Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Banana Mocha Muffins

Since the last time I blogged I am now graduated from university with a degree, living back at home with my parents and unemployed…

I spent a happy July in Portsmouth working, swanning by the beach, reading books and generally loving life. I only moved home two days ago and I’m already a bit bored…but then I see the kitchen, literally bursting with baking stuff. So I guess what I’m saying is, sorry for neglecting my blog for the most part of the summer, but now I’m back and in between applying for jobs, have nothing better to do than dedicate my time to making my family obese. On that note if anyone would like to offer me a job that would be great? (No, really…)

I know I harp on about the merits of ripe bananas, but they really are banging. To make these ‘mocha’ I used an instant sachet of mocha mix, but that was just me being lazy, and they would probably be better if you used fresh coffee.

3 large or 4 small very ripe bananas
125ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
100g soft light brown sugar
225g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
3tbsps mocha mix (basically one sachet)
About 50g dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 200⁰C and line a 12-hole muffin tray with papers. For some reason the only papers I could find in my mum’s house were these really random ones with Queen’s guards on them. Bit strange, but what the hey.

Mash the bananas in a large bowl.

Add the oil and mash some more.

Plop in the eggs, and then sieve in the sugar and mix all together with a wooden spoon or spatula.

Weigh out the flour and then add the bicarbonate and mocha sachet to it. Sieve onto the wet ingredients and carefully fold everything in.

Roughly chop the chocolate- I went for 70% cocoa because I like some bitterness with coffee, but if that’s not to your liking it would be just as good with milk. Scatter the chocolate over the batter and carefully mix in.

Spoon the mixture evenly between the cases and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until dark brown and firm to the touch. Let them cool for a little bit in the tins and then transfer to a wire rack.

I have to say these are delicious eaten whilst still warm, because the chocolate’s still all melty (even if eating just baked things gives you indigestion, it’s completely worth it).

Banana Sultana Oaty Traybake

Can you tell from the title that this is one of my leftover spectaculars? What to make when you have loads of random baking cupboard ingredients to use up: this apparently. I may have completely winged it, but it actually tasted really nice and kept me going at work.

800g bananas (about 5)
400g plain flour
400g oats
4tsps baking powder
1 ½ tsp ground mixed spice
1tsp nutmeg
2tsps ginger
1tsp cinnamon
200g golden syrup
100g black treacle
1 egg
Demerara sugar to sprinkle

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C, and prepare a traybake tin with baking parchment.

In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, oats and spices.

Melt the syrup and treacle in a small saucepan and leave to the side to cool slightly.

Mash the bananas in a separate bowl or jug.

Add the egg to the mashed bananas.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and mix.

Add the melted syrup and mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon to combine.

Scatter over the sultanas and fold them into the batter.

Pour into the prepared tin and sprinkle the top liberally with the sugar.

Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Cool on a wire rack.

This cake freezes really well and generally lasts for ages.

Malt Loaf

In an attempt to make healthy(ish) snacks to take to work I thought I’d give malt loaf a go. It was really tasty but didn’t rise quite as much as I expected it to. That might be because I didn’t leave it long enough/my kitchen wasn’t warm enough, but I’d have to try it again to see.

25g unsalted butter
1tbsp soft dark brown sugar
3tbsp malt extract
2tbsp black treacle
350g strong white bread flour
100g strong wholemeal bread flour
8g salt
14g instant yeast
225g sultanas
250ml warm water
1tbsp honey, warmed

First of all these ingredients are to make two loaves so if you only want to make one like I did just halve everything. Grease your tin/s with butter to start.

To a saucepan add the sugar, butter, malt extract and treacle and gently heat until the butter has melted, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Combine the two flours into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt to one side and the yeast to the other.

Add the sultanas, and mix.

Pour in the cooled malt mixture and warm water. Combine everything using a wooden spoon.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes.

Roll the dough into a sausage shape and place into the prepared tin.

Cover the whole thing in an inflated plastic bag and leave to prove for 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 190⁰C. Bake the loaf in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

When the loaves come out of the oven brush, or dribble if you have no brush…, the warm honey all over the top and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Absolutely to be served buttered with a hot cup of tea.