As you may have noticed I am a big fan of all things caramel. Salted caramel sauce is almost always found in my fridge and I am constantly replacing white sugar in recipes with brown sugar for a deeper caramel flavour. I have been meaning to try out dark brown sugar, or Muscovado sugar, but the supermarket I shop in for most of our groceries doesn’t carry many specialty items. I was doing some shopping for Nana in the slightly more upmarket supermarket (that I am most definitely not allowed to do my weekly shopping in) and found a box of muscovado sugar on sale! I just knew I had to try it in the caramel mud cupcake recipe to see how it changed the flavour. A sneak peak of the original recipe beside the one using muscovado sugar reveals the colour difference really well.
Blueberry week is finally coming to an end. I had hoped to post this recipe on Friday but spent a large portion of the day working on cupcakes for a wedding. Now that they are all done I can get down to the business of sharing one of my favourite tart recipes. Frangipane is an almond flavoured filling, usually made with butter, sugar, eggs and almond meal. It is moist and not too sweet and has a lovely flavour that pairs well with many different fruit combinations.
The base recipe of this tart has been my go to ever since I discovered it in the March 2013 issue of Cuisine magazine. It’s a great dessert to take out with you as it is easy to transport, can be made a day ahead and works well in any season as you can add whatever fruit that is available at the time. In winter I like to make it with poached pears 🙂
As the frangipange filling contains only a tiny bit of flour (to help it set well) it can easily be made gluten free and if paired with a gluten free sweet short crust pastry is a great dessert for the gluten intolerant in our lives.
Banana bread has always been a great favourite in my family. I often remember mum making it for us and it never lasted long! While it isn’t really bread it does taste great when you cut it into thick slices, toast it and spread it with butter (or when you make french toast from it…I think I may need to do this sometime soon so I can put it on the blog).
I figured this was another great place to sneak zucchini into my baking and great use for some more blueberries. I have made banana bread filled with strawberries and blueberries in the past but have since decided that I prefer it when the berries are sprinkled on top, they can make it quite hard to cook the loaf the whole way through as it is already a fairly moist mixture.
I don’t know about you but I love breakfast. Even just a big bowl of Sultana Bran and I am a happy girl. Breakfast has always been a special meal for me. When I was a little girl my dad used to get up early to leave for work and let mum sleep in a little while she was pregnant with my little brother. He would make us each a bowl of Sultana Bran and then let me ‘sneak’ all the sultanas from his bowl. I thought I was being extremely clever but of course I understand now that it was just him being a great dad. As the years went on we would love the nights that dad was on dinner duty because he would often cook up his speciality “Breakfast for Dinner”. Whether it was bacon and eggs, pancakes or french toast the novelty never grew old (in fact at age 27 I still love going back home for family dinner nights where dad will still do this).
Breakfast in our household is often rushed, trying to get kid and adults out the door for school and work but on the weekends I am often asked by Dr B and the little Miss what I will be cooking them for breakfast. We love having cooked breakfasts and they have made sure I have all the tools I need to prepare tasty Saturday morning meals. For one birthday and Christmas they got me the biggest and best Belgian waffle iron you could find in New Zealand, you see you need those big deep wholes to fill up with real Canadian maple syrup! Crepes, waffles, french toast and pancakes are the favourites and we are always coming up with new flavours and additions to keep them exciting.
Since it is blueberry week we of course had to have breakfast that included blueberries. Dr B had just started his new job and to celebrate I got up early on Tuesday morning to prepare our favourite buttermilk pancakes.
Blueberry week continues. I stared with a slightly healthier muffin recipe, these ones may not be quite so full of vegetable and whole meal flour but boy are they delicious! They are beautifully moist and buttery and the browned butter adds that slightly nutty depth to the flavour. The blueberries add little explosions of juice and compliments that light buttery crumb of the muffin. Finished with a slightly crunchy streusel topping these are a perfect way to enjoy your blueberries.
A very good friend of mine recently went away to visit the in laws and stopped on her way home for New Zealand’s best blueberries. I believe they bought about 10 kgs of blueberries and she sent a whole kilogram my way! This week will be dedicated to blueberries. I think I have used them in 5 different recipes and I still have more blueberries frozen and waiting to be used.
These muffins have a little bit of everything in them, I have been playing around with tricking my family into eating zucchini (or courgette depending on which country you grew up in). So far the little miss has enjoyed it in these muffins and in spaghetti bolognese. She is on to me though and keeps asking if I have put it in her cereal etc 😛
It’s always great having friends who keep an eye out for new and interesting recipes to try out. One of my good baking buddies sent me a link to these Gingerbread Doughnut Muffins after seeing the Baked Chocolate Peppermint Doughnuts I posted about the other week. She thought they would be good to try in the doughnut pan and she thought right!
I ended up having to modify the original recipe (mostly due to lack of ingredients and I didn’t feel like going shopping) but they ended up having a wonderful gingerbread flavour and a great texture.
I love pretty desserts. While I have always been more about the flavour than presentation there is something truly satisfying about a beautifully presented dessert hitting the table. These puddings are simple to make and with the right serving dish will look amazing without causing you any stress.
I must admit that I am a big fan of gluten. It makes bread and so many baked goods so much better and I am thankful that no one in this house has an intolerance to it. However with many good friends who do and the growing need to cater for people with all sorts of dietary requirements I like to find desserts that are gluten free, dairy free etc that still taste great. It’s best when you wouldn’t even need to tell people they were missing the ‘normal’ ingredients. I never think it’s fair when those with the special dietary needs get a little plate of the token dessert that tastes nowhere near as good as what everyone else is getting. If it can blend in with those baked with the traditional ingredients then I consider it a success.
Brownie is a great dessert to convert to gluten free as it contains so little flour that the switch from normal to gluten free is hard to detect as it has such a small effect on the texture. A moist gooey brownie will not taste grainy or dry from the gluten free flour and I don’t think anyone could tell the difference between one made with normal wheat flour and the gluten free version.
Having moved into the new kitchen I have not found a permanent home for my rather large transformer that helps me to run the beautiful KitchenAid stand mixer ‘Morty’ that my family sent over from Canada as a wedding present. I am still happily baking recipes that can be mixed by hand and brownie is great for that, everything goes into the one bowl and can be whisked together.