Monday, September 17, 2012

Banana, Chocolate Chip and Walnut Muffins


Hi Everyone,

Today, I was thinking about some of my old baking jobs.
One of them was at a coffeehouse in Worcester, Mass.
It was right off Tatnuck Square for those of you who know Worcester.
The place would be called vintage today or retro but back in the 90s it was just old.
But it served great coffee and they had good music.
It had the crankiest convection oven on the planet - it took a while
for me and this oven to come to terms but we did.
I remember not being able to keep up with the production - everything
I made was sold as soon as it went into the small vintage baking case.

So today's entry is a popular muffin from those long ago days.
These are rich and delicious - nothing held back - use really ripe bananas.
I always have a collection of bananas in the freezer.
They thaw quickly in a bowl on the counter.
Happy Baking!

Banana, Chocolate Chip and Walnut MuffinsOven 350Line a muffin pan with muffin linersEquipment:2 bowls1 whiskscale or measuring cupsspatulascoopteaspoons2 1/4 cups (12 ounces all purpose flour)2 teaspoons baking powder1/2 teaspoon cinnamonpinch salt1. Combine the above ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.
1/2 cup vegetable oil, (can be corn, canola or grapeseed)1 cup (7 ounces sugar)2 eggs1 teaspoon vanilla3 very ripe bananas1 cup chocolate chips1 cup chopped walnutsTopping**cinnamon sugar4 Tablespoons sugar mixed with 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon1. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.2.. In the second bowl whisk together the above ingredients until everything is very smooth and the bananas are truly broken down and well combine with everything else.3. Then add the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and mix until all of it is mixed - about 15 strokes with the spatula should do it.Do not over mix.4. Add the chocolate chips and the walnuts.5. Scoop the muffins into the prepared pan.6. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar7. Bake at 350 degrees - start checking at 25 minutes.A skewer inserted in the center should come out clean.These muffins freeze really well.Happy Baking!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Almond Croissants - a tutorial

Hi Everyone,

It is time to get back to baking.
Last week - one of my Craftsy students wanted to know how to make Almond Croissants.
No problem - the request gave me an idea - wouldn't that be a great tutorial for the blog.
Yes so - here is our first entry for September.
Happy Baking!

The croissant recipe and procedure stays the same - just go ahead and make your dough as you always do.
Here is the recipe for the filling:
Yes, almond croissant are so delicious.
Here is how they are typically made. 
1.) No changes to the dough 
2.) almond paste, marzipan, or almond filling are rolled up into the classic croissant.
In French almond filling is known as creme d'amandes and in Italian it is known as frangipane.

Here is my recipe for almond filling.
8 ounces almond paste
4 ounces butter
3.5 ounces sugar (1/2 cup)
1 egg
4  ounces ( 1 cup) gramham cracker crumbs (leftover cake crumbs can also be used)
pinch salt
1 ounce all purpose flour
1. Cream almond paste and butter until smooth, add sugar, egg, crumbs, flour and salt. Mix until smooth.
Filling can be chilled and rolled into logs or (if still soft) piped on the bottom edge of the croissant and rolled in - it is easy to chill the filling and roll it into a log.
If you are usuing almond paste or marzipan the technique is the same.
Roll the paste into a log 1/2" in diameter and place it at the bottom wide end of the dough triangle and roll it up.
Proof as usual.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with almonds.
Bake as usual.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar to finish and enjoy!