Saturday, 12 July 2014

Chocolate Banana Bread

Eve 12/07/14

Deep, dark and very chocolaty, this banana bread has it all! Ripe bananas and dark cocoa powder make this bread so delicious. 



So chocolaty, everyone has gotta have a bit of chocolate in their life, right? Full on banana flavour and full on cocoa flavour gives this bread such an intense taste. You will love it at first bite! 

You guys know I love bread. May it be yeasted bread or a sweet loaf, I have a little soft spot in my heart for it. Sweet breads are so easy to make and take only a matter of minutes to put together. They are just a muffin, bread style.

My blog should seriously be called " Baking the Bread". 
That would be awesome!


This bread is moist and completely irresistible. What makes it so moist are the key ingredients; oil, soft dark brown sugar and the banana. These ingredients are the base of this bread and they are what give the bread the wonderful moistness and "fudge-factor". That's right, this bread is fudgy!

Could this get any better?!



Did you know that cocoa powder has many health benefits? What a great excuse to make more chocolate cake! Unsweetened cocoa powder is made by grinding the cocoa beans from cocoa pods. Before grinding, they are first fermented, dried and roasted. This creates the "chocolate" flavour we all know and love. When ground, the cocoa butter is removed, leaving behind dry, unsweetened cocoa powder.

5g cocoa powder contains 17 calories, 1g of protein, 1g of fat which of saturates is 0.6g. 
5g dark chocolate contains 28 calories, 0.5g of protein, 2 g of fat which of saturates is 1.2g.

Cocoa powder wins the nutritional battle however, you sadly can't eat cocoa powder plain. Cocoa has the real taste of pure chocolate, great for baking. When adding melted chocolate to a cake batter, it alters the sweetness and moisture levels. 
I prefer cocoa powder as you have more "control". 



Nerd alert!

Cocoa is rich in flavonoids. There are many different types of flavonoids but cocoa is a rich source of two types; epicatechin and catechin. Flavonoids help protect your blood vessels and prevent inflammation in the body. Studies have also shown that flavonoids can decrease the chances of developing type 2 diabetes. But that doesn't mean eat a pound of cocoa a day. Many other foods, such as oranges and raspberries are high in flavonoids too!



This bread is uber tasty! Imagine a dark chocolate fudge cake meets a luscious, seriously banana-y banana bread. Incredibly rich and decadence without being over the top. 

You will need 2 and a half large bananas for this recipes and they must be extremely ripe, almost rotten, for the perfect banana taste. When the bananas in your fruit bowl are very brown and yucky looking {No mold though!}, throw them whole, peel and all into the freezer. This way you will never waste a banana and also, banana bread can always be on the menu. 

Whenever you crave a banana cake, bread, cupcakes, or pancakes, simply put them into a baking tray and put into a moderate oven for 15 minutes, turning half way through cooking to make sure the banana is defrosted. All you need to do is to chop of the top and squeeze the banana mush into a bowl.

Not the most appetizing thing in the world but it has a ton of flavour!


Chocolate Banana Bread
Posted by Eve
Makes one x 900g loaf/ serves 8 - 10
Ingredients

  • 60ml Oil
  • 50g Soft dark brown sugar
  • 80g Caster sugar
  • 1 Egg
  • 250g Ripe bananas, mashed
  • 90g Plain flour
  • 40g Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Baking powder 
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking soda
Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºc/ 160ºc fan/ gas mark 3. Grease and flour a 900g loaf tin.
  2. Beat the oil and sugars together well until combined. Add the egg and whisk in well until lighter in texture and colour.
  3. Add the banana and whisk in well. Sieve in the rest of the ingredients and fold in until the mixture is uniform in texture and appearance.
  4. Pour into the prepared tin and make a small indent in the middle of the batter, like a trench. Bake for 45 - 50 minutes until risen and and when a skewer is inserted, it comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before tuning out on to a wire rack. 
  5. Serve warm or cooled with coffee

Enjoy!


This bread should be stored in an air-tight container for up to 1 week at room temperature. 




Chocolate Banana Bread
1 slice, plain (8 slices per bread)



Friday, 4 July 2014

Cherry Pie Bars

Eve 04/07/14

Eat pie in a fun way with these scrumptious pie bars. Light sponge is covered in fresh cherries and an oaty streusel top. Great for get-togethers over the summer months.

This is now my second pie recipe and I am so glad to share it with you guys.
Normal pie = pastry and fruit
Eve's pie = cake, fruit and streusel
Ok, ok, ok.... If you are a pie purist, please stop reading this post, you'll probably get a little bit emotional. I know this isn't strictly speaking a pie, but, if you put a bit of imagination into it, the bars kinda look like pie, right?
Anyway, they are uber yummy, what ever you call them!


Happy 4th of July! I don't celebrate this holiday as I am Scottish but I am sure many Americans love this holiday. If you are American, have a good holiday!
Back to the bars. Easy, tasty and fun to make, these may be one of my new favourite desserts/ pie. What is there not to love about pie? I love fruit pie the most I think, but, if you made me this pie, I would eat in two seconds flat.  
Fruit desserts are my absolute favourite desserts as well. There is something about fruit in baking that makes everything 10x better.
Unless it is dried fruit, yuck! Raisins are my arch-enemy!


The base of this pie is an easy-peasy whisked sponge/ cake. The ingredients are eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla. 
Gasp! No butter? 
Yep, having no added fat in the cake makes it super light and airy, a perfect contrast between the crunchy streusel and soft cherries. 
Simply whip up the eggs and sugar until mousse like and really pale. I recommend using a free-standing mixer for this job as it does take a good 3-4 minutes on high speed to achieve the volume needed. You could also use a hand held electric mixer but if you are super strong and have the determination, you could use a manual balloon whisk. 
Since the cake is so light, it only takes 10 - 15 minutes in the oven; this basic cake/ sponge is great for a family that loves cake but without the extra fat and wants a cake quickly as well!
Once cooked just leave to cool. I make the base last in the making of these bars as both the filling and streusel need to chill for a bit in the fridge before getting used.


The next layer is a sweet, fresh cherry filling. This filling is way better than the artificial stuff you finds in cans. My first experience with that over-sweet, gloopy filling was around about 4 years ago when I was served a cherry crumble at my aunt's house. 
The crumble on top was lovely, however, the filling was way too sweet and chemically tasting. The cherries in this pie are completely different, for the better! 
The filling is packed full of real, cherry flavour with a minuscule amount of added sugar. Only 1 tablespoon of sugar sweetens the filling, along with 1 tablespoon of raspberry jam. It is surprising how you don't miss the sugar!


The final layer of these delicious bars is a buttery, sugary, oaty streusel, but with a difference. Instead of just creating a crumbly topping by hand, you make this topping by making a pastry/dough/streusel and chill it wrapped in clingfilm. Just before you are about to bake the bars, you grate the chilled and solid topping and sprinkle it over the cherries and cake. This create an AMAZING (sorry for shouting) topping, you could use it for anything!
Muffins, cake, even yeasted bread!
The streusel is your oyster!


If you do make these, which I advise you do, make a double batch; they disappear in seconds!
Happy weekend!





Cherry Pie Bars
Posted by Eve
Makes one 17cm x 27cm tray / 12 slices
Ingredients

For the topping
  • 30g Butter, at room temperature
  • 35g Demerara sugar
  • 30g Plain flour
  • 30g Oats, quick cook, not traditional 
  • 1 Egg yolk

For the filling
  • 300g Pitted cherries, fresh 
  • 1 tbsp. Caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Raspberry jam
  • 2 tbsp. Water
  • 1/2 tbsp. Cornflour
  • Zest of 1/2 small lemon 

For the base
  • 2 Eggs 
  • 50g Caster sugar
  • 40g Plain flour
  • 1 tbsp. Hot water
  • 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract

Method

  1. First, make the topping. Beat together the butter and sugar until lighter in texture and colour. Add in the flour and oats and stir until combined. Mix in the yolk well but don't over mix it!
  2. Wrap the mixture up in clingfilm like a sausage and freeze until firm (about 30 minutes) and then keep in the fridge until needed.
  3. Next, make the filling. Put the cherries into a saucepan and cook on medium heat until some of the juices cook out of the fruit.
  4. Add the sugar and water and cook on low heat for 5 - 8 minutes until the cherries are tender but still hold all of their shape. Sieve in the cornflour and add the lemon zest and cook until the cherry mixture just starts to thicken. Pour the cherries into a bowl and leave to cool covered in clingfilm in the fridge.
  5. Preheat the oven to 180c/ 170c/ gas mark 4 and grease and line a 17cm x 27cm cake tin.
  6. For the base, whisk together the eggs and sugar until mousse-like and thick. Sieve in the flour and add the water and vanilla.
  7. Fold in very gently using a large spoon, trying not to deflate the batter. Pour into the prepared tin and level with a knife.
  8. Bake for 12 - 15 minutes until lightly golden brown and springy to touch. Leave to cool for 10 minutes in the tin.
  9. Increase the oven temperature to 190c/ 180c/ gas mark 5.
  10. Once cooler, cover the cake with the cold cherry filling and level. Grate the cold topping onto a chopping board then sprinkle over the cherries evenly.
  11. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and the cherries are juicy and the top is evenly baked.
  12. Leave to cool in the tin completely before slicing into 12 bars.



Enjoy!

This bars should be store in an air-tight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


Cherry Pie Bars
1 slice (12 slices)