skip to my 30th birthday, February 14, 2012, I was eating dinner with my family when I receive a text from Lynnette. At 3:47 pm she had her son, Emiliano. He is 7 lbs 10 oz and 19 inches long. I am beyond estatic for my best friend and her husband. I can’t wait to meet their little man. I know it won’t be for awhile because I live 1200 miles away, but it will happen.

With that said….




My 30th Birthday Cake Pie February 14, 2012

Filed under: Cake,Ganache,Pie,Pudding,Vegan — pastrybrush @ 1:00 am
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For my 30th birthday, I decided that instead of making the usual crazy decadent chocolate dessert (You know because it is Valentine’s Day, just saying, and everyone is a chocolate addict today) or the usual chocolate chip cookie cake that I have had for almost every birthday; I flipped through Vegan Pie In The Sky and made a decision.

Boston Cream Cake Pie

Yes, I said Cake Pie. Who doesn’t like a Boston Cream Cake? Then add Pie to the end and who could not resist it.

This cake pie consists of four layers: vanilla cookie crust, vanilla cream/pudding, vanilla cake, and chocolate ganache. It does take some time to make. I think it might have taken me 1 1/2 hours from start to finish. Which isn’t bad for a dessert. After making this, I knew it was for my birthday but I couldn’t resist trying it so we cut into it 2 days before my birthday. I couldn’t help it, it was calling to me.


I loved this dessert and Mike actually really liked it too. Which is saying something because he usually stays away from vegan desserts that I make because I tricked him into eating tofu one time when I made a vegan chocolate mousse pie πŸ™‚ Probably one of the funniest things for me is when I told him there was tofu in it. Classic!!!

He knew there was tofu in the pie this time, so there was no tricking involved. I usual replace all the soy milk in dessert recipes for rice milk because of the strong flavor of the soy. However, this time I decided to stick with soy milk and it worked out great. Since the cake pie has a lot of strong individual flavors, they mask the taste of the soy perfectly.

It is very strange for me to say that I am 30 because I feel the same. Last year on my Birthday we found out we were having a little girl. Now my little girl is 8 months old. I know the time is going to pass by in the blink of an eye, and I am just trying to hold onto all the moments I have with my smiling monkey.

Happy Birthday to me!!!!!



Tuesdays With Dorie: White Loaves February 7, 2012

Filed under: Baking With Julia,Bread,Tuesdays With Dorie — pastrybrush @ 1:00 am


Tuesdays With Dorie is back, and everyone rejoiced….


I am so excited to be baking from Baking With Julia . After receiving the cookbook as an early birthday present, I flipped through the book and all the different recipes made me so happy. A lot of the techniques I have already done, but practice makes perfect and I love all the bread recipes. I am looking forward to all the new recipes and this new cookbook adventure.

Without further ado, this weeks Tuesdays With Dorie is being hosted by Laurie and Jules, they our are fearless leaders in TWD and for the recipe of White Loaves, which are located on pages 81-82 in Baking With Julia.

I don’t make bread that often, even though I love homemade bread. The smell of bread baking in the oven has to be one of my top 5 favorite smells. It is absolutely perfect. For this recipe, I had just enough bread flour to make half a recipe which is one loaf. The bread baked up perfect and I found it to be one of the best tasting homemade breads. The bread has a perfect texture with a tight crumb, and a semi-firm texture. Toasted this bread has a slight buttery flavor, and is perfect with Homemade Nutella. It also works perfectly for sandwich bread, either sliced thin or thick. Once I get my hands on some more bread flour, I will be making more of this bread.