Saturday, 15 November 2014

Banana and choc-chip muffins

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Banana and choc-chip muffins - Steph's Kitchen

If you know me (or this blog), you know that I'm really big on sweets - especially ones you can sneak into your lunch box to make the day go quicker. I'm also a  massive fan of any recipes that use food items you might consider throwing out.

These banana muffins tick both boxes. They are perfect for lunches, and the blacker the skin of the bananas you use the better the muffins taste! Plus, they can be bruised and squished and it doesn't matter. Throw in some choc-chips and everyone's happy.

Banana and choc-chip muffins cooling - Steph's Kitchen

Banana and choc-chip muffins

Makes approx 16 muffins

125g dairy-free spread (or margarine)
3/4 cup of sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 eggs
2 bananas, peeled and mashed
2 cups SR flour
2/3 cup rice milk (or milk)
1/2 cup choc-chips
pinch of salt

1. Firstly, set your oven to 180 C / 350 F.

2. Cream butter and sugar with an electronic beater until fluffy. My Mum has always told me this is the secret to fluffy cakes. It has always worked for me!

3. Add vanilla, eggs and mashed banana and mix until well combined.

4. Next, alternate adding the flour and rice milk. Add 1/2 a cup of flour, followed by 1/3 cup of rice milk - beating the mixture each time until well combined.

I know you are supposed to sift flour in cakes, but honestly I never do. I'm a little lazy on this front.

5. Finally, fold through the choc-chips.

6. Place muffin cases in a standard muffin tray, and using two spoons (as shown in my pumpkin and white chocolate cupcake recipe) fill the cases around half way. If they are slightly over, that's OK too. You just want to make sure you don't fill more than two-thirds of the case.

If you want to make large, Texas sized muffins, simply use large or Texas sized cases and muffin tray. The mixture will make approx 16 standard sized muffins or 10 large muffins.

7. Place your muffins in the oven for 15-20 mins.
Straight from the oven: Banana choc-chip muffins - Steph's Kitchen

Steph xo

Saturday, 4 October 2014

PB and J pancakes

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Peanut butter and jam pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

I don't know about you, but I LOVE peanut butter and jam sandwiches or toast.  It's so simple but oh, so good! Here in Australia we don't have the traditional fruit jelly those in the US have. I'm sure I can get it, but, being of English heritage, I grew up with a wide assortment of jams.

One morning Mr Steph and I were tossing around breakfast ideas.

"How about apple pie pancakes again? I really feel like that with butterscotch sauce," said Mr Steph.
"Sorry, hun. I'm out of butter ... " I said regrettably. "I really like the idea of pancakes, though ..."

I started thinking about different variations. I threw out the idea of Nutella pancakes, but Mr Steph didn't feel like it. Then I thought, why not create a pancake that tastes like something else Mr Steph loves: Peanut butter and jam.

It turned out a treat!

PB and J pancakes - Steph's Kitchen

PB and J pancakes

Makes approx 8 large pancakes or 12 medium pancakes

For the pancake batter

1 egg
1 1/4 cups milk or rice milk
1/2 cup plain flour
1 cup SR flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter

For the jam or strawberry coulis (sauce)

200 g frozen sliced strawberries. Fresh strawberries are OK also. If using fresh, add a tiny bit of water (no more than 1 Tbsp) to make more of a sauce, otherwise it'll just be a jam. As the strawberries cook, they will create their own liquid.

1/4 cup white sugar

Get your strawberry coulis on first. If you've never made one before, you'll find yourself making this all the time after this - adding it to ice cream, crepes or letting it go cold for a quick jam. You can use this same ratio or technique for any kind of berry sauce you'd like to make, such as blueberries or raspberries.

Add the strawberries and sugar (water also if using fresh strawberries) over a low heat. Allow to simmer and cook away while you make your pancakes, stirring every couple of minutes. Once the sauce is thick but still has a decent amount of liquid, turn it off and simply let it sit. If it's ready a while before the pancakes are done, simply add it back to the heat for a couple of minutes before serving so it's nice and hot.

For the batter, add all your dry ingredients into a bowl. Whisk up your egg in a small jug, adding your milk and mixing together. Create a well or hollow in your dry ingredients, and pour the milk and egg mixture into the centre. Mix to combine into a thick batter.

Now the magic ingredient: the peanut butter.

There's a couple of ways to add peanut butter into things. You can add it straight in, whisking until it combines - or whack it into the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it slightly. However you choose, mix the peanut butter into the batter until it's well combined. You want the batter to be thick but also still pourable. if you find it's too thick, add a little bit more milk until it gets to the consistency you like.

In a large pan, add in a little bit of butter over a medium heat. Once melted, swirl the butter around the pan so that the base is  well coated. To make large pancakes, take a 1/2 a cup measurement of batter and pour it into the pan. For medium size, use a 1/4 measurement.Using measurements like this also helps you get pancakes the same size and shape each side.

You know you're ready to flip the pancake
when bubbles appear across the surface.
The biggest problem people have with pancakes is knowing when to flip them, ending up with burnt pancakes or batter going everywhere in the pan once flipped. The trick is to look for bubbles appearing on the surface of the pancake. You are looking for small bubbles to appear all over, not  just around the edges.

Once flipped, the pancake will only need a little over a minute to be cooked on the other side. Remove the cooked pancake from the pan, add in more butter and another scope of pancake mixture.

Continue scoping the mixture until all the mixture is used, making sure to stir your strawberry sauce every so often.

You can plate your pancakes however you'd like. For the real peanut butter lovers, you could even spread some between each pancake. I know Mr Steph is just obsessed - eating it off spoons if I let him. If you love sweets like I do, you might want to add a little bit of sauce between each one or just add the sauce on top. Either way, you will have the family licking the plate clean!

Steph xo


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Homemade butterscotch sauce

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Butterscotch sauce - Steph's Kitchen

I have many good memories about this butterscotch sauce. My Mum used to make it all the time when we were kids. Her favourite was butterscotch sauce with spiced apples and crepes. It's still one of my favourites, and I hope to pass on the love of it to my children in turn.

It's a little different to other butterscotch sauces. The ingredients are all the same, but the method is slightly different - with the cream added at the end rather than at the start. I'm not sure why I make it this way, it's just how my mother taught me. I just thought it was the way you make it!

I've made this sauce for family and friends, and it's always a winner. It's also a star in my Butterscotch Cookie Sundae. I just try not to have it too often as it's a little bit naughty ... but all good things are naughty! I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Butterscotch cookie sundae - Steph's Kitchen
Butterscotch cookie sundae

Butterscotch sauce

100g butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup cream

In a small pan or pot, place butter and brown sugar over a low heat. Allow it to melt, stirring occasionally to combine the butter into the sugar. Once completely melted, continue to stir until the sugar and butter are completely combined. You can increase the heat now slightly, to a medium to low heat, and allow it to slowly come to a gentle simmer. Allow it to simmer for a few minutes (3 - 5 minutes), stirring every now and then, until the sauce feels smooth, the sugar is completely dissolved and it is like a thick but pour-able syrup.

Take the sauce off the heat and allow it to stop bubbling before adding in the cream. Stir to combine, adding it back to a low heat until it thickens slightly.

And you're done.

Butterscotch sauce with crepes

It's great with ice cream, crepes or in a sundae. This butterscotch sauce is also used for sticky date pudding (on of my absolute favs!)

Steph xo

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