Tuesday, May 26, 2009



Photos of the evening ~
(Wishing I had the one on the site below)


Fudge cake with praline espresso buttercream filling, draped in ganache, accessorized with tinted white chocolate tiles .

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cocoa-banana bread and originality pondered

I love reading recipes. *Thud* There is nothing new in that statement. Reading a food list to join, stating X-number of blog entries are required before being allowed to join, I get that, which makes sense to me. What caught my eye, what has been lingering on my mind since, was one of the requirements….”must be an original recipe”. I’ve felt nothing is really new. Isn’t one chocolate buttermilk cake similar in most ways to the next chocolate buttermilk cake? Sure, slight ingredient variations, but new? No. Enjoyable? Oh, to me ~ absolutely. In those variations I find my interest, what draws me in, where I can get lost for a few moments.

Glancing over the ingredients, comparing the amount of flour to the sugar to the dairy to the fat of choice, even to the number of eggs, and then judging the texture, the level of sweetness. Ahhhh……….

Cocoa-banana bread. Not new. But a recipe that has changed evolved and adjusted over time. I’m not beyond tweaking it again on a whim, but it has remained as listed below for some time now. I’m happy with it ~


4 c. flour, unbleached

1 c. cocoa

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. baking powder

2 ¾ c. sugar

2/3 c. oil

4 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/3 c. buttermilk

6 bananas

1 c. chocolate chips

Optional nuts – 1 c.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and line sides and bottom of two 9” x 5” loaf pans with parchment.

Mix flour, cocoa, salt and leavening in a bowl, set aside.

Mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla on high for two-three minutes.

In thirds, alternate dry ingredients with the buttermilk, starting with flour, ending with buttermilk.

Add bananas and mix just until blended. Remove mixing bowl from mixer and fold in chocolate chips.

Bake for 65-80 minutes. That’s quite the range, isn’t it? Yep, I don’t know your oven, only mine.

Now the notes ~ I almost always have notes.

  • Yes, I like butter. I feel it’s glory. Go right ahead. Melt the same amount of butter (slightly cooled) and add in place of oil. Or cream softened butter with the sugar, and then add eggs.
  • The particular bread in the picture was made with four bananas mooshed, two chopped and folded in. Mooshing the banana in a separate bowl to your level of chunky love works. I do like seeing a bit of banana in the final result…even if they look like apples.
  • I usually have to adjust leavening in some recipes even though I’m only baking at almost 3000 ft.
  • I like mini-chocolate chips more so than regular size. Regular size is what I use most often, as I can get those readily in bulk at a better price.
  • The glaze is simply powdered sugar, some cocoa, some vanilla, some water. Chocolate ganache is much yummier.
  • The sprinkles? I had some praline leftover from a cake order. That is something else I’ll have to blather on about – Filbert Love, Oregon style.
  • I feel protective of my recipes, but since I still remember that nothing is really new….and knowing that letting go of control feels good…that includes sharing….I send this out there with a breath of fresh mental air ~

I hope you find it. Let me know when you do. *wink*



Sunday, May 24, 2009

This is the other tart I made the same day as the one below. I'm still looking for the perfect serving dish that fits this tart pan.

Tomorrow ~ I hope to get up the cocoa-banana bread. Keeping my fingers crossed for some decent pictures.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Raising a glass to Karin *clink* (blueberry 'tini, darlin')

Going back about three weeks in the baking history ~ tarts baked for a couple of sweet Taurus women ~

My first fruit tart of the year, using my petal
ring. I used frozen berries, as it really isn't peak fruit season here in Oregon. I'd much prefer consistent quality frozen fruit over imported and mediocre. Come summer, yes - fresh preferred. I added raspberries with the blueberries, just about a quarter as much. I like my fruit tarts to be...well...to have a hint of tart. I prefer a non-too-sweet result. Lemon zest ~ always.

It went something like this.

4 c. blueberries
1 c. raspberries
2 tsp. cornstarch
1/2 c. sugar
Zest of half a lemon
Barely a smidge of salt

Glaze for accents
An egg, beaten with a bit of water. A bit? Maybe a 3 tablespoons? That sounds about right.
Sugar, raw or granulated

My favorite tart shells as of the past few years are the versions without water, though include egg. Not wanting to sift through my cookbooks (yes, yes...I know I need to gather my master recipes into one spot), I did what so many before me have done. Google, please. This is where you will find the recipe I used for this tart. I did not par-bake. I start watching my thinner baked open tarts around 35 minutes, looking for that bubble, that color along the edges, the color on the top of the pastry accents. They can take as long as some pies, depending on depth. 35-55 minutes @ 400 degrees.

This concludes my first post with picture to test font, alignment, photo size, etc.

Toodles ~ see you next time!
It might have something to do with the hazelnut sables I baked this morning....