Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oatmeal Cookies

Simple oatmeal cookies are always a perfect choice when I crave for something sweet but not overwhelming. They're quick to make, keep for many days and are easily portable. These are very crispy around the edges and slightly chewy in the middle with a buttery, oaty taste. Simplicity wins!

Oatmeal Cookies
200g butter, softened
200g brown sugar
1 egg
125g flour
2 1/2 cup quick oats
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1) Beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add brown sugar and beat until incorporated. Add in the egg.

2) In another bowl, mix together the flour, oats, baking soda and salt.

3) Mix the dry ingredients into the butter mixture.

4) Preheat oven to 180C.

5) Form the dough into balls and flatten a little bit. Leave some space for them to spread during baking. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and slightly soft in the middle.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Strawberry Banana Sponge Cake

One of the best cakes I've ever made. The sponge was super light, soft and fluffy. The pastry cream gave sweetness and richness while the cream gave some lightness. Strawberries and bananas made it completely perfect. It is a real summer-must-make-cake! I have eaten many cakes like this - sponge, berries or fruits and cream. And I never was a big fan of them until I made my own version. It tastes a million times better than a store-bought cake. And it's much easier than it looks like. You can make the pastry cream and the sponge in advance. (Actually I highly recommend making the sponge cake the day before to cool it completely).
I hope I've convinced you to make this. Believe me, you won't regret it!

Strawberry Banana Sponge Cake

Pastry Cream
4 egg yolks
130g sugar
400ml milk
40g cornstarch
50g butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Sponge Cake (recipe from here)
4 large eggs, separated
120g sugar
3 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
120g cake flour, sifted
20g butter, melted

1 large banana, sliced
1 - 1,5 cup strawberries, halved
1 tbsp orange juice

200ml whipping cream
2-3 tbsp powdered sugar

Make the pastry cream:
1) In a heavy bottom pot, beat together the yolks, sugar and cornstarch until light and fluffy.
2) In a medium pot, bring milk to boil. Once it boils, add a little to the yolk mixture. Always keep whisking as fast as you can! Gradually pour all the milk into the yolk mixture. Do not stop whisking. Bring the pot over medium-low heat and whisk until the mixture thickens. If it starts bubbling too much, lower the heat. The pastry cream has to drop off the spoon very slowly but there musn't be any lumps. When you reach that consistency, remove from heat and let stand for 2 minutes.
3) Add the vanilla extract and butter. Mix until incorporated.
4) If there are some lumps, you can strain the pastry cream. However, I did not have any lumps because I was whisking it constantly.
5) Let cool. Cover with plastic wrap and place into the fridge.

Make the sponge Cake:
1) Beat the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar. When it is incorporated, stir in the egg yolks. Stir in the milk, vanilla extract, cake flour and butter.
2) Preheat oven to 180C. Line 2 springform pans with parchment paper. Divide the batter into the pans. Bake for 15-25 minutes or until it is golden brown and springs back when pressed.
3) Cool completely.

1) Whip the whipping cream with powdered sugar until stiff.
2) Dip banana slices into orange juice and shake excess liquid.
3) Place one layer of cake onto a plate. Spread half of the pastry cream. Place some strawberries iver it. Cover with half of the whipping cream. Place the second cake layer on top. Cover with pastry cream, then the whipping cream and decoreate with strawberries and bananas.
4) Chill for at least 30 minutes.


*If you use a 17cm springform pan, you will get thicker cake. You may slice it and have 4 layers instead of 2. I baked mine in a 23cm pan so my layers were quite thin.

Recipe by collecting memories

Monday, June 10, 2013

Banana Bread

The most wonderful banana bread. Why it is wonderful? Well firstly because despite having only 25grams of butter it's still amazingly moist. And the moisture keeps for many days. Secondly, it has a strong banana flavour with the perfect amount of sugar. To me, this is the best not-too sweet snack whenever I want something delicious and healthy.

Banana Bread
250g flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
3 medium bananas, very ripe (about 1 1/2 cups mashed)
150g sugar
25g butter, softened
1/2 cup sweetened applesauce*

*If using unsweetened, increase the amount of sugar up to 200 grams. But I don't recommend adding too much. The sweetness of your bread also depends on how ripe your bananas are. 

1) Preheat the oven to 180C. Prepare a silicone loaf pan (if using a metal pan, lightly grease it.)

 2) In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.

3) In another bowl, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add sugar and beat until combined. Stir in the eggs, applesauce and bananas.

4) Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Don't overmix. Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and smooth the top.

4) Bake for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted to the center comes out clean. Let cool completely and slice. (I suggest baking it in the evening and leaving overnight because it's much more delicious after it stands a bit.)

Recipe by collecting memories

Monday, June 03, 2013

Low Fat Onion Dill Muffins

So my experiments with healthier food continues. These muffins are made half from whole wheat and half from wheat flour. But the best thing is that there's no butter, only 2 tablespoons of oil and they're still very moist. These are packed with various seasonings but you can mainly taste dill in them. So the result satisfied me completely - they're delicious, guilt-free and super frangrant!

Low Fat Onion Dill Muffins

100g whole wheat flour
100g wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried oregano
1 1/2 tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 egg
2 tbsp olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
250ml whole milk
oil for greasing the muffins tins

1) Preheat oven to 180 deg. C.

2) In a bowl, mix together the first 8 ingredients.

3) In a saucepan, combine together 1 tbsp olive oil and onions. Set over medium low heat and leave. Stir time to time. When they're softened and golden brown, remove from heat. Mix in the garlic and dill. Let cool.

4) In a large bowl, beat the egg. Beat in the milk. Start adding the flour mixture. Finally, add the onions and mix just until combined.

5) Grease 9 muffin tins with oil. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin center comes out clean.

Makes 9 muffins.
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