23 April 2010

Marbled Banana Bread

Confession: I hate the smell of bananas.

I think it has something to do with that awful organic chemistry lab two years ago. We synthesized artificial banana flavoring for weeks on end. My entire body and wardrobe smelled like banana Runts for the rest of the semester. True story.

Confession: I love the taste of bananas. 

Because of the Banana Oil Synthesis incident, however, I have been unable to tolerate bananas in any form other than in the perfect, unscented raw state. Until this evening, when I came home to find two bananas whose peels were black. 

So when life gives you pitch-black, over-ripened bananas... make this chocolate-y, cinnamon-y banana bread.

Marbled Banana Bread

2 bananas (preferably disgustingly ripe)
1 cup flour
1 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 tbsp milk
4 tbsp melted butter
1 egg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp nutmeg
2 generous tsp cinnamon (I used Ceylon cinnamon instead of Cassia, but the latter should be just fine)

Preheat oven to 350F. Melt the butter, and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Mash the banands into the butter, along with the sugar, milk, and egg. In a separate bowl, mix all other dry ingredients (except the cocoa) together. Add flour mixture a bit at a time. Place half of the dough/batter in another bowl. Add cocoa powder, and mix well. Place batters in a greased loaf pan, alternating between the two. Using a knife, swirl the batters together in the pan, taking care not to blend them into one. Bake for 50 minutes.

21 April 2010

Strawberry Lemonade Granita

Spring seems to be finally hitting the midwest. Squirrels are out, the frisbee team is practicing out on the quad...

And the ice cream stand is open.

Ice cream is my favorite food. Hands down.

Well, okay, that and chocolate chip pancakes. And strawberry lemonade. But other than that, ice cream is definitely my favorite.

Instead of immediately heeding the call of Dari Barn, I decided to try my hand at something as summery, if not healthier: granita. For those not in the know, granita is an Italian shaved ice treat, usually made by hand. I've had it a few times before, and loved it. It's the perfect light treat after an evening run. It does take a while to make, so be patient!

So, without further ado...

Strawberry Lemonade Granita

1 lb fresh strawberries, rinsed and sliced thin
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Continue to heat until berries lose shape and mixture becomes thick. Cool to room temperature. Transfer to a baking dish (the bigger the area, the faster it'll freeze!), and place in freezer. Remove every hour, scrape and fluff frozen mixture with a fork, and place back in freezer. Once at desired consistency (see photos above), dig in!

18 April 2010

Cookie Dough Brownies (for lack of a better name)

I read about these incredible brownie-chunk cookies on Bon Appetit, and started drooling. However, I am definitely more of a brownie-lover than a cookie-lover.

So I flipped it. Cookie dough baked into brownies.

Aww yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Now, I don't really have a name for these... my roommates came up with "brownnooks" and "cooknies"... Neither of which seems to fit.

Regardless, the consensus was this was the best thing I've made in a long time. Do yourself a favor: make these, and put them in your face.

Cookie Dough Brownies

For the cookie dough:

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated [white] sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir into dry mixture. Add chocolate chips. Set aside.
For the brownie batter:

1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
3/4 cup butter
2 tbsp espresso powder
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350F. In a double-boiler, melt cocoa powder and butter. In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients. Slowly add the cocoa-butter mixture and stir to combine. Stir in chunks of the cookie dough. Pour into a 13" x 9" cake pan, and bake for 50 minutes.

Pomegranate Triple-Chip Cookies

So, it's been a while... An unfortunate byproduct of impending graduation and the onslaught of end-of-semester projects and commitments.

Ergo, I have a huge backlog of treats to share with you.

I have, however, been stress-baking up a storm. So much so that I am now out of pomegranate molasses. But at least I had these, for a short while:

Three kinds of chocolate chips, extra brown sugar in the dough, with a swirl of pomegranate syrup folded in... 

Pomegranate Triple-Chip Cookies

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

1 cup (2 sticks, 1/2 pound) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated [white] sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tbsp pomegranate syrup for the dough
3 tbsp pomegranate syrup for the swirl
2 eggs
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Cream together the butter and sugars. Mix in eggs, one at a time. Add vanilla extract and 2 tbsp pomegranate syrup. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add the flour mixture to the wet mixture. Stir in chocolate chips, and carefully fold in the 3 tbsp of pomegranate syrup so that you can see streaks of the molasses in the dough. Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets. Bake for 12 minutes, until golden brown-- be sure that the molasses swirls hasn't burned.

Enjoy with a cold class of milk while watching (500) Days of Summer or an equally saccharine dramedy.