04 January 2010

Summer sweets

Having relaxed this whole week after a hectic December I figured it was time to get back in the kitchen. I hope you all had a fabulous Christmas and New Years, we certainly have been treated to lovely weather here in Auckland anyway! Also exciting this weekend the first adverts for New Zealand's Hottest Home Baker have been showing on Food TV much to the kids excitement! They (and I) can't wait for it to air!

First up banana cupcakes. Had a few spotty bananas in the fruit bowl only about a day after buying them thanks to the weather. The fruit flies were hanging around expectantly. So I made a batch of banana muffins with a recipe I was sent from my Aunt Susie in Canada and comes from the Canadian Living (May 09) magazine. The frosting that went on them was also with this recipe, however as you will see from the photos, I'm not sure this frosting will be making its way back to my kitchen in a hurry! I'll print both the recipes below.

The frosting is called 7 Minute Frosting and I figured is a good way to use left over egg white, and I am also a sucker for any meringue sticky gooey stuff but this was taking it a notch further. It's like a gluey white sweet paint. Too sweet and gooey and I cannot imagine EVER serving this to a bunch of kids at a party. Imagine the mess!!! Any cupcake that requires an adult having to wash their face after eating is not something I wanna eat. It also took away the taste of the cupcake, which is a lovely, moist, banana-ry and fluffy cupcake recipe. I think it would do much better with a cream cheese, or chocolate icing.
Here's the result of the troops eating this, I had to send them outside and I'm glad I did! And then I realised I had forgotten to add the water to the recipe! So who knows if its supposed to be any different - perhaps not so thick? Oops!

Yes Katie was the first to drop hers. Not much of a recovery from this one...which is no matter as kids never seem to eat the actual cake anyway.

Second up is an old favourite from the Jo Seagar Easy Peasy Summer Entertaining cookbook. These ones always surface about this time of year. This is a rich and delicious summer dessert - Espresso Cups of Chocolate Cream. Recipe also below.
I love this recipe for a few reasons but mostly because Jo makes it soooo easy, and it's really really rich in chocolate and nothing beats chocolate in my estimation! Also it can be varied so instead of using dark chocolate you can use white or milk, and Jo even suggest chocolate peppermint creams or Caramellow chocolate! Hmm mm. Are you getting hungry even thinking about that or what?

I always like serving mine with some tart berries (goes beautifully with chocolate), in this case I didn't have any fresh ones on hand so I used some canned blackberries, still delicious. You can also make this as one large serving but I do prefer the wee cup sizes. In these ones I plonked a bit of the dreaded 7 minute frosting I used from the leftover egg whites, and I don't think I'll do it again. A dollop of cream is much nicer. But it gave me an excuse to try out my new blowtorch! Hehe.

Right, now for the recipes:

Banana Buttermilk Cupcakes
1/2 cup butter, softened (I used 125g)
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup mashed banana
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk (I didn't have any so I added cider vinegar into regular bluetop milk, works just as well. You can also use white vinegar)

In a large bowl beat butter with sugar until fluffy; beat in egg. Beat in banana and vanilla.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir into butter mixture alternately with buttermilk. Spoon into paper-lined or greased muffin tray.
Bake 180 deg Celsius for 20-25mins. Makes 12.

7 Minute Frosting
2/3 cup caster sugar
2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup water

In heatproof bowl whisk together the water (yes that's right, the part I forgot), sugar, egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; beat constantly until mixture holds stiff peaks (5-7 mins, hence the name of the frosting).
Remove from pan and beat until frosting is cooled, about 2 mins. Beat in vanilla. This makes approx 3 cups, enough for 12 cupcakes.

Espresso Cups of Chocolate Cream
Serves 4-8 depending on the size. I made 6.
300ml cream
1x250g packet of chocolate bits
3 egg yolks
3 tablespoons liqueur (e.g Cointreau or Kahlua), vanilla or peppermint essence, or strong sweetened espresso coffee.

Heat the cream until just about to boil. Throw everything in a blender and run the machine until the racket stops. Pour into little espresso cups or liqueur glasses and chill for at least 3 hours, preferably overnight.

Happy New Year to you all! I am sure 2010 is going to be full of fun!


Kiwicakes said...

ME too! I wanna see you on the telly. I haven't caught an ad yet. When does the first episode air?

Johnny said...

Hey Sandra,
I'm not 100% sure yet, it's supposed to be in February so I guess we'll find out soon. The advertising on TV3 will start in the couple of weeks before the show airs.