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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

cupcake week

this week is cupcake week and today i am posting my favorite banana bread recipe as cupcakes.  i've tried dozens of recipes and my grandma's recipe is still the best- it always turns out just right. 
the recipe:

½ cup shortening

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

4 cups smashed bananas

2 tsp vanilla

1 cup chopped nuts

½ cup water


3 oz of melted bittersweet chocolate

Preheat oven to 350° degrees.  Prepare muffin tins with liners (makes 24 cupcakes).  Cream shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and blend until barely mixed  Sift the dry ingredients and gradually add them to the shortening mixture.  Add bananas, vanilla, nuts and water as needed to create proper consistency (should be runny, that's what makes them moist).  Bake for 23 minutes.  The tops should be golden brown.  Let the cupcakes cool and if so desired top with the melted chocolate.  I prefer mine with sugared butter, so do whatever you want.

next i'm trying the strawberry sprinkles cupcake recipe.  i just can't decide how to frost them.

Monday, March 2, 2009

next cookie

This next cookie recipe is great if you want to work out while you bake.  Everything has to be mixed by hand--everything!  It takes a while and a lot of effort, but it creates a better, more tender crumb.  So, if that's what you're going for than this is your cookie:

More Traditional Chocolate Chip Walnut Cookies


1 ½ cup butter (very room temperature)

1 ¼ cup granulated sugar

1 ¼ cup brown sugar

1 tbs vanilla

2 eggs

4 cups flour

2 tbs baking soda

½ tsp salt

2 cups walnuts, chopped

1 24 oz bag of semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Cream butter with sugars in a large mixing bowl with a sturdy wooden spoon, this should take about 10 minutes.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Sift the dry ingredients together in another bowl and gradually add to the creamed mixture.  Mix together until just barely incorporated.  Fold in chocolate chips and walnuts.  Spoon out onto cookie sheets, about 2 oz of dough per cookie and bake for 13 minutes.

*note: if you want your cookies to be more uniform in shape roll in your hands before putting them on your ungreased cookie sheet

Sunday, March 1, 2009

bake off

lately i've been editing my recipes and tossing the ones that were not the best.  i've decided that i'm going to do my own version of tyler's ultimate and figure out which ones of my recipes are "the ultimate."  this week i'm trying out some of my chocolate chip cookie recipes.  first up: 

(photography by amber hansen)

The Consummate Chocolate Chip Cookie

Adapted from David Leite via The New York Times

Takes: 45 minutes (for 1 6-cookie batch), plus at least 24 hours chilling

Makes: 2 dozen 5-inch cookies.


2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour*

1 2/3 cups bread flour

1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups light brown sugar

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract

1 1/4 pounds bittersweet chocolate disks or fèves, at least 60 percent cacao content

Sea salt


1. Sift flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Set aside.

 2. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars together until very light, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Stir in the vanilla. Reduce speed to low, add dry ingredients and mix until just combined, 5 to 10 seconds. Drop chocolate pieces in and try to incorporate them without breaking them. Press plastic wrap against dough and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. [Dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.]

 3. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Set aside.

 4. Scoop 6 3 1/2-ounce mounds of dough (the size of generous golf balls) onto baking sheet, making sure to turn horizontally any chocolate pieces that are poking up; it will make for a more attractive cookie. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt and bake until golden brown but still soft, 18 to 20 minutes. Transfer sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then slip cookies onto another rack to cool a bit more. Repeat with remaining dough, or reserve dough, refrigerated, for baking remaining batches the next day. Eat warm.  Or if you can wait.  Let cool completely on a rack and then store in an airtight container.

 * I should have used Valrhona feves, but I didn't feel like going to Sur La Table, so I just used Guittard 62% chocolate disks, found at Bristol Farms.  They worked just fine, but Valrhona is definitely a better tasting chocolate.  If you can't find the big disks, I've heard that Ghiradeli makes larger chocolate chips that you can find at the market and those would probably work just fine.

* To make pastry or cake flour just sift together 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour and 1/4 cup cornstarch.  Obviously makes 2 cups.

I would rate these cookies a 9.5.  I think they would be even better with darker chocolate.  Some of my taste-testers preferred the cookies made without the sea salt, but I liked the salty cookies.  Up to you I guess.  But if I were you, I would definitely try some with salt.

Up next.  A softer chocolate chip cookie with walnuts.